Friday, March 12, 2010

Shuttered

I got this news in a cryptic phone call a couple hours ago (obviously near the time of the news release):

In a cost-savings move, Walt Disney Studios is shutting down director and producer Robert Zemeckis' ImageMovers Digital studio in Marin County, which employs 450 people. Those employees will be phased out over the course of the year until the facility closes by January 2011.

IM Digital only recently moved into a newer facility in Novato. Before that, it was in San Rafael. And growing.

This isn't hard to figure out. Disney grossed $324 million worldwide with Christmas Carol, and admits to spending $174 million on the picture (and with the way studios move internal money around, it would be tough to say how accurate this is.) By the time the Mouse finished advertising the feature, and projecting downstream cash flow for the feature, they undoubtedly deduced that they were going to be in the red with CC for a long time.

Disney still wants to be in business with Robert Zemeckis, for he has a long string of box office hits and so still has juice. But Disney doesn't want to be carrying a large northern California studio paying union wages and union benefits.

The less expensive route is to job the motion capture out and rein in costs, and that (I'm guessing) is what Diz Co. will be doing. Richard Ross, after all, wasn't put into the Dick Cook captain's chair to shower people with money. As an IM Digital staffer said to me today by phone:

"Ross came though a little while ago, and we all wondered what was going to happen. Now we know."

No big surprise there. Mr. Ross, from his perspective, is "working to stop the hemorrhaging."

From our perspective, he's slashing and burning. But hey, it's all in your point of view, right?

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

$174 mill. on Christmas Carol sounds about right. And another hundred million on marketing. The saddest part is all the incredible artists that will be put out of work, while a hack with such incredibly BAD TASTE like zemeckis will continue inflicting us with his crap.

Anonymous said...

Could this be another sign of the era of Dick Cook coming to a close?

Look, Christmas of the Living Dead (Polar Express) and the rest of those films were horrible to sit through but they did keep a lot of our peers working - think of IMD as the modern day Hanna-Barbera. Now that they are going the way of the Passenger Pigeon how many more artists will flood onto the market with nowhere to land? 450+? Add that to the ones SPI let loose after Alice came to an end and it looks like it is a buyer's market.

Salaries are going to drop like stones...

Once again, William Goldman's words ring true, "Nobody knows anything"

Anonymous said...

" Mr. Ross, from his perspective, is "working to stop the hemorrhaging."

------

I'm sure Ross will lead by example and the belt-tightening (to "stop the hemorrhaging") will start with him , right ?

Oh, what's that you say? Ross is going to take a big fat multi-million dollar bonus for his efforts in laying-off all those people ? Well, well, well ...

Anonymous said...

"But Disney doesn't want to be carrying a large northern California studio paying union wages and union benefits."

So targeting union shops is the financial silver bullet?

What's next... shuttering Burbank because it's union?

Oh that's right. Gotta keep one union shop around to maintain the illusion of caring about the industry's legacy.

Hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

$174 mill. on Christmas Carol sounds about right. And another hundred million on marketing.

Disney bought Z when he was up for sale, back when most of the industry thought "Beowulf" would change the world. It didn't, and most audiences knew it wouldn't.

Shame it had to take that MUCH of a bath to demonstrate that Z isn't quite the hot goods the Non-animation industry tells itself he is (there is a lot more neato fascination with the idea of "photorealistic" mo-cap in the studios than there is among the public with the results), but somebody had to sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

It's very sad for the large expert and mostly mid to senior level community of artists in Marin
Yet one wonders at the timing; if anything Cameron has opened the door for this medium to finally take off;
perhaps disney does not want to be tied in to Zemeckis.
the other wisdom may be to have perf cap in live action movies and not all-CG .. .e.g. Pirates, LOTR - with star or brand power to offset the risk
or they may just show up in Vancouver

Anonymous said...

Think it was more a case that each studio, Warner, Sony and Universal (remember, Polar had been a flop in 2-D) had each taken their own lumps on "neato" Zemeckis, and Disney was too excited to wonder why they were getting a bargain--
Between Carol and Nutcracker, seems Disney was primarily planning to rely on IMD for Christmas movies...As if it was a recognition that Zemeckis had never had a reliable hit at any other time of the year.

