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New TAG Executive Board Members

Kim Fay / May 9, 2024

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We’re excited to introduce the newest members of the TAG Executive Board. Following the departure of Sergeant-at-Arms Danny Ducker and Executive Board Member Alex Quintas, as per the TAG Constitution and By-Laws, the Board appointed a new Sergeant-at-Arms (Executive Board Member Erica Smith) and filled the two open seats by appointment. David DePasquale and Jason Mayer were sworn into their positions on Tuesday at the Executive Board meeting.

Meet New Executive Board Member David DePasquale

Can you tell us a little bit about your professional background?

I’ve been in the industry for nearly 10 years, and TAG for nine! I moved from New York in January 2015 and started as a Prop/EFX Designer at Disney Television Animation. Since then, I’ve worked my way up from being a Character Designer to Character Lead to Art Director. Currently, I’m art directing an unannounced production at Titmouse, and I am teaching the Advanced Character Design course at CalArts. I also dabble in publishing and have two children’s books under my belt, along with two tarot decks published through Random House (the second one comes out in August of this year!)

How have you engaged with the Guild in the past or participated in Guild activities?

I started coming to more meetings in 2019 when folding our production kin into the Union was a hot topic, and during the pandemic, I began learning ways I could potentially help the Union on an individual level. In 2021, I became a shop steward at Gaumont while I was working on Stillwater, and it was a great introduction to becoming a “point person” for the Union at a smaller studio. It required me to do my due diligence in my research and understanding of our bylaws and processes so I could help my fellow Unionkin should any workplace issues or questions arise. I continued this role from 2022-2023 at Cartoon Network, while stepping into a bigger leadership role in my craft as Art Director on Invincible Fight Girl. I was also chosen for the table team for this year’s contract negotiations. I’ve found myself becoming more and more involved as the years go by. I love talking to my students and newcomers to the industry about the Union and the protections it brings, as well as how adding their voices to our fold will make those protections and our solidarity stronger. I am always trying to let folks know that the Union isn’t just your healthcare, a common sentiment I once held when I was a wee newcomer myself!

Why were you interested in serving on the Executive Board?

After stepping into a leadership role in the studio system, I found myself with a rather large insight into to how the studios deal with scheduling, budgets, and workload, and how it affects our members and industry morale in general. Understanding how to keep my team happy is always my paramount concern, and how to deal with the not-so-fun conversations that come with that level of responsibility. I take great pride in caring for and protecting my team, and I am not afraid to have difficult conversations and face the pressure from the studio system in order to do so. I want to get my hands dirty!

How do you hope to contribute to the Executive Board and/or what do you hope to accomplish?

My first course of action on the board is to research ways to fill in communication gaps between the board and its members, and between the greater membership in general. Many creative unions have a robust communication system, and I’d like to propose implementing some new and effective ways to make sure no member feels like they are in the dark. My highest priority is always the concerns, needs, and well-being of my Unionkin—no matter how difficult the conversation or decision. I know my involvement in the decision-making that comes with being on the Executive Board can help shape not only the future of our Union, but our Union’s place within the greater IA—potentially for the entire next generation of Unionkin that are beginning their careers in an industry trying to deal with the growing pains of technological advancement and a studio system that currently prioritizes corporate greed over entertainment. I promise to always be open to listening to whoever needs an ear—after all… being on the Executive Board means I serve YOU now!

Meet Returning Executive Board Member Jason Mayer

Can you tell us a little bit about your professional background?

I just passed my 20th qualified year in The Animation Guild.  I’ve spent that entire time at DreamWorks Animation working in the feature FX department.  I most recently completed my 19th feature animation as the Head of FX on Kung Fu Panda 4. Prior to DreamWorks I worked for a couple of years in live action VFX.

How have you engaged with the Guild in the past or participated in Guild activities?

I participated in the last day of negotiations in 2011 and was a member of the Negotiating Committee in 2014 and 2017. I was a shop steward in 2014 and joined the Executive Board, filling a vacancy in 2015. I was re-elected in 2017, serving a total of five years. During that time, we expanded and modernized the office, created the committee structure, founded Keyframe magazine, and helped bring the Guild into the modern era.

Why were you interested in serving on the Executive Board again?

Having seen the recent large-scale layoffs at DreamWorks Animation, I felt the board could use the perspective of someone internal to that studio. I also felt I could get started immediately without significant ram-up time due to my prior experience.

How do you hope to contribute to the Executive Board and/or what do you hope to accomplish?

I’d like to work on making changes to the subsidy-based system where foreign governments reward studios for displacing workers into environments that often have less benefits and protections and pay less. I’d also like to encourage more unionization across the U.S. and Canada in the animation, games, and VFX industries.

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