Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Nifty Fifty

Actually more than that. But who's counting?

Turns out 50’s too few a number to list all the Disney animators past and present that inspire me. A studio with such rich history, promising future, excellent artistry, and most of all very talented, sincere artists is very hard to narrow down to just 50 animators who make it all happen. So here I’m going to tell you some about a few of my inspirations and heroes whose work I greatly admire and encourage you all to study.

The above was written by Mr. Grayson Ponti.

He's got a new blog. Mr. Ponti happens to be a young man in Florida who has, between his studies, either a lot of spare time on his hands or a serious insomnia problem. Whatever it is, he's carved out a few hours to research Disney animators and put them up on a blog, which we're plugging here.

We told him we would give him a plug, which we are doing here. In return, he's giving us suggestions for podcasts:

... My gears have been moving about who would be great to come on your podcast so I thought I'd give you a few suggestions as to who I think would be great. Maybe try to do a few of the Disney animators who we don't hear talk that much: Russ Edmonds, Alex Kupershmidt, Mike Surrey, Mike Cedeno, Tony Fucile, Chirs Wahl, and T. Dan Hofstedt would all be solid picks in my mind. I'd also like to see a few more story artists on there ...

Some of these we might get around to, sooner or later. In the meantime, take a look at Grayson's blog.

Click here to read entire post

Support tax credits to keep our work local - UPDATED

Next Wednesday the California Senate's Governance & Finance Committee will vote on AB 1069, to extend the state's tax credits program for motion picture and television production.

The bill passed the Assembly in May but is facing opposition in the Senate due to the ongoing budget battles.

Here are links to recent articles and sites on the subject:

Below is text of a letter Steve and I have sent to the members of the Senate Committee. We strongly urge members and anyone interested in the future of the California film and television industry to send letters in favor of this important bill.

You're welcome to use this as a template for any letters or e-mails you may wish to send. We must get these letters in the mail in the next 24 to 48 hours if we have any hope of affecting next Wednesdays' vote.

A listing of the Governance & Finance Committee members is below the letter text. You can also use this web page to find your state senator. Just remember that the time is very short to get the word to our state senators about the importance of this legislation.

Dear Senator ____________:

As a member of the Animation Guild Local 839 IATSE, I am writing to urge your support of AB 1069.

This bill extends the term of California’s tax incentives program for qualified motion pictures and television productions that are produced in the state. This program parallels similar programs in many other states that have succeeded in wooing film and television projects away from California.

According to a state-wide report by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, since its introduction in 2009 the five-year, $100 million program has pumped $3.8 billion into the California economy, including labor income of $1.4 billion, and created over 20,000 jobs. Based on an analysis of expenditures from nine projects that received state tax credits, the LAEDC found that for each tax dollar allocated, the local and state governments will get back at least $1.13 in tax revenue, while the total GDP in the state will increase by $8.48.

Motion picture and television animation in California has suffered terribly from the loss of jobs to other states and countries. The Animation Guild estimates that just one feature project that was approved for the state incentive program, Winnie The Pooh, has created over five hundred jobs for members of the Guild and other IATSE locals.

AB 1069 would extend funding another five years for the film and television tax credits, which would currently expire in 2014. We know that the state faces serious budget issues, but a program such as this that clearly pays for itself and generates revenue should not become a bargaining chip towards a false austerity.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I urge you to support AB 1069.



I agree with Steve H. and Anonymous in the comments below that e-mails aren't necessarily the most effective way to contact legislators. But with the very tight deadline for this campaign, I suspect they may be the only way many of us will have the opportunity to make our feelings known.

Here ks a list of the members of the Governance & Finance Committee with complete contact information. Clicking on the senator's name will bring up an e-mail window with the complete message we wrote above; all you have to do is put your name on the bottom and hit Send. If you'd rather write your own e-mail, copy and paste the addresses shown.

So ... a letter, phone call or fax would be most effective, but e-mails are better than nothing.


Senator Lois Wolk (Chair)
State Capitol, Room 5114
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4005
Fax: (916) 323-2304

Senator Robert Huff (Vice Chair)
State Capitol, Room 5097
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4029
Fax: (916) 324-0922

Senator Mark DeSaulnier
State Capitol, Room 5035
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4007
Fax: (916) 445-2527

Senator Jean Fuller
State Capitol, Room 3063
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4018
Fax: (916) 322-3304

Senator Loni Hancock
State Capitol, Room 2082
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4009
Fax: (916) 327-1997

Senator Ed Hernandez
State Capitol, Room 4085
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4024
Fax: (916) 445-0485

Senator Christine Kehoe
State Capitol, Room 5050
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4039
Fax: (916) 327-2188

Senator Doug La Malfa
State Capitol, Room 3070
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4004
Fax: (916) 445-7750

Senator Carol Liu
State Capitol, Room 5061
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4021
Fax: (916) 324-7543

Click here to read entire post

Elves Still Going?

