Lifestyles of Animation Executives: Adina Pitt

Continuing our lifestyles of animation executives thread, here’s some news about Cartoon Network v-p Adina Pitt and her recent purchase of a four-bedroom condo on the Upper East Side for $1.33 million. As somebody who follows the real estate market closely, that amount is hardly extravagant, but it bears pointing out that few animation artists living in New York City could afford to buy a place in that neighborhood or price bracket. And certainly none of the artists who earn salaries on New York-based Cartoon Network series like Superjail! or Robotomy. In animation, as in most other fields, it pays NOT to be creative.

(Thanks, Aaron Bynum)


  • Ratatoon

    Like in any other line of work the less you produce the more you earn. Managers and VPs lifestyles keep the working bees busy and maybe thinking they’ll reach that position someday. Is not what you know but who you know if you stay in the corporation racket. Thankfully the internet and China are allowing many independent artists to make a living without selling their time for money.

    I say let them have their bottle.

  • MichaelHughes

    I wonder how all the salaries of her employees combined compares with what she makes. She could be employing a lot of artists.

  • Roberto Severino

    Wow. That’s pathetic, yet again, this is an executive who works at kid-hating, animation-hating company that went down the toilet over five years ago anyway. It really isn’t that surprising to learn. I’m sure there were probably a lot of these type of people in the Golden Age of Hollywood in general, like Harry Cohn and Leon Schlesinger. I doubt they were this bad though.

  • http://www.hipchickcomics.com Ashanti

    I get the gist that after 15 years as a creative in this industry, it’s best to move to the other side of production. There’s nothing wrong with being an artist. Go for it, everyone. However, as I get older, I find it more and more difficult to relate to the content. All the cartoons are taking place in cul de sacs now. I know why. It’s because suburbanites have all the money to buy the toys. Still, the Looney Tunes migration to the suburbs is rather disheartening.

    At least in admin, one can emotionally distance themselves from the production.

  • http://www.flashcartoons.org Lavalle Lee (flashcartoons.org)

    Some kids dream about becoming a fireman or the president. What do executives want to become when they are kids? Would there childhood selves hate what they do to cartoons now?

    YOU BE THE JUDGE!

  • http://Robertdress.Blogspot.com R.Dress

    I’d rather see the world through the eyes of an artist than through the window of an upper east side condo.

  • Mike

    She probably makes less than you think. What does her husband do for a living? But no matter, since she’s not an animator, she must be one of “THEM”, the animation haters. But by that same measure, Amid, since you are not an animator, you must be one of “THEM”, too. Because only animators are capable of caring about animation.

  • Hulk

    I bet none of you have a problem with John Lasseter being a multi-millionaire- and making tons more money than his employees. I think the issue most of us seem to have is not the fact that it’s AN executive being rich it’s that it’s

    “an executive who works at kid-hating, animation-hating company that went down the toilet over five years ago anyway.”

    Luckily for us artists, we live in a time where we have more of a choice than we ever had before to work for people like this or be independent and make something like “Fester Fish” all on our own.

  • http://www.fleabeemedia.com/ The Flea

    I think I find it more depressing that I have friends with very similar educational backgrounds and they’re living off of ramen and they live in government housing.

    Either way, I can’t blame her. While I think she may be grossly overpaid, it doesn’t make her a bad person. Money is pretty awesome. I think the biggest problem with this industry (correction: most art fields) is that work is fleeting and completely unstable. It’s hard to have nice things and live nice places when you’re an independent contractor with a time limit. There are a TON of talented artists out there who have to deal with this stuff. Is it fair? Unfortunately, not.

    Of course, no one can really judge her anyway. According to the article, it mentions that she started off at HBO in 1994. She may have worked her way up from an intern with barely any money. It’s a possibility. There’s also her husband who may make significantly more. In short, it is what it is.

  • amid

    Hulk: It’s not wrong to make more money than somebody else. If you’re working in a creative industry however, the crucial question becomes whether you earned your money by making a creative contribution to the content the company is selling or whether your salary comes from the financial exploitation of creative people. Lasseter and Pitt are on opposite sides of the fence in this regard.

