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Here is an interesting item on Disney not paying bonus monies to animators who worked on "Frozen" who were laid off before they had an opportunity to get the bonus. In contrast, workers at the studio who did not participate in production activities on the film received a bonus. Thus, there is an argument as to the inequity of the situation.

http://www.deadline.com/2014/04/frozen-animators-no-bonus-di...

Here's my take.

It's difficult to form a proper opinion on this because I do not know how much animators make. I am going to assume, however, that it must be decent money, especially considering that it is a dream job that talent does for the love of it. Yes, obviously people need to be paid, and paid well, for this line of work; still, this work is a lot different from other forms of labor, especially manual labor.

Disney, in my opinion, should strive to keep as much money as possible in its coffers. Therefore, I think bonus monies should be generally eliminated from compensation structures (that goes especially toward management). There really is no need to give animators a bonus; they will work just as hard on any project. It's just as ludicrous to give voice talent on an animation film millions in bonus dollars just because a cartoon turned out to be a hit (see "Shrek").

If Disney wants to pay animators more money, it should do it. Just don't go on the theory that a bonus will ensure a hit. That's like saying options provide incentive for employees; I'd argue they do not.

All of that being said, it was discriminatory of Disney to do what it did. I would have paid the laid-off individuals a bonus. This is another reason why bonuses should not be paid: ambiguity of fairness.

The best line from the piece, which almost seems to argue my point, comes at the end. A Disney exec said the bonus "was because of 'Frozen' but not about 'Frozen'." I believe that. I also believe that it puts into question the management, and more importantly, the maximization, of profits. Hit films like this don't come around all the time; once a phenomenon asserts itself in the marketplace, it should be exploited on an excessive basis on behalf of shareholders.
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esxokm,

I know maybe even less then you about the animation business and how they pay but if you don't mind I will do some counter pointing on your post regardless.

I am going to assume, however, that it must be decent money, especially considering that it is a dream job that talent does for the love of it.
For the reasons you give I would guess decent also but meaning not great but not horrible. I doubt they make a ton because its an art and arts always have great supply. So my guess is only a few make the big bucks.

Therefore, I think bonus monies should be generally eliminated from compensation structures (that goes especially toward management). There really is no need to give animators a bonus; they will work just as hard on any project. It's just as ludicrous to give voice talent on an animation film millions in bonus dollars just because a cartoon turned out to be a hit (see "Shrek").

If Disney wants to pay animators more money, it should do it.


I don't agree with any of your points here. First in an industry where there is a lot of layoffs you need to give people an incentive to stay. Nothing is a better incentive then having the chance to hit the jackpot if the movie is a hit.

Also there is a lot of risk in making these movies, so to me a good way to mitigate the risk is if you can get workers to take less as a base knowing that if the movie is a hit they have a chance to make more maybe even a lot more. To me this seems like a good risk mitigation move to me.

All of that being said, it was discriminatory of Disney to do what it did. I would have paid the laid-off individuals a bonus.
Here we agree and I don't work in the movie industry but in my industry if you retire or get layed off and later had a both getting you get that bonus and if you left before a bonus period was complete you get a prorated share based on how long you were there. So I agree with you that Disney should have paid the laid off employees.

Moe
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While Disney has a number of full time dedicated senior or principal character animators, a lot of people who work these movies are freelancers and contract animators. Many of them are special effects experts working for external resource companies that contract to provide specialized digital animation services. They don't have huge salaries or job security, and they likely are not entitled to bonuses unless their own agency passes on financial awards.

The son of a woman who trains with my fitness trainer is a digital animator who specializes in snow. In addition to working on Frozen, he helped make the snow fall in Iron Man 3. He's currently doing commercial work because even though the company he works for does a lot of Disney contracts, they don't have anything right now. But last I heard he was supposed to be working on another Disney movie this fall. What, I don't know.

My point is that, before we jump to any conclusions, we should be sure the complainants in this story are actually Disney cast members, were contractually eligible for bonuses and actually have a legitimate grievance. The problem when we only read one side of a story, and in the absence of Disney's side we fill in the blanks ourselves, is that we often make incorrect assumptions and get the facts wrong.

Fuskie
Who would guess that the number of top talents that can live comfortably on their luxurious salaries is pretty low and that most people who work on a movie are hourly or get union wage and live month to month or job to job...
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My point is that, before we jump to any conclusions, we should be sure the complainants in this story are actually Disney cast members,

Contractors aren't employees. Contractors get let go after their contract is up they don't get laid off. The story imo would be a blatantly false story if they are calling contractors laid off employees. I think it is very reasonable to assume these are real employees if they aren't then the writer and the publication imo would owe Disney an apology and a correction.
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I think it's also very reasonable to believe the story got details wrong.

Fuskie
Who notes what passes for journalism online these days is often laughable...
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People will beleive whatever they want to believe:

http://www.deadline.com/2014/04/frozen-animators-no-bonus-di...

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/disney-gives-...

http://www.animationmagazine.net/events/laid-off-frozen-anim...

So Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter and many other sites all got it wrong and Disney didn't give a denial just a justification.

I like to defend my companies and I am not even sure Disney did anything wrong here but it doesn't pay to wear blinders when it comes to companies you are invested in.

Moe
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