(If you want to make knee-jerk generalizations, then you can: The audience does not like Mo-cap for its own sake.
Either it's "creepy", or it's "lazy" and "carpetbagging", unquote, but seems like it's only really old studio executives that get excited about how "real" a CGI character can look. Namely because many of them just don't understand how the whole thing works.)

Anonymous said...

Everyone doesn't realize the $174 million wasn't JUST for the film... it included the costs of creating an entire digital studio, from the ground UP... something never done before. And all this, including the production of a first-class final product, all in under three years.

Imagemovers Digital achieved something very few people/studios will ever even dare to TRY.

Unfortunately, we have people like Rich Ross now running things and closed minds don't help, minds that want to focus on bringing teen stars to the big screen like Miley and Zac.

Sadly, I can't help imagine that Lasseter may have had a hand in this, as well. It's no secret he wasn't too thrilled with this new company being formed in the Bay Area (where there is arguably more talent in VFX than in LA) and he didn't want to see Pixar suffer from any competition, even if it was derived from Pixar to begin with.

Kudos to Zemeckis and his amazing team up there in the Bay Area. Sad to hear the doors closing, but they should all feel proud of the work they have done and will have an easy time leaving with heads held high.

Anonymous said...

Disney is foolish to think this was a wise decision.

Now all you're going to be getting out of Disney is more Hannah Montana B.S. and films full of fart jokes headed up by the fool Rich Ross. How can he possibly fill the quality shoes of Dick Cook who had 30 years of experience at Disney?

Disney is going down the tubes my friends and Richie and Iger are at it's helm. Even Pixar isn't safe from their poison. Just look at what the Lasseter has done since his promotion - now we're getting all these sequels from Pixar plus the creation of the Vancouver Pixar Stutio that will be creating direct to DVD films and TV shows. Disney is no longer Disney -- it has passed it's torch to Pixar. Now Pixar is no longer Pixar.

Also, I wouldn't doubt that because of 'Princes and the Frog's' poor performance that Disney closes it's 2D animation dept..... AGAIN!!!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I can't help imagine that Lasseter may have had a hand in this, as well. It's no secret he wasn't too thrilled with this new company being formed in the Bay Area (where there is arguably more talent in VFX than in LA) and he didn't want to see Pixar suffer from any competition, even if it was derived from Pixar to begin with.

THE PEOPLE...DIDN'T...GO...TO SEE..THE MOVIES!!!!
Remember all those Dreamworks-thread complaints about "What does complaining about the movies have to do with the studio"?--This is what a poor studio's product has to do with the fate of its studio!
IMD was not "destroyed" by Lasseter, or Ross, or any other strategically spun Disney exec to union-blame--It was destroyed by Zemeckis continuing to make his "brave" new studio a bad investment.

I'm glad Zemeckis was an "innovator", or at least that fellow animators consider him one...But he "innovated" an unpopular product, and in most of the public's mind, became a symbol of what was wrong with the industry.
Zemeckis ended up embarrassing every studio he worked for, and at a $100M loss for their first showoff outing, Disney had good reason to be embarrassed at the well industry-hyped pig they'd bought in a poke. (And nobody even rushed to its artistic defense, as they had with the Froggy.)
Zemeckis had spent a lot of money making himself EXPENDABLE.

Anonymous said...

"Everyone doesn't realize the $174 million wasn't JUST for the film... it included the costs of creating an entire digital studio, from the ground UP... something never done before."

RIIIGGHHHT. Never done before. How about the exact same scenario for DINOSAUR. An entire digital studio created at the Northside building in the nineties. Then the majority of the crew gets canned and the facility shuttered. Primarily because of the inept management of Schumaker and Schneider. Deja vu?

Jonathan said...

As an IMD staffer, I want to say that Mr. Zemeckis and partners were the best bosses I ever had. They are handling this situation in the most considerate way possible. Beyond the box office numbers, at the end of the road, that's what I'll remember.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Dinosaur was just as bad, misinterpreted the appeal of CGI just as wrong-headedly, drove the audience off just as instantly, and lost just as many crushing millions on its first step out of the gate...Was that the comparison you're looking for? ;)

Ron said...