Now with Add On!

The various media organs tell us this:

Disney's long-gestating animated film King of the Elves is back on the front burner thanks to an infusion of new creative blood.

Variety reports that Michael Markowitz (Horrible Bosses) has been hired to script the adaptation of the Philip K. Dick short story ... upon which the movie is based. ...

Strange thing is, I've been hiking through the Hat Building for years, and I recall KOTE being in work more often than not. Board people working on it, designers noodling with it, etc.

Take for instance this almost identical story regarding King of the Elves being "back in work":

The King of the Elves (which was due out in the next few years) had actually been shelved. The film, based on Philip K. Dick’s story, has now come back into the forefront however – with Chris Williams as director. ...

A report from last week? Nope. A year ago.

Elves has been in and out of the lineup so many times that I lose track. But glad to see that another pass is being made, although something tells me this is sort of old news.

Add On: I received an e-mail Thursday from a Disney staffer assigned to Elves. He said that he'd been working on the show for some time with Chris Williams, and he was surprised how wrong Variety's story was. They were acting as if something was new, and little was new.

Click here to read entire post

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Interviewing Don Jurwich

One of the upcoming TAG blog interviews will be animation vet Don Jurwich, whose imdb credits are linked above.

Mr. Jurwich has had a long and storied career in Cartoonland, going back to the original Flintstones, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and numerous, numerous others ...

I'm putting this post up due to popular demand. (Popular Demand = One Suggestion in Comments.)

People can put up questions they want me to ask down below. If we get some good responses and the questions are pithy, and they really enhance the interview, then what the hey. We'll post more interview subjects as we go along, and give people chances to throw their questions into the big inquiry bag, which Your Faithful Servant will use (to a greater or lesser extent) when he interviews the Next Subject.

So ask away, friends and neighbors. And we'll see how this works out.

Click here to read entire post

Fire Sale

Okay. This doesn't have much to do with animation, but it's amusing all the same. And based on what our big entertainment conglomerates have done with the magic of the intertubes to date, it's pretty typical:

After a sales process that lasted several months and featured a last-minute swerve, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. on Wednesday agreed to sell money-losing social networking site MySpace to online advertising network Specific Media for around $35 million ...

So Rupert and his minions took over a half billion dollar bath on their purchase and resale of MySpace. (You do a bunch of deals like that, and you're probably not going to be a big, fat conglomerate for very long).

But it's all good. Because Justin Timberlake is now a minority shareholder. Also amusing, since Justin played one of the profit participants of Facebook in the movie Social Network.

Click here to read entire post

Animation Captain Jumps Ship

From our friends at The Hollywood Reporter:

Pixar vet Brad Lewis, who co-directed Cars 2 with John Lasseter, is changing gears and is joining Digital Domain's Tradition Studios, where he will direct animated features. ...

From PDI to Pixar to Digital Domain, with long stays at the first two studios. That is quite an impressive track record.

So maybe Tradition/ Digital Domain becomes yet another player in feature animation. Whatever happens down the road, it sure as hell looks looks as if they're serious about giving it their best shot.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cat Escapes Bag?

Mr. Hanks talks.

Tom Hanks (and voice of Woody) was asked by a BBC interviewer if there would be a new movie in the series.

“I think there will be, yeah,” Hanks replied. “I think they’re working on it now.” ...

Big surprise.

21st century Hollywood travels on Big Box Office. Produce a movie about giant robots that makes a bundle, go make another one. Green ogres do business, you create more tales with green ogre.

Nobody but nobody walks away from features generating 800 million or a billion dollars in box office receipts. Shrek might be over (for the moment) but the spin-offs whirl onward. Toy Story 3 made $1,063,171,911 during its theatrical incarnation. You think Richard Ross will let Emeryville call it a day with Woody and Buzz? Like hell he will. He'll be memoing and phoning and enticing Pixar management until Ed Catmull goes into screaming fits and the next installment gets itself made. (Iger will make tearful pleas.)

