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Anime is not an entertainment model
bhl88 
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26 / M / USA
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Posted 7/15/12
From $2 to $9 an hour
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the South Bay
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Posted 7/15/12 , edited 7/15/12
When the economy went under worldwide , I saw an article about the anime industry being in trouble in Japan and how much animators were getting paid.
I felt really bad.
But to read this from someone with in the industry is an eye opener. Those salaries are really low compared over the US but most cartoon company in the US are sending their animation project to Korea or China. Except when you work for Pixar/Dysney/Sony Pictures working in the big budgjet animated movie projects.
I am a professional working in the medical field and those salaries are just about a quarter of what I make in a year, so I cant imagine those low salaries at all.

He talked about how different he is compared to the utakos that worked in there.That is a sad state.I have a japanese friend who would fallen in that state if he was still there but because of his new friends here , he is more well adjusted to people and living on his own succesfully.

Where I am at , a lot of anime fans of the 80's and 90's are all adult and most have families and most of them still watch anime and sometimes with their kids.

I agree with him that the anime industry in Japan should invest more in getting their anime streamed , getting contracts etc etc and so they can make more money in reaching out to different countries. They should think worldwide . Their business thinking is so narrow minded. It took an outsider like CR to get their business.

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F
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Posted 7/15/12
LOL Now summarize it for me. >:|
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28 / M / WA, USA
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Posted 7/15/12 , edited 7/15/12
My wage has been stagnant for 5 years and is lower than his was (after the three year mark). *

Many of his complaints are not unique to the anime industry. Stagnant wages; the rise of temp workers; workflow and quality issues in production; zero regard for deadlines; that guy that smells really bad and can't hold a normal conversation. I've experienced all of that, in a completely different industry here in the United States.

I feel bad for him, but I think he might need to find a company with a culture that meshes better with his beliefs.

* Footnote: I accept such a low wage because in return I have excellent flextime arrangements. I sleep and work whenever I want because I have one thing I'm good at. Amusingly one of the things he complains about. (Edit: I do what I love too I guess. After work I do the same thing as a hobby.)
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41 / M / Canada
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Posted 7/15/12

Prior to my studio getting closed down I worked in the Canadian animation industry. Most of the small studios depend on tax breaks to survive (the one I worked for vanished when those breaks got slashed)

Unless you are in at one of the major companies it's pretty much hand to mouth here too. I was lucky to get in at a studio with a monthly salary, they set everyone a minimum quota and you got bonus pay if you did significantly more than that. Fail to meet your quota and you got a warning, fail again and out the door you go.

Most of the studios however pay you by the scene, doesn't matter how complex the scene is, your wage was based on how many scenes you got finished each week. And by Finished they had to be fully approved and revised. You could get pretty badly hosed if you found yourself saddled with a couple of long or complex scenes and if revisions were slow you could go a week without pay.

There was one studio we heard about while I was working that had somehow convinced their staff to work without pay for months, promising to pay them in full after the production was finished. The best animators on staff were getting paid in cash out in the parking lot in secret to keep them from going to other studios but in the end the guy running the place skipped out leaving everyone with mountains of debt they had built up just getting by waiting for the promised pay day.

It was kind of mind blowing to us that some studios could treat their staff that way, more so that the guy in charge some how convinced most of them to stay on in those conditions (not all, a couple of them quit and got work with us, that where we first heard about it).

Animation is a sweat shop industry no matter where you go. Disney under Eisner was one of the worst too, they weren't called the Evil Empire for nothing.


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Posted 7/15/12
animation has never been a lucrative or luxurious industry, gotta love it to work it.
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38 / M / San Francisco
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Posted 7/16/12

Greylurker wrote:


Prior to my studio getting closed down I worked in the Canadian animation industry. Most of the small studios depend on tax breaks to survive (the one I worked for vanished when those breaks got slashed)

Unless you are in at one of the major companies it's pretty much hand to mouth here too. I was lucky to get in at a studio with a monthly salary, they set everyone a minimum quota and you got bonus pay if you did significantly more than that. Fail to meet your quota and you got a warning, fail again and out the door you go.