  • http://www.onanimation.com Daniel Caylor

    I don’t care how much I make, I just want to animate. Now my wife on the other hand…

  • tabooli

    Amid: it’s a FACT that Pixar artists are the worst paid of all feature animation studios. If you go there from dreamworks, sony, bluesky or even disney expect to take at least a 20% pay cut for the privilege of working there.

    So unless Pitt believes artists should get there fair share of the revenue then Lasseter and Pitt are very much on the same side of the fence.

    Nice try though…

  • Roberto Severino

    “I doubt they were this bad though.”

    Ugh. I worded this pretty vaguely, and I’d like to say that I wasn’t calling the actual executive a bad person, but the company as a whole and its overall intentions aren’t very good and haven’t been for a long time (at least after Linda Simensky left), and I also meant to say that it’s pathetic how the artists working on these cartoons aren’t getting the pay that they deserve, while an executive, who isn’t even that involved in the actual product, has enough money to buy such an expensive condo, while the same artists living there probably couldn’t afford such a thing.

    I need to be more careful with the way I say these things. People are getting angry at me for the wrong reasons.

  • http://www.bobrob.blogspot.com Bob Hilgenberg

    Seriously, am I missing something in this post? We’re tracking income and personal investments of executives? Lets put a “tail” on her and see where she buys coffee. Trump can’t swing a hammer, but he hires those who can.

  • Hulk

    @Amid- we’re not disagreeing. That’s the point I was trying to make. I think all of us artist’s would rather earn millions in the way that Lasseter did rather than the way Pitt did. That’s why no one complains about him being rich vs. Pitt and her ilk.

    @ Tabooli- Don’t Pixar artists also own stock in the company? I wouldn’t know as I’ve never worked there but that’s what I heard. If that’s true it could be one of the reasons morale remains high at the studio even though pay is low.

  • Hulk

    P.S. I also recently bought a multi-bedroom condo, without being a high paid executive…and actually being a low-paid artist.

    Don’t lose the lesson here. Being an exec does not automatically make someone rich or exploitative. Just as being an artist does not automatically make someone poor or bad with money.

    I had enough saved up for my down payment and am paying a pretty big mortgage. It’s a good investment for many reasons. I’d urge more artists to buy property- or invest your money in some way, so that we won’t always have to be at the mercy of the Pitt’s of the world. That’s a big part of the reason I did it.

  • http://smomotion.com :: smo ::

    i just threw up in my mouth.

  • Isaac

    This peering into people’s private lives is mean and spiteful. Yes, Virginia, there is inequality in the world. You make more money holding the purse strings.

  • evan

    Cartoon network wasn’t started by an artist, it was started by executives. Perhaps there would be even less animation on TV without her and other execs? After all maybe we should thank her – at least the ones who have been hired. And how does her decision to buy a condo or a certain show affect the animators who don’t aspire to conform and give up their personal voice in a major studio?

  • Tory

    I’m dead broke but 1.33 million seems pretty cheap to me in regards to what I would expect one in her position would have. It is too much and all, I just would have expected more.

  • Geo

    She may not be creative as an artist or writer, but she’s probably creative in making deals. It’s called financing, and that’s how studios like Cartoon Network stay in business so the artists they employ can go to work and basically play for a living.

    John Lasseter’s millions were only made because some people got together and came up with a few hundred million to finance Pixar and the films it makes. Nothing happens without money.

  • http://www.mymedicatedcartoonlife.com Bitter Animator

    If she is making money and is valued, it is not because she is or isn’t serving the interests of animators. That’s not her job. She’s in children’s television. She may not be talented artistically (I don’t know) but that’s neither here nor there.

  • http://www.fooksie.com Fooksie

    What should she be paid? Obviously there is some sort of dollar amount that you think would be fair, so what is it?
    Then, I would also like to know why the people on this board never wring their hands and complain about the money George Clooney, Chipper Jones, LeBron or Lady Gaga make.
    Posts like this are just asinine.

  • http://www.fooksie.com Fooksie

    Wait, I know. They are the artists. They create so the sky is the limit.
    But what about the promoters and agents, etc., who put the deals together?
    Obviously we have to appoint another ” Pay Czar ” to make sure they don’t make more than what the group thinks is fair.