So, yeah. They're probably going to make ... or are making already, Toy Story 4. Unless, of course, Tom Hanks is just blowing smoke.

And Tom Hanks wouldn't do that, would he?

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Conversation with Andreas Deja -- Part II

Andreas Deja became a specialist in animating villains through the first half of the nineties. In addition to the despicable Jafar, the lion who offed Simba's father (Scar) was also in his wheelhouse.

Mr. Deja talks about his years animating in Florida, his time animating classic Disney characters in Australia, and other adventures ....

TAG Interview with Andreas Deja

Find all TAG Interviews on the TAG website at this link

Andreas is currently developing a short and a featurette at his time away from the Walt Disney Animation Studios. (He intends to return when a new hand-drawn feature begins rumbling down the production runway.)

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Strong Box Office Despite Weak Reviews

The L.A. Times notes:

... After this weekend, it turns out that not only can Pixar create something middling, but we'll come out to see it anyway, if not for ourselves then for our children. Which kind of throws into question, at least in more cynical moments, whether the quality was as much of a reason for the earlier films' popularity as we previously thought. ...

I haven't seen either of the Cars, so I won't comment on quality or lack thereof.

Except to observe that no studio turns out flawless entertainment every time at bat. I think that Pixar is allowed to have a feature or two that doesn't measure up to their own benchmarks, it's the nature of filmmaking. (Anybody want to guess what the creators of Casablanca turned out next? The answer is, Passage to Marseille, nobody's idea of an immortal classic.)

Pixar might suffer some collateral damage from this, but only if the next two or three movies suffer the same critical brickbats, the same negative word of mouth. Top-quality motion pictures are difficult to make under the best of circumstances. If this time the elements didn't magically blend together, perhaps the next one will knock everybody out of their seats.

The danger lies in having several under-powered pieces of feature-making in a row. It happened to Disney Feature Animation after the release of The Lion King and the departure of Jeffrey Katzenberg. Big box office continued for a time, but the huge opening weekends, critical hossanas and enthusiastic audiences began to dissipate. Whether the same thing happens to the Mouse's newer animation unit, I don't know. But time will reveal if history repeats itself.

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Not bad, but it ought to be better ...

Cynicism is a occupational hazard in my line of work, and so it's a pleasant surprise to find that things are going somewhat better than I expected. As of today we're at 13.5% returns on the wage survey, pretty well along the line to surpass last year's 22.9% total response.

At the same time, it bears repeating that we should be doing better. Last year's results were almost disastrously low, and if we can only do better than that we still aren't doing nearly well enough. As several commenters have noted, this survey is too important not to respond to, especially given how easy we've made it.

If you haven’t yet returned the wage survey, please take the two or three minutes to fill it out, and return it in the postpaid envelope. If you didn’t return the survey, or didn't receive one or or have misplaced it, you can:

  1. Contact me by e-mail and ask to have the survey and the postpaid return envelope mailed to you, or
  2. Download the form and mail, fax or e-mail it back to the attention of Jeff Massie. We will take the form and mix it with the ones we’ve received to guarantee your anonymity.

Let's not just do "well enough". We owe it to ourselves to do better.

Click here to read entire post

A Conversation with Andreas Deja -- Part I

Andreas Deja has been one of the leading lights of animation almost from the day he got off the plane at LAX and went to work at Walt Disney Productions ...

TAG Interview with Andreas Deja

Find all TAG Interviews on the TAG website at this link

Andreas grew up in Germany, and became enamored of Disney animated features the first time he laid eyes on Jungle Book. His love of the craft led him to art school and then a correspondence with Disney veteran Eric Larson. Soon thereafter, Eric invited Andreas to join Disney's training program.

The rest, as they say, is movie history, detailed in Clay Kaytis's 2005 interview with Andreas ... and here.

Click here to read entire post

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pixar Rules Overseas

... as Kung Fu Panda 2 gets knocked from the top slot.

Pixar/Disney’s Cars 2 in 3D posted a swift No. 1 opening lap on the foreign theatrical circuit, beating comparable overseas debuts of previous Pixar outings. ... Biggest Cars 2 markets were Russia ($9.3 million), Mexico ($8.1 million), Brazil ($7.6 million), Italy ($5.7 million) and Australia ($5.2 million). Disney said that the opening three-day gross total worldwide came to $110.9 million. ...

And the other feature de animation out in the market place?

