(... Or maybe three our four. I start to forget ...)
The morning's digital mail bag delivered this:
Has it always been like this in animation studios? I found this blog entry disturbing, because it's a lot like where I work now!
"A sick system has 4 basic rules:
Rule 1: Keep them too busy to think.
Rule 2: Keep them tired.
Rule 3: Keep them emotionally involved.
Rule 4: Reward intermittently."
If it's like this in every studio, I may have to redirect my career path. I've only been in the industry for 7 years and I'm amazed that there are artists who've been putting up with this shit for 10, 20, 30 years???
(I sent him -- or her, since I couldn't tell the gender -- an answer along these lines:)
It depends on the studio. Some studios aren't too bad, some shows aren't too bad. Other studios (and departments) specialize in mind-fucking you.
It's a version of the Stockholm Syndrome, really. I had an animator tell me about a small, non-union animation sub-contractor in Arizona -- a remnant of the Fox-Bluth studio in Phoenix (remember those halcyon days?) that ran out of money for a job and bullied everybody into staying, to continue working for NO PAY.
They had meetings where they harangued people: "We'll get money soon! We're a family! You've got to stay and work or you're NOT LOYAL!"
And people stayed. (You'll find another version of this type of sad tale here.)
It's easy to laugh at these situations, but I know when I was young, I was an idiot too. There was a manager at Disney whose mantra was: "You know how LUCKY you are to be working here? You know how many people want your job?" (It's a ploy cavemen probably used when going out on the hunt.)
It's easy to get intimidated. It's easy to be unsure of yourself. It's easy to get suckered in to group think.
Despite all that, an animation career can be good if:
1) You have talent and work ethic.
2) You know your worth as an artist.
3) You know how to play the game (keeping your mouth closed and listening is always a fine tactic.)
4) In the end, you'll have better self-esteem and mental health if you know your own limits on all the manipulative horse shit and
5) You are willing to hook up and bail out if too many lines are crossed. (Because if you don't have that willingness, the mind-fucking will never stop.)
In the end, you'll enjoy yourself more in the cartoon business if you have a "I can take it or leave it" attitude. Then you won't be so cowed when some middle-management twit calls you into his office to give you a lecture about being a "team player."
There are other things in life besides abuse and manipulation.