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NEWS: Study: New Entry-Level Animators Earn US$9,200 a Year in Japan


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ANN_Bamboo
ANN Contributor


Joined: 05 Jan 2002
Posts: 3903
Location: The OC
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:16 pm Reply with quote
Xavi_ wrote:
Just came here to support @Half Life's view on the matter: I believe that the sole idea of becoming an animator and have their names roll in the credits is enough of a reward for the newcomers (in their minds). Add to this the supply and demand factor and you have the perfect means of legal exploitation.

The mediatic uproar is understandable, but imho it misses the whole picture.


Be that as it may, regardless if people are willing to do this just for the thrill and passion of working on something they love, the least consumers could do is pay for the anime they watch, whether that's via a subscription plan, or the purchase of physical media. Really, that is the least they could do.
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Yause



Joined: 10 Dec 2013
Posts: 97
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:30 pm Reply with quote
To freelance, your skills must be in demand first, which cuts newcomers out of the picture.

The truth is that most individuals at the bottom rung will never advance despite the hours they put in. Those who do either have an innate talent that's quickly noticed (very rare) or they're good at mingling with veterans and approaching them for key animation training during free moments. Otherwise, it's a "use and discard" cycle.
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residentgrigo



Joined: 23 Dec 2007
Posts: 1766
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:40 pm Reply with quote
ANN_Bamboo wrote:
Indeed, if they abandoned eating and sleeping entirely, perhaps they could make $18,000/year [1500 US$ a month].

Nice rebuttal. Yes let´s work for more then "just" 55 hours with no time off.
Quote:
90 Hours a Week and Loving It
by Steve Jobs (his Biography and the Yamazaki manga are amazing but what a monster)

Every time a new "Entry-Level" (so there is an Exit-Level?) animator accepts these kind of conditions and lives out of their parents house till the unenviable replacement by a cheaper machine / chinese child is another loss for the industry as all the later coming talents will have to settle on these kinds of conditions too as a precedent has been set.

To everyone of you who never worked in their life: I worker for about 60 hours a week during my basic military training for a wage of about 400$ a month. I was only 20 at the time and my hair started to turn grey (that stopped though) and my brown skin turned white as chalk. I even cough up blood once and lost consciousness during an exercise so i have no idea how any of the people in the industry are still alive after years of of such conditions. Kojima/Eiichiro Oda can live of 3 hours of sleep per night while being family men (on the side). How are they not dead?
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Yause



Joined: 10 Dec 2013
Posts: 97
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:51 pm Reply with quote
configspace wrote:

Also keep in mind that in most cases, studios are just hired labor. The producers negotiates a fixed price for the animation which forms the budget for the entire show. Except for a small royalty to the director and writer, the studio and staff don't get any money after a show finishes. Their are pros and cons to this. The studio does not have to worry about how well a show does after they're paid. They don't have to worry about being in debt for several years from one or more poor performing shows.


Well, it's actually a slow death over time. Given the competition between studios and the downward price pressure, most studios end up selling their services below cost, so there's long-term debt. The only escape is to invest in productions that turn out profitable (but invest in too many losers and you sink fast).

As to why this happens? So long as there's demand for animation services, there's barely any repercussion to a studio closure, so the industry has little incentive to ensure the survival of any single firm. There's some reconfiguration as the talent (which is always in demand) and producers (valued for their connections to talent) move to different companies or start new ones (often with financial investment by one of the major players, such as Aniplex or Kadokawa). However, the main impact is to the owner, and one middleman is easily swapped for another.
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rizuchan
Collector ExtraordinaireCollector Extraordinaire


Joined: 11 Mar 2007
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Location: Kansas
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:54 pm Reply with quote
configspace wrote:
A boycott will simply shut down smaller studios. It's a tough situation because animation, especially quality animation is already extremely damn expensive as it is at these low rates.

As a person that enjoys anime from smaller studios that wouldn't get much of a chance to be animated otherwise... shutting down a few studios might be exactly what needs to happen.

Animation studios are pushing out 80% crap and are rarely profitable. Of course they're paying their workers crap. To me it seems they should focus on taking time to make stuff that will actually sell instead of throwing crap at a wall every season and hoping some of it sticks.

