Thursday, August 24, 2006

A DreamWorks Afternoon

DreamWorks is a studio in which it's easy to while away an afternoon. (Fountains, canals, lagoons...) I talked to a LOT of artists. In fact I spent more time in more rooms in more comofrtable chairs than I have in months (usually I'm breezing in and out of doors, trying to cover as much territory as possible). A decade ago I relearned a central rule of every animation studio (which I'll repeat for the tenth time.) No matter how wonderful or horrible a company's work environment, there are always three groups inside of it: the disgruntled, the halfway contented, and the outright happy. If the studio is a grim sweatshop, you still have the three groups, but the Disgruntled make up the largest demographic. And a well-run, relaxed operation STILL gives you the three groups, except now the Happy Artists predominate. I certainly found the three groups in evidence at DreamWorks on Wednesday. I came across an unhappy artist (he'd had a lot of his work left on the cutting room floor because of story changes and was stewing about it), the director whose picture is going "really well" (we talked about actors at recording sessions, and how the Brits have a real hard-edged work ethic: they come in prepared, and are willing to try anything.) And there was the story artist who was excited about the new project he'd just started, but a little nervous about how the project was going to turn out. (Chalk him up as "reasonably content.") I don't think I realized until today that DW probably has a bigger slate of feature films on its calendar than any other studio in town. There is "Flushed Away," coming this Fall. "Shrek III" rolls into your neighborhood AMC during Spring of '07, then there's "Madagascar II" (with, I'm told, a more satisfyingly symmetrical storyline than Madagascar I") and "Bee Movie" and "Kung Fu Panda" out there in 2008, 2009. Beyond all those, there are two more features in the early stages of development, but since the studio hasn't settled on their titles, let alone announced them, there's no point in me pounding away on my keyboard about them.


Anonymous said...

The order of release is actually a little different: in 2007, it's "Shrek the Third" in May, followed by "Bee Movie"(working title)in November.
"Panda" and "Mad 2" are for 2008.

Beyond that it's as yet unannounced, but as you saw--it's good! ; )

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