Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Film Roman and Full Parking Lots

Now with Add On.

Tom Klein, a newer Simpsons producer.

When I pulled into the parking lot that wraps around Film Roman/Starz Media, I had a hard time finding a spot to stash my car. A large number of spaces than usual were filled, a good indicator that more shows are ramping up, and more artists coming back to work.

But all is not sugar and cream:

"Fox seems to want to hold down costs on the artistic side. Lots of people are being asked to do more than before, and wages are about the same." ... "Artists are happy to be back at work, but nobody knows how much longer The Simpsons goes on. One more season? Two? Will Fox keep it around longer?" ... "The Fox producers want every show more elaborate than the last." ... "There's going to be a second feature we figure, but will there be a third?" ...

One brighter spot is the arrival of Tom Klein as a new Simpsons producer.

"Tom's been good at communicating, and it seems he wants to be as effective as he can." ... "Tom's responsive. When you need something to do your job, he works to get it for you." ...

Nobody I talked to has a clue whether or not The SimpsonsM will have a Season #21 after the current 20th. "Maybe Fox and Gracie will want to break more records and keep it going" is the hopeful conjecture.

All or most of the Yellow Family's veteran directors are back in harness and working on new shows.

Add On: I failed to mention that at Starz Media, as in other animation facilities, the march of the Cintiq is relentless. Returning Simpsonsites have abandoned pencil and paper, and are working for the first time in digital mode with the big, ubiquitous computer screens. "The board artists now use them," a staffer said, "and some of the designers and layout artists are starting to take them up. Probably everybody will be drawing on them sooner or later."

I'm told the idea is that production efficiency will be improved. But in my experience, shifting to digital means more neat stuff can be done, so more neat stuff will be done. And no overall efficiencies -- same amount of work with less staff -- will take place. The resulting reality will be more work creating more stuff with the same (or more) staff.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I heard they laid off some long time execs - any truth to that?

Anonymous said...

tom klein is a good producer???

And g. w. bush is the greatest president ever.

Steve Hulett said...

I have no opinion of Mr. Klein one way or the other. I just report what people on The Simpsons said when I was over there. I wish him well.

He's been in the animation biz for years. I mean, he was toiling on Fern Gully, all those years ago.

Anonymous said...

The news I don't see anyone talking about is that Starz has put Film Roman up for sale. That is the reason for the exec shuffle and the questions about future production.

Anonymous said...

So when you say he is a producer, does that mean he's a writer on the show?
So many titles, so confusing.

Anonymous said...

he's above-the-line vs. below-the-line.

ie - not an artist "happy to have a job."

ie - not TAG

ie - part of the Fox/Gracie/WGA/Starz machine that wants and needs and must have it fastercheaperbetter for everyone above-the-line

Anonymous said...

Tom Klein is a fucking sleeze! Don't expext this to be posted, but the truth be known!

ping ping said...

I've heard nothing about Film Roman being for sale.

Steve Hulett said...

Mr. Klein is a Yellow Family producer at Starz, not a writer/producer at Fox/Gracie.

And yes, there's been a "changing of the guard" of some execs at Starz. Several comings and goings, in fact.

Serves no useful purpose for me to say who. Everything gets revealed in its own good time.

Anonymous said...

"Tom Klein is a fucking sleeze! Don't expext this to be posted, but the truth be known!"

Not only was it posted, but your name and email address accidentally posted over at "Blogger Busted".

Tough break, man.

Anonymous said...

WTF is "blogger busted"? Is it a joke?

Anonymous said...

aaaah! thanks anonymous 10:52, I havent laughed like that in a while!!!

R.

Anonymous said...

You're welcome 11:51, I think somebody may have soiled themselves. I'm here all week!

Anonymous said...

Since "Fox seems to want to hold down costs on the artistic side. Lots of people are being asked to do more than before, and wages are about the same."

Maybe they should eliminate the character and BG layout department like they did on "King of the Hill." And then shorten the schedule by 2 weeks for each show.

They could save some money that way.

Anonymous said...

maybe they should pay out less residuals to live-action sit-com writers pretending to give a crap about the animation industry if and only when it suits them.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why anyone would want to work over there.On top of the unsavory details listed in posts above, I can't think of why anyone would want to drive out to work at the Burbank Airport of all places.

Crappiest studio location ever.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that close to where the new union studio is going to be...?

Anonymous said...

I love that location...in fact it's the closest location to my house out of any studio in the area. I could technically go home for lunch if I wanted. Well, if I worked there of course.

Burbank is a terrific location for some of us who live in the Foothills area off the 210. And hey, the occasional plane crashing thru the lobby...everyone needs a little excitement now and then!

Animation Girl

Nelson C. Woodstock said...

Isn't that close to where the new union studio is going to be...?

Kind of. I drove by the new union building, still a big grey block, on my way to class from work last week. It's not far away, but it's not close like the Yahoo building is.

maybe they should pay out less residuals to live-action sit-com writers pretending to give a crap about the animation industry if and only when it suits them.

I have an issue with this post. They only give a crap when it suits them? So what if an artist decides to take a job on an existing show they don't like just for the paycheck? Or take cheaper non-union work, and then not put as much effort into it because it pays less? Every group of creators is guilty of this in one way or another. It actually seems to be less the case in these WGA covered primetime shows.

Crappiest studio location ever.

I love that location, because I live in downtown Glendale right off CA 134. I just hop on, head north on I-5, get off on Hollywood Way, drive a couple blocks south and bam. A 10-minute commute. :)

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