The cartoons on this page were drawn by Sam Cobean, former Disney-Universal-Screen Gems storyman now a T/4 in the US Army. In addition to his work in The New Yorker, Sam’s drawings are published by Mademoiselle, Colliers, Saturday Evening Post and assorted advertisements. Cobean told us his cartoons are also appearing in an OWI exhibit in Paris and in the gent’s rooms in a number of Third Ave. bars.
With the vacation period so close, members should make arrangements for an early payment of dues and fines so that all money matters are settled by vacation time. At Terrytoons some members are consistently in arrears. Until now they have been notified to help avoid the $2.00 fine, but henceforth, no notice will be given, and the fine will be applied automatically as the Brotherhood constitution orders.
Letter from Wm. M. Weiss, Vice-President, Terrytoon, Inc.:
Screen Cartoonists Local 1461
800 Riverside Dr., NY, NY
Attention of Mr. Pepe Ruiz, Business Agent.
In reply to your letter of recent date please be advised that we are willing to extend the present contract under the same terms and conditions for a year from the expiration date. Please acknowledge receipt of this letter indicating your acceptance or rejection of this off.
Very truly yours,
(s) Wm. M. Weiss
(Registered Mail Return Receipt Requested)
And our answer:
271 North Avenue
New Rochelle, NY
Attention of Mr. Wm. M. Weiss, Vice President
In view of the position expressed by the Terry Unit and the General Membership at the 11 June meeting in New Rochelle, the Executive Board last night has unanimously agree to accept only a contract similar to that originally proposed to you. We would appreciate you setting an early date for a meeting with our Negotiating Committee and Attorney to discuss this matter in full.
In answer to your inquiry, the address to which all union mail should be addressed is 800 Riverside Drive, New York 32 NY.
Very truly yours,
Screen Cartoonists Local 1461
(s) Pepe Ruiz
War Labor Board approval on the Willard contract will be delayed a week or two because the request for proration of the vacation time on a one day per month basis has forced the Board to reconsider its policy on this point. We may also get a maximum of four weeks severance pay on a one day basis. Those clauses are a great improvement over other contracts in the industry and both may be approved.
At Famous the dispute case over our contract was certified to the Board on June 21. The hearing will probably take place before the vacation period.
Being a union member entails certain responsibilities in return for the benefits that the union gives. One of these responsibilities is the exercising of common sense when speaking to the employer on union matters.
The union does not take the position of discouraging chats with the employer. There is a wide range of subjects that might be discussed in such conversations. If the subject starts weering toward union matters, however, then it is sensible to realize that they can speak freely and then have their Agent or Lawyer carry their thoughts to the employer. It is peculiar sensation to discover that you have said something at a meeting only to find that a thoughtless member has distorted or misinterpreted your thoughts and then has proceeded to discuss your opinions freely with the employer.
A union exists for the mutual benefit of all its members. And even though it is sometimes slow in attaining its objectives, it nevertheless is in there trying. It has to, because it is really made up of you, and you, and you.
So protect yourself and your fellow employees by not discussing union matters with the employer.
A GI friend of ours asked us whether we could get him the credit list for those responsible for The Three Caballeros. He mentioned how hard it was to find out, with the flash they pass in front of you, who animated or wrote the story of a cartoon. Our answer was that in one reeler there was not much you could add. However, his complaint was that even in full length cartoons our producers seem to be too conservative when the time came to give screen credit.
Actually, we don’t know what can be done about it. We are sure the Producers are conscious of the problem, but incidentally, why don’t all cartoon producers give full credit to the different departments like Disney does?
The Three Caballeros screen credit
In the instant case, there is no showing that the employees failed scrupulously to observe all the terms of their contract so far as affiliation with another labor organization was concerned. It was the Producers and not the Employees who failed to observe these provisions. This failure persisted over a long period of time and in the face of repeated importunities by the employees. It even persisted beyond and in spite of the recommendation of the War Labor Board arbitrator…It was only after this lengthy process that the strike occurred which the Producers now claim breached the very same contract, which they themselves had refused to observe…That the employees were willing to arbitrate and that the Producers were not is strongly indicated by the conduct of each with respect to War Labor Board Arbitrator Tongue.The Set Decorators did not strike because the Producers refused to change provisions of a contract. They struck because the Producers refused to act in conformity with a clear provision of the contract.
