But some of the most moving, disturbing and sad stories I have come across in the past week or two have been to do with Artists, Old School or Contemporary, Traditional or Digital, being marginalized, Laid off, Fired, Forgotten or even Black-Balled. And as a Brother to those people being affected by these current happenings, my heart swells, and aches for anyone who pursues creative endeavors, who are seemingly suffering BECAUSE of what or who they are, with little or NO help coming from Contemporaries, and certainly NOT from the Animation Studios, or Comic Book/Book Publishers, except for kind words( well meant ) on the Internet. This really has my head spinning. Not that I am sitting, planning some massive movement to "fix" it. But to just REALLY take it apart from all angles, so that I can understand it. Not just read about it.
Now, some of this is easy to do. Because I know some of these people on a personal level. So I heard about it from them, or they reached out to my family for Moral support, etc… Some not so easy. It requires reading, research, spending time on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any number of Social Media. Normally that's hard, because I have a Full time Job as an American Illustrator/ Creator, Comic book Artist/Writer, Designer and Graphic Artist. Plus a wonderful wife and 3 great Kids. But like all creative types, I spend too much time farting around, and cram in all the work in the 11th Hour. Which in my case sometimes is better, as I feel like I work better under pressure, not when I've been given too much time. But this time, I have my "Sick-Bed" to thank for the time, to accomplish a lot of this.
The current situations happening in Hollywodd currently are interesting, to be sure. Dreamworks animation lays off somewhere around 200-350 people. And that equates to what I read equaling something like less than 20% of their entire work force which is estimated to be somewhere near 2000-2500 employees. These numbers fluctuate according to multiple sources. They are estimates on my part. Now after I found about this, I started snooping around my regular Social Media haunts just to see what was being discussed and said. Interesting, isn't quite the word I word I would use.
Of course Social Media is what it is. Raw Nerves running amuk, unchecked aggression, and "Keyboard-Courage" to BURN!!! SO I kept that in mind while I surfed. What I found were 2 main camps of thinking.
1. The big companies in Hollywood that do and own the Animation Industry are getting filthy rich off the backs of the Creative workforce occupying the offices producing Animated features, and the Creative Folk are being comparitively , paid peanuts, and now being fired or laid off because the Studios took a risk on a property, and it did not pan out at the Box Office. They feel they are owed a piece of the Pie. It's not fair, and the employees are "Owed" something.
… this one is interesting, on many levels…
#1 is for the most part conjecture, assumption and anger on the part of Employees that feel they were wronged, and naivete on the part of said employees as to how the financials work in regards to getting a feature made, or who is paid what, and what is owed to what company…..blah, blah, blah…. the fact is, the Studio- their employer and owner of the I.P. that's being developed into an Animated feature….they own that I.P. period. Lock-stock-barrel. Film making is Capitolism. Studios are in the Business of making money. Every Film they produce is Risk. And its a risk that THEY are taking financially, NOT their employees.
2. The Creative Workforce in Animation are Salaried employees, and Freelance Contractors. They are charged with a task at a job they are paid a wage to execute. This wage is agreed upon by the Employee, and Employer at the time of hiring. Sometimes the hiring is conditional, limited to a certain time frame to complete a feature. So the "Employees" do not own a single percentage of the Studios property, so they are not entitled to profit sharing on any level. They don't own anything. Not even their visual concepts executed during their tenure at any Animation Studio. If the Creative workforce at these studios want more money, or greater compensation for work done on an Animated feature, then they MUST strike out on their own, create their own I.P. so if it's exploited in various media, Animation etc.. that as the Creator of said, I.P. will benefit financially from their Creation.
… this one is even MORE interesting, at least to me……