Thursday, June 26, 2008

Animation Scripts and Market Rates

A couple of days ago, it registered on the tired old crystal set I use for a brain that the rate for half-hour scripts that some studios have used for a while is maybe outdated.

A little background: Pay rates for half-hour animation scripts reported in the last few TAG wage surveys have been in the $6,000-$6,500 range. But since August 2 of last year, the minimum TAG contract rate for synopsis, outline and script* has been $6,569.58 ...

Seems that some writers are getting paid less than this. Happily, we have initiated corrective measures to stop underpayments, which we'll continue to do as they're reported to us.

So, consider this post a "heads up" about animation script rates. The $6,569.58 rate has been in effect close to a year. It goes up again on August 3, when the minimum rate for synopsis, outline and script becomes $6,766,67.

* The TAG CBA breaks out separate minimums for "Synopsis and Outline" and "Teleplay or Screenplay," but since almost all writers who do the first also do the second, we combine the two for purposes of comparison.


hoopcooper said...


While we're on the subject, is there a union basis for steps in payment?

My last job at a major studio, I got the minimum, but was a little surprised to see that the money 20% on completion of the Outline, and the balance (80%!) not paid until the script was completed!

There was even some question whether I would be paid out when my assigned drafts were completed because the script was still technically "in process" as it sat on the desk of my story editor.

It seems like a small thing, but since we're talking about script payments, I figured it was on point.

Steve Hulett said...

I'm always happy to work to goose the process along if you want me to.

This slow payment thing doesn't happen only to writers. My first complaint while business representative, way back at the dawn of the nineties, was from a board artist.

She had turned in her completed boards to Disney TVA and eight weeks later still hadn't been cut a check.

I told her I would immediately phone Disney. She said "Oh God, that would be great. But ... ah ... don't tell them my name. I don't want them to get mad at me ..."

Right about then I figured out the job was probably going to be ... challenging.

hoopcooper said...


Thanks...I've got to learn to use the Union. To clarify...what I'm saying is that the POLICY not foot dragging Business that the "steps" for a freelance script are as follows...20% on completion of outline...and then nothing until you complete the which point you get the balance. This means, by my reckoning that if they pull you off a script BEFORE you reach your next step ... completion ... you're SOL.

I'm not talking about slow payment here, we all deal with that constantly. I'm talking about payment for steps as they're taken..."Here's a first draft... here's some money."

What I'm asking is whether or not there is anything standardized in the basic contract on that, or is it up to the company's discretion when they pay...and there's no breach as long as they're paying the writer union minimum?

Does that clarify my question?

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