For Disney execs, eliminating the IMD facility brings Bob's relationship back down to the level of any other production. Bob tried to build an old style, stable home for artists in a time of increasingly fractured and outsourced production. I'll always be proud to have been a part of Polar, Monster, Beowulf, and Carol. We improved the work significantly over the course of those films. I'm also glad to be a member of IATSE, which supports artists by working toward similar goals, and within the same realities, as Bob did with IMD.

Anonymous said...

I feel terrible for the artists losing their jobs. I know a few of them. But anyone who discusses this situation without acknowledging the poor filmmaking and POOR DESIGN work of Zemekis films is avoiding reality. A decision could have been made to move away from uncanny valley zombie-ism. It's all about designing for the technology. Tragic.

Ron L said...

Can Dick Cook start up SaveDisneyAgain.com?

Yes, Zemeckis' movies weren't great. But this isn't about Zemeckis anymore. It's about this new direction where Iger and his minion executives seem to be exercising more control over the creative division... And we all know how that turns out in the end.

Maybe they aren't trying to control the artists and this is just a blip. Anybody close to the situation who thinks otherwise, please enlighten us. But based on these last few announcements from Disney, it sure looks like Eisner's bad years redeux.

If Ross is going to be hovering over every project director's shoulders to make sure everything they produce makes money or else.... This is a bad sign for the studio - and all the other animation studios better watch their backs.

Anonymous said...

I feel terrible for the artists losing their jobs. I know a few of them. But anyone who discusses this situation without acknowledging the poor filmmaking and POOR DESIGN work of Zemekis films is avoiding reality

Well said: It's hard to -not- sound crass and unsympathetic to dance on IMD's grave, considering the talent out of work...At least they had some competence and experience in their field, and deserved better.

But it's often said that it takes a lot of achievement for a director's name (like Hitchcock or Bergman) to become an adjective for a style or genre, and Zemeckis, unfortunately, DID:
His name became synonymous in the public's mind with "carpetbagging" live-action directors so smitten with their favorite Pixar or DW film, they thought it "might be fun" to spend money pumping out one of their own, if only they found the right Whiz-Bang Magic Computer Gizmo to do it....And now, whenever a George Miller or a Zach Snyder decides to dabble in the field for a little career variety, the public groans about "another one of those Bob Zemeckis mo-cap things".
It's hard to singlehandedly take the guilt for a lot of directors' mistakes, but it doesn't happen by accident, either.

Anonymous said...

**Can Dick Cook start up SaveDisneyAgain.com?**

If he does, I'll become a card-carrying member.

Anonymous said...

I agree that this certainly smells of something turning very ugly very fast. Disney WILL regret this one day, and BZ would be wise to severe his contract and NOT pursue a new contract with the mouse. Only further disappointment will follow.

IMD was JUST GETTING IT'S FEET WET.

I'm sorry to the earlier posts referring to this being done before, but I agree that this wasn't particularly done the same. I worked on Dino at Disney, as well, and we spent well more than $174 mil on that film ALONE in an already established studio. I'm not sure how much the facility cost at IMD, but it certainly wasn't cheap.

Also, say what you like, but IMD produced the BEST product from this method of filmmaking, performance capture. Carol was a huge leap from any of Zemeckis's last films that were apparently driven by a team that couldn't successfully pull off what Zemeckis was looking for, thus the creation of IMD and a successful final product (yes, Carol should be considered a success in it's final look, camerawork, editing, performances and animation).

It's just sad that the first film out the gate wasn't something more original. Carol had been done numerous times... what's the appeal of seeing it again?

It's easy to point a finger at Bob, but it's hard for any director to push a medium that is being designed as it is demanded. Blame the speed and cost of technology, not Zemeckis. Any director would die to work in this medium, comfortably directing actors with the luxury of designing and changing your film at any time to help make it better. Jim Cameron got a taste of it and spent $500 million making it work in his own way.

Disney doesn't give $500 million to ANY director. And they don't just give $174 million to just ANY director, either. Dick Cook believed in Zemeckis, and it was for more than just one picture.

Rich Ross, on the other hand... who knows?

Again, IMD just got started at finally perfecting this medium. Had they had a chance to continue, they'd prove only more successes to follow. I saw extreme potential in this company, in this medium, in this industry.

