Re: This Union Situation

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Posted by Kevin on March 07, 2000 at 02:15:11:

In Reply to: Re: This Union Situation posted by Jon on March 06, 2000 at 09:07:48:

:I just don't want to walk in one morning and see 20 "GI Joes" lobbing rep cards into my office and yelling, "Die, Hitler."

LOL! That's a priceless image.

: I think you have a point there. See, the thing is, the people who contract us also have to report to others higher up. I believe it will take a positive PR campaign to THOSE people - the ones who HIRE the ones who hire. Know what I mean?

Absolutely. Though I have no idea how to get to the real movers and shakers at the top, or more importantly, how to get them to stop and listen and understand animation.

: They need to see how the industry has changed. They can't keep handling it the way it's been handled for the past 20 years. The system needs to be streamlined. Egos need to be eliminated and banned from the process.

Eliminate egos from Hollywood?!? You really are a crackpot!

: Here's what I'm talking about.

: To make this deadline, we subcontracted a bunch of footage to another studio (Studio X). They needed the work at the time, and we needed their help. Studio X's owner is a good friend of mine - we have a lot of respect for each other, but this was the first time we were going to work together on a project.

: Our footage rate for rough animation was $24/foot,

$24 a foot! Yeah, you're right, that would take a little adjustment. More of an adjustment of attitude than anything, but a real adjustment nonetheless.

:. . . but due to overhead factors we would be able to pay $35/foot to Studio X. They weren't happy about it, said this sort of work would normally get them from between $150 and $200 per foot ... but it was a take-it-or-leave-it situation, and they ended up taking it.

: Now Studio X, I should add, has done a lot of fine work on features (hence the higher figures they are used to being paid). But I said, look, just give it your best shot, get in, get out, and move on. They asked about shipping pencil tests, and I said I didn't want to see pencil tests, OR rough inbetweens. They seemed to be appalled at that concept, but I said, "How can you expect to make any money if you have to stop and test this stuff? Test what you need to, but don't show them to me. We need to get this done too fast."

: Which is how our animators work. They test what they need to, but we don't require animators to sit through a sweat-box session with the director. This ain't Prince of Egypt, OK?

In a way it's an exciting concept. By working that way you'd animate so damn much footage, the learning curve would have to be significantly accelerated, though I also suspect that the lack of time to really pay attention to what's going across one's desk might keep deeper mastery from happening. On the other hand, I saw animators on Prince of Egypt struggling to put out 4 feet of usable animation a week. That's insane. Of course, ever line and every nuance was gone over again and again by 10 different people, so you can't necessarily blame the animators.

: In the end, this video is going to be something we're proud of, but Studio X's work really floundered. They just weren't used to working that way.

I can see that it would take an adjustment and some retraining. Can you tell us what the video was you were working on?

: THAT'S the kind of training I'm talking about. It's learning a few simple tricks you can depend on for maximum effect and minimum effort. AND MAINLY, it means animators need to learn to believe in themselves, their ability, their judgment. Confidence is the greatest asset to a production schedule, and skill will make it shine.

: Most animators reading this would probably think, "Hell, I could do that."

: And I totally agree.

Some would jump in that deep water and drown, but you're right, many would find they were stronger swimmers than they ever imagined.

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