... Kung Fu Panda 2 dropped to No. 2 this time after a $37 million weekend overall at 10,006 locations in 56 markets. Panda 2 had been the No. 1 foreign box office champ for the previous two stanzas. Cume for the 3D animation title (released by Paramount) comes to $340 million since its overseas debut on May 26. Its No. 2 (after Cars 2) Australia premier drew $4.8 million from 259 spots. ...

So, despite less than stellar reviews, Disney's Emeryville studio is off to a roaring start with its newest release.

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The Weekend Linkorama

Richard Corliss of TIME delivers his "bests" in the category of animated features -- 13. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937 -- The classic Disney style is sometimes dismissed as cutesy-poo. That wasn't the reaction when Walt Disney released this, his first feature, following a decade of cartoon shorts that pioneered the imaginative use and sound and color. (And Richard has another 24 top picks.) ...

Sony ramps up a fabulous marketing ploy: ... World Smurfs Day! ... People in Smurf costumes massed in 11 cities around the globe in a bid to break the world record for the 'largest gathering of people dressed as Smurfs ... (There's nothing more meaningful than that.)

Freshly-discovered Chaplin: Charlie Chaplin in Zepped, is the only known surviving copy and is thought to feature some of the earliest-known animation.

Anime Expo One Week Away: The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation returns to Los Angeles for the fourth consecutive year to host Anime Expo 2011 ... More than 100,000 people are expected to gather for the event.

Warner Bros. Animation (and Television) announces its panels and programs at San Diego's Comic-Con, among them -- "Green Lantern: The Animated Series": Executive producer Bruce W. Timm will join producer Giancarlo Volpe and producer/story editor James Krieg for a panel moderated by executive producer/Warner Bros. Animation's Sam Register.

The ongoing battle for little gold statues: "In the Emmy animated program category, it's kids' shows versus adult fare. ... It used to be two races divided by running time. The TV academy says it's about 'craft,' but what about content and intended audience? ... Last year, a little one-off show for ABC called Prep & Landing came out of nowhere and ... ended up winning the animated program category." ...

Computer Generated Imaging run amok: Fans of a huge Japanese female pop group were shocked to learn that the newest member they were fawning over is in fact a computer-generated composite of the other group members. ... Whoops.

Enjoy the long, summer days.

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Election at Our Sister Union

It seems that the Cinematographers Guild (Local 600) held themselves a special election.

Academy Award-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler handily won a seat on the board of the International Cinematographers Guild in a new election ordered by federal labor officials. ...

Wexler and other candidates maintained they were improperly disqualified because they have been critics of the current union's president, Steven Poster, and had complained to the U.S. Department of Labor. ...

Wexler said he felt vindicated by the election results. "It's an incredible showing when, not so long ago, they were saying I was not qualified to run for office,"

I know Mr. Wexler as a passionate union advocate, and articulate spokesman for his position inside the I.A. He participated in the I.A.'s District Two organizing committee a couple of months back, still energetic in his late eighties. We congratulate Mr. Wexler on his new guild position.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Plan B"

As I've mentioned before, changes in the free-for-all we call the animation business come fast and furious, and artists have to constantly train themselves, push themselves and sell themselves to stay in the game. But there comes a time, usually somewhere in late middle age or early geezerhood, where work grows scanty and individuals start thinking:

"I can't really make it working three to five months a year, so what the hell am I going to do?" ...

This is where "Plan B" comes in, and it's good to be thinking about it and constructing it before the work dries up.

Some years ago, a middle-aged assistant animator, single and female, came to the office and said that after twenty-two years of regular employment nothing was happening, and she didn't know where to turn. I knew she had a house with equity in it, and I suggested that she think out of the box, that she consider selling her residence, taking the money and moving to Costa Rica.

She looked at me like I was nuts. "I can't do that! I've got six cats! I can't leave them!!"

Okay. Maybe my advice sounds radical, but when survival is the issue it's useful to think as creatively as possible: Could I move to another state? Another country? Could I get by with one car? With no car?

One of my heroes is Paul Terhorst, a man who got out of the 9-5 routine when he was thirty-five and has been traveling the world with his wife Vicki ever since. Here's what he says on the subject:

... [W]hat we spend day-to-day -- dinners out, gas for the car, parties with friends, ice cream cones, gifts, conferences--makes every day better. I'd argue that what we spend on housing, cars, and taxes makes much less of a difference.

"Yet on average we spend roughly 85% of our incomes on just that--housing, cars, and taxes.

