Tuesday, January 15, 2013

One Newer Studio

President Emeritus Tom Sito once pointed out that the only union studio that's still around from the time TAG was founded (1952) is Disney*, and Disney (of course) has morphed into other entities (Disney Toon Studios, Disney Television Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios, etc.) in the course of its long, long life.

Labor Unions have to keep organizing new companies as they come into existence. Here's one that is doing pretty well.

... Bento Box next month will open its third location in the Burbank area, moving into a 25,000-square-foot facility. Bento also has a studio in Marina del Rey that handles interactive projects, including the one with Keys, and last year opened a studio in Atlanta to take advantage of that state's film tax credit. Bento expects to add 50 to 80 workers to its Los Angeles workforce of 150 by March. The Atlanta studio employs 80. ...

The Animation Guild signed a deal with Bento Box (California edition) in the early days of its existence. We reached out to the company, and instead of going to war, they agreed to negotiate a contract.

(It can be done.)

BB and TAG have had a pretty good relationship over the last few years. It's never totally rainbows and lollipops between a labor union and company, but Bento has execs that we've known for a long time and a lengthy association has been helpful in the marriage. (Like any marriage, there are ups and downs, still ...)

But it's nice to see a smaller studio succeeding in a time when our fine entertainment conglomerates control so much. Diversity is a good thing, especially when there are union contracts in the mix.

* There's also Warner Bros. Animation, but WBA has come ... and gone ... and come back again in the course of TAG's sixty-year run.


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