Sunday, November 22, 2015

Giving It Away

Actors audition for free, and animation studios often ask industry artists to do a test of 2-6 days in length. The reason studios give is "to see if the artist's style fits the show."
So this:

One of the major (and constant) complaints of storyboard and design artists is animation studios wanting lots of drawing done before hiring "to see if they are right" for the demands of the offered show. There have been gripes about this practice for more than a dozen years.

The practice goes back far longer than that. In the early thirties Disney made potential new-hires work gratis and in-house for a couple of weeks to see if they had the chops to do Mickey and Silly Symphony cartoons. This practice faded after studios unionized, but has long-since come back.

The Animation Guild pushed multiple proposals during the last two negotiation cycles to limit the complexity and length of tests. Four years ago the negotiation committee worked until the small hours of the morning trying to get the producers to agree to new contract language that would limit storyboard, layout and design tests. (In the end, no agreement on tests was reached.)

As we begin the first year of a new collective bargaining agreement, the issue of free testing has diminished due to the tight job market for experienced professionals. Still, the subject remains contentious, and TAG's executive board continues to ask members to report excessive testing. A majority of the board thinks that the issue can be handled internally; few directors or supervisors want to use precious time to review long tests. Most believe it's a waste of their time.

We don't think they're wrong.

H/t Trevor Tamboline.


Pandalope said...

This is also an issue in the gaming industry. It's status quo to have to do an animation or modeling test to even be considered for an interview. They require that you hand over your file and almost never provide any feedback on your test and tell you you can't even post it. I know from experience that animation tests usually ask for 8+ hours and have open ended 'bonus' sections if you want to spend more. A friend of mine did a modeling test that took almost a week and was given no direction, no feedback, and not even a reply after he handed it in. They even ask for a test for people who have 10+ years experience in the gaming industry. It's insane.

Steve Hulett said...

It's an issue in a lot of areas. And it's gone on for a long time.

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