Now with a movie-appropriate image.
Inside the Hat Building, the animators on Tangled are on their last couple weeks of work.
"We're near the end of the seven-day workweeks. We've been really kicking it for the last six months, but I'm on my last shot ..."
"I got my notice of layoff. I'm out of here in August. I don't know, maybe it's time to move on. It's like Kubler Ross's five stages of grief, only without the denial since we all knew the layoffs were coming..."
"What everybody around here knows is that this [Tangled] is a really good movie. We've all worked our butts off and we're proud of what we've done." ...
In short, there was resignation and bitter-sweet emotions as I walked the hat's halls this afternoon. Lots of people are fairly worn out from working so hard for so many months, but as one animator shrugged "It's the way the business is, you know? You work when there's work."
One long-time staffer told me the morale is down not from the quality of the pictures they've all worked on, but from the uncertainty and insecurity of not knowing how long people have before getting let go.
"I just don't get why there's been so little stuff in development, why there are such big gaps in the pipeline. You'd think they'd want to keep more of a talented group of animators, layout artsts and tech directors around. Not a high priority for them, I guess."
I've listened to Disney management talk about how they want to build up staff and keep people on, etc., etc. But as my sweet old grandmother related years ago: "Don't listen to what people say, dear. Watch what they do."
So okay. Enough of the sour, let's move on to the sweet.
At the same time the crew was lamenting upcoming departures, it was also telling me Tangled is "Amazing," "Kick-ass," and "Very good." That the visuals and art direction are outstanding. (I agree with this last; what I've seen of finaled shots are top notch. But I've said this before, no?)
Last thing: One of the Disney crew members did me a kindness by unspooling two animated song sequences of the upcoming Winnie the Pooh, one featuring WP frolicking inside a dream sequence. The other was a sprightly number boarded and choreographed by Eric Goldberg in a fresh and very imaginative way. The songs were serviceable, the visuals and animation super fine.
Based on what I've seen, I think the Pooh picture will be well-received when it comes out and make a nice amount of cash. (I'm told that it's on schedule on still holding to its $35 million budget. Rough animation will be completed in September.)