Hey, Answerman! - Eh, It's A Living

by Brian Hanson,

Well hey gang! Good to see you again after this long, long week.

It's been both fun and disastrous for myself, honestly. Nothin' like coming off performing in three great comedy shows in a row only to be IMMEDIATELY struck down into the dark and oppressive regime of dental problems to remind you that the universe is an uncaring singularity of chaos and despair!

But enough of my whining. Or whinging, if you prefer the British spelling with the extra consonant. Questions!

Hey, Answerman,

I was talking with a friend a while back and he was talking about jobs in the anime business. What he was saying was that most of the people who are in the business who aren't company heads have a second job to cover living expenses. I was thinking to myself that he was "blowing stuff out of a certain area", but what would I know? I mean I know that there isn't as many things being licensed as there used to be a few years back so in theory it makes sense, but you would know the answer?

So the question is: Do people in the anime industry have to take up a second or third job just to cover living expenses?

Well sure, I can certainly think of a few folks within the industry who have to take up second jobs (or more) to make ends meet. Damn near everyone here on ANN's editorial staff do other things to put food in their mouths. The reason? We're not salaried; we're just freelance, really. We come in, do our thing, ANN pays us pretty good, and it helps balance the checkbook at the end of the month.

And that's where the line really is, and that's true of almost every industry. There are salaried positions because those functions are a vital component of their business and they need someone (or a few people in some cases) to stay committed and focused to getting those things done. Like here at ANN, we have Zac as Executive Editor, who is salaried because... that's a pretty important job. That's not something you can do freelance. Being in that position requires you to basically sit around all day, spot-checking literal reams of emails and submissions from the entire writing staff, as well as contributing lots of material yourself.

Of course Editorial makes up only a small part of the anime "industry." Within that all-encompassing term, there's a plethora of different industries within that "industry." Many of those industries rely on freelance and contract work - like translations, for example. Most translation work is done by contract, i.e., whenever a company preps a new title or a slew of them, they staff up an army of translators until all the work is complete, and their contract is finished. Ditto with, say, voice actors. It would make no sense at all to keep a bunch of voice actors on salaried retainer all year-round. Almost no studio nowadays has enough titles to produce, much less dubbed ones, that would guarantee that'd be a good investment. So the actors come in to record their lines for the project, and when it's done, so are they. And off they go to find their next gig.

I understand that it might sound kind of, well, crappy that people who work on anime often have to keep a second job on the side. And I get that. But honestly I wouldn't say it's terribly different than any other industry that relies heavily on contract work. And of course don't forget that the people work with anime because they genuinely love it and they want to be there. The money's not terrible, but it's not terrific either; so the real reason that people work in it is because they want to.

Do you think Manga Entertainment will really stick with their November 14 date for the US/UK release of Redline? I've been hearing nothing but good things about it and when it gets another award I almost feel like I'm being teased. I know Manga Entertainment once planned for Redline to be out within the first week of September, then in mid-October, and now 11/14. Do you think Redline will be released this year, and if not, will it ever be released at all?

Oh, Redline is certainly, definitively coming to English-speaking soil. That much is certain. The problem with Redline, is that it's almost too good.

By that I mean, Redline is one of the few anime films to come along in quite a while that could easily break out of the niche anime market and surprise a more general audience here. And that's a big deal, and I'd wager that's exactly the reason why the US release has been besotted by numerous delays. It's all about getting the proper marketing out there, something Manga has done exceptionally well in the past, but not so much in recent years.

I mean, just think about it: Redline is a fun-splosion of energy and action and excitement that every anime fan in the nineties and early 'aughts has been waiting over a decade for. Of course I mean those elusive "lapsed" anime fans; the ones that unwittingly got their parents to let them rent Ninja Scroll from Blockbuster Video, the ones that giggled with glee at all the profanity in Cyber City Oedo 808. Those guys haven't bought an anime DVD in years, and Redline is right up their freaking alley.

