End of An Era
Hey, good morning! Good morning! I’ve got some coffee, doughnuts… If you’re feeling up to it, I can make you a screwdriver. No? Coffee then. Lena, could you get a cup for our esteemed colleague please and another glazed doughnut for me. Tim? Tim’ll have another cruller. Have a seat, have a seat. Thanks for taking the time. Yes, I know we had scheduled this meeting a few weeks ago, but all the same. Just to make some quick introductions… This is Tim from that Manhattan based agency…firm…Advantage Consultants. They’re that firm that we had a chat about last quarter, you remember, it was at that restaurant were Ilene spilt her Château Pétrus all over Rob…that was a fun time… Yes, back to it. This is the firm we were talking about. Good ol’ Tim here is actually one of the co-founders of Advantage and he’s been helping us take a very hard and honest look at the way the business has been running, where we can smooth out some bumps and redundancies and how we can move into the future.
You’ve got to know this by now, but the landscape has changed dramatically. So dramatically that making cartoons the way we’ve been has left us to make some really hard decisions. I know you’ve been with us for some time, so you understand how all of this works. It’s part of the reason why I wanted you to be apart of this meeting to begin with. Tim agrees with us on this one, too. Having someone who started off as an artist and rose to the rank you are now, only goes to show that there is someone on the team who understands them, at least that’s the advice we’re getting from Tim. I couldn’t agree more. You know and understand how things work, and when you speak to people they have a tendency to listen. Your voice means something to them.
These changes…are necessary to the shareholders and investors of the business. We’re coming into an election year and that’s sorta-kinda disrupting our relationship with our investors overseas and it’s having an impact on how we approach making the products we make. It’s a global market now and we have to start thinking globally.
Timmy here has spent the better part of the year looking at the business from an internal and an external position. He’s seen where we can make the changes that’ll satisfy the base as well as where we can make processes more efficient. Making cartoons is a bottom-line business after all. If we can’t effectively manage how we make our shows, if we can’t bring the cost down, then the business itself won’t be able to go on. Yes, I know you think this is a billion-dollar business. We have the prestige to say so, but ultimately it’s about making the board happy with their return. Think about it for just a moment. It costs us $125-million to produce one feature length film here in this state. That’s not including the cost of marketing, which as you know, costs just as much money to promote the damn picture. What was it, the show with the girl and the issues…that one cost us almost $240-million. Marketing alone was $200-million… that’s about $440-million to produce and promote that fucking movie. The opening weekend return was only $500-million…we made next to nothing on that film. Think you can afford to send your kids to a decent college with those kinds of margins? Or what about that tv show that you created… The one with those kids and the bear… Never mind what the name is, that’s not important. No, what’s important is that spending almost $600-thousand an episode is just insane!
Tim-bo and the guys at Advantage think feel we can do better than that. They’ve spent the better part of the year looking at several different options that’ll help us cut down on the expenses and make this business more profitable. We’ve already done it with a couple of our shows so far and we’ve had a lot of positive results with it. Trust me, this is what’s going to keep the board happy, this is what’s going to keep the ship afloat, this is what’s going to keep our jobs in tact. This is the opportunity that we need in order to stay competitive in the global market.
The Tim-ster has some documented research that shows just how much money we’ve been saving on two of our television shows this year. There’s that one show with the androgynous kid… I think we had a spend of $24-million on that show. That’s just on what we spent to pay out labor costs, overhead and materials. We’re not talking about the payroll tax or other bullshit that keeps kicking us in the financial crotch. But that didn’t happen on those two shows. No sir. We managed to get in with the Canadians who, get this, get support from their government to finance the show! We’re not talking about a pathetic 30% tax credit like Georgia. No, that’s a laugh compared to the 60% refundable tax credit the Canadians get. We’re saving 40% of the cost because the government is shelling out the money for it. We call it a co-venture instead of a service gig because then they have to invest financially. Plus, they’re in a recession which means our dollar goes WAY further than it would here! Timmy-Tim’s research will show you that we saved big time. In fact, our crotches have never felt better.
On top of that sweet deal, the other show, the one with the boy and his dog… God why can’t I remember these names… The one that goes on adventures and shit… anyways, we managed to move the production from the Korean studio we were using to this Malaysian one and we’re just laughing our way to the bank! Where we spend $170 per second to on a finish picture, they’re doing it for $25 Uncle Sam Dollars! We’re talking massive savings, massive profit, massive returns. The guys at Advantage really know how to make us look good. They really do. It’s really just the law of economics here. There’s a demand, we’ve got to supply. They want cheap goods, so we’ve got to make cheaper goods. Plain and simple.
I know what you’re thinking… What’s this going to do to all the hard working men and women that have spent years working for us. Well, the reality is that we just can’t support that kind of base anymore. The property tax on this estate alone is almost the cost of the fucking movies we make. And again, not to mention the cost of health care, insurance, payroll tax, the corporate tax… There’s just a lot on our heads when we have to make these god-awful pictures.
Quality? What do you mean quality? No one gives a shit about quality. Tim-a-reeno here can certainly asset to that. People don’t watch this stuff like your guys do. They don’t sit there frame-fucking every line and detail. In fact, some of the research that Tim-Bob has put together has show that most of the time people put on our programs and just listen to them. No one even watches it. It’s just background noise. Think a digital babysitter. The only person that cares about the quality of the work is you and your staff. Which brings us to why you are here.
Look, this isn’t easy. Not by a long shot. But we’ve got a task that we feel only you will be able to handle. It’s because the people listen to you. When you say something to them, they know they can take your words to the bank. But the truth is, we can’t have them cashing in our checks anymore. We’ve got to be global. There’s a global workforce out there that we’ve got to take advantage of if we’re going to have a future.
It’s an end of an era. We’ve got to be forward thinking.
You’re the person who’s best to deliver the message.
Now… Before you come to any conclusions, we, Tim and I, want you to seriously consider the acceptance of the task we’re giving you. If you accept, then you’ll be on board to see through the transition. If you don’t, well… No hard feelings. You’ve been loyal. You’ve been a great resource. You’ve brought us more gold than California has to give. I’m sure you’ll find something somewhere someday.
Hey Lena, could you bring us some more doughnuts please?