Monday, January 05, 2009

The Rough Draft

Today my studio visit was the little animation facility on Brand Boulevard in Glendale.

The Sit Down, Shut Up crew is working at full bore on the back end of its 13-episode order.

We're working on episode nine now, and the boards for episode thirteen have been handed out. I'll be done here in another month. Know anything else going on? Because Sit Down, Shut Up's first show won't be on until March, I think, and who knows when they' greenlight more?

It's slow out there, isn't it?

Yeah, it has been, particularly on the television side. Especially this time of year.

But what's happening in the teevee sector of animation is, work has been up and down, putting it politely, for a long time. (People who've worked steadily for years have found themselves really scraping by in recent months ... and in many cases longer than months. Arggh.)

The problem working in the entertainment business? One day you're flying high storyboarding for Nickelodeon or Disney TVA, the next day you're in an unemployment line. "Project to project," that's the mantra.


Anonymous said...

storyboarding for nick or disney tva is not 'flying high.' there is no 'flying high' in television animation storyboarding, so don't feel bad should you find yourself laid off from slave labor.

Anonymous said...

Sure, be happy you're unemployed instead of working at "slave labor" for $1,800 per week.

Get real.

Steve Hulett said...

There are good storyboarding gigs and bad storyboarding gigs.

It's been this way like forever. But there's more of a squeeze being put on many people now, so I understand the angst out there in the business.

Anonymous said...

1800/wk for cramming one hour live-action scripts into 11 minute bell-and-whistle quicktimes for 12 executive 'producers', 3-4 SNL wannabees, and some CEO's corporate golden parachute is not storyboarding.

i'd rather sell insurance.

perhaps it's time the guild clarify exactly what storyboarding IS. that would be a good start.

Anonymous said...

...and then a big fat pink slip at the end of MAYBE 6-7 months of 'work' followed by the ever enjoyable exit interview! Oh, but don't worry. You'll be back. Show'll get picked up. Do you know where to go for unemployment? We're all family. We take care of our own. Can I have your card key? blahblahblahblahblahblahblahblah and blah.

Corporation needs to show numbers in dollar signs. Guild needs to show numbers in job figures. In the end, both just need the numbers. Regardless of the show. Regardless of the job. Numbers.

It's priority NUMERO UNO.

Corporation numbers go down, labor numbers go down. They are symbiotic and inseparable - one and the same. Just look at the UAW standing next to the automakers. We're all feeding off the magical teet of global credit.

There are no high-flying jobs below the line. Those heights are reserved for above-the-line circumstances, and they are based one single indisputable fact of life - loyalty, bought by very large sums of money to keep your mouth shut so no one else figures it out.

Anonymous said...

"Sure, be happy you're unemployed instead of working at "slave labor" for $1,800 per week.

Get real."


$1,800 a week is fine for "storyboarding" , but as Anonymous #3 points out : what is meant nowadays by the term "storyboarding" ? More often than not the board artist is being asked not simply to storyboard the show, but essentially to do layouts and rough character poses , along with prop design, so that the thing is practically rough animated in "storyboard" form before it's sent overseas to be cleaned up and a few inbetweens added. What used to be work done by three different departments is now being piled on the storyboard artist, but the board artist is only earning one wage. Three or four times the work for the same $1,800 dollars a week is no picnic (and that's probably a 7 day week because to keep up with the schedule work must be taken home on the weekends or worked on after hours late into the night) .

"perhaps it's time for the Guild to clarify exactly what storyboarding IS. That would be a good start."

Good idea. And while we're at it lets clarify what "a week" is : 40 hours ? 45 ? 60 ? 70? $1,800 a week for a 40 hour week with overtime pay after the 40th hour is pretty good. $1,800 for a 50 to 70 hour week , not so good.

Anonymous said...

The Guild contract is very clear that, except for those "on call" or exempt, a week is 40 hours.

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