But since they haven't bought an anime DVD in years, how the hell do you convince them that something like Redline is still worth their time? And that's, no doubt, the big question that Manga is dealing with right now, and while it's certainly not the reason for all the delays - considering how many delays there've been within the film itself, I can only understand how getting all the necessary materials to release the damn thing in the West is sort of a nightmare - it's definitely a factor, and something Manga doesn't want to screw up.

Will it still be released this year? I dunno, November 14th seems like a pretty solid date (for the UK anyway - they've flat out stated it will be released in the US in 2012), as it's just far away enough that Manga still has time to make a pretty aggressive advertising push, and it's just close enough that it doesn't seem like forever away. I guess we'll see come October how committed Manga is about hitting that date, but it seems pretty legit to me.

Hey Answerman,

I'm not against subtitles or anything, but I was wondering why Viz is only offering titles their streaming for free on Netflix or on their site in subtitled format only. I understand that some titles that have yet to be officially licensed in the US such as Reborn! to be in subtitled format only, but titles that have been dubbed like Death Note, Bleach, and Naruto are only offered with subtitles. I was wondering if there is some legal issue preventing them from releasing these titles with their English dub, or if it's because there's not a big enough demand from the viewers on their site.

Moreso the latter than the former.

I mean, simulcasts and web streams of anime in general were started as a way to stem the flow of blood from the industry caused by rampant fansubs and skeezy MegaVideo uploaders. And what were all those kids who visited Crunchyroll while it was still hosting unlicensed material watching? That's right: fansubs. It's more to do with demand, than anything. The core audience who watch streaming anime, and have been doing so for years, are rather devout subtitle viewers.

The other issue is that streaming video, by and large, isn't quite sophisticated enough to allow for something like, say, switching audio tracks on the fly like a DVD. As a result, you either have to pick one, dub or sub, or host two separate files; one for dubs, and one for subs. And Viz does that occasionally - Monster, of all things, is available as a streaming sub or dub over at Hulu - but I can totally see how that'd be sort of a logistical nightmare when it comes to shows that are as long as Naruto and Inuyasha.

I mean I honestly wouldn't be surprised, just given how things tend to go in regards to the crappy world of licensing, that there's some legal reason why Viz doesn't have most of their popular shows available on streaming sites with a dub. But either way it's irrelevant, because the audience that Viz is clearly catering to has been pretty vociferous about their choice of format - subtitles only, baby.

Oh me oh my - it's Answerfans! Again! WHO IN THE WORLD COULD HAVE EVER PREDICTED THIS?!?!?

So. Last week I wanted to get to know your story. Just what your deal is, man. Go tell it on the mountain. And all that.

To begin! Ahren describes his awesome-sounding Horrorthon which I might just have to steal:

I am very creative. I have a love for art and music. Back in high school I used to draw a lot, but now I hardly ever do. I love listening to classical music like Beethoven, Brahms, and some more modern music although I can't play an instrument myself. I also love good movies and have a large collection of movies on dvd that aren't anime related. Maybe its my artistic side, but I've always been facinated by opening sequences in film. Often times I will watch an opening scene several times to study how the music is timed with the picture, how the credits are presented, and how its overall presentation makes me feel. As of lately I have considered the current trend of movies to be stale and unoriginal (way too many remakes!) so I have been turning to classic films.

Maybe I'm a bit old fashioned, but I prefer the look of books over portable reading devices. I know books use a lot of paper, but I prefer reading a story from a book instead of a screen (also books don't need batteries). Even so, it looks like books may one day go the way of the dodo.

