Interesting times at the studio by the Bob Hope Airport.
People are glad to be working, but morale is not at ... uh ... former highs.
"I don't know if they're going to keep the layout department here on The Simpsons going. They seem to be moving to just doing roughs here and do everything else in Korea." ... "Word's out that Starz Media has Film Roman up for sale, and they've got four bidders." ...
Longtime Film Roman/Simpsons producer Mike Wolf has just departed FR, and some of the employees I talk to are sorry over his departure.
"Mike wasn't perfect, but he always gave me a fair listen to when I had an issue, and he knew the show as well as anybody. It's too bad he's gone ..."
What I mostly pick up around the studio is the uncertainty of where the television series called The Simpsons is going. I hear things like: "We just don't know how much longer Fox is going to keep the show alive," and "They're squeezing the artists because they're paying so much to the voice actors, and they feel like they've got to hold the line somewhere. They figure we're an easier target."
Personally, I don't think News Corp. will be stopping episodes of the Yellow Family anytime soon (there's just too much money in those citizens of Springfield.) I ask one of the show's veterans if he believes that management is going to eliminate layouts in an attempt to cut budgets. He frowns and shakes his head.
"If they get rid of layouts, I think they destroy the character of the show. I don't know if The Simpsons could go on ..."
If the series doesn't continue for at least two more seasons, I'l eat my union card. Beyond that, there are those Simpsons animated features yet to be made. When I tell two anxious artists there is no way Fox is going to walk away from a feature franchise as lucrative as Homer's family, and more sequels are a dead-bang certainty, they don't disagree.
But how can they? If there's one thing that's bed-rock philosophy in Tinseltown, it's the love ... and continuation ... of a money-making franchise. Just ask Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.