I'm equally guilty of seeing potential and hope in Disney to see through what they promised Zemeckis 3 years ago.

Anonymous said...

It's just sad that the first film out the gate wasn't something more original.

If you mean Polar Express, why no, it wasn't.
But if you mean Carol was the "misunderstood" first film Zemeckis had ever made, why no, it wasn't either...It was simply the first film made under a house brand, trying to buy a piece of what Zemeckis had already been doing for the last four years, and stamp a Mouse collar on it before he took it back to Warner again.

And while it's nice to pretend to robe Bob in white martyr gowns, it's worth remembering that the audience KNEW what kind of films he already made, and it was only the studio that didn't heed the warning signs.

Disney doesn't give $500 million to ANY director.

No, they give it to the one that Variety headlines trumpet as "the new trend", in the hopes they'll get a piece of what other studios enjoy. It's happened before, and frequently.
In this case, everyone except tech-illiterate studio suits seemed to be aware that Z's movies were not the most in-demand or techno-artistically innovative in town...All the suits knew was that Z had spend his money to buy The CGI Machine That Goes Ping, and that it must do something popular and innovative because it cost a lot.

Blame the speed and cost of technology, not Zemeckis.

Well, some of us would rather blame Zemeckis for not seeming to KNOW there were other technologies involved in making a CGI animated feature, and blundering forward on the one chapter of the book he'd read--
Cameron knew and designed what he wanted from mo-cap, Zemeckis seemed to use it because he thought everyone else did.

Anonymous said...

If you mean Polar Express, why no, it wasn't.
But if you mean Carol was the "misunderstood" first film Zemeckis had ever made, why no, it wasn't either...


I meant that Carol was the first production IMD produced. I thought it was pretty clear in my post. Again, I'm talking about the caliber of work that was being done by the studio that is being shut down. The response was also in reference to an earlier post mentioning that Disney only cared if people spent $$$ to see the movie, which I agree with. Again, Carol never seemed like a healthy introduction to what the company was fully capable of creating, but they nailed it nonetheless.

it's worth remembering that the audience KNEW what kind of films he already made, and it was only the studio that didn't heed the warning signs.

Agreed.

No, they give it to the one that Variety headlines trumpet as "the new trend"

Wrong. Read my comment again: DISNEY doesn't give $550 million to ANY director. DISNEY. Perhaps you're implying that Zemeckis's choice to team with Disney (thus preventing him from having an endless supply of $$$ to explore his film) was a bad one?

some of us would rather blame Zemeckis for not seeming to KNOW there were other technologies

This could be a result of either Zemeckis or IMD or both. Or it could be that greater technologies couldn't have been reached for the budget and time given to make the film. Cameron had nearly three times the amount of money to spend than Disney gave Zemeckis.

I'd think you'd be able to find and utilize better technologies having a blank check and no studio driven Christmas-based deadline.

It would be interesting to see what technologies IMD and Zemeckis COULD have created/utilized had they been given nearly as much leeway as Cameron.

Zemeckis seemed to use it because he thought everyone else did.

Incorrect. You forget that this medium of fully-based performance capture films, how successful or not, was pushed/pioneered by Zemeckis. It was other directors that jumped on board HIS train.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you're implying that Zemeckis's choice to team with Disney (thus preventing him from having an endless supply of $$$ to explore his film) was a bad one?

...Oh, what gave you that idea??? ;)

Let's be brutally honest for a moment: Hollywood suits have NO IDEA how CGI features are made. None. Zilcho.
They know it involves some kind of new CGI technology that wasn't around when they were kids, but somewhere, in some boardroom office, they're still wondering why "Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within" made less money than Pixar even though it had more "real" characters.
"But D/P already made regular animated, they would've known what they were buying!"...Ohh, naive friend, do NOT underestimate the boardroom siren lure of a technology that nobody's quite figured out how to get a handle on yet. Even Disney rushed toward the cliff when they heard something was available at the garage sale.

To paraphrase a certain quote, Mo-cap is a tool, not a genre.
You're trying to defend Z with "Well, Cameron used it too!"...But Cameron used it to create effects in the larger vision of a live-action movie, where Z thought he was giving us Virtual Reality that ended up looking like robots and rubber Disneyland suits. It wasn't "inexperience", it was just plain ol' bonehead Not Knowing How.

