At Film Roman, work proceeds apace with the current season of the Yellow Family. As staffers said to me:
"We're just past our production peak now, and things will start winding down and artists will start getting laid off." ... "We had fewer episodes this season because there were holdovers from last ..."
A couple weeks back, The Simpsons crew bid adieu to a line producer who was let go after a decade and a half of employment on the show. These days, everybody is fungible, no matter how long and honorable or lengthy your service ...
There is also buzz that scripts for a new Simpsons season are being worked on, although no new show episodes have been officially greenlit. (And what does an "official greenlight" mean anyway? Eight months ago, a third season of My Friends Tigger and Pooh was greenlit, and we know how that worked out: eight weeks later, everybody is laid off when Disney reverses itself.)
I'm told by artists that Simpson producer-writers over the hill like seeing paper storyboards before the animatics reach them; this allegedly conflicts with high execs who want everything digitized front to back ("who needs paper boards?"). Happily, the writer-producers are getting their paper storyboards. (Leverage is leverage. (Plus it's cheaper to have boards on wood-pulp sheets than an extra animatic.)
And there is buzz around the studio that scripts for a new Simpsons season are being worked on (over the hill, by those producer-writer guys), although no new show episodes have been officially greenlit. (And what does an "official greenlight" mean anyway? Eight months ago, a third season of My Friends Tigger and Pooh was greenlit, and we know how that worked out: eight weeks later, everybody is laid off when Disney reverses itself in its brilliant way.)
At Cartoon Network, Chowder, Flapjack, and Ben 10 continue on their merry way; Foster's is at an end but five episodes are still unseen by the general public.
The Cartoon Network Shorts program, called "Cartoonstitute" by those in the know, continues along. And a new series, Adventure Time, is up and in production. (AT is out of the Frederator shop. I remember seeing it as a short when it was part of Random Cartoons down at Nickelodeon. Edgy. An artist I talked to said it's a challenging show to draw because the characters are ... rubbery. Probably easier for Ub Iwerks to draw, since a lot more rubbery cartoon characters were being drawn in 1929 than now.)
On the Imagi front, there is no news. Since I got back into town, I've gotten a stream of phone calls from ticked-off employees. Some of them, apparently, are ticked off about quotes like this:
[Imagi U.S. President Erin] Corbett explained "We had this money secured in the late fall. We had bridge money to take us through February, when we knew that bridge money was not going to [materialize]... we could not have people come in and not be sure [we'd be able to pay them.)"
As one artist said to me: Didn't want us to come in? We came in and they still haven't paid us for the week!"
They're also griped that they are owed pay in lieu of notice of layoff, and vacation pay. Who'd have thought?
Tuesday was the date the company told employees they'd inform them about when (and if) they were returning to work. But no dice. Imagi execs weren't returning phone calls.
I tried twice but got no answers. Employees told me all they got were recorded messages. I'm still hoping management's assertion to Variety that Imagi has secured financing is true, but I'm not laying down bets on it.