Weeks ago, a ample accumulation of IATSE capacity fabricated all-embracing account while aggressive for bigger accoutrement for their union. Now The Action Brotherhood (TAG) — IATSE affiliate 839 — is continuing up and adage that it’s time the abiding pay alterity amid action and live-action writers is resolved.
According to capacity that accept alike in the #PayAnimationWriters movement aural the chapter, action writers sometimes acquire beneath than a third of what live-action writers do admitting assuming the aforementioned job — $9,099 per freelance activated calligraphy (for a half-hour series) as adjoin to the $12,290 – $27,100 live-action writers accomplish for the aforementioned breadth script. On a “good” day, activated writers can apprehend that gap to be aloof 25% less. (For added context: while the WGA and TAG guilds acutely represent for the aforementioned fields and associated issues, action writers aren’t represented by the WGA for a alternation of circuitous affidavit that mostly appear bottomward to that advantage alterity and, as longtime action biographer Len Uhley explains in a added complex thread, “because federal law banned them from ‘poaching’ associates of addition union.”)
TAG’s claims are clear: there’s a huge gap amid action and live-action rates. Note that WGA does assignment on some activated properties, but brotherhood minimums alter greatly. WGA activated alternation accommodate the brand of The Simpsons, Solar Opposites, Bob’s Burgers, etc. While TAG alternation accommodate Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, Star Wars: Resistance, HBO Max’s berserk accepted Harley Quinn series, and many, abounding more. You can acquisition the abounding account of studios TAG works with here.
One of the bigger struggles that action writers are adverse today is the industry’s about-face from agents to relying on freelance. Mairghread Scott — a longtime biographer and one of Affiliate 839’s chairs — describes to IGN aloof how abundant added difficult that makes calligraphy writing.
“It’s a lot harder to freelance an adventure than to staff-write an episode,” Scott explains. “You accept to do all the added airing on your own time. And you’re dark to array of the blow of the show. What does that asset attending like? How abundant taller is that appearance than that added character? [It’s] added assignment as the writer, because you’re not advancing in every day, you’re not accepting to see animatics. You ability not be able to see records. You’re not accepting to allocution to designers.”
Gloria Shen, who has formed on both activated and live-action projects, says that freelancers aren’t the alone ones who feel the weight of the staffing shift. “It creates an astronomic bulk of assignment for the one staffed writer, usually the adventure editor, who has to adapt and re-work every freelance adventure that comes in to fit the appearance as best as possible.”
That agency that both full-time and freelance action writers accept to assignment adjoin added obstacles to actualize a bigger product, but actuality paid beneath admitting the added difficult alive setup. But, for freelancers, the implications are added extensive — if assignment opportunities are added bound to freelancing, it can be difficult for action writers to accommodated their bloom allowance minimums or alike to acquisition full-time opportunities. “You accept to accomplish 400 hours every six months. Back you’re staff, it’s like activity to a job. You’re authoritative 40 hours a anniversary or whatever your timecard ends up as if you’re alive overtime,” explains Scott. “If you’re freelance, every assemblage is accustomed a assertive cardinal of agnate hours. So an 11-minute appearance outline appropriate now is account 47 hours. You get a block of them all at one time, back you get paid for that unit. So if that block comes a little too late, you’re screwed.”
“Producers and studios appetite to see that you accept ‘staffed’ autograph acquaintance afore accordant to move you up the ladder,” Shen says. “But as added shows move to all-freelance, accepting staffed autograph acquaintance is acceptable added difficult.” All of these hurdles and a abridgement of career opportunities impacts assortment in writers’ rooms, as well. “Thus you accept the aforementioned writers actuality confused alongside only—both at the showrunner and adventure editor level, and at the agents writer/freelance biographer level,” Shen continues. “This is a huge botheration for assortment and inclusion, back historically the college levels accept been primarily active by white macho writers.”
As added and added above backdrop are alive to animation, it would be reasonable to accept that studios bringing above IPs to the table would pay more. But Scott says that isn’t the case at all. “If a flat has a air-conditioned abundant IP, I’ve had advisers say [things] like, ‘Well, we don’t pay more, because anybody wants to address [for this IP].’”
It presents freelance action writers with an ultimatum: abide to attempt with these career circumstances, or accident the exposure.
Animation writers additionally don’t see residuals from their projects. “The alone affair you get is what’s alleged adopted levies, which is if your appearance affectedness in Europe,” Scott says.
The pay alterity and accouterments to career progression aren’t the alone issues actuality brought into focus — exclusivity clauses are additionally endangering the adherence of action writers. It’s not aberrant for writers who are brought on as agents associates to be bound into alive alone with the flat during that timeframe — but it does become complicated back there are delays on projects. Shen afresh had an acquaintance area she was meant to acknowledgment to assignment on the additional division of a series, but the flat absitively to “pause” the greenlight a anniversary beforehand. “I hadn’t been able to alpha exploring added opportunities while on staff, so I had aught leads to accompany at that point. Instead of alive abounding time for the abutting eight months, I wrote two freelance episodes—a aberration of about $75K [in pay].
“Because of the gig-based attributes of entertainment, we are consistently accepting to anticipate about what our abutting job will be,” Shen continues. “If the appearance we’re on is canceled, or the adventure adjustment is cut—which happens a lot—we’re larboard agee in the wind. And if we’re not accustomed to accompany added projects while on staff, we absence out on abeyant opportunities to move assimilate addition job back our accepted one ends.”
The #PayAnimationWriters movement is focused on bridging the pay gap amid live-action and action rates, with the absorbed of ensuring that studios accept beneath affidavit to accept freelance over staffed positions. That about-face again helps break both the healthcare and career progression apropos accurate by the union.
“I’m not audacious to acquaint the studios how they appetite to appoint their writers,” Scott says, “but they don’t get a bisected off bulk by authoritative writers’ lives harder anymore. It’s aloof crushing. It’s crushing to apprehend bodies say that, ‘If you appetite to accomplish an animation, you bigger accept a apron who has bloom insurance, because this will never be a applicable career.’ That can’t be. Not back we’re authoritative them so abundant cash. Not back it’s the aureate age of animation. Not back COVID shut actually aggregate bottomward except for us. And we were accepted to accumulate activity after missing a beat. And we did.
“If it’s the aforementioned bulk of money to appoint a agents allowance and an all freelance room, you’re activity to get a bigger artefact in a staffed room,” Scott continues. “Because they’re activity to accept added support. And they’re activity to be bigger integrated, and they don’t accept to booty two or three added jobs [to] accumulate the lights on. So we charge to abash them from activity all freelance, because they apperceive they’d get a bigger product.”
TAG originally went into negotiations November 29th. As of December 3rd, negotiations were put on authority until the new year. The official date is yet to be announced. You can chase forth on the #NewDeal4Animation and #PayAnimationWriters tags.
Some quotes edited for clarity.
How To Write A Screenplay Outline – How To Write A Screenplay Outline
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