"Well, maybe he just didn't have enough PRACTICE yet with his new studio!"...If you're saying, congratulations, he was almost on the verge of Finding a Clue, then yes, imagine what his films would have looked like if he finally found one. And about darn time, too, if you asked most of the audience.

Ron said...

All of Bob's performance capture films made money and have their fans. Clearly, not many are on this blog ;-)

But again, shutting IMD is most likely just new management improving control by freeing overhead for other uses, not vindication of some kind of cultural judgment.

Personally I'm looking forward to further combination of technologies. "Alice" is very impressive. A modern Mary Poppins or Bedknobs and Broomsticks in that regard.

Anonymous said...

A Christmas Carol was an R-rated film masquerading as a PG-film. I would not take my family to see that movie... although I applaud him for trying to make the film more 'risque' it ended up blowing up in everyone's face.

It makes me wonder what would've happened if say a relevant filmmaker like James Cameron was helming IMD. A monster hit probably!

My thoughts are with the artists at the studio. You can dislike the movie all you want but whenever 400+ people are laid off it's a sad time. Less competition only hurts the industry...

soon to be former IMD'er said...

"Hollywood suits have NO IDEA how CGI features are made. None. Zilcho."

Well when Rich Ross came to IMD a few months ago he spent most of his time bragging about John Travolta and Barbara Streisand, and how unusual it was to speak to her. What a privilege. Someone asked him about mo cap, and he flat out stated that he didn't know anything about the film industry! He is a TV guy remember?

He also mentioned the changes happening in Disney and how Disney was committed to IMD. What a load crap! blah blah blah...

Steve Hulett said...

... shutting IMD is most likely just new management improving control by freeing overhead for other uses, not vindication of some kind of cultural judgment.


I think it's clear from the News Release that Disney want to stay in business wiht Zemeckis, but it wants to be free of pouring money into a large animation studio in Novato.

I saw Christmas Carol the first week it was out, and liked it. I found the three dee environment compelling.

But I thought at the time, and think now, that doing the 531st version of Dickens's novella was a mistake. The odds of luring huge numbers of people into a theater to see a story they've already watched many times before is, in my opinion, not high.

Anonymous said...

[Ross] also mentioned the changes happening in Disney and how Disney was committed to IMD.

When a management-type shows up to reassure the troops about the company's "commitment," it's usually time to start sending out resumes.

Anonymous said...

"But I thought at the time, and think now, that doing the 531st version of Dickens's novella was a mistake."

Think the earlier post got it:
Zemeckis wanted to do Yellow Submarine, but Disney wanted IMD to make Carol, and Nutcracker, and whatever other default Christmas-market movies are traditionally made.
In other words...they wanted an entire studio based on the holiday-tentpole marketing of "Polar Express". That doesn't sound, as the one overenthusiastic poster put it, as if Disney was "exploring" the outer reaches of the new technology for Innovation's Sake.

(And while Carol had a few interesting interpretations--and I'll finally give Jim Carrey some respect for coming out as an Alastair Sim fan--most of Bob's new ideas seemed to come from trying to overliterally explain Dickens quotes by breaking them down into imaginatively illustrated words of one syllable.
As if he was either trying to break them down for the kiddies, or--which gets back to the public perception--that HE hadn't quite understood what they were saying until now either, and wanted to make sure the audience understood all those big Victorian words too. The lack of subtlety did often look as if he had read the actual book for the first time, which may have led some impatient audiences to grumble about what other books he might not have read either.)

Anonymous said...

Rich Ross, like Stacy Snider, doesn't like animation. And both have said so. But to be fair, he could--like Katzenburg, grow to love it. It's all about his attention span, which has so far, proven very short.

Not all of Zemckis' mo-cap projects have "made money." Beowulf flopped, and Christmas Carol will, in time, make it's money back.

They're all horrible films. Monster House was the most interesting, but mo-cap handicapped it tremendously. Zombie-rama.

