Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Animation Employment

Zero chart

As you can see from the chart up top, the past couple of years has shown steady animation employment.

Even so, I've gotten a number of calls from folks looking for work (or extra work):

"The freelance has slowed down...They're not looking for extra timers...I've got some board work but that runs out in a couple of months..."

The reality seems to be that some studios are humming along and other studios are slow. Parking garages at some facilities I visit are filled with cars while others ... not so much. What I'm telling people is, "There's work at the studios, but nobody seems to be doing a lot of new hiring."

Below is a more detailed chart of the past nine months. You'll note that employment dropped over the summer, then bounced up again. This is a little deceiving if you don't know that some work under TAG's jurisdiction was organized (IM Digital and Imagi) and that new employment at both those studios -- and there was some -- pushed our totals up.

Sept 2007 employment

So what's going on? Really going on? From the stats and anecdotal evidence, a lot of people are working but there's no big new projects at the present time driving numbers higher.

When The Simpsons Movie II comes along, when The Princess and the Frog hires produciton workers, the numbers will change. When Cartoon Network and Nick get more shows greenlit, more freelance work will flow. Until then, we'll strive to keep you posted about ever-changing events...


Anonymous said...

Do you think this trend of six months on, six months off will continue? I can find freelance but it's not always Union. If this trend continues I start to worry about insurances laspes.

Steve Hulett said...

The problem, now as always, is that animation is a market-driven commodity.

When animation is making the studios scads of money, they throw more money at it, which means more and more lucrative employment.

Right now in t.v. there's more studios chasing a finite amount of dollars. There's also changes at the top at Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. Animation. Both of those things have put a dent in the overall employment picture.

Just tonight I talked to an animation director who's working on smaller projects from home. His wife -- a designer and flash animator -- has all the work she can handle. She also works from home.

Their problems aren't finding work. It's getting health coverage that's attached to the work.

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