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


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Kadmos1



Joined: 08 May 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:57 am Reply with quote
I seriously think the Japanese equivalent of OSHA should do work reform for such conditions.
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scchan



Joined: 05 Oct 2009
Posts: 143
Location: Exeter, UK
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:38 am Reply with quote
rizuchan wrote:
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.


Mergers and consolidation of the business may sound like a rational idea - till the next "I have an (irrational) dream" person come out to start his/her own studio or consumers are screaming "MONOPOLY" and "Death to high price!" to the consolidation .

Really the story isn't all that different if you look at airlines, music production (from rock bands to classical music troupes), circuses, etc:

Coolness perception + consumers who want sensational but cheap products = weapons of corporate finance and business destruction
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Kadmos1



Joined: 08 May 2014
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Location: In Phoenix but has an 85308 ZIP
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:41 pm Reply with quote
revolutionotaku wrote:
How much does an independent manga artist make?


While I don't know the avg. amount, lookt at the late Feb. '13 ANN article called "Say Hello to Black Jack's Sato Earns 100 Million Yen Since Allowing Secondary Copyright Use". With the current exchange rate, that's $840,661.
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MrBonk



Joined: 23 Jan 2015
Posts: 190
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 8:57 pm Reply with quote
Is it strange at all to think, that Anime could be more profitable in home video sales in Japan if the prices weren't so god damn high?

Pressing discs isn't exactly expensive these days. And dont' you think more fans in Japan would be more inclined to purchase a series they like on DVD/BD if it was actually affordable? Instead of being sidelined where only Otaku with the $$$ to spend on absurdly high priced releases make the bottom line with less sales?

There's a lot of people in Japan after all.


Isn't Manga only like 5/600 yen ish a tankoban?

It seems like common news that you hear about a LN or a Manga selling a ton of copies.
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reanimator



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 1324
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:19 pm Reply with quote
@MrBonk

Lower disc price in Japan isn't equal to better revenue. ANN's Justin Sevakis explained it better.

animenewsnetwork.com/feature/2012-03-07

Quote:
Otaku of all kinds (not just anime fans) started buying the videotapes and laserdiscs, and they bought them at those high prices that were intended just for video stores. There was no reason to lower it. In fact, there were a few experiments to drop the price to a more affordable amount, but that usually resulted in a slight increase in sales -- not enough to make up for the drop in revenue.


Reality is, a lot of anime are made for fans of original materials and serve as fancy informercial to sell more Manga and LN and toys and what-not's.

Going back to the subject of animator getting low pay, there should be a limit on exploiting young people's passion. If the inbetween animating job is easy and has relaxed schedule, then people wouldn't mind working for less. After all, it's a "hobby", not a "job" to them.

At current situation where the job requires people to spend long hours and tight deadline to produce well-made drawings, it doesn't make sense not giving decent compensation. This is not 1960's and 70's when Japanese animation drawings could get away with crudeness and off-model. It's like asking American TV animators to draw like Disney quality, but paying less than minimum wage.
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MrBonk



Joined: 23 Jan 2015
Posts: 190
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:41 am Reply with quote
Either way, as long as people are willing to let themselves be taken advantage of for slave labor wages out of passion. It will continue to exist.

If it lessens their bottom line, why would they give 2 shits or not? A few people want more money? fudge those guys, fire'em. There will be 10 more starry eyed kids out there willing to take their place. Or as everyone else has mentioned. Outsourcing.

The same kind of stuff is starting to happen in the VFX industry in hollywood. As if they are any short on revenue on the hundreds of millions to billions they make on their movies. People who've spent their whole life perfecting their craft having the rug pulled out from underneath so they can outsource to India or China to enhance that bottom line.

It's not like they could pay actors who get millions and millions any less right?

Ugh.
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leafy sea dragon



Joined: 27 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:48 am Reply with quote
Regarding the VFX business, there was also the case with Life of Pi, where the studio found a loophole that allowed them to not have to pay the VFX team. That put the VFX company, Rhythm & Hues, out of business and every VFX person who worked there out of a job. This led to protests and a boycott at the Academy Awards that year (which is why the sound went out during the broadcast).

It is way worse than outsourcing, and it's becoming something of a trend now--VFX people are in a really tough predicament, as any work they do is now either done for way less because of the Life of Pi incident, as they're scared of the major studios doing the same thing to them.

Paulo27 wrote:
For 10k+ discs sales we're looking at 5k+ discs per episode, usually, which translates to (assuming ~$60 per disc) at least ~$300k per episode, now, obviously, the price to make an episode varies a lot and the only people who know how much it costs are the ones who handle the money but rumor has it it's usually around ~$100k, I don't know about you but I think considering all that ~$300k will be plenty, especially when you consider that if an episode did cost ~$300k then the industry would be a lot worst considering most shows don't make those 5k disc sales. Obviously this is just speculation, I don't really know what I'm talking about but you'd think Aniplex and such would need to pay $9.2k to their animators when they work 11 hours a day.


Wow, that's actually pretty cheap, considering an episode of The Simpsons costs well over US$1 million to make.

