Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"Cover Them With Compost"

I was out and about in one of our fine conglomerate-owned studios this afternoon, and a Wise Animation Supervisor (one who's worked for a wide range of cartoon companies), said to me:

"I had lunch with [Executive A] over at [Studio B] last week, and he's pretty defensive about morale. They just laid off crew members on a show that they led to believe were staying on. And people were not happy. And the exec was defensive about how [Studio B] handled the layoffs." ...

I allowed as how this type of corporate behavior wasn't particularly unusual. "Studios need to keep employees from jumping to some other show before their own project is done, so the suits traipse down and say 'there's plenty of work, nobody's getting laid off,' and that's usually the tipoff to start looking for a new gig. Because if the execs come down and spend time and energy telling people that everything's fine, then the end is near."

I think the above is generally true (mostly). Studios bullshit employees about when jobs will end because they think it's a necessary business tactics. But The Wise Animation Supervisor believes the practice is starting to hurt certain animation studios that have ... uhm ... weaker reputations among Creatives.

"You get around to studios, Steve. You know the companies that have lower morale because of the way they treat people. I've gotten a call from one asking where they can get board artists for new projects. And I tell them, 'All the good ones are booked.' And they don't get why it's hard for them to hire some of them. They don't get that some top talent tries to avoid them if they can."

Supply eventually catches up with demand, so even the studios with lesser reputations will be able to staff up sooner or later. But in the shorter run, some companies will have to make do with B-quality creatives.

In a tight market, bad corporate behavior has consequences.


Grant said...

What did anyone expect of paramount animation? The heads of paramount are looking to cut their losses entirely as soon as possible. Sony's not much better, although Adam Sandler's cartoon hotel transylvania 2 has bought them a bit of a reprieve.

Site Meter