The weekly biz rep studio tour continues.
Warner Bros. Animation has now moved in to its new digs at the Warner Ranch (orginally the Columbia Ranch) north of the 101 between Pass Avenue and Hollywood Way. The studio is now housed on one part of the lot in connected trailers and -- a hundred-plus yards away -- in a three-story building.
I walked through all the different nooks and crannies this morning, and while the new spaces aren't as palatial as the old, they're functional and pleasant. Lower ceilings, but most people seemed okay with that.
Now what Warners needs is more production. Justice League the three other productions will soon be wrapping up.
I also cruised by Disney Feature Animation to find that everyone was at an "employee meeting" over at Burbank's fabled Pickwick Center. (For those who don't know, Pickwick is a recreational facility on Riverside Drive, containing bowling alleys, ice skating rink, and several large ballrooms. Plus a big park in the center -- seen below -- where the confab was held.)
The meeting was one of a series that the new Disney Feature Animation team has held, one more update on changes at WDFA. Glen Keane is happy with the new direction of Rapunzel and credited the new regime with helping to make the picture better; the new animation building -- slated to be built in Glendale -- is still a work in progress, and execs want artists' input. Management intends to make WDFA more transparent and various departments more communicative with each other as time goes on; technology from Pixar is being used on upcoming WDFA product.
One employee said to me that he thought story development was way better than when he first came to the studio (he's been there a few years.) I said that, judging from the morale of story crews up on the third floor, I think that's true. The artists don't feel as constricted and hemmed in by executives with their reams of notes the way they did several years back. Now its peers reviewing peers. Most people in the story department seem to like that a whole lot better.