Monday, June 08, 2009

At the House of Ears

Back from vacation, back in the saddle, and back at the Disney Animation Studio, stumbling from room to cubicle.

And as I stumble, work on Princess and the Frog is wending its way to a conclusion. Staff tells me:

"Rough animation and rough layout are pretty well done on P and F. Rough animation is 95% finished ..."

"The last sequence going through is being animated with clean, tight drawings, and the inbetweening done in-house. They're not doing cleanup on it ..."

"Most of the supervising animators on Princess and the Frog have been picked up for the next project" ...

"Rapunzel is going into animation the last part of the year. It's a musical, and they're going to have fairly short production schedule like they did on Bolt. Glen Keane is still the executive producer, and I think he could be supervising some animation, but I've just heard that could be happening. Don't know if it actually is" ...

I walked through the layout department and discovered the crew shrank while I was off in the mountains. One room was missing half its artists, another had a bunch of empty desks. Two artists mentioned it was their "last week of work."

I told them I hoped that the next hand-drawn project got rolling soon.

18 comments:

Neal said...

...which, is an in-house sequel to "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh".

"The movie is being produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. This marks the first time in more than 35 years that a Winnie the Pooh motion picture is being produced at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Under the supervision of John Lasseter and producer, Clark Spencer ("Lilo & Stitch," "Bolt") the movie is due out in theaters spring 2011. Steve Anderson ("Meet the Robinsons") and Don Hall (head of story on "The Princess and The Frog") will co-direct. Tidbit: Burny Mattinson who worked as an animator on the original Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree featurette in 1964 will serve as the lead story artist on the project."

All things you knew, I'm sure.

And a recent interview with Alan Menken makes it sound like "The Snow Queen" has resumed production, when asked what he's doing now, he responded:

"I'm preparing the soundtracks of two cartoons, Rapunzel and Snow Queen, and of a live musical film feature of Beauty and the Beast. At the same time I am also working on a musical comedy that will debut in Autumn 2010, Leap of Faith."

...interesting, interesting...

Fun With Mr. Future said...

"This marks the first time in more than 35 years that a Winnie the Pooh motion picture is being produced at Walt Disney Animation Studios. "

----

It will be interesting indeed to see how much of the new Pooh movie is in fact made in-house at Burbank vs. how much of it is out-sourced. I hope they use it as a vehicle to call back the laid-off P & F crew sooner rather than later.

I wonder if they will take the same approach as the somewhat rough-line look of the original Pooh shorts from the 60's , which would maintain a certain consistency with those older pictures, but would also mean they can use a very small cleanup crew , since the clean-up would mostly be limited to slight "touch-ups" of the animators roughs. Also will be interesting to see if the Pooh feature is used as a proving ground for an all paperless production pipeline using Cintiq tablets.

I hope there's still a market out there to see a Pooh feature in the movie theaters. So many years of saturating the market with Pooh programming aimed exclusively at pre-schoolers and direct-to-DVD Pooh movies (babysitter movies) to overcome. Why pay premium ticket prices to see it in the theaters when the market is already *saturated with Pooh movies ? Is the movie-going public really clamoring for a Pooh feature ? Or is this more like the ill-conceived sequel to The Rescuer's released in 1990 , The Rescuer's Down Under, which was a pleasant little film overall , but as a follow-up to the spectacular success of The Little Mermaid it seemed like a step backwards and basically there weren't that many people who really cared much about seeing more adventures with Bernard and Bianca. This seems eerily reminiscent of that time period in the late 80's/early 90's. Hope it doesn't have the same lackluster results at the box-office.

----

*TV Specials and Direct-To-DVD Movies:
My Friends Tigger and Pooh (tv series)

Pooh's Super Sleuth Christmas Movie
Winnie the Pooh: Shapes & Sizes
Winnie the Pooh: Wonderful Word Adventure etc.

Pooh's Heffalump Movie
Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie
Piglet's Big Movie
Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo
The Tigger Movie
Winnie the Pooh: A very Merry Pooh Year
Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving
Winnie the Pooh: Un-Valentine's Day
Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin
The Book of Pooh: Stories from the Heart

And I'm sure a few more I haven't listed.
How much more can people take ? (or rather why would they feel compelled to show up at the movie theaters to pay premium movie theater ticket prices when there is so much Pooh stuff already available on DVD's ? )

Neal said...