Not that I'm saying that cutting back on anime production is a magic solution by any means. Heck, at first it will probably be worse by lowering the demand for animators (and therefore lowering wages even more) buuut... focusing on new ways to actually be profitable is a good start.


Last edited by rizuchan on Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tempest_Wing



Joined: 07 Nov 2014
Posts: 305
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:54 pm Reply with quote
Garbage truck collectors in LA make that much in a month.
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Cutiebunny



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 1519
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:59 pm Reply with quote
Just wanted to point out that the word "douga", as used in the article, does not mean an in-between animator. A douga is a drawing, and is the final version of the image before it gets scanned into a computer for coloring and animation.

I like the assumption that that, by raising prices, more of that money will trickle down to the animators. It didn't work for Reganomics in the 1980s, so what makes you think that it work now? Producers and investors would just rake in more money, and if they were interested in garnering more interest in their product, they'd hire some super amazing seiyuu or some popular idol group singer as this would possibly help to generate more sales. Giving more money to animators, especially newbies that no one has ever heard of, would, in the eyes of those holding the purse strings, be considered a waste of funds.

Similar to the subpar wages and health standards experienced in factories at the turn of the 20th century in the U.S., the only way to change things for these animators is to simply pass laws guaranteeing them a livable wage. It's obvious that there is no incentive for the anime companies to pay their employees more as people are still trying to become animators despite the pay and working conditions.
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revolutionotaku



Joined: 19 May 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:06 pm Reply with quote
How much does an independent manga artist make?
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H. Guderian



Joined: 29 Jan 2014
Posts: 1194
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:31 pm Reply with quote
scchan wrote:
Blazingluke wrote:
This is happening because people aren't buying enough full-price anime releases from Bandai, Aniplex, or Pony Canyon. Very Happy


Or other merchandises x_X

Anyway, the way money works in anime industry is really quite ugly. Thin margins, different involving parties take out money at different stages, and not much is left for the studios and not to say its employees.

Really, even Walmart is touting that they are going to raise pay to at least 15 dollars per hour. Animators can use a pay rise, but I am not sure that is feasible unless folks upstream are doing better.


Yeah, people keep making fun of the expensive sets, but we are finally past that recession that started in around '06 when the US market imploded. The pay needs to go up, but I'd rather the pay go up on jobs that exist rather than rebuild an industry from scratch that completely fell apart. I will feel somewhat betrayed if the wages of the workers doesn't start going up.

You know...I wonder if the industry guests will field Wage-related questions at their convention appearances? Worth a short. I want this to be a win-win, and not just some 'make the rich pay for it' magic pill pipedream.
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Usagi-kun



Joined: 03 Jul 2013
Posts: 877
Location: Nashville, TN
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:14 pm Reply with quote
http://www.japantoday.com/smartphone/view/lifestyle/differences-in-business-culture-between-japan-and-west

http://blog.gaijinpot.com/5-strange-quirks-working-japanese-company/

At the very least, this 'pipe dream' is not for the faint at heart. Passion has a hard time filling an empty stomach, but man cannot live by bread alone. (Sorry. Could not resist.)

Hard truth breaks against the rocks. It imprtant to consider that this might be both a cultural and socialogical issue within Japan itself. Work quotas, as well as behaviors within corporate culture might be driving part of this issue.
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reanimator



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 1324
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:30 pm Reply with quote
Cutiebunny wrote:
Just wanted to point out that the word "douga", as used in the article, does not mean an in-between animator. A douga is a drawing, and is the final version of the image before it gets scanned into a computer for coloring and animation.


You're half correct on the word, "Douga". Since you're avid cel drawing collector, it's easy to assume that "Douga" is just finalized drawing before scanning. When you actually look at end credit and from actual work process, a "Douga" artist does both inbetweening and tracing. They have to fill in the blank frame to smooth out the motion as directed by senior animators and trace clean lines with consideration of solid form. Sometimes key animators do inbetweens themselves, but it depends on case by case basis.


Cutiebunny wrote:
Similar to the subpar wages and health standards experienced in factories at the turn of the 20th century in the U.S., the only way to change things for these animators is to simply pass laws guaranteeing them a livable wage. It's obvious that there is no incentive for the anime companies to pay their employees more as people are still trying to become animators despite the pay and working conditions.


