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NEWS: Trigger Pays Former Employee Unpaid Overtime




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cookiemanstah



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 287
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:47 am Reply with quote
holy SHIT, i never pegged Trigger as the villainous type to abuse employees
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AJ (LordNikon)



Joined: 14 Apr 2009
Posts: 370
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:55 am Reply with quote
cookiemanstah wrote:
holy SHIT, i never pegged Trigger as the villainous type to abuse employees


They might not be. Payroll problem jump to "villianous" or "employee abuse" big leap, yes?!

Companies, HR, payroll can get things wrong. It is harder when tracking hours for hourly workers than salary employees. In several decades I work for Kyodo, payroll has made mistakes on pay, shorting me sometimes. Payroll issues are not uncommon anywhere.
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Kougeru



Joined: 13 May 2008
Posts: 5014
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:23 am Reply with quote
AJ (LordNikon) wrote:
cookiemanstah wrote:
holy SHIT, i never pegged Trigger as the villainous type to abuse employees


They might not be. Payroll problem jump to "villianous" or "employee abuse" big leap, yes?!

Companies, HR, payroll can get things wrong. It is harder when tracking hours for hourly workers than salary employees. In several decades I work for Kyodo, payroll has made mistakes on pay, shorting me sometimes. Payroll issues are not uncommon anywhere.


If it was a mistake like that they shouldn't have had to go through so much work to get paid
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chronos02



Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 234
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:00 am Reply with quote
cookiemanstah wrote:
holy SHIT, i never pegged Trigger as the villainous type to abuse employees


There's nothing really villainous about this, every single studio has this problem, but there are few who go forward and actually try to get paid for the overtime and the whole issue with flexible hours. Most of these studios barely make enough to cover costs (including employee salaries), if they try to pay every single extra because of overtime, and they make the "flexible" hours into a more humane working hour shift, they will be forced to close.

The employees not getting paid correctly and fairly, and the hours being that flexible is just the last of the consequences of a very complex and convoluted niche market (safe for Toei and a few other studios), so trying to shift the blame on the studios is kind of cute and shows a serious lack of understanding of what's going on. The studios are trying to survive, because different from other businesses, they're mostly a labour of love, a place to work on what you like and to live off of it, and as we all know very well, things like these don't usually bring a lot of money, it's labour intensive, takes a lot of time and precise work, and involves a lot of people. This doesn't justify not paying their employees when they should, but they really can't do a lot more. Ideally they'd hire someone to manage the accounting, HHRR, and a few other things to keep things afloat, but they can't and end up doing those things in-house with not that much know-how, resulting in unpaid taxes, wrong calculations, getting paid less for a job than the market value, etc. The end result is them having few money to spare and a lot of people to pay, plus competing against other studios that might pay even less than them and having more hours to create stuff, which makes them less attractive to production committees.
It's even a lot more complex and convoluted than I'm writing here, and I'm most likely not accounting for many other things.

Anyway, feeling that the studios are "bad" and the employees "good" is really sad, there's no good or bad, only a cluster-fudge of stupidity that has been dragging on for more than 50 years and no one is willing to fix because things are "fine" as they are. The studios are the least to blame here, even if they share some of it.

And don't get me wrong, these practices are illegal, and should be condemned. But they do them to survive, as lame as the excuse is, there little else that they can do (and having certain individuals within these studios embezzle money makes it much worse).


Last edited by chronos02 on Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:12 am; edited 2 times in total
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Villain-chan



Joined: 18 May 2020
Posts: 12
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:02 am Reply with quote
Kougeru wrote:
AJ (LordNikon) wrote:
cookiemanstah wrote:
holy SHIT, i never pegged Trigger as the villainous type to abuse employees


They might not be. Payroll problem jump to "villianous" or "employee abuse" big leap, yes?!

Companies, HR, payroll can get things wrong. It is harder when tracking hours for hourly workers than salary employees. In several decades I work for Kyodo, payroll has made mistakes on pay, shorting me sometimes. Payroll issues are not uncommon anywhere.


If it was a mistake like that they shouldn't have had to go through so much work to get paid
^ This. Mistakes get made, sure, but clearly something happened, whether it was the employee, Trigger itself, a system error, someone screwed up soemthin. Either way, its over and done with, don't think anyone should really worry about this lone incident. If it happens again though, then people should start to rethink on this matter
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Piexouar



Joined: 19 Jun 2020
Posts: 6
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:05 am Reply with quote
I'm surprised people are surprised. Who woulda thought that the studio people keep running from turns out to be a shit place to be at.

