Thursday, February 05, 2009

At Nicky Nick in the Mid Week

I went through Nickelodeon Wednesday afternoon, and unlike other studios I've visited recently, I didn't hear a lot of complaints ....

I've done this walk-through-the-facility thing for a while now, and I can usually get an idea of the general morale via anecdotal evidence.

Like, if a management-type reiterates multiple times over a period of months that "everybody is REALLY happy here!" it means the opposite is occurring. (This happened to me at a studio or two in the mid-nineties.)

If the employees with whom I have a long-standing relationship say things are "pretty good," then work conditions are (usually) fair to tolerable.

If several people whisper to me that things "suck," I deduce there is trouble, and low morale.

But things are never simply good or bad. I learned long ago that there are always three groups at any studio: 1) The happy "Everything is fine!" crowd, 2) the "I've seen better, I've worse" crowd, and 3) the Truly Miserable congregation.

The group that is largest is generally the best indicator of how that workplace actually is. (Note: Morale and working conditions are always subject to change.) I judge Nick to be drifting in the 1) and 2) categories, because here in February 2009, work is tense all over due to studios tightening schedules and budgets. But as many at Nick and other places tell me over and over: "Hey, how bad can it be? I'm working."

Nickelodeon has more work than most cartoon studios right now. The place is cranking out episodes of a lot of long running series, everything from Sponge Bob to Ni Hao Kai-lan. New episodes of Fairly Odd Parents are in work, the Madagascar Penguins are in high gear (along with Fanboy). Also, the Mighty B is in season deux. (I'm not being comprehensive about all that's in production here, just giving highlights.)

Lastly, Nick has a new series in development from one of their lead creators, and six episodes are now rolling downtrack. But since I haven't found a mention of it on the intertubes, I will keep my yap shut about it.

The operative theme for the above: Nick's a busier teevee cartoon studio than most, and people are hap-hap-happy (or at least marginally content) to have a job.


Anonymous said...

Many thanks for throwing in the Fanboy footnote to the list of Nickelodeon all stars, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Nick is developing some live action shows ... with non-union live action writers.

Anonymous said...

The "new series in development from one of their lead creators" probably refers to the new series being worked on by Butch Hartman, the creator of the now largely-ignored Fairly Oddparents. Having seen him mess up THAT show, and then after suffering through several episodes of that lame Danny Phantom, I have little interest in any of his new projects.

Helen said...

True, Nick is cranking out a lot of Nicktoons, but the quality of some of their shows (compared to early shows and nicktoons, which there were fewer of but they were awesome) has degraded. I have a fun article in my blog relating to this topic called "r.i.p. nick,"

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