The last couple of weeks, I've gotten more complaints than usual from artists about non-communication from studios regarding jobs.
Here's the back story about those gripes:
1) Signator Studios have a need for an artist or technician, and ask TAG for a list of available personnel in the category. TAG supplies list.
2) Studios (usually non-signator studios) ask us to e-mail an "Artist wanted" ad to our members. TAG complies. (We are not, strictly speaking, a hiring hall, but we strive to help.)
2) Studios get flooded with inquiries.
3) Studios look at portfolios and hand out tests to artists so they can "audition" for the job. (Tests are often days long.)
4) Artists jump through the hoops, do the tests, sit by the phone and wait.
5) Artists hear nothing.
6) Artists call TAG to complain about hearing nothing. ...
Rinse and repeat.
I understand that studios get inundated by inquiries, and that response times are sometimes slow as a result of the indundation. What I don't understand is why studios' human resource departments (or whichever departments are handling applicants) can't get back to people with a "Yes," "No" or "Maybe" before those people get gray hair and retire from the cartoon business. A few comments from the disgruntled:
"[Studio B] called me and asked to see my portfolio. I had worked there before, and brought it in. I didn't hear a word for six weeks. Finally I called. They said they had no openings, they'd all been filled. So I asked for my portfolio back. They had lost it ..."
"You drive to the studio to pick up a test, see that it's going to take a week to do, and spend five days making it as good as you can. Then you turn it in and never hear anything." ...
"I was up for a couple of jobs. Interviewed for them. They said they'd call back in ten days or less. Five weeks later they called to say they were going in another direction, but they might have an opening in two months, would I be interested? I said yes. They said they'd call back in a week. It's already been a week and a half. I'm not holding my breath. ..."
And so on.
Just to let you know, TAG objects to week-long tests. We have no problem with half-day tests, for we know that studios have to check somebody's drawing style against the work in that somebody's portfolio, since people have been known to represent others' drawings as their own.
But we have a strong philosophical aversion to artists doing week-long storyboard tests for free. Yet despite most studios' promises in contract adjustment meetings to cut tests down to more reasonable lengths, long tests continue to happen.
We also have a philosophical problem with studios who don't inform job applicants whether they've gotten the gig or not. Yes, we understand the thing about bottlenecks and the short-handed staffs, but the behavior of many studios is ... what's the right word here? ... piggish. They treat job applicants the way rock stars treat groupies. They use them, abuse them, then toss them away.