As is my habit, I was at Disney's hat building beside the 134 freeway on Monday morning, seeing what I could see. The mood in the place is somber because the production staff has processed and now owns the fact that, come the end of the year, a sizable number of them will be receiving pink slips.
I got asked a lot of questions about how long health benefits would last after departure (answer: 6-15 months, depending on length of service. Everyone's mileage varies.) I got questions about work around town (answer: it varies day-to-day.)...
I found out that the new producer on "Rapunzel" is Roy Conli. The other news is that longtime Disney animation producer Don Hahn will be taking a lengthy sabbatical from Disney Feature Animation. Don sent out an e-mail to the animation staff on Friday saying that he needed a break, and planned to take one for an indeterminate length of time.
Don is a Disney "old-timer," starting at the studio as an in-betweener and then a production support guy back in the seventies. He was an associate producer on "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" in the middle eighties, and then producer of "Beauty and the Beast" and "Lion King," two Disney animated films that did a bit more than okay at the box office.
It'll be a loss for the studio while he's away; hopefully it won't be forever.