That is true, but, if this is a repeat of the 80s/90s - then the step back of "The Rescuers Down Under" brought on the fab four.

Let that happen again.

Steve Hulett said...

Diz taffers have complained to me that much of "Winnie the Pooh, the Feature" will have much reuse of the featurettes from the 1960s.

Woolfgang would be proud.

Neal said...

What do you mean, exactly? That this isn't going to tell a new story - it's going to be a repeat of the original film?

Anonymous said...

"The last sequence going through is being animated with clean, tight drawings, and the inbetweening done in-house. They're not doing cleanup on it ..."

Can someone elaborate on this, please? Animated with clean, tight drawings? Not doing cleanup on it? It would have to be animated pretty damn clean to fit in with everything that I've seen in the trailer.

Floyd Norman said...

Sounds like this is possible. Much the same way we worked on "The Sword in the Stone" back in the sixties.

Steve Hulett said...

Just means the animators aren't working "rough." Computers will tweak images after conversion to digital from paper.

Or so it was explained to me.

Animatronic Animator said...

Are there other stories in the original books that weren't animated?

Were you being sarcastic when you said Woofgang would be proud, Steve? I wasn't sure. I think that if they're sticking closer to the original it'll be a better film, but I can't imagine that they're going to just reanimated the old stories. That doesn't sound very business smart. And I doubt Lasseter would approve of such a rehash.

C. said...

Amid Amidi is NOT a true animation critic.

He is just a hypocritical fanboy who yells and screams his typical biases. You won't find Leonard Maltin or Canemaker doing that.

It's sad that today's animation "critics" like Amid Amidi are neither fair nor balanced. They won't write books about their own art, because they can't produce any. Instead, they spend all their time trashing the work of others, while making exceptions for those who give them fat paychecks to write "Art of" books.

Anonymous said...

Animation with "clean, tight drawings?" It sounds fishy to me. "Sword in the Stone" not withstanding, Animators always start working rough, then revise test and refine. The director also has his say. Working clean would be huge potential waste of effort. What is actually happening, I think< is the Animators are doubling as clean up: doing both jobs.

I think this "staffer" was having you on, or maybe it was a case of wishful thinking; a management fantasy, like computers "automatically" cleaning up drawings. It never happened and it never will. It sounds like the company is desperately trying to justify under-hiring in-house clean up staff.

Anonymous said...

Assuming Steve's leg wasn't being pulled I'm willing to bet the goal is to eliminate the Clean-UYp artists and just have Computer artists do more clean-up than normal (I assume they have to do some touch-up even after a scene has been tightly cleaned-up once it's scanned and shows all the things even a good clean-up artists can't correct with a pencil and eraser...?)

Steve Hulett said...

I think this "staffer" was having you on, or maybe it was a case of wishful thinking; a management fantasy, like computers "automatically" cleaning up drawings.

Nope. Staffer was being truthful. It's only one sequence this is happening on because of the type of sequence it is. (And I'm not going into details because then I'll get kicked to death by Mouse trolls.)

So trust me. The person wasn't lying. They're doing it on one sequence due to the nature of that specific beast. They're not eliminating cleanup.

Neal said...

Mr. Hulett,

I still don't understand your first reply:

"Diz taffers have complained to me that much of "Winnie the Pooh, the Feature" will have much reuse of the featurettes from the 1960s."

...if you attempted to clarify it and I missed it, I'm sorry. Please explain who you meant with the above statement.

Thanks!

Neal said...

*what, what you meant, not who.

Steve Hulett said...

I can't explain it more than I have, Neal.

There will be new animation and old in the feature, is what I'm told.

Sorry if you don't understand.

Neal said...

I understand now. Before it sounded like it was either a re-aniamtion of the original or all of the original.

Frankly, I'm surprised Lasseter is allowing any sort of re-hash at all.

Anonymous said...

@ "C" re: your post on Tuesday, June 09, 2009 11:29:00 PM :

"Amid Amidi is NOT a true animation critic.

He is just a hypocritical fanboy who yells and screams his typical biases. You won't find Leonard Maltin or Canemaker doing that." , etc. ...

------

Huh ? Why ? What ? Totally off-topic. Nothing in this thread was about Amid Amidi . Why go off on a random rant about whether Amid is a "real" animation critic or not ?

No reason to drag your feud with Amid over here.

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