Tag Archives: Animation Guild

TAG’s inaugural Portfolio Review Day is almost here!

The Animation Guild’s inaugural Portfolio Review Day has been a labor of love organized by storyboard artists Jake Hollander and Crystal Kan.

“Jake and I organized the event because we were frustrated with certain events and organizations that prey on animation students’ aspirations and dreams to join our industry,” says Kan. “So we made a plan for a free portfolio review event and turned to our union leadership for the location and sponsorship. We hope that by helping the future of our industry, students will learn the importance of our union and become an active engaged member.”

More than 180 people submitted portfolios to the event, which will take place on May 19th between 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 20 artists and writers have volunteered to give reviews or help out with the event.

“The portfolio review is a great exercise in learning from your fellow guild members or from professionals, if one is not already working,” says animation director Tom Riffel, who has volunteered as a reviewer. “It’s so important to get feedback from people who might not be officially in charge of you, and especially from your peers.”

When TAG sent out a call for volunteers, Britney Thoreson, a background designer at Cartoon Network, signed up right away: “I’ve received some of the best critiques and advice whenever I went to similar events as an art student so I wanted to pay it forward just as other professional artists had done for me. I admire any artist who is looking to improve their portfolio.  Sometimes you just need to hear a few critiques and be inspired to push it in the right direction.”

Kan and Hollander said they could always use some extra hands at the event. If you’re interested in volunteering, email them at tagportfolioreview@gmail.com.


Member Spotlight: Rob Hoegee

Starting with the original Teen Titans for Cartoon Network, Hoegee has been head writer and story editor on an impressive list of award-winning animated series including Legion of Super Heroes, Storm Hawks, Generator Rex, Slugterra and Thunderbirds are Go.  As a series creator, Rob just saw the launch of Abby Hatcher on Nick Jr. and as writer and executive producer won the 2016 Daytime Emmy for Best Animated Program with Niko and the Sword of Light for Amazon. Here, we had a chance to talk to him about his work and, as a member of both TAG and the WGA, how other members can support their sister union.

How did you get drawn into the world of writing for animation?

My story is one of the oldest in the book: I got lucky and knew someone.  I’ve been a life-long fan of cartoons, but never did I think I would have an opportunity to help make them.  Truth be told, at the time I didn’t even consider writing for animation as a career path—my sights were on live-action, primetime writing—but I’ve been at it now for over 15 years and can’t imagine doing anything else.

What genre of animation writing do you prefer to write in and why?

I’ve always been known for adventure-type shows and I still love that style, but recently I’ve begun exploring younger-skewing series as well. For these I love the challenge of making “simple” stories just as complex and nuanced as those for an older kid audience.

What’s you’re favorite part of the writing process?

Finishing.  Writing can be tedious, frustrating, exhilarating and enlightening all at the same time, but nothing beats the satisfaction of completing a script.  Plus, I get to start all over again on my next episode.

You are a member of both TAG and the WGA, what are your thoughts about the recent situation between the WGA and the agents?

Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen a major shift in the agency business. Consolidation and outside investors have often put agency profits above the needs of individual clients. One of the ways agencies do this is through package fees. Basically the agency “bundles” their clients (writers, actors, directors) into a series and for that, they get a percentage of the entire show.  They are now essentially becoming producers.  It’s not uncommon for an agency to make more money from a series than the writer that created it.  It’s also been shown that package fees are depressing writer pay overall, and in some extreme cases, making it impossible for writers to sell shows if their agency can’t get the package on it.  The WGA seeks to implement an Agency Code of Conduct to prohibit this practice and hopefully steer agencies back to what they were intended for: representing the best interests of their clients.

How does it or doesn’t it affect you as a writer?

Packaging is not an accepted practice for most animation, so this doesn’t currently affect me directly; but as a series creator myself it’s important to me that writers are fairly represented by the people that are supposed to support and protect them.

What can TAG members do to support the WGA’s efforts?

TAG has a long history of supporting our sister unions including the WGA.  #IStandWithTheWGA has helped to show the industry that we are increasingly united in protecting show writers and creators.