Other hobbies I have are designing costume patterns, and occasionally sewing although for some reason sewing machines seem to hate me. I have made several costumes and am currently working on some velvet curtains for my room. I also occasionally knit (Yeah! I'm a guy who knits! So what! I like to break stereotypes!) although I'm just a beginner and have only finished one scarf. I also like to cook although I am hardly a chef. I enjoy making stews and curry (favorite food) as well as occasionally making experimental desserts, like Cap'n Crunch Cheesecake (results inconclusive) and chocolate chip cookie cake (not yet completed).Halloween is my favorite time of year and also the the time of year I am most creative. I always decorate the front yard with tombstones, pumpkins, and skeletons. I also decorate the inside of the house with all kinds of halloween props (some I make myself). Last year I made a mad scientist laboratory in the dining room/kitchen area complete with a large control panel with lots of switches, levers, buttons and blinking lights. As well as some beakers and test tubes filled with glowing and bubbling liquid. On the saturday closest to Halloween I have a Horrorthon party where me and my friends sit and watch horror movies and eat candy, as well as a turkey dinner in the evening. During the party guests can compete in contests for prizes. One contest is a pin the tail game, but instead of pinning the tail on the donkey they pin the (paper) knife on Makoto Itou (I have a horrible grudge against that character). Another contest is the grave digging game, where the guests go outside to the fake front yard cemetery and they have to chose a tombstone and I will dig there. Sometimes there will be glass gems or fake gold coins (worth points for the contest) or sometimes nothing at all (three guesses which Zelda game I got this contest idea from). At the end of the party I tally up all the points from the various games and then give out the prizes. First prize is usually a good deal of anime, second is an okay amount, third a small amount. The person with the lowest score gets the booby prize (which is usually some scrap materials from my workplace or some packing foam).

Don't worry Andrew, I've got a friend in England who swears by cider:

Outside of being an anime/manga fan, everyone may be surprised to discover that I am sadly not Batman…I'm actually just a white, 23 year old American kid from Florida.

Anime and manga are but a couple of the things that I am a huge fan of. Intellectually, I am a student of classical archaeology (that's Greek and Roman). For this, I'm currently attending the University of Durham in England for my Masters in Archaeology with a Roman focus. My area of expertise is Roman military belts. If you're sane, this statement might sound odd at first but seriously, I study belts. Without going into rampant detail, let me say that for a Roman soldier, his belt was not only a practical part of his kit, but it was his primary way of showing off his bling. These things were full of shiny metal and would've looked pretty awesome to say the least. I've been studying belts for about two years now and I'm easily a world authority on Roman military belts which I find pretty cool.

Socially, at least until I finish here in England, I spend quite a bit of my time hanging out in Durham Castle. My college – colleges being a social and not academic institution at Durham – is situated in Durham Castle and hence why I lounge around here. While I'm not able to live in the castle, the postgraduates have an exclusive room which looks like a late 19th century gentlemen's club but with modern technology as well. There is no better place to watch anime in than a 1000 year old world heritage site! Beyond that, I enjoy casual afternoons at the pub where I'm a rabid fan of cider (what we typically call “hard cider” state-side). I also love to cook and I'm constantly teaching myself new, international recipes; Japanese food is of course on this list!

In about a month I'll finish my dissertation for my program at which point I'll be heading back to Florida where this statement would inevitably be more boring. I'm glad this question caught me before my fanciful experience here in England ended!

Alex reminds me of the time in high school where I was CONVINCED that I could make a name for myself playing competitive Street Fighter III, but then I placed 3rd in a big tournament and gave it up for my current semi-charmed life:

Outside of my modest love of Anime I have a second and even deeper love. A love so deep that is in the very heart of my soul (right next to my love of Romance anime anyway). This love is the competitive Fighting game scene. Ever since I watched the now legendary video of Daigo Umehara's Ken Parry countering Justing Wong's Chun Li Super I have been amazed both by how complex and how beautifully these matches can unfold. Now I compete at any tournament I can go to, recently winning my first ever in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

In terms of my day to day life I am currently a free lance writer following stories in the Video game industry. My goal is to bring fourth the more human stories of the people that are behind the games we love. I write pieces on everything from the long development cycle of Duke Nukem Forever, the relatively low pay and working conditions of Japanese Developers compared to Western Developers, to writing opinion pieces on where I feel games are moving.

