Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Afternoon Jaunt Through Cartoon Network

The afternoon studio I visited was Cartoon Network, nestled in beautiful Burbank... And the first person I met was a CN staffer who had encountered a bit of a problem with Curious Pictures, the New York Toon Studio about which I blogged a few days ago. "The production people at Curious are really nice, but upper management, not so much." Apparently, several CN employees who have been moonlighting for Curious (which is doing a show for CN -- and don't ask me what it is, since I don't know) haven't gotten paid in a timely manner. One (I'm informed) hadn't gotten paid at all, and was spitting bullets about it. Word is that they'll all be getting checks for work performed months ago tomorrow or the next day. The consensus of the group is, in future, no payee no workee turned in. "Far as I'm concerned," the Cartoon Network full-timer said, "when they have mailed me the check and I have it in my hand, THEN I'll give them the work." Unfortunately, this is an ongoing problem in toonland, and has been as long as I've done this job. Freelance artists turn in a storyboard, layouts or backgrounds, and a month or two later, the studio finally gets around to paying them. I know a lead artist who couldn't get a retro check out of a studio after weeks of politely asking. So the artist finally packed up and went home -- to screams of anger and despair from studio management, because the work in the department he headed up came to a screeching halt. He got the check the next day and came back to work.


Anonymous said...

Curious Pictures is a wretched company to work for. the shining(slimy) example of a studio taking advantage of labor that has no representation. i worked at Curious pictures for a little over a year and many different toon projects were in production there. the overwhelming majority of people working there(at times reaching 200) do not recieve any health insurance, any overtime, any chance of a promotion or any job security. the environment this creates is one of complete distrust where upper level producers enforce a "need to know" policy on any decision for their projects. artists are directed one way, then another, then another and finally back to their first ideas.
this is what happens when talentless producers PRETEND that they are themselves artists. they concede to their own shortcomings after having artists jump through arduous hoops for them.
i know that those CN employees working at Curious have some benefits and a better deal than the rest of the crews there (and that was a point of contention with every other worker),
but the details of that situation are that Curious Pictures initially agreed with CN to pay benefits to their CN work crews but never did. only when CN had caught wind of this fleecing did Curious pony up for health insurance.
in ten years in the industry Curious Pictures is the worst place i have ever worked.

Anonymous said...

I am the CFO of Curious Pictures and hear from artists constantly how we are "the ATM of production companies" because we pay people so quickly. We were voted by the freelancers union one of the "10 best places to freelance in NY" (and the only one on the list which was not part of a Fortune 100 Company)largely because of timely payment and a friendly professional environment. We extend health insurance AT NO COST to the employees who work here full-time and those on long bookings. I don't know the name of the anonymous blogger, but I encourage him or her or anyone who has any question about payment of their invoices to Curious to contact me directly at Lastly, the section about our only offering health insurance on KND at Cartoon Network's request is completely wrong. On both KND and Little Einsteins we were the advocate for the artists to the network to get them insured and have pitched in some of the cost on both jobs to make that happen.

Anonymous said...

Geez, i worked for Curious on three projects(Polly Pockets, My Scene, & Barbie Diaries) and i never got any health insurance offered to me. I wish I had though because I had to spend my own money on getting it through the "Freelancers Union"(you get the dirty end of the stick on that one). That was what my superiors there advised me to do when i asked.

I don't know much about the inner workings of Curious Pictures like the Mr. Angry Anonymous above, but I can say that I did get paid in a somewhat timely manner. Its just that I also worked at a table the whole time i was there because they wouldn't provide any desks for my department.

No health insurance and hours slaving at a table make Dan a sad man. If i didn't have to work there i probably wouldn't have. I did see a lot of people just walk out the door at the way things are run there.

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