I trundled around to a couple of studios today, and hey. There are animation artists working at studios who are actually content.
"A lot of us are going to be working on Sponge Bob Square Pants until October 2011. Last month when we heard there was a big sigh of relief. We're doing the shows at the same pace as before, just moving along, and it's a nice feeling when you know work is going to be there awhile." ... "This is the best place I've ever worked ..."
The deal about animation studios is, one of its shows on the first floor can be an unadulterated pleasure on which to work, while the production upstairs might be a grinder with insane deadlines, uncompensated overtime, and a production manager who's a first cousin of Atilla the Hun. The difference usually comes down to budgets and who's running the show. You get somebody fairly enlightened who knows how to design and schedule show episodes, you get a crew that gets to have a life nights and weekends, and is happy.
And when not, the fifth circle of hell is often the result.
... Then there's Film Roman, the second studio I drove to.
"It's been tough on The Simpsons crew the past year. Fox has cut budgets and we've lost artists. The time we have to do each show is less, and everybody is more stressed. But you know, the new producer Tom Klein is talking to people and really trying to make things better. I mean, we know there's only so much he can do because Fox and Gracie are squeezing the budget, but a lot of us appreciate he's communicating and trying to make things better."
I'm pretty much a freak about communication myself (proven by all these posts), so I think it's a good thing when a studio honcho wants to talk to the people working for him.
Transparency, short term, is often a pain for management. Long term, however, it's a fine way to improve the workplace environment.
Add On: This is the sort of video various artists were watching at their desks today.
It's probably related to the fact that it's hard to breathe when you walk outside and get enveloped by the hundred degree heat. That could have something to do with it.