Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Craft Meeting #3 -- Designers, Layout and Background Artists, Color Stylists

Craft Meeting #3 (at 1105 N. Hollywood Way, Burbank) was called to order by board member Paula Spence at 7 o'clock. The proceedings went as follows: ...

Thumbnail Notes -- Craft Meeting #3

Members were urged to attend the September 27, 2016 General Membership Meeting, as there will be discussion and vote by the membership on TAG's future dues structure. There will also be nominations for board members and officers of the local, and approximately half of the board will be departing, including the Business Representative, President, Recording Secretary and several board members.

There were questions about the duties of officers and board members, also election procedures. The Business Representative described the roles of various Guild officers, who was eligible, and how and when the vote would take place (detailed in TAG's Constitution and by-laws, pp. 10-20).

Review of the 2015-2018 Agreement -- One Year In -- The Guild disavowed piecework for designers, layout and background artists in the 2012 negotiations; a few studios still assign piece work to freelancers, but the rule is: freelancers are paid for work at the daily rate, with a four-hour minimum call.

Work at most studios is robust, TAG has received continuing complaints from supervisors that they have difficulty staffing shows with experienced people. The Guild has record-high employment which will likely continue for the foreseeable future.

New Media -- The Business Representative reported that the 839 New Media sideletter, (Sideletter N -- pp 99-113) which allows production work for Subscription Video On Demand and other work delivered over the internet, to be paid below contract minimums. The largest employer using the New Media sidletter continues to be DreamWorks Animation TV, which pays employees new to the industry below contract rates. At this point, other studios aren't employing many individuals under the sideletter, but it continues to be a concern. New Media will be on of the major contract issues when the sideletter is renegotiated in 2018.

Studio Tests -- There were lengthy discussions regarding studio testing. Members reported that some studios are asking for 2-3 layout designs plus color backgrounds from the designs, and that these tests take 3 or more days to complete. (The test length is considered by the Guild to be abusive). Many employed veterans refusing to take tests. The Business Representative reported that he's told some studios tests are becoming counter-productive because talented, experienced artists won't take them and so studios self-limit the pool of job applicants.

Uncompensated Overtime -- Many design and layout artists reported tight schedules that were impossible to meet in forty hours of work. The Business Representative and several artists said it's important to communicate with other artists on a show's team, compare work-loads and time needed to complete assignments. Studios sometimes use the fastest artists as the standard for the amount of work required.

Several veterans reported when they ask for overtime they get it (although there is some resistance). Production assistants and coordinators are as uptight about confrontation as artists. Members said it was important to share information with co-workers, to build team solidarity, and to communicate with production about how much work can be done in a given period. When a show is overlong and the number of designs/backgrounds required cannot be met within a forty-hour schedule, artists need to communicate that overtime or a longer work schedule will be needed. (Some half-hour episodes are more labor intensive than others).

Production Schedules -- Members said that some production schedules are unrealistic. (See uncompensated overtime, above). Veteran artists pointed out that uncompensated work taken home or done in-studio by artists 1) undermines their co-workers and 2) gives studio management a false idea of how long it takes to complete tasks. Some veteran artists will continue to do uncompensated overtime, but it's important to build team spirit and discourage free o.t. wherever possible.


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