Wednesday, April 23, 2008

At Film Roman

There's plenty of angst at Film Roman these days.

By ones and twos, Simpsons staff is being laid off as the current season's cycle of shows winds down and no renewals have been announced ...

The blackout surrounding the negotiations with the Yellow Family's voice actors continues ... which means. of course, that negotiations haven't wrapped. Whether a deal will be reached, or if the series will continue beyond the current batch of episodes is perhaps known to Fox, but the Simpsons crew is pretty much up in the air. Which causes (have I mentinoed this?) anxiety.


Anonymous said...

...and yet, Film Roman has ads up that they are looking for artists for a new series - but all who apply must take a test.

Word to the wise: the first people in line for those jobs are the artists currently at Film Roman(and there seem to be plenty with wide open schedules). The positions advertised will be filled from within. No one should take those tests. They are posting that ad simply as a formality. One would be hard pressed to find a more wasteful use of effort than taking the time to submit a test to that studio..

Steve Hulett said...

I've no idea how accurate the above is, but to reiterate:

There is no requirement from TAG for any studio to offer ... or require ... tests.

Anonymous said...

I must respectfully disagree with Anonymous#1.
The King of the Hill crew is slated to return for season 13 fairly soon, so they would not be going onto "The Goode Family" in the droves he/she suggests.
As for any idle Simpson's crew members assuming dibs.....Not the case..not even close.
As anyone with eyes can see-- style differences between Groening and Judge are huge;and trust me--- being on the Simpsons crew does NOT guarantee you entree onto King of the Hill ... and vise versa.
Separate shows-- separate tests..period.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a little sibling rivalry...?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the strike was the tipping point for the Simpsons.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the tests are real. I wish they weren't so I could ignore them, but they are. I missed out on a job last year because I refused to take a test at a studio that historically had never given them. I also had a strange Al Gore kind of experience when I finally passed a test only to be immediately fired by an insane director after doing one scene in thumbnails, (the test had three scenes, and had been approved by the entire reviewing staff). So you can't even count on a studio to honor their own test even if you pass and get hired. The biggest irony is that the studios actions were sanctioned by the purposeless antiquated probation clause in our contract which gives us no job security whatsoever for 90 days(that's three full months, people!). At the very least, if a studio gives a qualifying test, that should automatically render the probation period redundant and cancel it.

The tests are still exploitive and a sneaky way to get a free training period for their shows. (As opposed to something like Disney TVA's "999 week" which is honest paid training).

We are stuck with these tests until they are eliminated or severely constrained by a new contract.

The only other alternative is to be "best friends" with a hot Director which, obviously, everyone can't arrange.

Anonymous said...

This is The Simpsons we're talking about. Their crew isn't just going to up and abandon it for another show, on ABC of all places, which has a bad history with animation. If they did leave, The Simpsons higher ups would have to fill those positions anyway when everything is inevitably worked out.

Anonymous said...

Who are you, the "on topic" police? your question was answered by Anon#2.
Every show at FR has it's own crew and it's own tests, and they don't give a damn about keeping people available or keeping people working. You might be thinking of Nickelodeon, where there tends to be more cross-pollenization between shows, (I hear).

Anonymous said...

Holy shit. What's with the smarmy retort? I was just reinforcing the point by adding why anyone would willingly leave the billion dollar Simpsons franchise that gets renewed year after year, for an ABC show that COULD sink, since this is ABC we're talking about, and if it does they might see their old jobs filled at the Simpsons and can't return. Unless your old job is guaranteed, it's a risky move to make.

And I don't know about cross-pollenation at Nick, but Cartoon Network has had people show-hop. On the other end, Fox TV Animation has an unwritten "no taking people from other shows" policy.

Anonymous said...

You seem to be contradicting yourself. If Fox(Film Roman) does have that policy, then an artist couldn't leave the Simpsons for the Goode Family. Anyway, if they think The Simpsons will be renewed, why WOULD they? You also seem to be making a few assumptions. Even if the contracting network is ABC, (strange, since Disney obviously HAS a TV animation department), it doesn't mean the show runners won't be Film Roman.

Anonymous said...

Fox and Film Roman are not the same thing. So technically you could go from The Simpsons (FOX) to The Goode Family (ABC), which are both at Film Roman. But Fox would not like you to jump from The Simpsons (Fox) to The Family Guy (Fox), which are done at two different studios (Film Roman and Fox Animation), but are done for the same network.

And I believe it's that Fox doesn't want you to jump ship from one show to the other while they are both in production, possible causing a bump in their production schedule. But since The Simpsons is on hiatus you could try to take a test at the Family Guy without Fox being pissed.

That is my understanding of everything, but I could be wrong. Please correct me if I am.

I have a random question for anyone that is reading this...

Does anyone know what animation studio will be working on Mitchell Hurwitz's animated show Sit Down, Shut Up. For those of you that don't know, he created Arrested Development. He recently adapted an Australian live-action show into an animated series and Fox green lit it based on the table read and I was wondering what studio to keep an eye on for possible employment on this project.

It actually sounds like a fun show to work on, so I'd like to send my portfolio somewhere. Or maybe even, dare I say it, take a test.

Yes, I have taken tests before and I received jobs based on these test, so I am not completely opposed to them. I do agree that it could be set up better.

I've heard of some studios that prefer you to take tests in-house test after you pass a portfolio check. The test only takes a day, or two at the most. They do this basically to show that you are the one doing that's doing the drawing and not getting any help. Can you complain about a possible 8-hour test, that lets you get inside the studio and talk to some other the current employees?

Maybe other studios should use this testing method as well. It seems to be quicker than say the Family Guy test. I've seen the Family Guy test and laughed when I saw how long it was. Not my cup of tea. I agree with some of the other comments left here that I have a better way to spend my time.

Anonymous said...

If you are going to frame it as an either/or question, yes,of course a one or two day in-house test, particularly if you have access to the show supervisors, is preferable to the "take-two-pages-of-script-home-and-guess-what-we-want"sweepstakes,
but the real question is; is any kind of test really necessary? They have certainly gotten out of hand, to the point that they are close to universal.
If you have a professional resume and a portfolio which includes both
general and production work, a test should not be needed. If a show has an unusual creative concept to the point that the show runners feel the artists need some additional orientation, that should be done on the job. In the case of a relative beginner or given a show style that didn't show up in the artist's portfolio, THEN a test has a useful purpose. Otherwise, they are just a facile, self-serving exploitation of people who are deparate to work and are forced to accept the terms that are dictated to them.

Anonymous said...

I hire and turn down applicants all the time based on their portfolios, but it's based on whether they know how to cut scenes together, show good angles, know when to cut, etc. and not because they worked on an action/adventure show and they don't have any funny animal stuff to show or vice versa. A good boarder is a good boarder.
Testing is the way for those that can't recognize the correct skillset in portfolio to be shown what they exactly need. If a director or supervisor can''t tell from a Batman board that the person can do a Family Guy board (assuming they have some 'broad' drawing skills on display in their portfolio) then that person should be making the decision. Or vice versa.

Anonymous said...

A test with two pages of script?!? Who offers that test? I just took two different tests for two different studios and one had 3 pages(take home) and one had 4 pages(in studio- one day). This is why there is a backlash against tests.

Anonymous said...

As was said in the other post, the Goode Family test is one page of script, so they're not all ridiculous in length.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of jobs, does anyone know how to get in contact with Sony/Adelaide? I sent them a fax to my portfolio, since that's how they're taking them, but their phone number is all automated and you can't even leave a message. I've wanted to at least talk to a human being over there.

Site Meter