This was originally delivered in a weird codec, that may explain why there was no audio. I’m sure there’s an aiff on a DVD somewhere.
Here is the visualization of the board we posted on Friday.
We did seven little animated inserts after a Hirschfeld illustration for Carol Channing: Larger Than Life which premiered at the TriBeCa Film Festival yesterday.
Very often we’ll screen lots of different cuts on these sorts of projects, sometimes sitting in the editing room to offer thoughts on the overall structure and content of the film. By the time of the premiere, it might be possible to recite the film line for line.
In this case, we pretty much stuck to our sequence only screening a very early cut. So it was like seeing the film for the first time.
This is a rough storyboard Brian did for a sequence in the PBS documentary series Make ‘Em Laugh directed by Michael Kantor.
It parallels the opening sequence we made for the episode which illustrates classic situation comedy tropes.
By the end of the episode, reality shows are suggested to be a replacement to the sitcom -at least in terms of popularity.
We’d rather watch untalented people make fools of themselves than watch great comedians like Jackie Gleason.
This is also when I first heard of Teela Tequila.
So you can learn something new on every job.
We used a pretty stiff photo cut out style here.
We have limited material to use, basically a single photo for each character.
That meant the animation would need to behave like traditional under camera cut outs.
PBS asked me write a brief on the creative process of the Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides title design to attach to an awards submission.
They wanted it in first person singular, which I find a little difficult when talking about production. They also needed it under 100 words. This is my first draft, it’s a little longer:
A brief editorial.
I try not to editorialize too much.
We regularly get contacted by “filmmakers” looking to add animation or graphics to their piece. It’s understood that independent artists -those making short films especially -are fairly tight on cash. Animation, though, is a time consuming process that involves expertise, capital, and years of training. These things have monetary value. That said, we’ve (almost) never turned away a project that was good for budgetary reasons. As long as there’s a budget to be discussed.
There are other forms of payment in addition to cash considerations -after all, there needs to be an exchange of considerations for any contract to be valid. A primary additional consideration is credit. Credit for the work, not your MasterCard (though I wouldn’t turn that down). The size and placement of the credit is a payment of sorts, about 1000 times less valuable than the lowest hourly rate but it’s something.
“For your reel” is not a form of payment. It’s hardly worth addressing it’s soooooooo not a form of payment.
The one thing which bugs me most, and we’ve been hearing this a lot is “exposure” in lieu of greenbacks as a form of payment.
The obvious problem with that, of course, is “what? huh?”. If someone can’t even afford to pay the people on their film exactly what sort of “exposure” will it be getting? Will it be good as the network television work that we do? Or the feature films? Or making something on our own dime and putting it online? How, exactly, I am benefiting (i. e. getting paid) by this “exposure”?
Deeper than that, the promise of “exposure” shows a fundamental misunderstanding of animators in general (and hints, by extension, at a lack of understanding of the process). The promise of “exposure” is attractive to Donald Trump types who love the sound of their own voice, even if they’re parroting vapid lines. The animator who seeks that sort of thing is very rare -that’s why they gravitate towards the anonymity of the lightbox or desktop.
So, really, “exposure” is no form of payment at all and if that’s what someone is offering their offer is, in fact, a net negative considering the greater “exposure” an artist would get if the committed the time to the creation of their own work instead of using it to make a gift for an aspirational entrepreneur.
With this issue “Top Cel” goes formal. There is nothing too good for our readers. Photo-offset reproduction… Pictures… and the usual typo-graphical errors.
We admit the effect is a bizarre one. Something resembling a bowery bum with a silk topper. But we love our little paper and our readers write that they do too.
Our thanks go to Jim Carmichael, Geo. Giroux and Morey Reden for their drawings on this page. And we take this occasion to ask for more cartoons. They don’t have to be carefully rendered. They don’t even have to be clean. Just make them plentiful and we’ll do the rest.
At our last General Membership meeting our yearly elections took place and the following members were elected:
President: Orestes Calpini
Vice President: Ralph Pearson
Treasurer: Dave Tendlar
Financial Secretary: Judith Weiner
Warden: Joe Deneroff
Conductor: John Gentilella
Trustees: Gordon Whittier, Katherine Chaille, and Gloria Feriola
Business Agent: Pepe Ruiz
Fletcher Smith Studio elected J. Tanaka and D. Oldbury as their Delegates to the Board. Gene Sogioka as the Unit Chairman. Willard Pictures Paul Bush and Peggy Adrian as their Delegates with Tommy Morrison as the Chairman. At Famous Studios Gordon Whittier and Anton Loeb were elected Delegates with Woody Gelman as Unit Chairman. “Top Cel” congratulates all!
