Friday, December 04, 2009

Tonight: The TAG Holiday Party!


Friday, December 4, 2009

7 pm-midnight

Castaway Restaurant*
1250 E. Harvard Road, Burbank

* Note the CHANGE OF LOCATION from previous parties.

Free hors d'oeuvres!

Two free well drinks per person!

Live music!

Complementary valet parking! (A tip is suggested but not required)

No RSVPs necessary; open to the community of animation and the community of labor

The Castaway Restaurant is in the hills above the DeBell Golf Course, northeast of downtown Burbank. Take Magnolia Blvd. as far east as you can go (it ends at Sunset Canyon Drive). Turn left on Sunset Canyon and go three blocks to Harvard Road. Turn right and go up the hill to the Castaway.

Tax-deductible contributions to the Actors Fund will be collected. Plan to pay by check made out to The Actors Fund if you want a receipt.

Please party responsibly and arrange for a designated driver.

Artist: Carol Wyatt


Anonymous said...

It was poorly organize. Poor parking, limited food and cheese. They ran out of drink tickets and the lines took forever! If you only give 2 drink tickets, atleast give it to members first.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people commented on how amazing it was to look out those huge windows overlooking Burbank! However, I do agree that it was rather hard to grab a bite to eat. The lines for the crackers, bread, and cheese did take forever. But the coffee mug is great! Thanks!

Kevin Koch said...

We have two inherent problems with the TAG Holiday Party every year. First, there is no ideal venue for a party of that size. Every place we've looked at has inherent limitations, which is why we've moved from the Beverly Garland to the Pickwick to Castaway.

Second, we can never predict how many people will come, and each year I've been involved the attendance has increased. For example, last year we gave out about 600 gifts. This year, we gave out a thousand, and we still ran out of gift tickets. When we tell the venue we expect 800-1000 people, and 1500 people show up, there are going to be lines. My hope is the chance to meet up with people we haven't seen for awhile is the real draw, not the free food and alcohol.

By the way, any member who didn't get one of the super-cool mugs should come by the TAG building during business hours and pick one up. We have at least a few extras and are planning to have more made up.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone invite chuck zimbellas? Or did he have to spend the evening alone in his mom's basement?

Steve Hulett said...

Chuck is always welcome.

But since I don't see any photographs up at Animation Nation, I'm assuming he didn't show.

I had my head down in a cardboard box all night, lifting gift coffee mugs onto a table, so I didn't really have a chance to peruse the crowd.

Charles said...

Why did I not receive a personal invite? Do people not understand the importance of my website and my merry band of revolutionary toadies?

Anonymous said...

"When we tell the venue we expect 800-1000 people, and 1500 people show up, there are going to be lines."

A solution to that problem is to RSVP. It's what most big events do.

"My hope is the chance to meet up with people we haven't seen for awhile is the real draw, not the free food and alcohol."

Try throwing any party/event and say no food/drinks and see how many people will attend. There were many people who went there straight from work looking for a small bite and were left hungry. Perhaps you could get more than just one guy making drinks at a station. I'd rather see more bartenders than a band where few people were paying attention.

These are suggestions that are easy to adopt. It would make the party that much more enjoyable.

Kevin Koch said...

The RSVP idea is not possible as long as the Holiday Party is open to the entire animation community. If at some point the membership decides to do a closed party for only active members, then the RSVP idea might work, but that would largely defeat the purpose of the party in the first place.

Anonymous said...

"...but that would largely defeat the purpose of the party in the first place.

I have always felt that the 839 Holiday party should be for union members ONLY. INCLUDING INactive members.
It should absolutely be put to a vote. It's obvious that this doesn't work logistically and I see no real advantage for us as an organization to do it this way.

To be the only union in Hollywood or the entertainment industry with a Xmas party open to anyone who shows up and give "free" gifts, food and booze to anyone at all is just totally ridiculous. Can anyone name another union that would do this? SAG? WGA? DGA? Any of them?

It's bad enough that we're one of the most toothless unions in town but do we always have to have lamest Xmas party too? Must ASIFA put us in the shade with their annual shindig made up of members and FANS, while any of our "holiday parties" have been overcrowded with recycled gifts from years past, a "no host" bar and crackers and cheese?

I just think we can do better than this. How about members only plus a guest-that should be reasonable by any standard-bring a partner or friend or some anyone-but ONE, and RSV-effing P!

What about it?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Animation Guild. I had a terrific time meeting up with old friends. Isn't that what the party was all about?

Anonymous said...

I came to the TAG Christmas Party for several years before I became a member. I was always impressed by the union's hospitality. A few years ago I had an actual conversation with Roy Disney at the party. This year I got to chat with June Foray and a few other amazing people. I come to the party to hang out with my tribe, not to have a fancy meal. Keep the party open, and ignore the whiners who feel entitled.

Anonymous said...

I definitely enjoyed meeting up with old friends, which I agree with Kevin and Anon (at 11:09 PM #2) is the main reason I go to these Animation Guild Holiday Parties. Thanks Kevin for organizing these parties! But I also do agree with Anon (at 11:09 PM #1) that logistically, it would be very helpful to have an RSVP for union members (active + inactive) plus one guest per union member. I really enjoyed hanging out with old friends, but having a bite to eat would have made the experience even more enjoyable. Crackers and cheese were much more hard to come by last night compared to previous years, and I was quite starved, since I came directly from work.

Anonymous said...

I had a great time, without eating crackers, cheese, or getting a drink. Luckily I ate at work before driving up the hill. Improvements can always be made, but as far as catching up with friends and the warm atmosphere, it was a success.

Anonymous said...

Venue was great, the 'band' was an embarrassing joke. Would definitely vote in favor of an RSVP +1 system for next year.