Ckrisp's magical recipe book will inspire a fanciful bit of children's fiction one day I'm sure:

Although nothing I do could really qualify as cool enough to be the subject matter of the anime and manga I adore so much, I find some pretty amusing ways to pass my time. I like to pretend to meditate in the mornings, although usually I never get into a blissful state of mind, rather I always seem to imagine my to-do list growing longer by the second. If I'm feeling really ambitious, I'll mix in some yoga poses. When I get a creative burst, I write poems inspired by the color names on sample paint chips, or I'll doodle rabbits in tuxedos falling from a sky bursting with beret-shaped clouds.

I love to write letters and illustrate them with crayon and colored pencil drawings. There's nothing like sending or receiving a long, whimsical letter. Even if such a method of communication is pretty archaic, it has a certain beauty which e-mails and texts don't (though I like to send those too).

I also regularly go to a stable and ride horses. The horses at my stable have a good sense of humor, and while they make me feel like the clumsiest creature alive, they also remind me papers, classes, and work aren't the only important things.

And on the weekends, when I'm not riding, writing, drawing, meditating, or twisting myself into funny positions, I love to bake. Cookies, cakes, you name it. I sort of envision myself a collector of recipes (like a card game of sorts) and every recipe I've conquered goes into a slowly growing folder, which I hope will eventually become an immense magical volume of which I am the master and my future children are the admirers/apprentices of.

Not exactly immensely exciting, but it's plenty enough action for me.

My best friend in middle school's parents were archeologists. One time I crashed his parents' Jeep in a deep ditch next to a prominent historical site. I was 14. True story! Now on to Jessica:

Ha! I knew I had to respond to this question because I have the best job in the world! I'm an archaeologist. Yep, really. And I have the fedora to prove it. Fortune and glory, kid. I have been on excavations in South America, including one in which we discovered multiple human remains, I've been to Machu Picchu, and inside Stonehenge at dawn. While studying in London for my master's degree in Public Archaeology (specializing in education and outreach), I was lucky enough to work with the British Museum! It was absolutely the best year of my life. My husband is also an archaeologist, and is currently working on his PhD in Industrial Archaeology and Heritage Management (big words basically meaning he studies old rusty factories and the people who worked in them). We're big nerds together. I'm currently in the market for a nice museum job where I can share my passion for history with the public. Other than being archaeologists, I enjoy horseback riding and my husband fences. With swords. I always wanted a man who could fight with a sword.

Melissa's Graphic Design-Fu is strong:

That's actually a tough question; I feel like everything I do outside of anime fandom has in some way been touched by my love of anime and Japanese culture. But aside from being a huge otaku, I'm a graphic design student at a public liberal arts school in the heart of Dixie. As nerdy as it is, I love graphic design just about as much as I love anime (and I love graphic design in the anime industry even more). My specialty is identity and packaging design, which basically means I design A LOT of logos. I like to be involved on campus, so several of the clubs I'm in have benefitted from having a graphic design student in the group. Even simple flyer design is fun to me!

It's really hard to put into words, but I absolutely LOVE graphic design and find myself unconsciously doing it, whether it's just designing random personal logos or posters, it seems I'm always designing. So much so that I've helped my friend start up a custom screen printing business, We Get Shirt Done, to give quality design and custom t-shirts to individuals and clubs on our campus at an affordable price. So I guess when I'm not designing for class, clubs, or clients, I'm hard at work in the screen printing studio!

Podcastin' Patrick, all podcastin' about with his podcastery:

Outside of anime one of my main interests is in podcasting. I've produced a few, most notably Podcast Ping at http://podcastping.blogspot.com and more recently the Blue Hot Gossip Comedy Show at http://bluehotgossip.blogspot.com.

The main difference between these podcasts and most other podcasts, and the reason I want to mention them, is that they aren't talk. Podcast Ping is poetry and music while Blue Hot Gossip mixes scripted comedy with comedy music. I haven't been doing much with these lately although I am working on the third year of The 13 Days of Halloween which I'll post on the Blue Hot Gossip feed.

I'm not against talk format podcasts and there are many good ones out there, but it seems that the talk format is so common that people think it's the only format. It's fine to do a talk podcast is that's what you're trying to do, but I would like to see more podcasters experimenting with the media.

