Thursday, August 06, 2015

Women in Animation Now

When I entered the animation business (back when saber tooth tigers were falling into Southern California tar pits with frightening regularity), roughly half of the Guild's membership were women. But most of those women worked in ink and paint departments, and technical jobs like final checking and animation checking (think of those as "screen continuity" positions, weeding out all the visual glitches that cropped up while putting cartoons together.)

The Guild was smaller then, 1500 people compared to over 3000 today. But here in the 21st century the ink and paint positions have gone away, removed because of outsourcing and technological change. And there's a lower percentage of women working under TAG's jurisdiction. Even so, there are way more women working in creative positions today than twenty or thirty or fifty years ago. And the jobs break down like so: ...

WOMEN -- (MEN) = Percentage of Females

Total Women - 692 -- Total Men - (2,614) = 21%

Directors -- 22 -- (175) = 13%

Art Directors -- 6 -- (31) = 19%

Timing Directors -- 14 -- (42) = 33%

Writers -- 48 -- (220) = 22%

Storyboard Artists -- 103 -- (481) = 21%

Animators -- 6 -- (121) = 5%

Background Artists -- 73 -- (173) = 42%

Kindly note: The percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number. And I haven't included all the work categories in which women work, because it's late and my fingers are tired and nobody cares how many apprentices and Level Three assistants are working anyway.

But you should know that women have been steadily gaining in almost every job category, and my expectation is that the trend will continue upward because more women are training in animation jobs in colleges and universities (half the undergrads in Cal Arts' animation department are female), and as more women enter the business, more women climb to supervisory positions where they are in a position to hire other women.

Who knows? Perhaps one day in the future, the animation business will be known as a "Girls' Club". If it can happen in one direction, it can happen in another.

Here's what some percentages were five months ago. The percentage of women in the biz has risen about a quarter percent.


Justin said...

Does the term "Animators" really just include people with the title "Animator"? If so Disney has 4 women with the title "Animator", but it also has 2 with the title "Head of Animation" and 2 with the title "Animation Supervisor".

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