My 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

"Keep the party open, and ignore the whiners who feel entitled."

... since we are the ones who actually pay for the party, I believe that actually constitutes entitlement pretty well.

Jeff Massie said...

Thanks for the thanks, and thank you also to those with criticisms. A few notes:

1. Every party that TAG has ever held, going back to the original shindigs at the Beverly Garland, has been put to a vote and approved by the membership at the September membership meeting. That's the time for members to make their opinions heard and for active members to vote on or amend the E-Board's recommendations. This September's membership meeting was one of the best-attended we've had in a very long time. Mark your calendars ... September 28, 2010.

2. I have done the publicity for every one of these parties, and the word "dinner" has never appeared in anything I've written.

3. In my personal opinion as one of sixteen Board officers and 2700 members, the fact that other unions and guilds don't have a party like ours is a point in favor of having a party like ours.

4. I believe that an RSVP members-only dinner party would likely be cheaper - and easier - than the parties we've been having. It would also defeat the purpose for which Tom Sito originally suggested the parties - as a way to reach out to the entire animation community. That being said, see #1 above.

Again, thanks ... jm

Kevin Koch said...

Just to add on to Jeff's post above, I first want to emphasize that these parties involve a huge amount of planning and consideration by the entire Executive Board. I appreciate people thanking me personally, but there were a bunch of people who put a lot more into this year's event than I did.

After a bad experience with the Pickwick last year, several board members took a lot of personal time to explore other venues, and the specifics of the party were carefully and thoughtfully discussed at almost every executive board meeting of the last year.

Despite our trying to micromanage the venues we contract with (and we really try!), we ultimately have to trust what we're told about how the food and drink service will work out. I, too, was annoyed to stand in a drink line for twenty odd minutes, when clearly there should have been two bartenders at that station. My date and I also didn't love walking up from the golf course parking, especially with her wearing heels. I also got there straight from work, and didn't get but a few bites to eat. Despite all that, I had a great time, and as always saw and reconnected with people I hadn't seen in months or years.

As is the case every year we've done these parties, we'll do a careful postmortem, and we'll decide if we need to change venues, or modify the format, etc. Everyone on the exec board will be polling their contacts about their impressions of the party, and we'll again put in hundreds of hours of discussing and planning next years event. And we'll discuss it at membership meetings, and it'll be put to a vote, as it always has been.

In my 8 years of being involved in planning and executing the Holiday Party, no one has ever proposed doing a member-only RSVP format. I'm not sure I'm keen on the idea, but if that is proposed and approved at a membership meeting, that's what we'll do.

Our first and foremost priority is to provide a convivial atmosphere where we, TAG members and the animation community, can mix and mingle and network. From my conversations with attendees, that aspect of the event couldn't have gone much better. We haven't yet done the perfect party, but we'll keep trying, and we value the input and ideas of every member.

Anonymous said...

"we value the input and ideas of every member."

Thanks for listening.

My 2 Cents said...

Just to set the record straight, the fellow who signed "My 2 cents" upstream is not me. By the way, I had a great time at the party, as usual. I felt a little sorry for the band, though. They were very good but most people were too busy visiting to notice. My only regret was, although I caught up with many old friends, there were many I saw at a distance that I never got to. Lets do it again!

Anonymous said...

The party was promoted as "open to EVERYone" in the very different days when the business was at its absolute bursting peak and there were some very large and prominent NON union shops in L.A. that Tom Sito was trying to bring into the fold.
That was the main aim of the push for this "members, nonmembers, who cares? We're all animation people!" thing.

Times are totally different now. Those places are either nonfactors or have since become unionized.

The fact is that IF it were limited to being a members-only party (plus guests), does anyone believe that "I loved reconnecting with my old pals" is somehow going to stop? Those people you love will all still be there. In fact there may well be more of them-actual 839 people who usually don't attend it now because it's too crowded with a slew of people who aren't in the industry as such.

It's worth trying differently.

Anonymous said...

"3. In my personal opinion as one of sixteen Board officers and 2700 members, the fact that other unions and guilds don't have a party like ours is a point in favor of having a party like ours."

...or, they're all just plain wiser than us.

Anonymous said...

Instead of pointing a finger at the union for lack of food, how about pointing a finger at the PIGS who would PILE up their plate with food with no consideration for the rest of the guests? I was appalled by this behavior, and I know I wasn't the only one. Jeez people, leave some for the rest of us!

Btw, you could solve that problem by getting rid of the buffet-style hor d'oevres and have waitpeople come through the crowd with trays of food. Then people can't pig out because they won't have a plate to pile high, and so TAG would be better assured that more people would get something to snack on.

The drink ticket situation was sad, but again, TAG said they'd give out a couple of drink tickets, not pay your entire bar bill. Next year I'm bringing a flask so that no matter what I'll be happy.

As for the venue, I think they just didn't know what to expect from the likes of us. This party is more free-form than most events that Castaways would host. The valets were GREAT! The staff was nice as heck, but they were definitely under-staffed.

I think an RSVP system would at least give the union a better ballpark number to give to whatever venue they go with next year. I don't like the idea of going invite-only, because part of the fun of the TAG party is that it's NOT a snob-fest. Face it, we're animators...the folks who do clean up on porn sets get more respect from the rest of the entertainment industry than we do, so to act like snobs on a social level would just make us look silly.

One last thing: I hope that wherever the Holiday party is next year, the venue has reasonable parking. I saw some unhappy ladies who didn't know that they'd be tracking their high heels and nice outfits through the dirt overflow lot. Dirt=not much fun for parties...unless it's for that redneck wedding show that Tom Arnold hosts on cable!

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