It's the "visual-effects-ification" of animation. Mediocre ideas mired by a fascination of overly-illustrated images by bland "concept artists" who are more interested in sweaty pores and hair than IDEAS.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that no one is mentioning the fate of the other IMD office in Marina Del Rey. What about those 50+ people, and the very expensive and massive mo-cap volume set up there? Doesn't Bob, Steve Starkey etc have an ownership interest in that building? Sounds to me like Bob walked away from IMD North, keeps his LA studio, and farms out all the non-mocap Yellow Submarine work to the lowest bidder in Vancouver.

And as far as Disney goes, this is history repeating itself from Northside, Feature Animation Florida, The Secret Lab, Circle Seven Studios etc etc..

Anonymous said...

"Sounds to me like Bob walked away from IMD North, keeps his LA studio, and farms out all the non-mocap Yellow Submarine work to the lowest bidder in Vancouver."

Question: is the LA studio also union, like Novato?

Farming out to the lowest bidder in Vancouver definitely bypasses any concerns about "paying too much" for union labor.

I still believe the core of this issue, closing IMD, is mostly about union busting. Iger hates them and Ross probably does as well. If IMD were a non-union shop like Pixar, these employees would have probably kept working on several more projects to come.

Shuttering IMD was all about sticking it to the unions. Z will most likely return with more mo-cap in the future, done by non-union drones in the Great White North.

Ron said...

Beowulf is documented as having made $196 million, domestic and foreign box office, against a production budget of $150 million. There is also non-box office take to add.

But I heard all these same opinions (equally anonymous) when I worked at Disney Feature during Eisner's decimation of the ranks. I was laid off that time as well.

Time to let go and move on (again!).

There's lots of juice left in all of these techniques. Where are the Directors who use them in service of a story? Where are the Producers who can understand and fund those visions? These are the guys I want to work with.

Bob Z. and his partners took their chances, and by most objective measures succeeded. I'd work for them again in a heartbeat.

nosferatu said...

Beowulf sucked.

And so did the rest of zemekis
mo-crap based movies.

nos

Anonymous said...

Why not just make IMD a leg of Pixar? Keep the amazing team together and abandon mocap all together? Or better yet, use this team to do the mocap work Pixar has been researching about using for it's own films.

Seems like there's plenty of projects to go around. The hardest part is getting the RIGHT people together and into the RIGHT teams. If Pixar and Disney are confident about their business approaches, they'd see value in keeping this team together and maybe handing them something different to work on.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it CORE is shuttering as well - anyone? anyone?

Ron said...

Pixar + IMD Mocap: was never likely. Lasseter has claimed motion capture is just rotoscoping. Pixar's Ratatouille had an end-credit which proudly claimed "100% Pure Animation -- No Motion Capture!" Another lost opportunity for both.

Anonymous said...

"And as far as Disney goes, this is history repeating itself from Northside, Feature Animation Florida, The Secret Lab, Circle Seven Studios etc etc.."

You left off the Disney Paris studio, the Tokyo studio, the Australian studio, and the two Canadian studios (Vancouver and Toronto, I think).

New management always thinks they can do it somewhere else, cheaper and just as good. When they're proven wrong, the studio closes, animator's lives are disrupted, but the management types keep their Lexus and their Hollywood Hills home.

nosferatu said...

"Rumor has it CORE is shuttering as well - anyone? anyone?"


Well, seeing that CORE has nothing to do with Disney at all at this point, I'll could only qualify that as a vicious rumour. CORE has it's own dificulties at the moment, though....

Anonymous said...

"a vicious rumour" that happens to be true - the went belly up this morning...

nosferatu said...

"All of Bob's performance capture films made money and have their fans. Clearly, not many are on this blog ;-)"

Even Ashton Kutcher can claim to have fans. Popularity is not a measure of quality.

Nos

Anonymous said...

C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures closes doors
By Mike Valiquette
This is pretty much breaking news right now, here’s what my source in Toronto tells me: “C.O.R.E. digital pictures just kicked everyone out and locked the doors. They are in receivership”. Aparently the staff was escorted out today.

That’s all I know so far, if anyone has info to share, contact me at mv@canadiananimationresources.ca

Tags: News, studios

nosferatu said...

Yes, but the rumour was that it was disney who closed the studio.