"In my mind, that 85% represents a place to cut. Why not live in a place--Thailand, India, Nicaragua, Colombia--with reasonable housing costs? Or structure your life so that your tax liabilities are limited? ...

Figure it out. If you were to bail out of your house and the accompanying payments, pool your savings and 401(k), take early retirement money and Social Security, how much of a monthly nut would you have to live on? Two grand? Three? More than that? Now figure out how much you really need to live comfortably. (Do you sail over the bar? Or have to keep working?). If you don't do some steely-eyed calculating, and figure out what your "Plan B" would cost if you needed to implement it, you'll likely continue thrashing along from paycheck to paycheck, worried about next month's rent instead of life next year.

Mr. Terhorst is an interesting role model. He walked away from a high-flying job in his middle thirties with a net worth of $500,000. And today he has around $1,000,000, after decades of globe-trotting (and building a house out on the Argentine pampas.) Paul T. mastered the art of living well on a few thousand dollars a month because he envisioned a "Plan B" and implemented it. There's no reason that artists who make it their job to imagine and create worlds that never were can't do the same.

Add On: Thomas Geoghegan, one of my favorite labor writers, offers a solution to the retirement dilemna:

What's Your Retirement Plan? Social Security Benefits Should Expand ... Under the current system, we have elderly people living on less than $10,000 a year.

... Right now Social Security pays out 39 percent of the average worker's preretirement earnings. While jaws may drop inside the Beltway, we could raise that to 50 percent. We'd still be near the bottom of the league of the world's richest countries -- but at least it would be a basement with some food and air. We have elderly people living on less than $10,000 a year. ...

Not likely to happen, methinks, but it would be simple enough to cover the post 2036 SS deficit: lift the income cap on Social Security taxes.

Upcoming 401(k) Enrollment Meetings:

Disney Features -- Monday, June 27th, 10 a.m. -- conf. rm 1300

Disney TV Animation -- Tuesday, June 28th, 10 a.m. Rm 1173 -- Frank Wells Building*

Thursday, June 30th, 2 p.m. -- Main Conference -- Nick Studios

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The Horse Race Beyond Cars

Ms. Finke, like always, gets the stats out early.

1. Cars 2 3D (Pixar/Disney) NEW [4,115 Theaters] Friday $28M, Estimated Weekend $75M

2. Bad Teacher (Sony) NEW [3,049 Theaters] Friday $12M, Estimated Weekend $31M

3. Green Lantern 3D (Warner Bros) Week 2 [3,816 Theaters] Friday $6M (-72%), Estimated Weekend $19.4M (-63%), Estimated Cume $91M

4. Mr. Popper’s Penguins (Fox) Week 2 [3,342 Theaters] Friday $4M (-37%), Estimated Weekend $13M, Estimated Cume $42.5M

5. Super 8 (Paramount) Week 3 [3,424 Theaters] Friday $3.9M (-34%), Estimated Weekend $12.1M, Estimated Cume $95.3M

6. X-Men: First Class (Fox) Week 4 [2,633 Theaters] Friday $2.2M, Estimated Weekend $7M, Estimated Cume $133.4M

7. The Hangover Part II (Legendary/Warner Bros) Week 5 [2,755 Theaters] Friday $1.9M, Estimated Weekend $6M, Estimated Cume $244.1M

8. Bridesmaids (Universal) Week 7 [2,031 Theaters] Friday $1.8M, Estimated Weekend $6M, Estimated Cume $147.3M

9. Kung Fu Panda 2 3D (DWA/Paramount) Week 5 [2,527 Theaters] Friday $1.3M, Estimated Weekend $4.5M, Estimated Cume $153.4M

10. Midnight In Paris (Sony Classics) Week 6 [1,038 Theaters] Friday $1.2M, Estimated Weekend $4.5M, Estimated Cume $28.6M ...

The Panda sequel takes a hit with the new Cars installment accelerating into the marketplace. Where Pixar's latest ends up is anyone's guess, but it's going to have a solid opening weekend.

Add On: The Reporter breaks down Cars Deux's big numbers:

... [T]he 3D toon did best in America’s heartland, a.k.a., the red states.

The turnout was so strong that the pic roared past expectations to gross an impressive $68 million in its domestic box office debut.

Click here to read entire post

Friday, June 24, 2011

Off the Starting Line

Pixar's latest offering matches the first-day receipts of its older sibling.

