Tuesday, May 29, 2007

El General Membership Meeting

A larger than usual turnout at tonight's membership meeting, and lots of animated discussion on written outlines disguised as premises, too-long storyboard tests, and the amazing shrinking storyboard (aka "production board") schedules...

For some reason, people seem exercised about working sixty hours and getting paid for forty while staying on deadline with storyboard schedules that get shorter and shorter.

"The usual rotation used to be six, even seven weeks for a half-hour production board. Now studios expect it in five weeks..."

"The producers don't like the shorter time lines, because boards are just adequate, everyone is straining just to get them done. But upper management insists..."

"Every studio wants more drawings for the animatic to look good. But there's less time to get them done..."

Consensus seems to be that schedules need to reflect how long it actually takes to do a half-hour television board, that some studios want five pages for a premise while at other studios the premise lengths are okay. (But three or five or ten page "premises" are actually outlines, and should be paid as outlines).

Everybody had to exit the building at eight o'clock. Discussion continued for another hour in the parking lot.


Anonymous said...

..."wants more drawing for the animatic to look good"?
Look good for WHOM?
These are TV shows, right? That are shipped OS OR done here in Flash, right? So, the poses are timed on the boards, right(slugged)? So--who the hell are these thigns supposed to be utterly and completely posed out FOR? The "higher ups"? WTF?
Seriously, is this for presentation purposes, ar are these producers reaqlly just trying to do an honest show? If the latter, listen, guys: it can be done without using the board people as animators--ESPECIALLY in limited-animation television.

I'm just baffled as to what the actual point is of having the board artist do so many drawings. Who fed someone a bill of goods that it has to be that way? The only explanation is that the overseas studios are getting sheap and lazy and demand that ALL the work is done here. To hell with that!
If successful shows/studios can't put their foot down, well, time to get out of storyboarding, I guess. What a farce.

Anonymous said...

since when is any of this news?

this has been going on for years and years.

i have yet to see anyone effectively do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

..."wants more drawing for the animatic to look good"?
Look good for WHOM?

For executives who can't read storyboards.

Anonymous said...

It hasn't been going on that long IMHO.
I'd guess that on the "tightly boarded" CN shows and their ilk where OS studios don't do or don't WANT to do so much in the way of character layout/posing, the extra workload gets dumped and/or expected from the US board artists.

Blame also belongs at the feet of certain show runner-artist-directors who demand that their board people work EXTREMELY tight and slick. Seen those Bruce Timm boards from 15 years ago on Cartoonbrew.com? Those were an exception at the time, a style that Timm personally chose to work in.
I've been on shows where NON-boarding(& ex-storyboarding)bosses now routinely demand that ALL stuff on their shows look like that now. I suspect it's both a way of splitting what should be animation's job with the board people, thereby saving money, and also just being a bit of a despot towards artists who need the job but can't buck the current requirements.

Some guys can board like that easily. Most don't work that tightly naturally, but they have to try anyway. But to say that ALL boards on a show fit some template is letting the tail wag the dog--it's arrogant and it's wasteful of a show's human capital. Directors and producers ask for this for one reason(although they justify with a lot of blather): because they CAN.
It's become a nasty trend that's taken hold.
Personally, I think that unless you are able to crank in those styles, you're much better off looking for jobs elsewhere. Complaining is hard when you're the only person doing it, whether you're in the right or not.
I believe in making a stand, but the reality is unfortuantely that it can make you look weak, not as skilled, and a whinger. It really is up to the Directors to not ask that of the artists, and since they're often not having to do all the pointless cleanup, they don't care. Or so it would seem.

Anonymous said...

Personally I think the directors should be backing the boarders on this one.

Networks ARE totally splitting the job of Overseas Animation Supes with boarders: the tighter the boards, the "less we'll need to spend all that money on an overseas director" <- actual comeback from unnamed producer - she lost that one.

It's the old 9 Pregnant Women conundrum: it takes 9 months to have a baby. Getting 9 women pregnant won't make it happen in one month.

...And if it does, they'd should be prepared to pay decently for it.

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