This quote comes to my mind: https://twitter.com/dannyothello/status/1030611533477421056
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cookiemanstah



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 287
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:15 am Reply with quote
chronos02 wrote:

There's nothing really villainous about this, every single studio has this problem

not kyoani
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chronos02



Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 234
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:30 am Reply with quote
cookiemanstah wrote:
chronos02 wrote:

There's nothing really villainous about this, every single studio has this problem

not kyoani


You forget Kyoani isn't just a studio...
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cookiemanstah



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 287
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:35 am Reply with quote
chronos02 wrote:


You forget Kyoani isn't just a studio...


erm, what?
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hooliganj



Joined: 03 Jul 2004
Posts: 104
Location: Longhorn Central
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:41 am Reply with quote
chronos02 wrote:
There's nothing really villainous about this, every single studio has this problem, but there are few who go forward and actually try to get paid for the overtime and the whole issue with flexible hours. Most of these studios barely make enough to cover costs (including employee salaries), if they try to pay every single extra because of overtime, and they make the "flexible" hours into a more humane working hour shift, they will be forced to close.

The employees not getting paid correctly and fairly, and the hours being that flexible is just the last of the consequences of a very complex and convoluted niche market (safe for Toei and a few other studios), so trying to shift the blame on the studios is kind of cute and shows a serious lack of understanding of what's going on. The studios are trying to survive, because different from other businesses, they're mostly a labour of love, a place to work on what you like and to live off of it, and as we all know very well, things like these don't usually bring a lot of money, it's labour intensive, takes a lot of time and precise work, and involves a lot of people. This doesn't justify not paying their employees when they should, but they really can't do a lot more. Ideally they'd hire someone to manage the accounting, HHRR, and a few other things to keep things afloat, but they can't and end up doing those things in-house with not that much know-how, resulting in unpaid taxes, wrong calculations, getting paid less for a job than the market value, etc. The end result is them having few money to spare and a lot of people to pay, plus competing against other studios that might pay even less than them and having more hours to create stuff, which makes them less attractive to production committees.
It's even a lot more complex and convoluted than I'm writing here, and I'm most likely not accounting for many other things.

Anyway, feeling that the studios are "bad" and the employees "good" is really sad, there's no good or bad, only a cluster-fudge of stupidity that has been dragging on for more than 50 years and no one is willing to fix because things are "fine" as they are. The studios are the least to blame here, even if they share some of it.

And don't get me wrong, these practices are illegal, and should be condemned. But they do them to survive, as lame as the excuse is, there little else that they can do (and having certain individuals within these studios embezzle money makes it much worse).

The problem, I think, stems in part from the fact that these companies think of themselves as niche, but their output and reach has grown so much in the last couple of decades that they aren't any more. We have twice as many shows coming out now as we did a couple of decades ago, and 10 times as many as we did before the 90s bubble. But we haven't seen a similar increase in the number of people employed making these shows happen. The same staff can be seen working on project after project - since most of them get paid based on how much work they produce, it's a way to make a living, but drawing key frames for 60-80 hours a week with no overtime is a terrible way to live, even if you are doing what you love.

So, take the problem up the chain and try to identify a source for the problem. Studios can only pay so much? That's only true if you accept that their current business model is valid. Toei makes it work by keeping up a handful of major hits (One Piece, Dragonball, PreCure, Digimon) and using some of their profits to try out new shows looking for the next big thing. KyoAni has found success in managing their entire brand from top to bottom - books, posters, figures, toys, ads, and anime, all produced in-house - and using their cheaper publishing market to experiment with new IPs.

But most studios don't have the brand power of Toei or the business savvy of KyoAni. They spend money on dozens of works without ever finding that massive hit, and don't ever get to a point where they can budget for a humane salary. And the strategy of spamming the market hoping for a hit turns into a double-edged sword, because the massive outpouring of new shows makes it harder than ever for anything but the most impressive to find an audience (which is the reason for studios' increasing reliance on streaming platforms to bring their work to a wider audience - JP TV ad revenue just doesn't pay the bills).

But then there's Madhouse - the little studio that could. Three directors and a producer, tired of working on projects just for the money, started their own studio so they could make whatever they wanted. And it worked, largely because they were all incredibly talented, but also because in 1981 the industry was pretty small, and their brand of new & different was perfect for churning out hit after hit. It worked, and to this day the studio drifts from show to show, throwing money at projects and getting enough back to move on to the next, with the occasional hit show bankrolling the whole process.

