Monday, February 24, 2014

Craft Meeting #1 -- Board Artists

Six days ago, the Animation Guild held its first craft meeting, attended (mostly) by storyboard artists and revisionists. The discussion was energetic, and covered a wide range of work issues, among them:

1) Cramped work schedules.

2) The general corporate/department rule (with exceptions) that: "There's NO money in the budget for overtime, so DON'T ASK."

3) The issue of multi-tasking. Board artists today often have to A) Design, B) Be layout artists, C) Work as animatics editors, D) Pose out animation. ...

There was a filled union meeting hall last Tuesday, and almost everyone in it filled out a survey form which asked for salaries and specific complaints about different studios' work environments. In case you're wondering there were attendees from just about every union studio, including Cartoon Network, Bento Box, Nickelodeon, Disney and even a couple of non-guild studios.

For the salaries of board artists at the meeting, the median wage (excluding revisionists) was:

$2,116.65/ week

(By comparison, the 2013 wage survey listed a median salary of $1,962/week for television board artists and $2,200/week for feature storyboard artists. So there might have been an overall shift upward -- there are a lot more television board artists than feature artists -- in the past eight months, but nothing major.)

Here are highlights from comments from the surveys:

Studios should keep a consistent production schedule. Recently on our show they've made people do double length boards with only one extra week then taking away a week from the next board because "they took an extra week" on the prvious board. Also, my partner and I were offered only two weeks of hiatus if we completed our board in one less week than usual. Every other board team got two weeks without condition. ..."

Wish my show would accept rougher work. Not paid o.t. I work 48 hours per week, and work unpaid o.t. about every 3 weeks.

It would be good to have audio, designs and b.g.'s BEFORE we start a board. Need to have more allotted time for "non-storyboard work (animatics, designing, etc.)

I work 40 hours per week except for special circumstances." Our production schedule (prime time show) is realistic.

Hired as revisionist but did full-time storyboard work. Paid at scale. Actionws require more time: 5-6 weeks. No authorized overtime, work unpaid o.t.

I work on a premise show. First season 4 weeks to complete boards, expanded to 5 weeks second season. Before schedule was challenging.

Somebody who's never done the work has created the schedule. S.B. artists never have input on the time that's realistic. Writers should use a stop watch shen writing their scripts. They write (overlong) 16 page scripts for 11 minute segment.

With all the extra (non-storyboard) work, time not adequate. Two rounds ochanges only. I went through three times as many rounds of changes per episode.

Four weeks is simply not enough time to allow for late designs or other scheduling hiccups, not to mention script problems. Unless studio wants super rough drawing, it's very difficult without overtime.

If they want a show with mistakes and weaker stories, then the scheduling is realistic. If they want a good quality show, there needs to be more time.

We are not allowed to work rough. We are responsible for anitaatic. Show runner/writers plus executive give multiple and contradictory rounds of revisions, which artists much accommodate without any leeway in schedule. ... Shows getting more complicated. Many board artists have voluntarily stepped down toe revisionist due to stress of the jobs, and a starting to have to breakdown poses for timers.

We used to pitch 4 times per cycle. It's down to 2-3, which helps. Time is better spent boarding instead of preparing for intermediate pitches.

I'm able to take shortcuts; studio knows what is possible in alloted time, but they aren't flexible when we have holiday, delays and a complex script.

Schedules need to be adjusted for holidays. I don't understand how one is supposed to take a "holiday" with a board and still turn it in on time.

Storyboarders working off of scripts are not the same as boarders working off of premises. Most of us are premise based and therefore write jokes and dialogue for our episodes. We should be given credit as writers ...

Scripts are too long.

There's not enough time, especially for an action show. We need more time for action pages that call for more poses/drawing (which in turn are expected to be clean. Just more time: 8 week schedule.

I'm a revisionist on a prime-time show who regularly work overtime and isn't paid for it.

We need at least 2 revisionists per story team. Right now we are starting to hire a few. We have been asked multiple times if we can work weekends with overtime payments because execs give tons of notes on animatics, and the team never has time to do the work during the week!

There needs to be REMEDIAL TRAINING (myself included) on How-To-Be-A-Member of this union. Perhaps there is video tutoring available that demonstrates “what if” scenarios that production artists commonly face. The members I am in contact with are Re-active, and not PRO-active in problem-solving. ...

Find a summary of all other craft meetings here.


Ken Boyer said...

Missed the meeting. My current situation is: 2 weeks to rough & 2 weeks clean up an 11 minute episode (20 pages of script!) It works out to be 500 panels. That's 250 panels a week. If I only worked 40 hours a week, that's 6.25 panels an hour. Every hour. 50 panels a day! They give lots of notes, don't supply at least half of the design materials needed during the process & then think you can get thru all revisions & clean up in the last 2 weeks.
Isn't there a way for Guild to set a "reasonable limit" to the number of board panels an artist is expected to produce a day? Honestly, it should be approx 3.5 an hour average(25 panels a day max). Anything more than that, & you're not able to put enough thinking into it to do it service. (or, you're working a LOT of free OT)

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