I think the answer, then, lies in how shows are sold to companies. Perhaps Japan could benefit in adopting the American system where networks buy episodes directly for a particular price, either by episode, by season, or by multiple seasons at a time. That money is what the studios get, plain as day. Then, the network makes the moeny back by advertisements during the show. If The Simpsons can get at least a million dollars' of advertising revenue each time it airs (though it may be somewhat lower due to Simpsons merchandise), I don't see a reason why this system couldn't work in Japan too (though scaled down for the smaller population of Japan compared to the United States).

Then again, with the production committee system, that's not going away any time soon.

Tempest_Wing wrote:
Garbage truck collectors in LA make that much in a month.


Yeah, this guy in my neighborhood makes a living driving a garbage truck around and collecting trash, and he can afford a new BMW every three years or so.

Cutiebunny wrote:
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.


This is also assuming there will be greater profits by increasing prices. Unless people are buying the item because it's expensive, like rare items or high-end cars, there will be a peak of profit at a certain price for any particular item. Make it more expensive, and there will be a sharp dropoff in sales and your profits will be smaller; make it less expensive, and you may get more buyers but it won't make up for the lower profit margin. The strategy for any company is to figure out what price that may be.

The ideal price will be pretty low if you have competitors who offer a functionally identical product or service, such as pineapples or taxi rides (and is why Uber is wrecking the current taxi services). For something like anime, it will be higher as each company outputs a different product for different tastes, but simply making the prices higher won't necessarily equate to more money coming in, especially if it passes that peak.

reanimator wrote:
It's like asking American TV animators to draw like Disney quality, but paying less than minimum wage.


That's what they're already doing--a lot of grunt animators for western animation, if the show is not outsourced to some other country, are coming from places like CalArts, which is best known for a Disney-like style. I don't know how much they're being paid, and while I'm sure it's more than Japanese animators, it's still not that much.
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aereus



Joined: 08 Jun 2010
Posts: 531
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:37 am Reply with quote
MrBonk wrote:
Is it strange at all to think, that Anime could be more profitable in home video sales in Japan if the prices weren't so god damn high?


Adding to what reanimator posted from the Sevakis article: The US market already tried this, and 2/3 of it went bankrupt if you didn't know. Bandai? Gone. Pioneer/Geneon? Gone. CPM? Gone. ADV? Gone (Yes, I know they gamed bankruptcy court to steal off with their good licenses to reform as Sentai) Etc.

The pricepoint on it in the US right now is actually a lot closer to what it was in the early 2000s. And Aniplex is doing very well for itself selling regular editions for $40 a pop and LE for $75.

Manga can't be compared at all. Each series only has like 3-4 people involved besides the editor. And the bulk of their pay comes from volume sales royalties, otherwise they get paid peanuts. And the sales volumes overall are on an entirely different scale.
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HeeroTX



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 2046
Location: Austin, TX
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:44 pm Reply with quote
leafy sea dragon wrote:
I think the answer, then, lies in how shows are sold to companies. Perhaps Japan could benefit in adopting the American system where networks buy episodes directly for a particular price, either by episode, by season, or by multiple seasons at a time. That money is what the studios get, plain as day. Then, the network makes the moeny back by advertisements during the show. If The Simpsons can get at least a million dollars' of advertising revenue each time it airs (though it may be somewhat lower due to Simpsons merchandise), I don't see a reason why this system couldn't work in Japan too (though scaled down for the smaller population of Japan compared to the United States).

Multiple problems with that:
#1. Japanese TV doesn't really do "syndication" like we do. You get a show once, and then you're on to the next thing. It's much easier to make back money on a hit (like Simpsons) when you can reuse the episodes over AND OVER (the exceptions are VERY rare)
#2. Japanese TV is a WASTELAND of live variety shows already, anime is only like a couple of hours a day (if that, on average). Make the TV stations pay significantly more money for the episodes and they'll just drop anime for their talking heads. (see: the treatment of anime from: Cartoon Network, SciFi, NickToons, etc.)
#3. Anime (and Japanese TV in general) usually runs less commercials than the average American show. There are ways around this, and one can argue that you can even cut the cost of anime further if you ADD commercials, but viewer impact would be a question.

@MrBonk
As others have said, lowering prices does not mean more disc sales. Outside of everything else noted, in the major cities (like Tokyo) space is at a HUGE premium. Otaku are willing to construct carefully crafted storage of their dics media, but the average Japanese consumer likely does not (and will not) own a lot of DVDs/BDs.
Here's an article about a guy living in a "micro-studio" (275 sqft) apartment in NYC. It talks about it like its amazing, that is NORMAL in Japan. And the guy even talks about how part of why it works is because he doesn't "accumulate stuff".
EDIT: (oops, link): http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/18/nation/la-na-tiny-houses-20120913
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Hameyadea



Joined: 23 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 1:18 am Reply with quote
I just read an interesting article by Kotaku on the matter that included some comments from animators.
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reanimator



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 1324
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 11:57 pm Reply with quote
Hameyadea wrote:
I just read an interesting article by Kotaku on the matter that included some comments from animators.


Just to add, if anyone who can or willing to read Japanese JANICA report, all of the animation staff comments are in page 75 to 100. Other pages are mostly graphs and pie charts.

JANICA 2015 Survery report:

http://www.janica.jp/survey/survey2015Report.pdf
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