Japan has pretty good labor laws too. The problem is that production companies always get low budget for production and can't easily convert new hires as employees with higher pay and benefits required by Japanese laws. Also Japanese animators have been viewed their occupation as fun hobby than work for decades. As they get older and reality set in, most just quit and new people eagerly replaces the quitters. Thus is the labor produced by passion.

Ideally, $500K per episode would be suffice to make everyone happy, but anime production isn't like mainstream shows like The Simpsons or Sponge Bob Squarepants and its niche status doesn't attract everyone who aren't geeks.
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Cutiebunny



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:58 pm Reply with quote
^ No, what I was referring to was this word, 動画. This is 'douga'.

The final character of this word, 画, means 'painting' or 'drawing', in the case of the animation world. You would not call someone this kanji character. Regarding credits, it's sort of the same as movie credits. For example, you would see a make-up artist being listed under 'make-up', but you would still refer to that person as a 'make-up artist'. Same thing here. I would refer to an animator as possibly a douga artist, but I would not call them 'douga'. Yes, it does boil down to semantics and that's what I objected to - calling them 'douga' in lieu of 'douga artist' or something of that nature.

I am well aware that key animators sometimes do in-between work, as I am well aware that character designers and animation directors often work on sequences that they find appealing (or farm them out to friends in the animation business). For example, despite having no other involvement in the project, Hiromi Kato was asked to work on a particular sequence in Attack on Titan because a friend working on the production thought he'd be a perfect fit for it.

Part of the reason why there is no incentive for pay to increase at the bottom is because many of those animators who are at the top feel that it is a "right of passage" for these new animators. They experienced low pay, horrible working conditions and long hours for years before they moved their way up the pecking order. It's sort of a "I did it, you should too" thing. Unfair, yes, but unless some laws are passed to guarantee these artists a fair wage, neither those in charge of the production's finances nor the top animators on the production seem inclined to change things.
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enurtsol



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:22 pm Reply with quote
The rest of the anime production committee got to share more of the revenue to the workers who actually animate it.
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reanimator



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 1324
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:53 pm Reply with quote
Cutiebunny wrote:
Part of the reason why there is no incentive for pay to increase at the bottom is because many of those animators who are at the top feel that it is a "right of passage" for these new animators. They experienced low pay, horrible working conditions and long hours for years before they moved their way up the pecking order. It's sort of a "I did it, you should too" thing. Unfair, yes, but unless some laws are passed to guarantee these artists a fair wage, neither those in charge of the production's finances nor the top animators on the production seem inclined to change things.


I'm not disagreeing that senior animators' personal experience is one reason why new animators have to go through hard time. It's pretty much the survival of the fittest. With all these production studios competing for money and attention from kids, handful of geeks, and potential geeks, only the 1% hopefuls make the cut as fully employable artist. That being said, even if a law is passed for better treatment and pay for animators, they shouldn't ignore possible negative outcomes and side effects caused by change.

Even if things got better, does it mean animation business will do fine? We don't know. For one thing, various sponsors may drop out due to higher cost of animation production. When there isn't enough sponsors, less animation will be produced and less animators will be needed. Also production studios will be reluctant to recruit new talents until older artists retire.

If history tells anything, Toei animators in 1960's went on strike and won. However, the studio didn't recruit any new people for almost two decades. Luckily, Japan had newly formed medium of TV animation and subcontract works from the U.S. to keep animation production going.

I'm not saying that animators should suffer under decades-long labor condition. However, without balanced approach to business and labor management, damage caused by careless action will be irreversible to both the business and labor.
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Egan Loo



Joined: 25 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:09 am Reply with quote
Cutiebunny wrote:
^ No, what I was referring to was this word, 動画. This is 'douga'.

The final character of this word, 画, means 'painting' or 'drawing', in the case of the animation world. You would not call someone this kanji character. Regarding credits, it's sort of the same as movie credits. For example, you would see a make-up artist being listed under 'make-up', but you would still refer to that person as a 'make-up artist'. Same thing here. I would refer to an animator as possibly a douga artist, but I would not call them 'douga'. Yes, it does boil down to semantics and that's what I objected to - calling them 'douga' in lieu of 'douga artist' or something of that nature.


This article did not refer to the animators directly as "dōga." It referred to their work (in-between) as "dōga." The study's US$9,200 salary statistic was for "doga tantō no seisakusha" (動画担当の制作者) — literally, the production staff members who handle in-between animation.
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