The Union conducted negotiations with Willard Pictures and as a result have signed another contract. This contract has some features that are better than the Fletcher Smith’s. The company will give its employees one working day vacation with pay for each month of employment, each worker shall receive payment for all accumulated but unused vacation credit.
A week ago last Thursday the New Case Committee of the WLB accepted our contract dispute with Famous. The only points in dispute are, 1) the duration of the contract (the Studio desires a two year contract), 2) the phraseology of the union shop clause, and 3) the so-called “most favored nation clause.” The Union desires to be able to accept a contract which pays less than Famous if the membership of Terry so desire.
The major point of disagreement, of course, is in salaries. the Union is attempting to obtain $105 for animation with a range up to $150; $60.00 for assistants with a range up to $86; $37.50 for Inbetweeners with a wage range up to $55.00 (and the same for Inkers). $35.00 for Painters with a wage range up to $50.00. (The last three salaries were the one approved by the WLB in the Disney case). Since the Famous attorney requested its client to withdraw its previous offers, the Union is not certain of what stand the company now intends to take.
At the June General Membership meeting our members demonstrated their understanding of the issues of the Decorators strike and their sympathy for the action that had to be taken, by voting overwhelmingly to accept and vigorously carry out the Painters request for a boycott of all motion picture houses until the dispute is settled. Our members were only too happy have this opportunity to go on record in support of Herb Sorrell in his fight against Bioff unionism and Producer-Union coalition.
Despite the plans of educational and other non-theatrical groups of film people, the Army Pictorial Service has been burning millions of best of film. Much of this film would be of great interest in an educational light and the quality of many of the productions is of a much higher caliber than is possible of attainment by the average 16mm studio.
An action like this help bring to a head the moot question of whether much of the valuable property of the Government, for which taxpayers have been paying heavily, will be destroyed wantonly just because some people feel that business shouldn’t have to compete with these mountains of unused materials.
Somehow it strikes us as a sad commentary on our powers of organization when we must destroy valuable materials to create phoney production schedules to replace these very same items. If business lacks the inventiveness to create new fields, it seems that Government ought to take a bigger hand in seeing that employment and production are maintained without resorting to this phoney production. If products exist and there is an abundance of labor, cutting down the hours of labor or creating new markets seems the more intelligent approach.
LETTER FROM A PILOT
“….The group has pulled a couple of mercy missions flying liberate allied PWs out of Germany. The first group the boys hauled out were Frenchmen most of them prisoners for five years.
These lads here have seen their buddies blow up or burn without turning a hair, but the Frenchman trying to kiss their hands and crying with joy at the sight of Paris was too much for them. The boys all came back without a cigarette, stick of gum, and without having eaten for 16 hours.
I asked them if they didn’t get sandwiches. ‘Oh yeah, but they weren’t any good so I just gave them to the PWs.’ Such guys! I happen to know you’ll eat the luminous paint off the instrument board after 5 hours of formation much less 13 or 14 hours of that brain-binding-back-breaking stuff.
This is the nicest thing we’ve yet used our murderous skill for and somehow makes one feel that it is maybe worth it.
The ‘hottest lick’ was our radio operator holding an animated conversation when the only words Sgt. Jones knows in French are ‘au revoir’. Jones gave the Frenchman his cigarettes (he immediately gave all but one to his buddies) and a stick of gum.
The Frenchman, not to be outdone, tried to give the Radio gunner his wornout shoes -evidently his most precious possession and when Jones refused them, the Frenchman tried to kiss the Sgt. who was quite embarrassed. They then lapsed into just sitting and smiling at each other and about every ten minutes they’d break into hilarious laughter.
Who can deny that T/Sgt. Fay F. Jones, Radio Gunner from a jerkwater town in Utah, speaks more fluent French than the diplomats at San Francisco?”
A few years back we developed and produced a pilot for Cartoon Network.
The production was fairly compressed (after a long time waiting for lawyers). In some ways we made the mistake of not “pushing back” and insisting on a proper schedule and development period. It’s always a difficult balance.
We re-cut the pilot -which was just supposed to be “animatic” into more of a trailer.