You hear it happen around you. In the news. In other industries. But sometimes the shell lands in your fox hole. Layoffs are pretty ugly. And when it happens it focuses on the unpleasant reality that you try and ignore. It’s the animation industry after all. It’s where we’re supposed to have fun, make jokes and draw funny pictures.
The last 48 hours have been tough. The place I’ve come to count on for stability work wise for the last seven plus years has found itself in a precarious situation. Letting go of almost a fourth of your work force and shutting an entire division (Pacific Data Images in Redwood City, California) is not just part of “regular business rhythms”. It spells trouble with a capital T.
How did it come to this? The long fall of the dominoes started many years ago. For them it was hard to see the big picture. That is, until the last few pieces fell. I can point fingers and beat my chest and rant about all the choices they’ve made. But doesn’t do anything constructive and plus, my opinion means little. Now is a time to be sensitive especially to all my colleagues and friends who have,or are in the process of losing their jobs.
The reality is this: It’s a business. We’d like to think we go in to work everyday to be creative and make cool things but it’s a business. And we are not in charge. And sometimes the people in charge will not make good decisions. It doesn’t make things easier or acceptable or even right. All we can really do is hope that lessons are learned and that the next venture reflect those lessons. It’s owed to those who have been affected to make what happened mean something.
And for those of you who have offered their support and solidarity it certainly warms the soul. It’s great to know genuine empathy still exists.
As for those people who think they know what’s going on or have even found delight in all of this, along with the ones who have smugly spoken like they were insiders and players inside the campuses at Dreamworks: You have the right to your opinion and for you to post those opinions in social media. But a day will come where you’ll find yourself in a situation where you are at the mercy of the very people you have derided. It’s a small industry after all and those seemingly innocuous posts are the difference from you getting a gig or selling Chiclets in Tijuana.