  • Stephen DeStefano

    I’m shocked that she got a 4 bedroom apartment for under 2 million.

  • http://highlyrecommended.blogspot.com Satorical

    4BR on the UES for $1.33mil? She got a bargain.

  • http://invaderpetblog.blogspot.com Brandon Pierce

    Re: “This peering into people’s private lives is mean and spiteful. Yes, Virginia, there is inequality in the world. You make more money holding the purse strings.”

    Well, she allowed the info to be put up on the net presumably, so she must be okay with it.

  • http://www.pitchbibles.blogspot.com Steve Schnier

    “If you’re working in a creative industry however, the crucial question becomes whether you earned your money by making a creative contribution to the content the company is selling or whether your salary comes from the financial exploitation of creative people. ”

    And exactly who should we set up to judge if a person is making a creative contribution within their industry?

    And how do we define “financial exploitation”? Aren’t web-journalists writing about the animation industry exploiting the artists who provide them with material? Have you financially compensated the people/projects you feature? Hmmm…?

    I agree with Issac, “Peering into people’s lives is mean and spiteful”.

  • http://www.pitchbibles.blogspot.com Steve Schnier

    I really have to commend you guys. You allow well meaning criticism about how you do your work and run the site. Thanks for keeping an open mind and allowing this kind of discussion.

  • Eric Weil

    I agree that Amid’s original post was wrongheaded and even truculent just as I agree with Steve Schnier for commending the Brewmasters for allowing this open discussion.

  • http://www.pitchbibles.blogspot.com Steve Schnier

    Amid and Jerry are doing a great job. But sometimes (being human and all) we tend to overstep. Everyone has feelings and while I don’t know Adina Pitt, I’m sure she doesn’t like her personal business posted on a public forum. We as members of this industry have to respect one another.

    ’nuff said…

  • jon Hooper

    Geo said “John Lasseter’s millions were only made because some people got together and came up with a few hundred million to finance Pixar and the films it makes. Nothing happens without money.”

    Actually John Lasseter’s millions were made because Steve jobs bought Pixar from George Lucas for 13 million dollars. Then John Lasseter and his team at Pixar produced Toy Story, financed for a modest 25 million by Jobs and Disney. Toy Story was a blockbuster and as a result Pixar was able to do a very successful IPO and raise hundreds of millions.

    It took some money, but it was the success of Toy Story that was the key. These VP’s, financiers, and other leeches are usually never there to take the initial risks. They only glom onto the money making machine once it is generating cash. If Toy Story had failed there would be no 100′s of millions in stock offerings etc.

  • Thomas Hatch

    I live on a boat!

  • writer of wrongs

    Amid. Your post is just plain mean and petty. And creepy. You should be ashamed.

    You have no idea what kind of money Adina Pitt makes. Or what her husband does for a living. Or if she inherited money. Or even if she won the lottery.

    And to be honest, even if all of her money was made in the animation biz as an exec to buy her place — then more power to her. I think someone here said she has worked 15 years in the biz. That’s plenty of time to carefully save for the day to buy a place. Or maybe like me she bought a cheap crappy small place when the NY RE market sucked and now that place is worth alot more and she sold it to buy the place she got now.

    What bothers me is the suggestion that Adina Pitt is somehow taking money away from starving artists. She not. Her job is to sell and buy programs that keep those starving artists busy and employed. Someone has to do it. The same way someone has to write, direct, design the cartoons we all love. In an ideal world we would all get paid tons of money. And the way this country works (happy 4th!) if you work your ass off (and with a little luck) you will make that money. Just ask Peter deSeve or Steven Hillenburg or John Lassiter.

    Amid. You owe Adina Pitt and aplology. A sincere one.

  • Professor Widebottom

    These salary inequities are not any one individual’s fault. That’s because there’s a symbiotic relationship we have with people in high places. There’s not much advantage in competing with the Alpha position in the workplace. If anything, people’s financial insecurities compel them to kiss the boss’ ass to ensure some measure of stability in their own lives. This cycle will continue until there’s a broader demystification of what “success” means.