Thursday, April 23, 2009

At the Diz

Today was the hat building on my TAG 401(k) meeting tour. Afterwards, I came across a Rapunzelite who told me:

"We've got to finish the picture by the end of next year. That means we're going to have a really full-tilt schedule to get everything done ... it's going to be a lot like Bolt, lots of seven day weeks" ...

I responded that I didn't know of many pictures that didn't have tight schedules, that back in the Jeffrey K. days, when I was wandering around the Flower Street facility, animation artists regularly complained about the six and seven-day weeks to get out Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Alladin and other features. There's just always a concrete release date you're forced to hit, no matter how many story and production kinks there are.

The artist allowed that yeah, tight schedules had been going on for awhile.

On my way out, I saw a couple of kids -- who had been roaming around because it was "son and daughter day" at the House of Mouse -- enjoying the color clip of Princess and the Frog playing in the ahll display clip.

I'm going oout on a limb here, but I'm betting that Ron and John aren't going to be recycling older Disney 2-D animation like happened back in ye olden days -- the 70s and 80s.

(Woolfgang was partial to using the good old stuff more than once.)

23 comments:

g said...

I never can understand why work doesnt get distributed evenly, and things get rushed at the end. Rapunzel has been in some stage of development for nearly 10 YEARS, and now it's going to be a race to the finish? Really?

Steve Hulett said...

The studio has retooled the feature several times.

It's not like one story/movie getting developed for ten years. It's more like multiple movies.

Anonymous said...

What race in the history of time has ever not been up the last second? Isn't this one of the fundamental laws of the Universe?

Justin said...

I'm not aware of the state of Rapunzel before 2005, but I think the count is up to 4 different movies.

Floyd Norman said...

I can’t help but remember the last Disney movie to do the ten year romp. “Black Cauldron,” anyone? Wasn’t that the film that was suppose to save Disney animation?

I sure hope the gal with the long hair has a better fate than that Disney Disaster.

Anonymous said...

Never seen the "recycling" video before. Pretty amazing.

g said...

The studio has retooled the feature several times.

It's not like one story/movie getting developed for ten years. It's more like multiple movies.
Well, to me, that makes it even worse.

Anonymous said...

The Black Cauldron was, and still is, a terrible film. And the production was a nightmare--and one of Ollie Johnston's biggest regrets. He HATED the final film, as did the audience. The designs are horrible, the animation piss poor, and the backgrounds ugly. But the biggest flaw is the story and characterizations. The film is just so BORING. Almost as bad as secret of nimh. Almost, but not quite.

pud said...

wow ... I had never seen that video before as well.

I had to watch the whole piece, some of the scenes completely surprised me!

Was this purely due to production pressures ? ... or was there no faith in the crew to do these scenes originally and make them as solid ?

Thanks for posting.
My eyes were opened a bit more today.

Scary Bonehead said...

"The Black Cauldron was, and still is, a terrible film. And the production was a nightmare--and one of Ollie Johnston's biggest regrets."-----

No doubt Ollie did hate Cauldron, but why would it be one of HIS biggest regrets ? Say what ? He didn't work on it . No blame on his shoulders for what happened with Cauldron.

Steve Hulett said...

Maybe Ollie was disappointed Caludon wasn't better, but I can't imagine what regret he had, since he was long retired when it was produced.

Me, I have a LOT of regrets about The Black Caudlron. Two and a half years of my life, for zilch.

I suppose it's some consolation that everything the original story crew did on the film was thrown out ... but not much.

One of the more painful experiences of my professional life.

Steve Hulett said...

Was this purely due to production pressures ? ... or was there no faith in the crew to do these scenes originally and make them as solid ?
Good question.

I think ... mostly ... it was a Woolie Reitherman thing. He was the guy who made the decision to reuse material.

There was a cost consideration, but veterans told me that Woolie would do it at times even though others weren't crazy about the practice.

I should have asked Woolie why the reuse, but I never did. At the time, I just didn't think to inquire.

Anonymous said...

"No doubt Ollie did hate Cauldron, but why would it be one of HIS biggest regrets ? Say what ? He didn't work on it . No blame on his shoulders for what happened with Cauldron."

Yes, he did. Ollie loved the book series and got Disney to buy them. He tried to get early development work done on it while he was on other films from 1969 through his retirement.

Anonymous said...

"and now it's going to be a race to the finish? Really?"

I'm with you on this. Unless all the stars align and some kind of "magic" happens, this is a recipe for disaster.

And even if, let's say the movie is a success, do any of us believe that any movie is worth losing the countless nights and weekends that should have been spent with our families?

It is a shame that these studios don't have supervisors and managers with enough balls to stand up and protect the people so that they all can force the studios to run a film responsibly without sacrificing the lives and families of the artists.

As Steve stated, he feels like he lost 2 years of his life on Black Cauldron...and for what?

Unfortunately, this practice has become the norm and standard. As stated above, most seem to view it as a given that has to happen no matter what.

I disagree.

tight wade said...

Enough talk about The Black Caudlron. Let's get back to what this post was about originally, Rapuzel.

So Steve, how's the crew feel about it? What do they think of the new directors and direction?

Lastly, is it still a classic retelling of the story or have they gone back to the original premise of a edgy Shrek type of humor?

Anonymous said...

"And even if, let's say the movie is a success, do any of us believe that any movie is worth losing the countless nights and weekends that should have been spent with our families?"

What would you do then, living in this world? Many's getting worse, and they don't get anything rewarding at all in the end. They have to work for their families, even when they know big evil corporations are using them. What would you do then?

g said...

If I were in charge? I'd work stories out before greenlighting projects. Pixar is notorious for having their films storyboarded to death before production even dreams of beginning, and it shows (and they crunch a lot less than their competition.)

Rapz was in a quasi state of pre-production/production for way too long, when the story itself hadnt even been realized. Heck, I wouldnt be surprised if it's switched it to 2D before all is said and done.

Rapunzel's problem is that it has been allowed a blank check with very little repercussions, and it has bled money with very little to show for it. There are right ways and wrong ways to do this.

No one is arguing that they'd rather be unemployed than "working for the big evil corporation," but we would also like to see it done a bit better for everyone involved. Allowing a director to mindlessly steer a ship all over the place for 10 years isnt exactly a good idea. The problem should have been dealt with sooner, but thats just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I've worked on 6 films now (including a Disney film) and I am leaving the business for the reasons discussed above. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunities I've had. But this isn't a career, it's a lifestyle. I'm exhausted from working months and months of 6 and 7 days weeks. And now, this business is going more towards production hires which means that those of us who are hired for the last 4-6 months of a project are expected to give up our lives for the movie. Then we're laid off and are expected to do it again somewhere else. It's too much and I'm over it.

Anonymous said...

I dont blame you...been thinking about it myself

Anonymous said...

Pixar is notorious for having their films storyboarded to death before production even dreams of beginning, and it shows (and they crunch a lot less than their competition.)Hoo Haw! I've worked on 4 Pixar films, and this is a joke. Yeah, lots of boarding and development is done, but there's still a brutal crunch on just about all of our films. Just like at the other studios I've worked.

g said...

Im curious, how long is the crunch (ie: how many months?) and what defines crunch (hours a week)

Honestly curious...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, lots of boarding and development is done, but there's still a brutal crunch on just about all of our films.That's true. Both Ratatouille and WALL-E were really brutal. But Up was fine. It's fairly up with time, perhaps the first since The Incredibles.

g said...

No specifics? Im still really curious...

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