Besting expectations, Disney and Pixar's 3D toon Cars 2 is on track to gross in the low $20 million range at the Friday box office, and $63 million to $67 million for the weekend. ... Friday's performance was good news for Disney, considering the sequel cost $200 million to produce. It's also a testament to the incredible merchandising power of Cars. ...

The critics haven't been overly enthusiastic. But the critics aren't the ones buying the tickets, or buying the shiny toys in the stores. As mentioned earlier, the Cars franchise generates lots of merchandise, which generates lots of cash flow.

Which makes Robert Kiger very, very happy.

Click here to read entire post

$300 Million Club

Kung Fu Panda Too hasn't been a chartbuster stateside, but overseas it's galloping along quite nicely.

... Through Thursday, the 3D toon’s foreign cume was $305 million. ...

Domestically, the panda is at $148 million, which means there's $443 million in the tote bag on a worldwide basis.

Click here to read entire post

Thursday, June 23, 2011

So ... When Does the Feature Come Out?

Probably won't be near a theater near you anytime soon. However ....

The VALVe Corporation has been producing these shorts around characters from "Team Forteress 2." (That's a best-selling video game, if you're not a teenager but a codger like me.) From their website:

... The real moral of Frankenstein is: If you're going to bring a guy back to life with lightning, maybe don't give him the brain of a serial killer. Try a vegan librarian. If you're stitching together animal-man hybrids, how about not jumping straight to ravenous hyenas? Start with hamsters, see how that goes, and work your way up the food chain.

Never toil in God's domain? Good advice if you're an idiot. If you know what you're doing, though, toil away. Why not give the Demo a couple extra livers? Why not replace Sniper's spine with a giant piece of sheet metal? Why not stitch a mouth onto Scout's backside so he can literally talk out of his ass?

Which brings us to our point. Not every mad doctor lives in a castle surrounded by villagers with pitchforks. Sometimes they live in the trenches, where there's plenty of spare parts flying around and a pressing need to get inventive with them. ...

The reason I put this up is, I find it (in its depraved way) pretty compelling. And I have a young game-player at home who turned me on to it.

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Moore ladies from the MegaCollector

Below the fold, a newly acquired original from the MegaCollection ... a further sample of Fred Moore's work that would never have appeared in a Disney movie.

Click on the image for a larger version.
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Sherrie Cuzzort, 1947-2011

Cel painter and mark-up person Sherrie Cuzzort, who worked for Hanna-Barbera, Animation Camera Service and Disney from 1977 until 2002, passed away on June 15.

Services were held Thursday morning; we apologize for the confusion caused by our earlier announcement.

Services are tomorrow, Friday June 24, at 11:30 am, at:

Santa Clarita Baptist Church 27249 Luther Drive Canyon Country, CA 91351 (661) 252-2282

Here are directions.

Click here to read entire post

Confessions of a Union Buster

We're sharing a video that came to our attention via Scott Squires' forward of a message he found on Twitter.

The video is produced by the Association of Flight Attendants who are attempting to organize the flight attendants at Delta Air Lines. The website listed at the end of the video is the information site dedicated to their drive.

The video is a portion of a lecture given by former Union Busting attorney Martin J. Levitt to promote his book Confessions of a Union Buster. He openly discusses the tactics that companies and union-busting law firms will use in their attempts to keep employees from forming unions in the workplace.

The IATSE and TAG have been subjected to these tactics, even recently (the attempt to organize employees at the Glendale Technicolor facility faced opposition from a notorious union busting law firm). We're happy to share this information with you to show what lengths unscrupulous folk will go to to keep their "control" of the workplace.

Click here to read entire post

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

At the Feature Facilities

Some of the things going on at the feature facilities in Burbank and Glendale ...

At Walt Disney Animation Studios, there will be pitch and story reel sessions for Mr. Lasseter in the next few weeks as comes off the Cars 2 bandwagon. And at Disney Toons Studios (which now has its new parking lot completed), I'm informed the creative chief will be looking at the new installment of the Tinkerbell saga. (Meantime, the second installment of the Planes features has started into work.)

And down Flower Street at DreamWorks Animation, staffers are being reassigned, furloughed, vacationed and (in some cases) laid off as sequences of The Croods are held back for story work. As an administrator said today:

"... The pictures this year haven't slotted into the schedule as well as they did last ..."

But Puss in Boots is in the last month of animation (with a lot of animators still on board), and The Guardians is in work.

