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The stupidity of Ageism ( or take time, or time will take you!)

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The stupidity of Ageism ( or take time, or time will take you!)

Ageism--where someone older and experienced is over-looked in favour of someone younger and fresher, but also less experienced.

Oh, it happens, probably more than anyone would like to think.

Its also incredibly stupid.

Often the reasons for it are "economic"--someone thinks that older, experienced talent costs more.
Usually the rate offered on the jobs remain the same regardless of the age of the talent.
Getting $5000 to storyboard 1/2 a show is the same if the artist is 55 or 25.
Sometimes they do offer the younger talent less money,in the expectation that the eagerness of the young buck will overwrite their smarts. They work these kids to the bone, dumping large amount of work under tight deadlines on them.....and often the talent flounders and burns out.

But the studios that work this ploy are missing the bigger point:
its MORE expensive to hire younger, less experienced talent at a lower rate than it is to hire experienced, older talent.

How so?
Think about what are the costs of mistakes? How long does it take a supervisor to look over work, make notes on it to correct it and then have the talent do the fixes? It can take up to an extra week to do this, and in some cases people are getting paid for that extra time--notably the supervisor.
It also costs in the confidence of the talent.....if the corrections are heavy then it casts doubts as to if the talent can handle other work. That means that OTHER talent will probably have to be considered to handle the load, which means more bodies hired on.
That's not saving money.

An experienced talent has the skill-set to problem solve. They've probably done similar work dozens, perhaps even hundreds of times. They have confidence in their approach and judgements, and...............if they are good.....they'll make fewer mistakes.
Fewer mistakes translate to less work for the often-swamped supervisors, and very likely happier end-clients because the work is eminently usable.
Is it really worth it to save a couple hundred bucks a head over having someone who KNOWS what they are doing on board?

Speaking from my own experience, when I do a storyboard, my usual correction count is LESS THAN 10%. That is for every 100 pages of storyboard art I do, less than 10 pages need corrections. The usual percentage is often around 50% for most other people--from what I'm told.
Often the kinds of corrections I take are changing one panel on a page, so corrections take VERY little time to do.

How I achieve this is that I do more thinking on the board as I work. I take more judgements about what has to be done, and how to go about doing it. I weigh the choices in front of me as to the right business to put down--and I discard a lot of ideas. Everything is carefully considered.

The caveat here is that I take longer to do the work. I live with the bugger the whole time, and yes....I can blow the deadlines by several days.
In the end though, the fewer corrections makes up for it.

The other thing is that I no longer break my back trying to do this work.
A 10 hour day is normal for me. This is where the ageisms really creep into the equation.
A younger talent usually has the zest to work all kinds of hours--I don't.
Younger folks will work their tails off, burn out, get sick or even injure themselves.
I know, because this happened to me years ago.
The stress of a job, burning the candle at both ends gave me tinnitus in my ears that has not abated.

And trust me when I say it was not worth it.
The nasty thing here is that age really has nothing to do with that kind of affliction.
ANYONE under enough stress can be so afflicted.

Young folks are duped into thinking that the deadlines are a MUST, do-or-die kinds of situations and that its "worth it" to work until you drop........or get sick even.

I'm here to tell you that is the height of stupidity.
These days, I counsel younger talent, and sometimes peer-talent my own age, that injuring yourself doing this work is not worth it.

Take the time you need to take, especially if you are feeling tired or unwell. Get your sleep. Eat right. Exercise, at least a little bit.......go for a walk somewhere, meet a friend for a short while. Take a day out of the week and relax, even if its just part of the day---REGARDLESS of the deadline.
Creativity is not an easy thing to produce in a daily basis, it takes time, energy and effort. It has to come from somewhere, and that wellspring DOES need refreshing often.

Yea, that's a real cultural hurdle to overcome.

Lemme tellya.........its smart to do it. You work better, THINK better. The studios get a better YOU out for the deal, and a product that reflects that thinking--even if they do not realize it.
Yes, some studios do not see it that way. They can be ruthless uncaring task-masters who say they "give a shit" and really don't in practise.

Is your health worth it? Your life, and happiness?

Trust me, if a studio dumps someone because they choose to put their health in front of a job or a deadline, there's plenty of other jobs out there.
If they hem and haw about hiring an older talent over younger, tell them what older, experienced talent REALLY offers them.

Yea, be reasonable enough, flexible......but do not give him. Take care of yourself, first........because the studios won't.

Ken Davis's picture

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Sooo ... is there a personal story behind this rant? A recent one?

I've been doing ten-hour-days when the work was there but so far I've never been pressured into anything. Granted, I work for a small studio but even though I love animation, that probably being the only job I'm cut out for, useless bum that I am, I wouldn't kill myself for it.
I realise "they" are as dependent on my work just as I am on their money. It's a give and take. I'm replaceable but they're not the only ones offering.

Sooo ... is there a personal story behind this rant? A recent one?

Not really my own.
A younger colleague of mine lamented his level of fatigue today in a post elsewhere, something he'd been complaining of for some time. My own affliction( tinnitus) has recently been acting up--in fact my hearing is almost gone now in one ear and I'm NOT in a stressful situation at this time--and it sparked the need to write the advice.
I keep in touch with a fair number of my former students and a sizeable number of them express frustration/resentment at the long hours they put in. I know it takes a toll, and common sense needs to be used.
Its too late for me, and I do remembering resenting that I was missing family/friend time when I was working all-nighters on jobs that ended up sitting untouched on someone's desk for another 2-3 days. I asked myself then, as I do now, why I put myself through that?

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)