Monday, October 27, 2008

An Afternoon at the House of Mouse

I spent part of the afternoon at Disney Animation Studios (that's the hat building, if you're not quite sure.)

Some of the remaining Bolt production crew is now working on a c.g. short for the picture's DVD. As one of them said:

We're happy with the way the feature came out. It gets released near the end of November, two weeks after Madagascar, so maybe it will have a weekend sort of to itself ...

Disney artists, I think, are going to be happier and more relaxed after the new picture has a big opening weekend. The publicity machine has already cranked up, with stories in the L.A. Times and the Wall Street Journal:

"Pixar was the reincarnation of Disney," said Floyd Norman, a retired Disney animator who also worked on Pixar's hits "Toy Story 2" and "Monsters, Inc." "Now Disney is becoming the southern version of Pixar." ...

The film, perhaps not surprisingly, evinces a Pixar pedigree. The title character evokes "Toy Story's" Buzz Lightyear, a space ranger who believes he has super powers only to discover that he is merely a toy.

Catmull insists "Bolt" is no Pixar clone.

"There isn't any cavalry coming over the hill," he said. "They have the talent there, they just needed a philosophy that let the talent rise to the surface."

I don't think there's much dispute that the Disney Animation Studio is being remolded along Pixar lines. The point mainstream media scribes sometimes miss is that when you burrow in a little, it's clear that Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, and D.A.S. are all branches of the same mighty oak Walt planted on Hyperion Avenue, seventy-plus years ago.

It's hardly an accident that the key creative minds running the three major U.S. animation studios come originally from Disney. It's simply the way God planned it.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

D.A.S.'s production crew is being given a "heads up" that management might be asking for a 45-hour work week.

People will be on call. No o.t.

Kiss My Ash said...

Hey Steve,

Have you had a chance to see Bolt yet? I hear they finished it on Saturday and had a screening of it today.

Anonymous said...

Anon #1, if I'm not mistaken, that's only for leads.

Anonymous said...

I've seen about Bolt, 99% complete. Granted it was on the small screen, but still.

It is at least on par with Cars.

Anonymous said...

That's what's known as "damning with faint praise".

Anonymous said...

It's both scene by scene and taken as a whole a terrific movie: entertaining, clever, best of all nuanced and personality-driven character animation. No wasted moments at all. And it's due to the the hard work of the Burbank Disney animation dept. which Ed Catmull and others keep on saying but not every media person is hearing.

I didn't work on it by the way.

Steve Hulett said...

Have you had a chance to see Bolt yet? I hear they finished it on Saturday and had a screening of it today.

No, merely clips. And the opening sequence on the web.

Looks very, very good to me.

Anonymous said...

Anon #1, if I'm not mistaken, that's only for leads.

Nope, also production crew. The reason given is the studio is trying to tamp down costs.

Anonymous said...

Steve, can Disney do this? Under the union agreement, can they force their rank-and-file (non-supervisory) employees to work 45 hours straight time?

Anonymous said...

...Before seeing OT?

Anonymous said...

Is that the way Pixar hours are structured?

Anonymous said...

I know that Pixar employees must work 50 hours before they get overtime. But, of course, they are not union.

It would seem to me that requiring Disney employees to work 45 hours before getting overtime would be a breach of the union collective bargaining agreement.

Steve Hulett said...

Steve, can Disney do this? Under the union agreement, can they force their rank-and-file (non-supervisory) employees to work 45 hours straight time?


No. Under the union agreement, Disney cannot unilaterally force straght time hours on anyone working under the contract.

However. For employees who are exempt from Federal and state overtime regulations, the company can propose that an employee be placed "on call."

Such an employee could work additional hours on the 1st through 5th workdays without additional compensation (but on-call workers get 56 hours paid into the Pension and Health Plan.)

Such an employee would have to agree to be placed on call. They would receive time-and-a-half on the sixth or seventh workday (generally, but not always, Saturday and Sunday.)

This language has been in 839 contracts since before I became biz rep. It's also in the Disney-IA contract.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for explaining.

Anonymous said...

Nope, also production crew. The reason given is the studio is trying to tamp down costs.

Are you sure? Because when they were doing the reviews/layoffs the leads were all told they'd be made exempt and on-call, but none of the others (myself included) were told that...

Anonymous said...

That whole thing sounds so confusing. I'm sure if the workers are asked, they will do it and I don't think too many will read the regulations, sections, sub sections and what have you.

Anonymous said...

If they're adopting the pixar model does that mean they'll stop letting people go at the end of a production?

realitysetsin said...

If WDAS films become as popular as Pixars, then yes, you can expect people not being let go.

The best job security is success. The worse is failure.

WTF said...

> If they're adopting the pixar model
> does that mean they'll stop letting
> people go at the end of a
> production?

Is that the Pixar model in "Bullsh!t Land"?

Moony's Metamorphmagus said...

When will Bolt be coming to DVD?

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