I made my usual spins through some of our fine, Southern California cartoon factories the last few days, to wit:
Over at Nick, there might not be as much production as at other points in the studio's existence, but hands down, Nickelodeon has got more projects going on ... and more artists bent over their Cintiqs ... than any other teevee toon factory in town.
And what projects are percolating in the Viacom pot? Fairly Odd Parents, Dora the Explorer, Go Diego, Go, Barnyard, Fan Boy and Chum Chum, Sponge Bob Square Pants, The Might Bee, MiHao Kai Lan and Penguins of Madagascar.
Added to which, there are three or four future series in early development, plus a few specials.
Am I getting complaints about compressed production schedules? About uncompensated o.t.? About workloads? Noooo. Not now.
At Film Roman/Starz Media, The Simpsons crew got the word yesterday from Gracie Film's Richard Sakai and Richard Reynes that Fox is cutting the budgets of all their television series and The Yellow Family is no exception.
"The directors met with Sakai and Reynes earlier in the day, design crew later in the day. They tell us the plan is to hold salaries flat for overscale people, and hang on to as much of the crew as they can.
"The show's more complicated now, what with the high-def format, but we've got to somehow do more for less. They said they were going to honor union contracts, bump up people making scale minimums when they had to.
"It was nice that they came out and had the meetings in person instead of some memo going around. Sakai and Reynes answered questions people had, but there weren't many questions, to tell you the truth. The facts were pretty straight forward. Leaving the meeting, people weren't upset, weren't angry. Just kind of ... resigned."
The crew on King of the Hill has now departed. But when I was over at Fox Animation's The Celveland Show last week, I was pleasantly surprised to see some of the Hill staffers working on Cleveland. Nice to see that at least some artists are landing on new job perches after the older roosts collapse out from under them.
An artist asked me today: "So how many studios you visit a day?"
I told him the answer was usually one, but occasionally two ... and very occasionally three. I also said that I drive to two or three only when I'm feeling completely insane.