Salaries in animation land.
What a lot of people don't realize is, historically they were never high. Take the 1930s, for example. Entry level positions at Disney started at $15 a week, pretty low even in the midst of a Depression.
Dave Michener, a Disney animator, story artist and director who started at the Mouse House in the mid-fifties, told me he had to keep his night job managing a gas station when he began work as a Disney in-betweener to make ends meet...
My father was once berated by a short-lived Disney employee: Why do you people stay here at such lousy salaries year in and year out?! I don't get it!".
The reason for many was "loyalty to Walt", also the country-club atmosphere of the studio. It certainly wasn't the gargantuan wages. Woolie Reitherman once allowed as how he'd gotten rich from Disney stock-options, not the company's weekly pay-check.
But with weekly pay-rates in mind, let's take a short trip back through animation wage minimums in TAG contracts through the years (and remember, most everybody's weekly salaries were pegged to these collective bargaining agreements, particularly before the go-go '90s):
WEEKLY SALARY - Animator - Background - Layout - Story
1976 -- $351.56
1980 -- $501.48
1985 -- $764.84
1988 -- $848.84
1994 -- $1,043.44
1996 -- $1,107.00
2003 -- $1,341.76
2008 -- $1,489.96
It's difficult to remember, but in 1976 $351.76 was more than enough to live on. Rents were a couple hundred bucks a month; houses could be bought for fifty or sixty grand. Seems like almost another universe.