(For the record, I'm not calling anyone stupid. I'm simply recalling the old "It's the economy stupid" comment from lo those many years ago.)
There's been a lot of discussion about how much overtime, and weekend time, the storyboard artist has to put in. I have seen this first hand. I think the previous post did a fairly good job of pointing out that whether a script is 22 pages or 50 pages, it can still end up being a 22 minute cartoon.
With that in mind, lets do some math:
Let's pretend we're working on, for the sake of argument, a show that just got a 20 episode pick up. WOO! Now, lets use the 839 animation guild "average" weekly salary for a production board, which is $1900.00. (Woo?)
You're the studio: Here are your options.
Two board artists doing 11 minute segments in three weeks, or in five. For the sake of easy of math, that means each half hour episode will either cost six weeks worth of work, or ten.
six weeks - 11,400. Round that up to about 14,000 bucks when you start considering insurance, office costs and stuff like that. I dont know the specifics on that as well as I should, so that's a rough guess.
ten weeks - 19,000. 23,000 bucks with the same rough guess.
So what we're really talking about is the difference of about $180,000 in story board artist costs over the course of 20 episodes.
If somebody can tell me what the domino effect of the above is, that would be great. Do the prop / character designers need more time? Do timers? Because if it's just the board artists doing the extra time, then all we're talking about is a hypothetical $180K. Maybe that's a lot, maybe it's not. Depends on the show. But it is several people's salary on a production.
Now, here's the economic reality of it.
At three weeks, it makes sense to bring this storyboard artist into the studio. Figure it's $7000 for the three weeks. But at five weeks, suddenly, that artist is costing $11,500. The average 839 rate for a freelance 11 minute board: $6000.
So suddenly, a money tight studio or production is going to be forced to decide:
* Pay $11,000 more per half hour episode to have the board artists around which, creatively, is a very good idea. It's good to have them in the pitches, it makes the show better... everybody contributes. Artists can talk to the writers and vice versa. The show will, by the nature of the production, be better... how much so, eye of the beholder.
* Freelance the board out for $5500 less per 11 minutes, $11000 less per half hour which adds up to nearly a quarter million dollar savings for a 20 episode production.
A lot of the issues that are being discussed here come down to dollar and cents discussions... and suddenly, it becomes a very distasteful discussion about art and commerce. Maybe my math is wrong. But I think the theory is intact. On a spread sheet, to a buyer, to a studio... if the board artists can't do 11 minutes in three weeks, it suddenly becomes less cost effective to have an internal board team.
What do you all think? How to you twist the math to make it work in favor of what many clearly believe would be a more reasonable deadline?