Thursday, June 29, 2006
Over the years I've developed a theory about the general morale in the studios I visit... EVERY cartoon studio has artistic staff that you can divide into three groups: 1) The happy, 2) the unhappy, and 3) those who weave between content and discontent. EVERY studio has all three sets of employees at any given moment (and subsets within those larger sets). You can tell how the studio is faring by which of the three groups is the largest...and the smallest. The most miserable staffs I can remember during my time as business rep are: The Warners Feature Animation staff in the mid nineties, when then-Warner Prez Bob Daley was looking at lots of feature pitches and could not make up his mind about which project he wanted to greenlight. Walking through the place, you could FEEL the air hissing out of the hope/optimism balloon... And Disney Feature Animation in 2001-2002. They were at the tail end of doing hand-drawn animation. Almost everyone working on "Home on the Range" had been told in meetings when their assignment was done, so they were vividly aware that their Disney feature careers were ending. When I walked through the studio, it was like going through a cancer ward. People wore grim, hollow-eyed looks. There was an abundance of cryptic humor. Five years later, the mood at DFA is 180 degrees from the mind-set of 2001. What a difference a couple of regime changes make. And Warners Feature Animation? It doesn't exist.
Posted by Steve Hulett at 10:53 PM