Most of tonight's membership meeting was pretty humdrum. I rattled off my biz rep's report ("There's more work on the theatrical side of the business than the television side" ... "We've signed a contract with Eisner's company" ... "There's been a lot of anxiety about the performance of the 401(k) Plan" ...). Members voted approval on the budget for the annual TAG Christmas Party.
But then the anger started.
"Some studios require you to sign over rights to original work when you submit your portfolio!"
"Studios have no right to require long tests without any pay!"
"Studios keep requiring tests of job applicants, even when they don't plan to hire anybody."
President Koch and I said that
1) If a company is forcing artists to assign their work to the company when artists submit a portfolio to get a job, we need the specifics so we can challenge the practice.
2) We've been making issues of long tests for years. (No problem with shorter tests to show a portfolio sample is the work of the artist. But the week-long monsters? Way off the charts.) And we'll be making an issue of long tests at our next contract adjustment meeting.
3) We've fought the practice of blanket tests. If there are tests given for jobs that have already been offered to a staffer, why bother? It just ticks off applicants when they find out the test they worked hard on was close to pointless from the get-go, since one of the in-house artists had the inside track all along. (Tests too often become a crutch, rather than a tool.)
That was part of the evening. The rest of it was a panel on "The Internet for Animators."