I'm sure most of you have heard about the recent EA hubbub. A spouse of an employee wrote a letter on a blog site about the working conditions that the significant other was enduring. It is a pretty long and well written entry. Filled with passion. Definitely worth ten minutes of your time.
Unfortunately these horrible hours are all too common place in the animation industry. Anytime people are pressured or forced to work more than 40 hours a week, they need to be paid overtime. None of this comptime bullcrap that is such a common practice.
The young-fresh-out-of-school kids have no problem working 80 hours a week doing something they love. However, later in life when they get a family, it becomes more difficult and they realize they can no longer put in those hours. So, they are replaced by a fresh crop of youngins. Those of you working these insane hours without getting adequate compensation are not only doing a disservice to yourself- but for the entire profession. You won't be a young kid forever and you are only screwing yourselves down the line. Stand up.
This problem is compounded when you have producers and managers that have no idea what they are doing and set unrealistic goals. They forget that these skilled individuals are people and expect that they should insane hours for little or no extra compensation. Many times these producers are the first ones to leave and rarely show up on the weekends.
To all of you at EA. Sign rep cards and join the union. I'm not sure if the animation guild extends into games (it probably does), but something needs to be done. You shouldn't put yourselves through this. I'm not exactly fond of unions, but this is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with immediately.
Somehow I don't think all of this bitching will do any good. EA (and companies with similar philosophies) will continue to treat employees the way they do until someone forces them to do otherwise. Whether that is by a lawsuit or the government stepping in. There will always be a fresh crop of eager kids willing to work slave-like uncompensated hours, so I have the sinking suspicion that nothing will change.