Thursday, March 17, 2011

Illumination Entertainment Expanding

The Nikkster tells the tale:

Illumination Entertainment chief Chris Meledandri has hired Ashley Kramer to be EVP of Production and Gail Harrison to oversee Creative Marketing. The move signals expansion plans for the 4-year-old Universal Pictures-based company, whose first release Despicable Me grossed $540 million worldwide. ...

Meledandri is adding executives with the intention of doubling Illumination's output to two films per year by 2012 or 2013. ... "With Despicable Me behind us, the impending release of Hop, The Lorax in production and a Despicable Me sequel in early stages, it was time to properly scale the company and begin to solidify the team that will lead us as we move forward," Meledandri [said] ...

Which means there is one more successful, L.A.-based animation producer in the run for gold. Of course, Meledandri produced Despicable Me offshore in the very low-cost France. ("Is it all going to Paris?!") The upcoming hybrid Hop, however, was created in L.A.

Whether Illumination Entertainment's future plans include opening a studio here or (more likely) using existing facilities*, it's always good to give the Mouse and DreamWorks a little serious competition, since it means more jobs for artists and technicians. To date, the ceiling for animated features in the marketplace does not appear to have been reached.

Add On: And Illumination E. isn't wasting time moving ahead on its next project:

... [C]ountry music powerhouse [Taylor Swift] has joined the cast of Universal’s upcoming 3-D animated feature, “The Lorax,” based on the famous Dr. Seuss children’s book.

... Taylor will lend her voice to Audrey ...

So will Ms. Swift be singing? Writing songs for the pic? Inquiring Illumination Entertainment fanboys want to know.

* "Hop" was animated at Rhythm and Hues.


Anonymous said...

The Lorax is being done at Mac Guff again, so I guess time will tell if this means more Illumination production work in the L.A. area. Hopefully Hop does well.

One thing I found interesting is that neither MacGuff or R&H are mentioned at all in that article. The average reader would probably think Illumination does their own production work.

Steve Hulett said...

On Despicable some of the pre-production work was done in L.A.

I ran across one local storyboard artist who was hauled on the carpet by his studio's management for moonlighting for Meledandri's company on Despicable Me. I told him since he had no contract or exclusivity with the the studio, it had no right to tell him who he could or couldn't work for nights and weekend.

The studio -- which shall remain nameless -- ultimately backed off.

Anonymous said...

"Meledandri is adding executives with the intention of doubling Illumination's output to two films per year by 2012 or 2013"

Always encouraging to hear "adding executives" when studios talk expansion. Hope those fancy execs know how to animate.

Anonymous said...

Cn you elaborate on the exclusivity part. If I work at a studio full time can I freelance for another one? How did that story artist do that? He must not have been full time?
Where does it become a matter of conflict?

Anonymous said...

What you can do depends on whether you have a contract, and if you do, what it stipulates.

There are contracts that have no-compete clauses or prohibitions about working for a competitor or some other entity.

There are also people who have contracts but negotiate themselves the option to do work outside their contract studio.

If you DON'T have a contract, you can do whatever you want on your OWN time. There's no labor law that prohibits any such work.
Anyway that's my understanding.

But you'd better believe a studio with NO contracts will still imply, suggest or otherwise threaten that you work only for them. They will always try to get what benefits themselves, not you personally, and it benefits them for you to spend all your hours, whether paid or "free" OT, for their needs.
It's just business.

Anonymous said...

Thanks anonymous and you may be right I just don't know who the hell you are. You could be 3 years old for all i know.

I was hoping steve would answer my question.

Anonymous said...

"I was hoping steve would answer my question."

Well, of course you could always just CALL Steve at the union to get that info.

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