Why Kyle Baker Won’t Do Animation Pilots

Comic book and animation artist Kyle Baker was recently interviewed in Mike Manley’s excellent DRAW! magazine, and Mark Mayerson posted an excerpt from that interview on his blog. I couldn’t resist sharing the excerpt as well because it’s an excellent example of how some artists are wisening up to the games of the animation studios and refusing to sell themselves out for a few pennies. Kyle Baker says:

[Warner Bros. was] developing Why I Hate Saturn [one of Baker's graphic novels] as a TV show and when that fell apart, I stayed out there for seven years, doing screenplays and all that junk. And in the old days of Hollywood, they used to give you a whole lot of money up front. Like, when I was at Warner Brothers, they’d give me a big pile of money, a nice contract, and they totally ruined the work, made the script suck. The show never went on, I don’t get the script back, etc., etc. But at least I got a big pile of money, and I bought a house. It was worth it. But with the kind of deals that at least I’m getting offered now in animation – I don’t know if this is the general deal, but the people are coming to me with is, like, “Okay, here’s what we need. We need you. We don’t really have much of a development budget anymore, so we want you to practically develop the whole thing before you bring it in. Then we’ll pay you about ten grand, and we’ll make this thing, and if it succeeds, we get everything, and you get nothing. And if it fails, you get nothing.” That’s all you end up with now, is, like, ten grand. And it’s easy enough to find ten grand somewhere, so that you don’t have to give everything up and watch them ruin your script. You know what I mean? I mean, the last thing I did like that, I did a Fox pilot, and that’s how much I made, ten grand. It wasn’t worth it to me.