How Much Do Disney Animators Make Per Year

Disney animation has produced many classic films.

Disney animators work for the most famous animated movie studio in history, with a tradition of classic films. The salary, benefits and working conditions of Disney animators are clearly defined by a collective bargaining agreement between the Animation Guild and Disney Feature Animation. Pay scales vary according to job title and experience, with incremental pay increases built into the agreement. The current agreement covers the period from August 2009 to July 2012.

The Animation Guild

The Animation Guild is part of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, representing animators and special effects artists. The guild negotiates minimum wages, benefits and working conditions on behalf of its membership. Guild members are free to negotiate higher pay than the minimum guaranteed by the collective bargaining agreement. Member benefits include pension and health care plans. Animation Guild members are required to pay membership dues.

Working Conditions

Animators are guaranteed a 40-hour work week over five days. A sixth work day is paid at time and a half, while a seventh work day is paid at double time. In the instance of technical changes in the animation industry, the employer agrees to train current staff for available job openings. Animation supervisors are also covered by the collective bargaining agreement with regard to pension and health benefits. When Disney loans employees out to other shops, wage minimums are guaranteed as per the agreement.

Current Pay Scales

The current wage scale for Disney animators is in effect from October 2010 to October 2011. Experienced animators, referred to in the collective bargaining agreement as journeyman level animators, earn an annual wage of $83,025.28, which translates to $39.916 per hour. Assistant animators earn $71,054.88. Color correctors, digital image technicians and roto artists are paid $60,066.24 annually. The starting salary for trainees in $45,310.72, with increases after six months and twelve months.

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Scheduled Pay Scale Increase

A pay increase for Disney animators is scheduled in the current collective bargaining agreement with the Animation Guild. The increase kicks in on October 30, 2011, and runs until October 31, 2012. Journeyman animators will enjoy an increase in pay to $84,685.12 per year, with assistant animators jumping to $72,558.72. Color correctors, digital image technicians and roto artists will take home $61,268.48. Trainees’ annual pay will increase to $46,217.60. These yearly salary figures are based on hourly wages listed in the collective bargaining agreement.