Tuesday, April 22, 2008

At Studios

Wandered through two studios yesterday. There was Nick, which has sizable staff working (although not as sizable as in years gone by. They are doubling up on some positions on some shows, trying to contain costs.)

Talked to a manager about Nick's testing policies, and about the recent kerfluffle when the New York office cut corporate benefits for non-covered (i.e. non-union) personnel, then restored some of those benefits when staff went into revolt. He wasn't happy about the New York office's original dictate, but there wasn't much that he could do about it. They give orders, he follows them ...

At Disney Animation Studios, Bolt is thundering along at a high rate of speed, and a fine Bolt display has gone up in the lobby (replacing the multi-media presentation on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 70th anniversary.) Lots of people on the Bolt production crew are now into serious overtime. I asked one of them: "You getting paid for all the late hours?" He replied:

"Oooh yeah. I'm making good money ..."

I observed that some studios here and up north just paid set salaries no matter how long people worked in a day. He grinned at me.

"I make it a point not to go work at those places. It's one thing when you're twenty-three and don't know any better, but I'm too old for that {crap}."

He didn't use the word "crap."

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

- Any clean-up on 'Princess & the frog' yet??.. and/or what about the outsourcing rumors???

quack mcbush said...

Hey Steve,

Will "King of the Elves" be CG? I've heard talk that Lasseter was going to approve more hand drawn films. Do you know the status of this?

Anonymous said...

king of the elves is CG

Steve Hulett said...

The scuttlebutt I've heard is that there will be outsourcing, most of it in and around Los Angeles.

There is nothing official, and I haven't heard anything more than that.

Anonymous said...

Ok, if "Elves" is going to be CG, then when are we getting another hand drawn Disney film? Or was "Princess and the Frog" just a one time thing to shut up the purest?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #3, I think you'll have to wait until Princess releases (to get box office results) to know whether another 2D film is coming.

Steve, that scuttlebutt you are talking about. Is that in regards to outsourcing portions of King of Elves? If so.. that sounds strange.

Chester Copperpot said...

The intention IS to do more hand drawn films, but there is nothing in development... yet. The soonest one could come out is 2013, but that's the absolute soonest unless something drastic changes. This film (PATF) is being treated like a big experiment. The guys across the street are letting John and Ed prove their "theory" about good story-telling versus methodology of making a film. It is a priority of theirs to make sure that Disney is always doing hand drawn animation. That said, they know that it is going to be a "baby-step" process before they can get hand drawn permanently back at Disney. So, you may not see a whole slate of hand drawn films in the line up yet... but be patient, if "Frog" pays off financially hand drawn will more than likely make a more stable return at Disney.

Anonymous said...

oh. of course!

because 'Chicken Little' and 'Meet The Robinsons' were just such super, smash hits that John and Ed must really have to swim upstream in their argument that 2D features should still be made...

is this the level of idiocy at Disney that they really believe the amazing technology of 3D animation puts peoples butts in the seats? that wild exciting new frontier that can be seen in every television commercial, video game, and other animated fare out there.
"We need to wow the public with technology!"

how did Disney fill its offices with so many idiots?

Anonymous said...

I still think Disney ought to return to the title "The Frog Princess". It's far cleverer than "The Princess and the Frog" which sounds too juvenile. Anyway I do hope the film, however it's titled, does gangbusters. Surely there's room for both 2D and CGI films in the public's affections. If the "Princess and the Frog" is at "Lion King" level, maybe there's hope...

Anonymous said...

As for "Chicken Little", well, the fact is that it was successful at the box office, and it's gotten great ratings both times it aired on the Disney Channel. And CGI does still have a certain novelty factor going for it. Myself, I do think it's getting a little stale though. All decently-produced CGI films have the same look, no matter what studio they came from. A lushly-animated 2D film could really excited CGI-jaded audiences. We can only hope...

Anonymous said...

"This film (PATF) is being treated like a big experiment."


Yeah, hand-drawn animation at Disney = "big experiment" . They've never done that before . How to do it ? HOW ? Worry, worry, worry ...

Reinventing the wheel . What a great thing. :-(

Anonymous said...

Yeah, hand-drawn animation at Disney = "big experiment" . They've never done that before . How to do it ? HOW ? Worry, worry, worry ...

Well to be fair, hand-drawn animation is considered dead in feature animation, and to actually make a 2-D flick is considered craziness. I remember when Princess and the Frog was announced all the Hollywood trade papers were very skeptical, pointing out the failure of numerous 2-D features. To get a studio to get behind an original hand-drawn feature is a Herculean task, let alone bring 2-D back permanently.

Anonymous said...

no, as always the trade papers got it wrong.

The fact of the matter is that what is risky is the sensibility at Disney, not 2D animation. It was a mere 5 years ago that a 2D animated feature was nominated for best animated feature and best original score, and it was made for a mere $8 million. It was called 'The Triplets Of Belleville' and the collective heads at Disney are so thick(or conceited) they didn't even notice that they were bested easily at what they claim to be the best at.

Anonymous said...

"The guys across the street are letting John and Ed prove their "theory" about good story-telling"

You mean the guys that are responsible for Hercules and Treasure Planet (the two they did without JK's input and the last 2 efforts)...2D is doomed! Doomed, I say!!!
Well, maybe JL can somehow make these two tow the line...

chester copperpot said...

John and Ed, not John and Ron--

Anonymous said...

no, as always the trade papers got it wrong.

It doesn't matter if they're wrong, if Hollywood believes 2-D to be dead, then it's dead. Hollywood's a fickle beast, and if 2-D hasn't been bringing anything in (and with the exception of The Simpsons Movie it hasn't), then it's dead. Belleville did very well, but why make a little money with 2-D when you can make a whole lot more with CGI?

I want to point out that I don't believe 2-D is dead but that bringing it back is incredibly difficult. There's a reason why black and white films are so rare, and as far as Hollywood's concerned, 2-D's about as profitable as black and white. Lets' hope Ron and John can prove 'em wrong.

DanO said...

For me, its really hard to believe that the animation community(Disney in particular) can rally around the memory and brilliance of Ollie Johnson once we've lost him... and then persist that what he did is obsolete, unappealing, and inferior to 3D animation.

Anonymous said...

What about Rapunzel? Can this new technology make us forget the traditional 2d look? Is it really a step forward?

Anonymous said...

bunch a sore losers.

Anonymous said...

Walt was always pushing for new technology and finding ways to insorporating it for story telling purposes.

He'd be saying; "yo, this 3d stuff is old news now, gotta push for 4DS or 5D, biatch!"

In all seriousness, some guy did use '4d' and '5d' in some speech a while ago. Hilarious....

R.

Anonymous said...

It was a mere 5 years ago that a 2D animated feature was nominated for best animated feature and best original score, and it was made for a mere $8 million. It was called 'The Triplets Of Belleville'

...and a mere month or two ago that another 2D animated feature was Oscar nominated for best animated feature, and it was made for a mere $7 million, give or take. It was called 'Persepolis'.

Ars gratia artis, brothers and sisters.

Anonymous said...

- So, does anyone know; is animation started on 'Princess & the frog'?
... And what about clean-up??

Thank you -

chester copperpot said...

There is a small core crew started on animation for "Frog", animators will trickling in throughout the rest of this month and thru the summer. Clean-up will be picking up as footage does--

Anonymous said...

I thought they were letting people go from in-house??

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