Thursday, June 21, 2007

Change At Top of Diz Toons?

Word is now circulating that the top-kick at Disney Toon Studios will be moving on:

John Lasseter, the new all-powerful Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Studios, has caused a major commotion in Burbank this week. As per a report on the website, Lasseter on Tuesday relieved 13-year Disney Toon Studios President Sharon Morrill of her duties while making it clear that the studio will no longer be in the business of direct-to-DVD animated feature sequels and one-off's.

I don't know how much of the above is accurate. I also don't know how much commotion has actually been caused. I've been to Disney Toons, TVA and Disney Animation Studios a lot since the start of the week, and everyone working at those places seems to be soldiering on gallantly.

But I've been hearing from Disney Animation staffers for some days now that, indeed, there have been exec changes over at the animated sequels shop in Glendale. I opted to maintain a dignified silence about it, waiting for some eagle-eared citizen of the internets to burst forth with the information. Now that JMH has blown the lid off the story, I guess there's no reason to stay clammed up, is there?

We wish Ms. Morrill well in her future endeavors.

Update: The Morrill departure has now moved from the blogosphere into the entertainment press. Variety headlines its take on the Toon change: Disney Tosses Toons Topper. Morrill sacked over 'Tinkerbell' problems.

Update II: Here's yet another story with another unkind headline.


Pooper Scooper said...

I been reading alot about Lasseter and his "consolidating" of power over at that BlueSky website.

I wonder what will become of DisneyToons? Will they create more original content or will they just do that kiddie stuff from the Disney channel.

And what about the directors over at DT? Will they be given more freedom like the feature division or will they start to leave?

Amy said...

As a former Disneytoons Sydney artist, I say good riddance to her.

She was representative of everything wrong in how to run animation. She claimed to LOVE and ADORE animation so much and in the same breath announce Aristocats 2 in CG.

Yes, it cost us our jobs and I remain immensely proud of our work, but I think it's for the best to end the sequels.

Pardon all we fired Disneytoon artists for our moment of pure schadenfreude ;)

Anonymous said...

"Pardon all we fired Disneytoon artists for our moment of pure schadenfreude ;)"

No pardon needed , you earned it.

Anonymous said...

wow. glad I didn't take the Director job over there.

Anonymous said...

About 10 years overdue.

Will Finn said...

I only met the woman once, but certainly know her reputation. one story i have to share is hearing that she was red-eyed and crying at news, a tale i've heard about many of the other upper-eschelon getting handed their walking papers in the last year or so....

if the blubbering is really true and not wishful thinking, i find it funny that every artist i know (myself included) had to take their pink slips at Disney with maturity and a chin-up attitude while concealing their heartbreak. Meanwhile, the mighty fall with all the grace of spoiled brats having their pacifier taken away.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Mr. Finn.

Anonymous said...

from the Variety article:

"Tinkerbell" has seen close to two dozen versions of the script and a dozen different directors.

weel, there you have it. she's the decision maker and that is a record of sheer incompetence. i would have thought the hammer would have dropped at script number 10.
I'm glad things are being cleaned up at that studio.

Anonymous said...

Speaking to the anecdote retold above--it wouldn't surprise many people if true.
And the comparison is not only fair but deserved. EARNED, I guess you'd say. She was on top too long and as a result despite a LOT of screwups became deluded into total entitlement. With a teflon coating.

Think of some senators or politicos who just can't believe they actually have to pay any piper ever. There you have it.
Yes, the proper thing would be to go QUIETLY, no hystrionics. But with the "millions" the videos made I'm sure she'll be fine somewhere else soon enough-just not at Disney.

Anonymous said... makes it sound like she's voluntarily "stepping down" as opposed to being shit-canned for incompetance.

I'm currently an employee at Disney, and while I'm not on the "Tinkerbell" project (thank god) I can attest to this woman's idiocy.

One moronic exec down, several more to go...

Anonymous said...

It's about time Paul Bunyan started swinging his axe on those old trees that needed chopping a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean lots of layoffs @ DTS? Or, are they keeping everyone on staff to work on non-sequel direct to DVD/videos?

Anonymous said...

What was her animation experience prior to being put in charge of all those animators? Apparently none. It seems she had never done a walk-cycle or a "heavy push" or even a bouncing ball. Nor a storyboard drawing. And yet was put in charge of animation?

I wonder what was the magical quality she had that valted her ahead of every other talented animation person on the planet to head the Disney DTV unit?

Anonymous said...

> makes it sound like she's voluntarily "stepping down" as opposed to being shit-canned for incompetance.

Execs such as Morrill, Stainton, etc... are almost always given the opportunity to "step down" when a new regime rolls in - often because they have time left on their contracts to which the company is obligated. So they leave with bruised egos, and a nice big golden parachute. Whatever. It's business.

Anonymous said...

When I was "let go" as an artist from DisneyToon studios, I felt like I was finally released from the employ of a filthy third-world brothel. Yeeesh! The things we gotta do to keep our children from going hungry!

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