Thursday, September 11, 2008

"This is a Really Nice Studio To Work In ..."

... Which was what I was told by a (very pleasant) studio administrator when I dropped by to complain on behalf of a member about the studio's violation of the Collecitve Bargaining Agreement. He was working to convince me about how benevolent his cartoon factory is.

And you know, he's right. The place is a pretty nice place to work in. However, even nice places can do not-nice things ...

In my experience, even the better studios crap on employees just like the worser ones. They just do it less often. But there's a larger problem.

Every studio rides the big carousel from good to bad to mediocre in the treatment of employees, and then circles back again. Warner Bros. Animation went from "fabulous place to be work" to non-fabulous. Same with Disney. Ditto with a host of others. Time doesn't stand still and nothing remains constant.

I always grow suspicious when management claims about how neato-jet everything is. If it makes a point of telling me three times, I grow deeply suspicious. It's beside the point anyway, as I told the studio rep:

"If you lay somebody off but feel really, really bad about it, that's nice, but there's little difference between that and the studio that doesn't give two hoots as the pink slips are handed out.

"In both cases, somebody gets laid off. Who cares how the supervisor felt about it? Somebody lost his job ..."

Talk is cheap ... and ultimately worthless. The Reverend Ted Haggard can wax eloquent up there in the pulpit about the evils of sin and how it's important to live a wholesome, family life. But if Ted is sneaking off on weekends to get serviced by male prostitutes, how much are those sermons worth? And how seriously should we take them?

Don't put much stock in what studio administrations say. Pay close attention to what they actually do.


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