If I had to boil the problem with the industry down into one over-simplified statement, it's that every small studio wants to replicate Madhouse. They all want to make whatever they want, and have it turn into a hit. They don't want to spend 90% of the company's resources cultivating a couple of mega hits like Toei (or Sunrise, at this point), nor do they want to become a cottage industry working on a couple of painstakingly researched projects per year (KyoAni). What they want is to make their weird, off-beat otaku fantasy, and occasionally snap up a popular license and toss it out on the market to make some quick cash.

For now this is working well enough to keep the lights on, largely due to the popularity of anime on the international market bringing new money into the system. But all that cash is propping up an overburdened system that was never designed to sustain this level of output. It wouldn't surprise me if the next anime bubble burst sees the collapse of several studios, and a complete rethinking of how the business side of this works.

Anyway, I rambled quite a bit. For a conclusion - underpaid staff is wrong, but fixing it would require a long-overdue overhaul of the whole system. But, while unions can represent individual employees or advocate for change, ultimately the power to fix the problem is in the hands of the studio owners.

And yes, KyoAni is a great example of what can be achieved by people with both a penchant for business and empathy for their staff.
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Sailor Sedna



Joined: 08 Jan 2015
Posts: 891
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:22 pm Reply with quote
Sounds like too little, too late for me.

I don't trust Trigger anyway, found out on some Tumblr blog there's other skeletons in the closets.
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chronos02



Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 234
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:58 pm Reply with quote
hooliganj wrote:
SNIP


Everything you said would make sense if the studios themselves were the ones behind the titles, when in reality it's the project committees and other businesses that hire the studios for a project, with a single payment. In the end, studios are the same as workers in their own studios, but on a larger scale. While it's true some do manage to create their own projects, most studios are hired to do a specific project and will see nothing of the revenue. Original studios projects are few, and out of every anime aired in a single cour, there's maybe 1 or 2, if at all, not counting larger businesses like Kyoani and Toei. And the main issue isn't even with the "main" studios, but with the smaller ones being hired for a few cuts by the studios that were hired for the project, which effectively lowers even more the amount of money they can pay for inbetweens, less important cuts, backgrounds, or whatever they send them.

As some have said before, this could, in theory (and quite a crazy one if I have to be honest) be fixed if the studios could see a cut of the revenue, but this isn't going to happen and would most likely fix jack. In the end, the government will have to intervene and establish minimum salaries or god knows what, but they're going to take even more time to react, and their "fix" will most likely be worse than the problem, but only time will tell.
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xxmsxx



Joined: 06 Sep 2017
Posts: 17
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:35 pm Reply with quote
chronos02 wrote:
In the end, the government will have to intervene and establish minimum salaries or god knows what, but they're going to take even more time to react, and their "fix" will most likely be worse than the problem, but only time will tell.


Governments tends to be reactive, not proactive. They intervene when the problems gets "too big". But it is never "too big". Right now, the Japanese government pours lots of money into this soft power gold mine, but we have not seen it improve the working conditions at the ground level. The money tends to go towards the promotion/marketing side, as opposed to the production side. It goes to show that as long as the industry is producing anime, any amount under any working condition, there is no incentive for the government to intervene at all. Just sitting here and waiting for the government to change the rules won't change the rules. Robust lobbying is, therefore, very warranted.

If I remember correctly, Osamu Tezuka was the person who started the weekly broadcast anime formula. He was able to work so much and draw so many frames given his (perhaps unhealthy) dedication to his job. The weekly broadcast formula was never meant to be sustainable for anyone else other than him. However, it made so much money that everyone started copying this method of commercialization. This is, perhaps, the root cause of the current state of anime industry. If people inside and outside of the industry refuse to overhaul the entire process Osamu Tezuka created, the industry will not change for the better.
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Horsefellow



Joined: 01 Jan 2020
Posts: 82
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:38 pm Reply with quote
cookiemanstah wrote:
not kyoani


I heard they were better about it, but were they good or perfect though? I imagine every company has it's disputes and issues.

Tbf this doesn't surprise me about Trigger. They've only had like 2 or 3 genuine hits. Kill la Kill and Gridman. Everything else has sold pretty average or below average. Not sure how much money they pull in.
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Top Gun



Joined: 28 Sep 2007
Posts: 3561
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:36 pm Reply with quote
The unfortunate reality here is that the anime industry's output has grown to an unsustainable level, but when (not if) the bubble bursts and it does undergo the necessary contraction, a lot of these animators and smaller studios are going to inevitably lose their jobs/close. As several people have said, the real root of the problem is that there's little to no revenue-sharing in the industry, so the actual studios producing the anime don't get a sniff of the record profits that have been generated over the past few years. I don't know that anything will change for the better unless someone figures out a way to disrupt the whole production-committee system.
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