The American Animation Labor union business representative Steve Hulett has recently posted an article on the Animation Guild 839 BLOG that I find worth mentioning to our senior students as they venture onward into the industry.
- Thanks Steve for taking the time to write down your thoughts.
I counsel a lot of artists about how to play the politics at their particular studio, and my advice is more often than not similar at the Animation Guild's far-flung venues:
1) Don't tell your supervisor "I told you so" after you turn out to be right ... and he is wrong.
2) Pick the issues over which you want to go to the mat. (And remember: the less you go to the mat, the more effective you'll be when you finally do.)
3) Be positive rather than negative. Be happy to help out when asked. Strive to be kind.
4) Know what the legal and contractual rules are. When they're being violated, call me and we can discuss different remedial strategies. (They usually don't include the business representative coming in with guns blazing.)
5) If you have a shitty workplace personality (like for instance you don't suffer fools gladly, you get sarcastic too often, or bad-mouth studio bozos a lot when they're out of the room) build a fake, happy-face personality on top of it. This will serve you well over time.
6) As much as possible, stow your ego at home in the garage. Nobody much cares what your problems are. They are focused on theirs.
7) When in conflict with supervisors or studio brass and things look dire (meaning: you seem to get the stink eye a lot) seriously consider rolling onto your back with all four paws in the air and exposing your throat. (This is yet another metaphor for apologizing and "eating humble pie", even when you truly believe there is no valid reason to do so. You've parked your ego in the garage, remember?)