Published Aug 15, 2016Over the weekend, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg made a ton of money from their R-rated cartoon flick Sausage Party. The movie has been praised for its animation as much as its humour, but now allegations of bad working conditions have surfaced.
Sausage Party was directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon at the new Vancouver animation company Nitrogen Studios. The pair were recently interviewed for Cartoon Brew, and everything went well until a number of alleged former animators claimed they were mistreated by the studio.
According to the anonymous commenters (who claim they were leaving their names out of it so they could continue to work in Vancouver's animation industry), Nitrogen allegedly forced employees to work unpaid overtime in order to meet their tight budget.
Worse than that, the employees who left the film before it was complete reportedly had their credits deleted from the final cut of the film. A number of animators claim they worked on the Sausage Party trailer and have yet to be credited anywhere.
Read the relevant comments below.
The production cost were kept low because Greg would demand people work overtime for free. If you wouldn't work late for free your work would be assigned to someone who would stay late or come in on the weekend. Some artist were even threatened with termination for not staying late to hit a deadline.
The animation department signed a petition for better treatment and paid overtime. When the letter got to Annapurna they stepped in and saw that artist were payed and fed when overtime was needed.
Over 30 animators left during the coarse of the production due to the stress and expectations. Most of them left before the paid overtime was implemented. This was met with animosity and was taken as a personal insult to the owners. Their names were omitted from the final credits despite working for over a year on this film.
Almost half the animation team was not credited. The team believed in this film and poured their hearts and souls into it. Despite this, more than half of it was not credited. You can see the full team on IMDB, which contains 83 people (and I am certain there are some missing). The film's credits, however, contains 47.
This was Nitrogen Studio's first animated feature and no pipeline had been set up. It was an extremely rocky production. The studio management had little knowledge on how to proceed and the film could not have been made without the hard work of experienced artists. The production went over a year of what was originally projected due to poor organization. The team had to fight for fair compensation and a lot of the artists needed to quit due to unfair practices and poor management. The studio had lost such a massive portion of the team by the end of the production (more than half) that they had to resort to hire recent animation graduates to finish the film. What we currently see in the credits are the students as well as animators who have stayed until the end of the production, and a couple who have left the production. Most of the animators who are not credited have been on the show for more than a year and a half, which is most of the production time. These are the people who have worked hard to set the style of the show and have their work used as promotion for the film. Nitrogen has been trying hard to hide this from the producers so I doubt that Seth Rogen even knows this. I hope that this can help get the word out.
I worked as an animator in Nitrogen studios on the Sausage party, all of my shots are in the trailer and I didn't get the screen credit. It was a really stressful atmosphere over there, most of the core team who shaped the animation style and the character's body language, didn't get the screen credit. It was the final stab on the back of the animators, poor foot soldiers of every project!
This was my first job on a feature film, after watching it the other day I was very impressed how everything came together and how good it looked. Feeling super proud to be a part of this groundbreaking project.
The awe & excitment quickly turned sour after the credits had rolled with my name not showing up. I was on the animation team for just over a year, at the start of production, but had to seek employment elsewhere due to visa issues. Through emails towards the end of my contract, I felt I left on good terms with the studio.
The people I worked with at Nitrogen were incredible. Some of the most friendly and down to earth folk I have ever met. It's a massive shame we weren't credited for all the hard work we put into this movie. I honestly can't understand the angle Nitrogen was going for and why you'd want to burn bridges with all this great talent after your first feature.
Wow, I see so many points they've made that I was going to mention.
Literally, there're no exaggeration in these comments above. All of the comments are truth or maybe rather written too lightly.
I personally know & witnessed many other incidents during the production; such as an "Open Letter" to the clients, and how Greg threatened artists for it.
I cannot put more details because I'm scared of revealing my identity.. and *I really want to keep working in this industry*
Sickening how one can brag about production cost, when he was the one who demanded artists to work for free, otherwise get fired.
I would really appreciate if Cartoon Brew can investigate this further, to prevent more of sacrifices from talented artist in the future.
FACT: Most of the shots in Promotion Clips/Trailers were done by uncredited artists. Lame.
Very disheartening to experience company like Nitrogen, knowing these kind of corrupt still exists in 2016. No other companies, I've worked in Vancouver, have treated artists any close to this.