A long under-appreciated art form, the writers of animation across the world have been short-changed for their painstaking efforts since the very start of the filmmaking method. Such inequity might just be coming to an end, however, with The Animation Guild writing up contract negotiations next week to see animation writers receive a boost to their payment as part of a new deal with production studios.
Using the hashtag #PayAnimationWriters, the guild has started their campaign online where they hope to gain support for their movement. “We really deserve parity with the WGA,” animation writer Mairghread Scott told Variety, the writer of the Guardians of the Galaxy TV series stated, adding: “There’s no difference in quality and no difference in difficulty. We deserve to be paid commensurately with writers who do the same job”.
The disparity between the pay for live-action and animation artists goes back to when animation was done by storyboard artists who were part of the Screen Cartoonists Guild. It’s not even a disparity that people in the industry even fully understand, with animation writer Colleen Evanson telling Variety, “It’s this weird dirty little secret…It feels like I’m going to rent an apartment my entire life, while my friends in live action are going to buy a house and retire early”.
Often overworked and underpaid, animators are rarely paid enough for their efforts, particularly when it comes to stop-motion which can take years to put together. Take, for example, 2009s Coraline, directed by Henry Selick, a film that took a week to make just 90 seconds of the movie. Starring the voice talent of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher and Ian McShane, the film is known as one of the finest modern animated films.