One of the joys of doing this job is getting to interact, from time to time, with animation studios and other entities that specialize in stiffing their employees and/or vendors and/or indepedent contractors.
The m.o. is generally the same. The owner/operator is heartsick that some of "his people" haven't been paid yet. Like very, very upset about it. And when I talk to him/her -- as I sometimes do -- I always get a thick layer of excrement about how he prides himself on his integrity, how he always pays people he owes ... but how in this case, why, there's this vindictive ex-wife who has dragged him into court or there's a disgruntled business associate suing him and gosh darn it, the money is tied up ... so he just can't pay anybody right now.
But he'll get around to it. And soon. Trust him.
Such appears to be the case with a company called Educational Adventures, run by a gent named Michael D. Moore (not the documentary filmmaker) who appears to be expert when it comes handing out sob stories and elaborate excuses regarding why he can't pay (and it really upsets him, really) the numerous artists who have created work for his show Danger Rangers.
It's amazing that PBS chooses to partner with citizens like Michael D. Moore, but there it is.
Just short of four weeks ago, Mr. Moore called me from his headquarters in North Carolina and spent a little time explaining how he was embroiled in a dispute with a corporate backer and how, with unpleasant things going on in a legal way, the cash flow was nil and a number of sub-contractors who had put in time and effort working on episodes of Danger Rangers wouldn't be getting paid for a little while.
But he pledged that everyone would be made whole within three weeks, and "paid with interest."
He sounded sincere. He said he was a straight shooter and a person of integrity, with a reputation that was important to protect. And I hung up the phone reassured that all those TAG members who had the bad luck to sub-contract for Educational Adventures would have checks in hand and able to pay the monthly mortgage.
Michael D. Moore told me so.
But here it is three and a half weeks later, and Mr. Moore has still not paid most of these people.
And I'm sure he's miserable about it. They always are.
Update: Golly gee whillikers. Here it is 4 weeks later, and still nobody has been paid. I'm sure the checks are in the mail...