Friday, November 06, 2009

Layoffs and Hirings

Warners employees called today to explain:

"The series Laff Riot is laying off most of its artists. They told us today that the show is retooling, going in a different direction, and won't be carrying staff while it takes eight or ten weeks to revamp. They expect to ramp back up mid to late January. How many of us will be coming back, they didn't say."

I know this is a big disappointment to designers and board artists who were anticipating a year or more of steady work on the twenty-six half-hours of Laff Riot. "Wanted you to know what's going on over here," a production board artist said to me on the phone. "This caught us all by surprise. It's only been four months. Nothing to do now but go look for another job."

I was at Warners earlier this week and had no inkling of this ...

Down the freeway at Disney TVA Sonora, crews on two show are slowly returning to work.

And at the Walt Disney Animation Studio, they have laid off all but two of the cleanup artists who came aboard for The Princess and the Frog. At the same time, animators are being hired for Rapunzel and sequences are being put in work. (They kind of have to jump into action. The picture has a release date that's only a year away.)

The rest of the cartoon business? It's like the pistons in a 12-cylinder engine: one is going up while another's moving down, which is nerve-wracking for a whole lot of people.


Anonymous said...

AND they're fashionably collecting resumes for animators on the Westside's Abbott Kinney Blvd. next weekend... Snore.

Anonymous said...

The artists who got blind-sided with pink slips at Warners are probably not snoring.

Anonymous said...

How are they allowed to lay off people with no warning? Isn't there some rule about two week notice or something?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what direction the show is going in now?

Anonymous said...

I heard skeleton crew from those that were laid off. Nothing about actually bringing back them back. A few board artists are left.

Anonymous said...

I know absolutely nothing about this show-what was it, any news on style/concept? And how many artists were on it?

To the Anonymous who wondered about a 2 week notice-they need to give 2 weeks PAY and almost always prefer that to having people work out the 2 weeks.
In almost every instance of layoffs I've heard of, they cut a check and say to everyone "don't bother to come in next week." If it's a single person being "laid off"(i.e. fired) they usually get: "Here's your check for 2 weeks. You can keep coming in if you like, but it's okay if you want to go look for other work too" meaning "please don't stick around looking bummed after we've fired you, okay?"

Anonymous said...

re-tool bugs bunny? really? what the hell does that mean? do they need more time to figure out how to screw the character even more than they have the last twenty times they pulled him from the shelf?

Anonymous said...

Under the union contract, the artists get one week's notice (forty hours) or one week's pay.

They were notified Friday monring; will get paid through the end of next week.

Word is that the show is re-tooling for the next ten weeks, then some artist will be rehired, and others not.

A small crew (about 1/5 of the show's staff) is being kept on.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad. The current designs are very refreshing, rooted in old school construction. Hopefully the original designer will be able to post her unused designs eventually. Sad. :(

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:39 -

They're really ditching her designs? I was a big of fan of those. Damn.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:01:00pm
I'm not entirely sure they are dumping her designs. But they are currently being "evened out", not as cutesy. Which is a shame, hopefully the final look will stay close to what they originally had.

Anonymous said...

My instinct is to distrust any version of Looney Tunes characters that can be called "cutesy".
But the frankly ugly designs used from about 1960 to 1990 aren't much to brag about, either.
Either way, the tragedy is that typically (for these modern productions), Warner brass has once again let something get far, far into animation before deciding they don't like it—for reasons that once again, could have been caught and dealt with much earlier in the game, regardless of whether I might agree with the reasoning or not.
And so creatives are punished needlessly, and completed cartoons shelved.
What do you want to bet that some of those completed cartoons won't even be remade with the new visual designs, leaving great stories and music and gags shelved forever?

Anonymous said...

I consider the designs from the 30 and 40's cutesy. Sorry, I guess I should have used a different word, just feel "Appealling" is so overly used. Trust me, the designs were good and cartoony. Which is what Looney Tunes should be about. Cartoons.

Why is Cute such a bad word in animation? Why is it bad to have something look good, without angles and tangents?

Anonymous said...

The designs of 30's and 40's were rooted in people who were trained in the classical arts intending to enter illustration. Because of the Depression, many of them found themselves working on cartoons, something they probably felt was beneath them at the time, but something they eventually warmed up to as they discovered the new medium and all it's uniqueness.

Today's designs are rooted in nothing but a marketing decision.

Move along, please. Just another tragic corporate Time Warner accident. Nothing to see here. Move along now.

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