Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fatkat dealing with downturn


I've had a lot of links sent my way over the past day or so regarding the current situation out at Fatkat in Miramichi.
Here's a few of them:
First of all, full disclosure: I used to work for Fatkat. Gene Fowler is a friend of mine. A lot of my friends work for Fatkat. I like Gene, and I like his crew and his company. I root for them. Gene built a heck of a shop and right now they are suffering from a slump, as is common in this industry. I talk to Gene pretty regularly and have known that they have been struggling to land their next contract for a while. There have been a number of contributing factors, many of which are listed in the various articles. The economy as a whole? Sure. The provincial tax credits? Big time. Fatkat has laid off a lot of people. Is this news? Well, sure. Is this unusual? Not at all. This business is cyclical at the best of times. Most studios have the luxury of being located in large production centre like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and, to an extent, Ottawa. What usually happens in these places when one studio is between gigs is that the artists head over to another shop for their paychecks. It's called a talent pool, and studios draw from it regularly.
Out in Miramichi, Fatkat is the only game in town. So when they lay people off, there really isn't anywhere to go. This is tough for the artists and tough for the company. I know they've worked very hard to keep people on as full time empoyees in the past, something they did a great job at for a good long time. But sadly, that's a little unrealistic in this industry. Work ebbs and flows, that's the bottom line. Right now, for Fatkat, it's ebbing.
Local media has jumped on this. Some of those headlines are a little misleading and actually contradict the language in the articles themselves. I have a feeling the writers of these articles, for the most part, are unaccustomed to the nature of this industry, and hey, a story is a story.
I'm not going to specualte about the future of Fatkat. Here's what I know:
Fatkat has finished, or is in the process of finishing, the bulk of the work they have had running throught the shop for the last number of months. They have laid of most of their staff. They continue to seek out projects and are currently waiting for the financing to click on one in particular, a European production called Leo and the Pisa Gang. I have a piece on that very show that I wil run over the next few days. Fatkat has not closed and has not moved. Gene himself has said that they are holding on and working with their creditors (who have been very cooperative) to keep things going. That is all there is for now.
Things could change in either direction, for sure. But that's speculation. Personally, I would not count Gene Fowler or his crew out. Until I hear anything to the contrary, Fatkat is open for business.
Good luck guys.
m

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

That crew killed themselves and worked their ass off on 3Delivery. It's the best looking action Flash series I've seen.

It's slow everywhere, and things are tough. This crew deserves to be busy after all their efforts, and we can ill afford another company closing in the Atlantic region.

The shame in this is the position it leaves the artists in, as they will find it difficult to move into other regions as they will be ineligible for BC, Ont. and NS tax credits until next January.

I hope this gets resolved and 'Leo and the Pisa Gang' drops in time to save the company and retain the talent. ~Mark C.

Gene Fowler said...

Thanks one of the few good articles Mikey and for your comment and support Mark.

Fatkat and it's crew have worked like demons on this godforsaken show for almost 2 years straight. It's drained the company and almost killed the studio.

We've got some things lined up, but it's a matter of time (as usual) before they come in.

For now, almost everyone is enjoying a MUCH deserved break until we ramp again. When the time comes, we'll probably look and feel much different.

Email me anytime if you'd like to know more.

Gene

Mike Magnan said...

Hang in there Gene and the KATS!
We're rootin for ya!
Things'll turn around. Media can't go forward without content. Just a matter of time I hope.
All the very best.
Mike

The Curtis said...

Sad to hear things are on the rocks Gene.

My hat is off to Fatkat for all that they have accomplished, I am always impressed by you guys, the amout of skill your studio pushes as well as its quality of work.

Good luck in the near future!

 

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