The LA WEEKLY’s Nikki Finke writes a fascinating account of the childish behind-the-scenes maneuvering that went on during the recently concluded SIMPSONS voice actor negotiations. The six voice actors didn’t get the $360,00 per episode that they were asking for, but did get a raise from $135,000 to $250,000 per episode. They also received a signing bonus. Bart’s voice Nancy Cartwright sent an email to her fellow voice actors: “Although we didn’t get everything we were going for, we certainly made HUGE strides, not only for ourselves personally, but for the entire voice-acting facet of the industry.” Another interesting bit is that during the course of negotiations, the agents for SIMPSONS producer James L. Brooks demanded the actors send Brooks a letter of apology for putting their interests ahead of the SIMPSONS “community,” which meant the writers and animators.
Also I recently had a chance to speak with one of the artists on the show, and indeed the voice actor’s contract dispute has forced the Film Roman artists to take an extended and unpaid “vacation.” They were scheduled to receive a one-month hiatus in March/April, their typical break period in between seasons, but they’ve now been out of work for two months and counting as the show slowly finds its way back into production. On the bright side, Fox can use the money they saved from not paying the artists to make up for the increased salaries of the voice actors. As always, the only losers in this case are the artists working in the trenches.