Most of the studios however pay you by the scene, doesn't matter how complex the scene is, your wage was based on how many scenes you got finished each week. And by Finished they had to be fully approved and revised. You could get pretty badly hosed if you found yourself saddled with a couple of long or complex scenes and if revisions were slow you could go a week without pay.

There was one studio we heard about while I was working that had somehow convinced their staff to work without pay for months, promising to pay them in full after the production was finished. The best animators on staff were getting paid in cash out in the parking lot in secret to keep them from going to other studios but in the end the guy running the place skipped out leaving everyone with mountains of debt they had built up just getting by waiting for the promised pay day.

It was kind of mind blowing to us that some studios could treat their staff that way, more so that the guy in charge some how convinced most of them to stay on in those conditions (not all, a couple of them quit and got work with us, that where we first heard about it).

Animation is a sweat shop industry no matter where you go. Disney under Eisner was one of the worst too, they weren't called the Evil Empire for nothing.


Thanks for the wonderful insight on how animation business works. Definitely we need to hear what pros like you have experienced.

Reality of content production business itself, both animation and video game, is not a lucrative business. I have a uncle (my mother's brother to be exact) in Korea who end up selling his animation business because it never made money. I heard stories from my college instructors where start-up game companies have gone belly up due to business mismanagement. From what I'm reading from Greylurker's post, the case of employer skipping town for unpaid wages is just as the same as for Japan. It's the case of start-up dreamers with unrealistic expectation and dipping their hands into payroll money to cover the cost overrun.

Is there a room for improvement? Is there a way for studios make more income for themselves? How to balance labor situation and overhead costs? Is there a way to get bypass middlemen? All these question are popping up in my mind.


@iashakezula

Just because anime is available on internet, it doesn't mean that it'll generate more money than usual. CR has 70,000 paid subscribers and the total is barely enough to fund one single season TV show.

We all know that Japanese copyright holders use CR for more exposure of their shows, but the real money is coming from those expensive limited quantity physical copies. What about the merchandise sales? Are foreign fans literally cleaning out (insert anime title) merchandises from online retailers like Ami Ami or Amazon Japan? It feels like one way street when fans want every anime to be cheaper than dirt and yet don't want to contribute enough to keep it afloat.

Anime studios don't get a share from profit generated from figurines and hug pillows unless it's their original concept show.

Production committees offer somewhat safe haven from studios from bankruptcy, but their subcontract works deny copyrights to studios to make money on their own.

What about foreign contracts like video game anime and super hero animations (DC Universe titles)? Are they getting a share from them? We just don't know.




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21 / M / England
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Posted 7/16/12
Can't believe I stumbled upon this article 2 months before I start my University course of studying animation. My intentions was trying to get into the anime industry afterwards but after looking at this, I may want to reconsider my options and work in 3D animation or game animation. I'm glad that there's other possibilities in animation other than just 2D.
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Posted 7/16/12
some good news anime streaming subscription (Neon Alley and Crunchyroll) will come to PS3 soon -> http://www.tgdaily.com/games-and-entertainment-brief/64718-anime-streaming-services-coming-to-ps3
although its not a japanese initiative though, americans maximizes the potential of internet for profit again, but still good news that anime can gain more profit from this move
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Posted 7/16/12

Shrapnel893 wrote:


Izual wrote:


Shrapnel893 wrote:

It's not that surprising to me really, the industry has been barely hanging on in recent years. Maybe if Japan would broaden and branch out into the internet more the issues like this would lessen. And maybe if people would stop ripping streams off of legal sites not to mention downloading for free from torrents and the like that would help too...


