Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Overtime Over Again*

At a studio this week I fell into a long conversation with a 25-year animation veteran.

He lamented that the industry had morphed from long-term employment to daily hire, short-term employment. ("Remember when everybody stayed at one studio for years, went from one show to another?")

I said I did.

He talked about how he got into the business because drawing waw what he loved to do, how the industry had changed, and not for the better:

"The show I'm on now, it's a nice project, but we're hitting a mid-season bump in the road and the artists are getting laid off for a few weeks. We think. The company doesn't want to give us re-hire dates, eve though most of us will be coming back. So nobody knows when they return. Or if."

I mentioned the unpaid overtime I see going on around town. He smiled sheepishly.

"Yeah, I'm one of those. I get the schedule and I make the decision to haul the work home, get it done. I just eat the overtime."

Like many, I said.

"So what's the solution?" he asked.

Getting people to push back as a group, I answered. Building a culture where artists don't let it happen.

How, he wanted to know.

I told him if I had the answer to that, I'd be in a higher pay grade. But in the meantime I just work to raise awareness and get people to stop doing it.

* This is another in our continuing series about uncompensated overtime And the animation business. Plus the people in it.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened at Nick studios this week? Rumor has it that all of their non-union production people were told that they are now considered "freelance" even if they've been there full time since the beginning. And with this reclassification comes the loss of a boatload of benefits and perks. It almost seems too outrageous for a company that earlier in the week was boasting of record profits to do this right before the holidays, but never underestimate the capacity of big media to outrage, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's time to organize these newly classified "freelance" production people.

Steve H?

Steve Hulett said...

Call me at the office.

818-766-7151.

I'm out the beginning of the week, but I have voice mail.

A Kicked Dog said...

After reporting an 80% gain in profits from their cable division in November and record ratings landed by their cash cow SpongeBob SquarePants, Viacom rewards their hard working Productin staff employees by killing off their pensions, canceling their 401k matching funds, reducing their insurance choices to one, Slashing back their vacation and sick days by half, canceling maternity and paternity leave, as well as bereavement days. All this on the Monday Before Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving to all you Viacom/Nick workers that until Monday considered yourelves to be part of the Viacom family. People that have worked so hard to fill Viacom's pockets with money and make it the shining star it is today, were reassured that "Everybody" is doing it. Well, that makes it alright then doesn't it.

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