Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tale of an Animation Refugee

Once more I was out and about, driving to different studios. At one of them I came across a new-hire who's a recent refugee from Fat Cat Animation in Arizona. He told me this sad story, which fills in some blanks from previous posts... "I worked at Fat Cat Animation for quite awhile. After CURIOUS GEORGE finished up last Fall, we kept working and kept getting paid for the next half year or so, but then one day a few months back, the production manager called us into a meeting. He said they weren't going to make payroll, that money from some backers and sources hadn't come through yet. But he said things would come together pretty soon and we should just hang on. "Everybody kept working. The next week, we attended another meeting. More talk about money getting there soon. More of the same the next week. Every six or seven days, there'd be another meeting with promises but no money. Morale went south, way south. The staff kept getting smaller, people kept bailing. "I finally couldn't take it anymore. In ten weeks or so, I got two checks for maybe a thousand dollars. And finally I had to go looking for another job." In the time I've been business agent, I've heard a bunch of other stories like this. A similar situation seems to happen every few years, and at this point, I have a standard answer for non-payment of wages and empty promises: You don't get a check, don't come into work. Go to the appropriate state agency and file a complaint. (In California, they don't pay you wages there are like, serious consequences.) Start searching for another job. With every non-payment of wages case that I know about or have been involved in, the thing has ended badly. Sure it's possible the company might get back on its feet and stagger on, but the odds are against it, way against it. There's no point in hanging around until your bank account is empty and your landlord is handing you an eviction notice. Move on. Take your skill sets elsewhere. If you don't, you will probably regret it.


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