Saturday, December 09, 2006

Holiday Party Pictures

Our friend Charles Z. has posted a ton of Holiday Party photos on an Animation Nation thread. . .

It was a terrific event, and thanks to everyone who came and spread the holiday cheer. We apologize for the insane food line -- there was a misunderstanding between our office and the Pickwick, and they unfortunately only set up one buffet service. Despite that, it was a great evening of catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, grooving to the sweet sounds of the Martini Kings, and wondering if there was anything inside those wrapped boxes on the tables.

We hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did putting it on. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all.


Anonymous said...

I am curious about the gift that was given away that night.
Did our union dues pay for the paper weight? I hope this is not how our dues are being spent, especially in the time when lots of people are looking for work and needs to improve their skills for the work force.

Kevin Koch said...

We didn't spend any dues money on paperweights. We did give out a couple of fantastic books. We chose to give out Tom Sito's book because it's an invaluable history of animation and labor, which is about as relevant as any TAG holiday gift could be. And we had Floyd Norman's book (which is just as relevant to our working lives, and funny as hell to boot) for those who preferred pictures to words.

It's always interesting to me when someone criticizes any kind of spending by TAG at a "time when lots of people are looking for work and needs to improve their skills." First, realize that no amount of money spent by TAG will create new jobs. Only the studios do that.

Regarding helping people improve their skills, there are a long list of efforts the Guild has made over the years (accompanied by significant spending in many cases) to accomplish exactly that. We started the American Animation Institute. We organized and coordinated scores of high-quality classes that were subsidized or even free to members (we just got a significant grant for another round of classes). We set up a computer lab and pay for someone to run it. We have a huge library of animation training DVDs that any member can borrow for free. We run panel discussions and how-to events. We've partnered with studios to provide retraining for their employees. One of the reasons for buying a new building is to give us the potential to do even better classes and training events.

And we're always open to new ideas for useful programs and classes to help keep our members at the top of their game.

I should also note that, right now, our industry is actually pretty healthy, with more overall jobs available than at just about any other time in the history of animation (the only exception might be the mid-90's, but if you consider the amount of animation-related work going on in fields like VFX, there are probably more jobs now).

All the Guild's spending is determined by either votes in General Membership meetings, or by the Executive Board. You are always welcome to come to meetings and make your views known, and to run for the Executive Board.

Anonymous said...

Great comment Kevin! Many members including myself, are often speechless when someone ask what does the union do for the members? How does someone get more involve? Who and when is spending decided? How does one learn more about whats available to assist them to look for work such as classes, job listings, or workshops. Informing members is the greatest assistance!

Steve Hulett said...

TAG has just submitted a lengthy grant proposal to CSATF at the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for cgi training for members.

As Kevin notes, we've been heavily involved with the retraining of guild members since the late nineties.

Anonymous said...

Dears Sirs

I've been out of animation for five years.

I could do maya, flash or what ever, but nobody's going to hire me. Because I fill I've been out to long. I never seen a industry change so fast, I didn't even get a memo. Studio's only help a few. I shake my head and say where did thay get all these people runing these computers.

I'm sorrie but training for artist have been poor, hour driving time, day time classes, to much money. All these things are a handicape to me. All training is to done there at the union hall with the new artist using the new tools.

Merry Christmas cartoon peoples.

Kevin Koch said...

Anon #2, we do exactly that every month in the Pegboard, regularly on this blog, thru frequent infomational mailings, at new-member lunches, at 401(k) enrollment meetings, and at General Membersip meetings. Every new job we hear about goes out on our email list (call the office and talk to Jeff if you want to be added to that list). Steve does regular walk throughs at all the studios, where he's always happy to talk about what's going on. And of course you can always call the office if there's something you need, to see if the staff can help in any way.

Hope that helps. If you think of better ways to inform our membership, let us know.

Kevin Koch said...

Anon #3, you're right that the changes in many parts of the industry have been sudden and dramatic, and that the studios only retrained a relative few, and that taking advantage of retraining opportunities is difficult and time consuming.

That said, if you're sure that no one will hire you, then it's unlikely you'll be wrong. Confidence and determination are requirements, along with skill and talent (of course, you still need some luck and good timing, but then no one ever said this industry was easy).

Anonymous said...

Getting back to the holiday party, I want to thank the Local Board for their generosity in throwing a great party. It was great mingling with so many friends and meeting new ones.

My mirth was tempered with a twang of saddness. I missed the faces of Old Comrades who used to be there: Ed Friedman, Dale Oliver, Tiger West, Lefty Callahan, Craig Littel-Herrick, Ayalen Garcia, Joe Grant, Marc Davis,Louis Tate.

I can still see their faces and hear their laughter. I raise a glass to them now. I think they are with us still.

Robiscus said...

You fine gentlemen throw the best holiday party of the year every year. Thanks so much for the effort. I had a hoot.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't be there, unfortunately--where can I get my complimentary copy of Floyd's book? I'd love to have it!

Anonymous said...

Yeah - where do the members that were not there get their copies? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

We have a limited number of copies left. If TAG members come by the office, we will (hopefully) be able to accomodate them.

Anonymous said...

To add to what Steve said upthread, one of the reasons I had a busy Friday was that it was also the paperwork deadline for the $300,000 grant we have requested from the CSATTF for computer skills training for 2007, along with six other IATSE locals. We should know by the end of January how we fare with this.

For those who may not qualify under the CSATTFF's grant rule (you have to have worked at least 30 days at a Guild shop in the last two years), we also have the Guild's own computer lab. It's open five days a week, including Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons. Best of all, it's open to all members, active or inactive. Contact Ken Roskos at for further details.

Anonymous said...

D'oh. Here's a working link to Ken Roskos's e-mail for the computer lab.

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