Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tim Sarnoff Bids Adieu to ImageWorks

Tim Sarnoff, of Sony Pictures Imageworks (and before that Warner Bros. Animation), is departing the company.

Tim Sarnoff, the longtime topper of Sony Pictures Imageworks, has ankled the vfx and animation shop.

Sarnoff joined SPI in 1997 and has been president since 1997. He led the company as it became one of the major CGI shops in the industry, doing both high-end visual effects and feature animation.

A Sony spokesperson said Sarnoff will not be replaced ... [He] becomes the second top exec to exit Sony's digital production units in less than a year ...

Sarnoff announced his departure to employees at SPI's Culver City HQ on Wednesday afternoon.

Tim and I butted heads over the years, probably inevitable because he was focused on cutting costs and I was concerned about protecting TAG members, their pay, and their jobs.

But I'm never happy when somebody loses their job, no matter who they are. Sony, like most companies these days, is hurting and looking for places to cut. But I'm sure Tim will land someplace else. Entertainment execs usually do.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is GREAT NEWS! Now maybe Sony Imageworks and Feature Animation can move forward. The idea that someone with little or no experience or idea how to run a creatively driven company could RUN a company filled with creative people is ridiculous.

I was wondering what the cheers of joy from Culver City were yesterday at noon.

Anonymous said...

I always liked Tim. Yes, he's not an artist, he's a businessman. But he was a pretty frank guy and never AFAIK impinged on artistic decisions-what more can you want in an exec? Virtually none of them are former artists anyway. Usually because artists want to do things like direct and creat art instead of scrabbling for the studio's funding, etc.

Anonymous said...

Tim's grandfather was David Sarnoff who founded RCA and NBC which is eventually how he found his way into the business.

One could go through the list of blunders but I think the most glaring was his management's inability to schedule correctly. Many artists who were laid off one day would be called back for work literally days later. Most artists ended up crewed.

In one case, Tim called a senior supervisor in to let him know that he had to let him go without knowing his contract was renewed a few days earlier!

Anonymous said...

I personally remember how Sarnoff handled the layoffs back in 1997 after Contact and Starship Troopers was done. I was new so I was kept on because I was cheap labor. But the veteran artists who were let go were dealt with disrespect.

Artists would be at their desks and see a flashing light on their phone. Only it never rang. They'd listen to the voicemail. Meeting with Tim Sarnoff at such and such time. Artists would go up to Sarnoff's office to find several other artists that just got the same phantom message.

Then Sarnoff would come out and say you've all been laid off. Go back into his office. Those artists would go back to their cubes hoping to save their emails and what nots. No such luck. Logged off. Belongings already boxed up. Security guards waiting to escort them out of the building immediately.

Imageworks is better off with Tim Sarnoff and his top heavy management staff that no one could figure out what they do all day.

Anonymous said...

Nobody should worry about Timmy. He's got a trust fund, you know.

As he used to remind artists at Warners.

Anonymous said...

Just another brainless, overpaid executive. No big deal. It will make no difference. Suits run the entertainment industry and have created a self-perpetuating machine that pays for their suits and churns out crap. Any time anything good happens in Hollywood, it is entirely by accident. These chuckleheads just come and go and none of it makes any difference one way or the other. They are lumps of meat that are so dumb they aren't even aware of their own uselessness. They actually fool themselves into believing that they contribute something to the world.

Anonymous said...

With the new management installed he was the last exec from the old regime.
Remains to be seen if the new regime can produce hit movies and stay competitive in the Viz-Efx biz.

Anonymous said...

Well, I just heard Sony is letting go of 8000 jobs all over. So I'm not gonna shed a tear for this one dude, I'm sure he wont be hurting like these other folks....

http://money.cnn.com/news/specials/job_cuts/2009/

r.

Anonymous said...

No love lost... for each honest posting on the blog there are numerous other CURRENT and PAST employees at Imageworks who share the same sentiments.

The old, over-paid, heartless regime is ALMOST ousted, there are two remaining executives left: he should've been one of the first to be let go (he's synonymous with the phrase "what does he do again?") and the other executive who was the only executive who knew what SHE was doing!

Maybe Imageworks has a chance to keep the Titanic afloat now that the deadweight has cleared!

Anonymous said...

Imageworks needs to get rid of Stan Stymanski and Danielle Conroy too. They're part of that regime so many of us were so fond of.

Anonymous said...

Too bad he managed to gut so much of the competent staff that actually did work before he got axed. The remaining "creative" execs will have a hard time keeping things together while they try and find somebody who can actually manage a business, especially one that needs such a close coupling between high technology and creatives. Schadenfreude moment:
I hope Tim he got the same brutal treatment he doled at to so many others when the layoff happened. I'm sure this news brought smiles to thousands of faces.

Anonymous said...

After running it into the ground, I believe Sarnoff "ankled" his position at WBIT about two months before Warners closed the whole thing down. Imageworks hired him. Employees over there might want to keep that in mind.

Leavenworthless said...

Sarnoff once actually said "If I could eliminate the artists, I would". I was standing right next to him.

Anonymous said...

Who is the new guy in charge? What is he saying to the rank and file?

Are they planning on closing down imageworks?

I used to work there several years ago. I recently visited and there was a distinct lack of energy.

Anonymous said...

That's complete crap, he actually is known for overpaying people.

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