Friday, February 24, 2006

"King of the Hill" Returns...Along with Higher Employment

Several months back, "King of the Hill" wrapped its 100th episode and retired its crown.  With no more episodes to create, a lot of the crew was laid off, but WHAT a difference a few months (and DVD sales) make!  Word's out that an additional 20 episodes are in the works.
 
Trouble is, "KOTH's" producer Film Roman is crammed to overflowing in its new building on Hollywood Way.  Rumor has it that FR is searching for other space.  Rumor also has it they might rent digs from Warner Bros. in Sherman Oaks, but this might be a few board artists (who told it to me) embroidering on known facts.
 
One way or the other, there are a lot of people working in animation right now.  The Guild's active membership has grown steadily since the employment recession of 2001 and 2002, plus I've seen of board artists, animators and tech directors toiling away, so I know that SOMEBODY is earning a paycheck.  And one side benefit of full employment was related to me yesterday by a grizzled animation vet: "When most of the good talent's working, the studio's abuse you a little less." 

7 comments:

Stevenem said...

Where is all this work? What studios? What catagories? I have been out of SB work for months and have been very energetically looking for work. I do know people who are working, some fairly consistantly, with overlapping offers, but I also know a lot of artists looking for work. I see large productions being cancelled and pushed back throwing artists into the labor pool. Recruiters talk about multiple applicants for few openings. What I don't see are the desperate employers I heard about in stories about the 90's. There have been unions that have been a lot more active than this one in matching job seeking members to openings.
What about it?

Kevin Koch said...

There's no doubt that there are people out of work, but there's also no arguing that employment is significantly up compared to the last several years. They aren't always great jobs --from what I can see, people are often being expected to do more work in less time. But there are more jobs.

The 90's you refer to were a one-time phenomenon. Never in the 100 year history of animation has there been a hiring binge like we saw in the mid 90's. But if you look at overall employment levels now and compare them to any other time (except the mid 90's) in the last several decades, we're actually in a strong hiring period.

I know both Steve and I are very interested to hear what unions have been more successful and active in matching job seekers with jobs. Do you have some examples? Or suggestions of programs that TAG should institute?

steve hulett said...

The Animation Guild has no call board; individual members network most of their jobs. TAG has an on-going e-mail list for members and we send out job postings on a regular basis.

The reality of the biz right now is: artists work assignment to assignment, build up their portfolios, gear up for the next job as their current gig is wrapping. Feel free to call me in the office; I'm usually there mornings and late afternoons.

Stevenem said...

Kevin,
I am specifically referring to our erstwhile sister local, 841. Unfortunately, they are now extinct and the information can't be verified.

Kevin Koch said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kevin Koch said...

Whoops, I screwed up in my last comment (now deleted) because I thought you were referring to our sister local in Orlando, 843. But of course you meant the now extinct New York local, 841.

Stevenem, what's your understanding of their activities connecting members with jobs. Even if it can't be verified, it would be interesting to consider whatever they may have been trying.

Steve Hulett said...

Both Locals 841 (New York) and 843 (Orlando) are extinct. Tom Sito, then the union prez, was instrumental in helping to get 843 launched. For the decade they were up and running, they looked to us for help and guidance. We regularly sent them bundles of our newsletter, and allowed them to participate in our union 401(k).

Tom Sito can tell you tales about Local 841, and how its business rep Jerry Savio screamed at him for a half hour the first time he walked through the union's doors. Fun times.

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