Of the non-talk podcasts about, many of them are DJ-style music podcasts. Whether you like one or not depends upon your taste in music. There are also a large number of podiobooks available as well as a few short story podcasts. There are also some radio plays about, although searches tend to bring up the same few producers.

One of the downsides to these entertainment-type podcasts is that one often gets very little feedback. Another is that they require a lot of predatory work. It's not just a matter of sitting down and saying whatever is on your mind. Scripts or other written material have to be prepared beforehand. And it still requires editing just like other podcasts.

But despite the work it's an opportunity for artistic expression. So then next time you get someone asking you how to become a voice actor or whatever, tell them to do a podcast.

We'll all be calling you for legal advice one day, Greed1914, just you wait:

Hey Answerman,

Outside of anime, video games, and comics, my time is devoted to law school. I've just started, but I plan on joining a student group devoted to dealing with intellectual property rights. Since copyright infringement is such an important issue for anime companies, I thought, "Why not combine an interest with my schooling?" Maybe someday I'll be able to help out anime and video game companies with legal service, who knows?

I'm still not entirely sure what the point of Pottermore is. It just doesn't sound like something anybody would actually enjoy aside from the Potter-ness. Anyway. Take us out of here, Tweed Pawn!

When I am not watching anime (or losing sleep over drawings), I am plenty busy with being involved with the live action film industry in my city. I also study the history of animation. Did you know that animation started in cave paintings? Or that glass and sand has been used to create beautiful works? I am also busy with presenting lectures on fine arts and animation at this year's Mechacon.

Outside of filmmaking, I work as a volunteer for a Rabbit Rescue and I educate people on proper rabbit care and I help abandoned rabbits (usually former "easter bunnies") find new homes. I also work in my garden, I love to cook and try all sorts of new food ideas, including vegan recipes. My husband and I also try to help our city by working with our church's community services. It's not often I have spare time, but I usually fill it by doing activities that I feel help others. Anime are for those rare long down times when I have the chance to catch up on who is making what series. Sadly, I usually have time for a few episodes unless I intentionally make time to dedicate to an entire series.

Lately, I haven't been able to watch anime in my spare time because of POTTERMORE. (I managed to snag early access)

Thanks for that nice little insight into your lives, guys! Although it's weird to think that I, of all people, have an audience of screenprinting archeologists with law degrees who ride horses and have husbands who fence. I mean I just write and draw stuff, personally.

So, next week! Back into the whole "anime relevant" part of things! I want to know about any significant changes in your mood in regards to this topic:

Now you've got this week's question, and it's time to get answerin'.

For those of you new to Hey, Answerfans!, I'll explain the concept.

Believe it or not, I'm genuinely curious what you think.

That's right; as much as I love the sound of my own voice, I do love to listen to what other people have to say on a subject. I'm finding that over the last few years, the attitudes, reasoning and logic that today's anime fans use eludes, confuses or astounds me; I have so many questions for you, and I'm dying to hear what you have to say in response.

Welcome to Hey, Answerfans!

Basically, we're turning the tables. Each week I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to email me your answer. Be as honest as you can. I'm looking for good answers; not answers I agree with or approve of, but good, thoughtful answers
. People feel passionately about these subjects and I'd like to see that in the responses I get. I'll post the best answers I get, and maybe some of the crappy ones. Sometimes there may only be one or two good ones; sometimes five or more. It all depends on what I get in my inbox! Got it? Pretty simple, right? Start writing those answers and email them to answerman [at] animenewsnetwork dot com.

We do have a few simple ground rules to start with.

Things To Do:

* Be coherent.
* Be thoughtful.
* Be passionate.
* Write as much or as little as you feel you need to to get your point across in the best possible way.

Things Not To Do:

* Respond when the question doesn't apply to you. For instance, if your email response starts with "Well, I don't do whatever you're asking about in the question... " then I'm going to stop reading right there and hit delete.

* Be unnecessarily rude or use a lot of foul language.
* Go off-topic.

And I'm off! Don't forget of course to send any questions and answers and incoherent rants to answerman((at))animenewsnetwork.com! See you all later!

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