I've kept up my normal pace of studio visits over the past few weeks. Last week was DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Film Roman. In a moment of idiocy I started to drive to Fox Animation Wilshire the day the President was on the west side of town, but reversed field quickly when I encountered heavy traffic in Hollywood. (Stupid is as stupid does. I should have known better.)
Here's a broad-brush look at a few of our signator studios ...
At Walt Disney Animation Studios the morale is better, but then, the people with bad outlooks were cut loose a while back so it's not surprising. There are several projects in development, and directors will be pitching new movie ideas to Mr. Lasseter when he comes down from Emeryville.
A staffer informed me that my speculation about Reboot Ralph going into production earlier because its release got moved up was wrong. I was told that Reboot's production schedule and production start dates (with attendant hiring) are pretty much the same as before.
At Warner Bros. Animation, staffing is steady and creeping up, and the optimism of studio employees isn't bad. As one said to me the end of last week:
"I've been here now almost a year, and I'm happy with Warners. I think my project will go on for awhile, so I'm okay with the direction we're going. It's good to be working ..."
DreamWorks Animation is pretty much status quo: Many ongoing projects, although people have been moved around to accommodate some schedule changes. No big layoffs and morale continues strong.
Film Roman works on The Simpsons, Beavis and butthead, Dan Vs. ... and Spider Man (for Disney/Marvel). Staffers voice some frustration over tighter budgets on Yellow Family episodes, but Fox has to make up thos big paydays for its above-the-line crew somewhere. (Sarcasm showing.)
Bento Box continues work on Bob's Burgers and multiple episodes of new series Allen Gregory.
As I told an IA person several days ago, it appears that union animation production is on a steady ... and even gently rising ... course. Certainly it's doing gangbusters commercially, so that's a good sign. Whether hiring in Southern California accelerates, we'll just have to wait and see.