Legal sites have nothing to do with it, or have you not see the very popular "Voice Actors against fansubs" thread which I helped revive recently? Fansubs may be convenient for us, but it is harmful to the industry which as we already know is abysmal. I wouldn't take the passage as completely literal, but it does express some discontent other have been expressing. More or less this brings into scope somewhat Dai Sato's strong opposition to the current industry. I already knew about animators wages determined on completed frames, but this shouldn't be taken lightly.
Animation studios' must negotiate with distributors locally and internationally. That is excluding broadcasting stations which must also be handled. Whether a website is considered a genuine and reliable source like Crunchyroll is irrelevant. If they don't have a license given to them by the studio they cannot legally offer that anime. Basically, all you've proposed is that we allow pirating/fansub groups to take credit and profit at the expense of the studio. Official sources need to get their crap together, but that isn't signaling a free for all to just let anyone rip-off their property.

The distributor takes a blow and the studio suffers a tremendous blow from lost profit. That wouldn't help the industry, it would cause it to degrade even more than the cesspool that it is. Giving in to pirating is not an option, it goes against the basic principle of a business, to profit. Without profit, studios suffers and eventually collapse. When they collapse, congratulations we have no anime at all anymore. No one will ever end pirating, but you can minimize its impact.


Well, I see your point but maybe you could elaborate exactly how I proposed that pirating/fansubbing was ok? It's just I'm not sure that I completely follow your reasoning that's all. True, pirating will never end completely that's obvious and of course the industry needs to get it's act together. From your thoughts, how would you minimize pirating?


In hindsight, I see it was a misinterpretation on my behalf.


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Posted 7/17/12 , edited 7/17/12

GodWhomIsMike wrote:

2,000,000 Yen = ~ $25,316 US

3,000,000 Yen = ~ $37,974 US


Ouch. Although, I did only earn $30K the first 2.5 years out of college (B.S Computer Science) at my first full time IT job. I recall feeling pretty 'poor' earning only $30K. It was kinda painful.






polx wrote:

Sounds like someone's butthurt. Whatever. Not all things in life are butterflies and rainbows.





bhl88 wrote:



Even one can earn better flipping burgers at McDonalds :p



$25K/year in Tokyo is way too little to live on. I would be quite bitter too with that pay, especially with a college degree. That's about the same or less than what employees at 7-11, McDonalds, and coffeeshops throughout Tokyo make in a year.
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Posted 7/17/12

GodWhomIsMike wrote:
]


$25K/year in Tokyo is way too little to live on. I would be quite bitter too with that pay, especially with a college degree. That's about the same or less than what employees at 7-11, McDonalds, and coffeeshops throughout Tokyo make in a year.


No one told anyone to get a job in the anime industry. There's no such thing as easy money. Life is hard, if you want to live well, you got to put in a considerable amount of effort. It's not just Japan.
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41 / M / Canada
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Posted 7/17/12

Tashfinz wrote:

Can't believe I stumbled upon this article 2 months before I start my University course of studying animation. My intentions was trying to get into the anime industry afterwards but after looking at this, I may want to reconsider my options and work in 3D animation or game animation. I'm glad that there's other possibilities in animation other than just 2D.


I know it sounds pretty rough from that perspective but at the same time I wouldn't trade my experience working in animation for anything. I really did enjoy it and I learned a lot of things you just don't get from the schools.

and it dose translate very well into animating for video games and the like.

Those who are good at animation and stick it out end up working at the good studios like Nickalodeon and Dreamworks and I understand Disney has gotten much better since Eisner got shoved back to running the theme parks.

The North American animation industry is about working through a lot of grunt work to climb the pile of bodies up to the top.



my body is about 5 years into the pile I think. I do Graphic Design for Advertising now. Not quite as enjoyable as animation but it pays better than I was getting.

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Posted 7/17/12 , edited 7/17/12
The source site now has an apology from the author saying that she exaggerated the most of it. Although apparently the pay is actually even less then she first stated... Must suck.
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21 / F / Oregon
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Posted 7/17/12
Wow, this really opened my mind.
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