Apparently, they didnt get funds from the province.

nos

Anonymous said...

Shut down mode is spreading. Good time to be a small studio.

Anonymous said...

"Beowulf is documented as having made $196 million, domestic and foreign box office, against a production budget of $150 million. There is also non-box office take to add."

THAT MEANS after marketing, the film almost makes it into the black. It's a horrible movie, too. And UGLY.

Anonymous said...

"You left off the Disney Paris studio, the Tokyo studio, the Australian studio, and the two Canadian studios (Vancouver and Toronto, I think)."

We have that monster Sharon Morrill to thank for those messes.

Anonymous said...

Sharon Morrill made some messes, but you can't lay closing all those studios at her feet.

Ron said...

Oh dark and mysterious Nosferatu! I wish you well on your path to a long career in entertainment, one where you never have to work on projects of "low quality." Come speak to me in 20 years. We can share stories about what it was like to work with Ashton Kutchner ;-)

Anonymous said...

"Z will most likely return with more mo-cap in the future, done by non-union drones in the Great White North."

1- very sorry to hear of the closure at IMD. Although I don't like the RZ mo-cap films personally, I can still appreciate the hard work and passion that went into the making of them.

2- true enough, the great white north is non-union and CORE has been shuttered, two confirmed facts. But the "drones" you're referring to happen to be very passionate artists who LOVE animation, who are trying to make a decent living while working right along side some American friends....up here.
(BTW, we in the GWN are obsessively politically correct, so please don't forget to add the Spanish,German,English,Japanese, Indian,(add your favorite international group here)to your next sweeping generalization.

nosferatu said...

Yo Rob:

Its a bummer that you find yourself, and a few of my friends, out of a job, both from IMD and CORE.

It's a pitty we have very little input on the projects we work on to make them better. I never blamed you for Beowulf's lacking. That's solely Zemeckis responsibility.

Anyway, I'm sure you'll find something quickly.

I still want my 15 bucks back though....

nos

Anonymous said...

If there had been a blog like this back when sound was being added to films - you know, "Talkies" I am sure there would have been tons of whining and complaining about how sound was ruining movies because it was not PERFECT. Bob Z. tried and continues to try new things, new ways to tell a story and because he has not perfected it there are purists out there that click their fat tongues and complain. Thank God you are in the minority - otherwise we'd all be back in a dark cave complaining about how those kids ruined storytelling by dragging a burnt stick across the cave wall...

nosferatu said...

"Bob Z. tried and continues to try new things"

Zemeckis is yesterdays Bakshi. Rotoscoping is nothing new.

I miss the Bob who directed "Back to the Future". Where is THAT director?

nos

Anonymous said...

"If there had been a blog like this back when sound was being added to films - you know, "Talkies" I am sure there would have been tons of whining and complaining about how sound was ruining movies because it was not PERFEC"

Sans the internet, that very thing happened. Same with color.

But both advances learned what Zemeckis seems to have forgotten: the technology must SERVE the story, not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

""Everyone doesn't realize the $174 million wasn't JUST for the film... it included the costs of creating an entire digital studio, from the ground UP... something never done before.""

No. The studio was already there prior to when Disney's Chrismas Carol was done. Every studio has overhead, but it's impossible to believe such a relatively small studio had such high overhead.

Anonymous said...

"No. The studio was already there prior to when Disney's Chrismas Carol was done. Every studio has overhead, but it's impossible to believe such a relatively small studio had such high overhead."

Wow really? I guess all those months of construction and infrastructure upgrades were everyone's imagination? Turning an an empty shell of 2 airplane hangars into a digital studio must not have been necessary since everything was already there. "Small" studio? Do you have any idea what you are talking about? Were you there? Please move on and don't comment on things you know nothing about. Thank You.

Ron said...

I work at IMD. Before Christmas Carol there were no IMD buildings, was no hardware infrastructure, pipeline software system, hybrid mocap + animation workflow, everything was built up during production of the film.

Anonymous said...

Hi- I'm new here. What's Christmas Carol?

network marketing training said...

IMD was not "destroyed" by Lasseter, or Ross, or any other strategically spun Disney exec to union-blame--It was destroyed by Zemeckis continuing to make his "brave" new studio a bad investment.

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