Monday, March 4, 2013


As I lay in my sick bed over the last week , with little to do, I caught up on the happenings, good and bad within the Pop Culture that is and surrounds my life. I found the normal stories one would upon surfing various websites, Blogs and message boards. Typical Fluff, Internet Trolls and squabbles over nothing. Awesome new releases from the Big 2 and from the smaller Publishers, AND the Indy press. I caught up and kept track of ECCC 2013, reading various press releases, reports on Panels, and followed the guest list on Twitter to see what I was missing out on. And I did a lot of Writing. Writing for my personal Projects forthcoming. Writing Bios, and creating Character profiles and back stories for charcaters in the Current books Im working on, ( WHISTLING SKULL, CHIN MUSIC and ROUNDEYE: For Love ). I even came up with a whole new Story, a new property in it's infancy stages, to take it's place in line, gestate, develope and wait it's turn, until my full attention turns back to it, to see it thru to Birth.

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……

#2  not much for me to add here. This opinion, which I cobbled together from tons of different comments kinda says it all. They were also variations on both #1 and #2 that I ran across, but these were the prevaling notions concerning the matter. It's to be noted here, that this is not the first time, nor the last time that this has and will happen in Hollywood. Is this specific to Animated Features? NO. There are few that are "Quasi-Permanent" fixtures at ANY Studio. And even they get rotated back to Gen-Pop eventually. My thoughts: Create your own I.P., do the Work for Hire stuff, when the pay is good. But understand, you are disposable. You could be the Biggest Name in Comics, Drawing all the BIG ANCHOR BOOKS!!!! yer still the flavor of the day. You don't wanna hear that, but it's true. YOU ARE A RENEWABLE RESOURCE.  There are 50 other kids half your age, that will work cheaper than you. So look out for yourself, AND your I.P. There is an absolute in comics, that is rarely uttered, and even more rarely discussed:

There are 2 types of Folk that work in Comics….

1. ARTISANS:  Persons skilled in an applied Art. A Craftsperson.

This is the backbone of the Comics Industry, and we are ALL part of this Machine at one point or another….."

2. CREATORS: A person or Thing, that creates something from WHOLE CLOTH. The "Home/Birthplace" of something created.

" This is the Arena where you rise and fall on the Merit of your own Ideas. No one to blame but you. And the house of those who will add a lasting contribution to the industry…."

Like this, or do not. THIS IS FACT.

I also think every word of what I wrote above applies to the Comic Book Industries Creative pool. 

finally, to borrow from Chris Cornell( Musician and Frontman for SOUNDGARDEN ),…."to be yourself, is all that you can do."


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