On another front, DreamWorks Animation has instituted financial savings accounts for employees' kids (no tax-advantaged health savings accounts as yet, but there are ongoing discussions with the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan about it.)

(DWA is the only studio setting up financial savings accounts for its unionized workers. Hats off.)

Click here to read entire post

401(k) meetings coming up (including a change)

On Steve Hulett's busy schedule, the third week of every month follows a predictable pattern as he makes his way to 401(k) Plan enrollment meetings at the various studios. Below the fold, a schedule of upcoming get-togethers ...

Remember, the next enrollment deadline is July 1. After that the forms are processed and money will start coming out of your paycheck in two or three weeks depending on studio.

You don't have to attend an enrollment meeting to enroll, but it helps to be able to ask questions about the Plan's details. If your studio is not on this list, contact Marta Strohl-Rowand at (818) 845-7500 x114 and she'll answer your questions and tell you how to sign up for July.

  • Disney Feature Animation Monday, June 27 (changed from Thursday, June 23) 10 am, Room 1300
  • Disney TV Animation Tuesday, June 28 10 am, Room 1173
  • Disney Toons Wednesday, June 22 3 pm, Room 2025
  • Nickelodeon Thursday, June 30 2 pm, Main Conference Room
  • Warner Bros. Animation Thursday, June 23 2 pm, Building 34R - Main Conference Room
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Imagi's Submerged Bottom Line

TAG had a contract with Imagi (L.A.) for a year and a half. Then the bottom fell out. Film Biz Asia now gives us a clear idea of where that bottom ended up.

Hong Kong-based animation firm Imagi International Holdings yesterday announced colossal losses. ...

For the financial year to March 2011, Imagi reported revenue of HK$8.6 million ($1.11 million) and losses of HK$624 million ($80.2 million). These include the redemption of a prints and advertising loan, a bridge loan and convertible loan notes. Additional provisions against two feature films Astro Boy (released last year) and Gatchaman (uncompleted) cost a further HK$81.2 million ($10.4 million). ...

Yeowch. No wonder the studio shut down. Hard to be an indie and stay in business with those kinds of monster losses.

The end of Imagi was a double tragedy. Not only did a hundred-plus people at the Los Angeles studio lose their jobs, but Astro Boy, one of the great films of the modern era, failed to find an audience. (This was obviously the distributor's fault.)

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Keep up the good* returns!

* sorta

The return percentage for the questionnaires for this year’s wage survey continues to rise at a satisfying rate ... I’m still fairly optimistic that we can kick it well past last year’s disappointing 22.9% return.

If you haven’t yet returned your survey, please take the two or three minutes to fill it out, and return it in the postpaid envelope. If you didn’t return the survey or have misplaced it, you can:

  1. Contact me by e-mail and ask to have the survey and the postpaid return envelope mailed to you, or
  2. Download the form and mail, fax or e-mail it back to the attention of Jeff Massie. We will take the form and mix it with the ones we’ve received to guarantee your anonymity.

Returning the survey may be the most important thing you can do to help your fellow workers in the animation community. Management already knows the “going rates” for the work we do, so it’s important that you know them as well.

So please return your survey!

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A few months later .. Steven Wright responds

To refresh your memory, noted vfx tutor and artist Steven Wright wrote a fear-mongering op-ed note to the visual effects community some four months back. I read it, my bile rose, and I responded in this blog post.

Mr. Wright has now found the time to respond. After all, he has just returned from Mumbai where he was teaching the artists of Prime Focus how to use Nuke. His response was in the form of a comment to my original post. I'll paste it here for ease of read:

Steve Wright said...

Mr. Kaplan - Your summary of my essay was stellar. Your rebuttal, less so.

FUD-free commentary

As a promoter of unionization, your motives are obvious. My motives are the health of the employment in Los Angeles for VFX artists. I do not want to see the last remnants of VFX work driven out of L.A. which is exactly what I believe will happen. I don't Fear it, I am not Uncertain, and have no Doubt.

Self-referencing your own blogs and writings hardly constitutes compelling evidence to support your case. Citing a few articles about the occasional opening of a studio here hardly reverses the overall trend to leave the L.A. area. DD opened their big new facility not in L.A. but in Florida. You know why? Major tax advantages, plus Florida is a right to work state (non-union). Now why would the wise owners of DD move to a right to work state?

I noticed that you failed to mention to your fair readers that IATSE used to have a union at ILM, Local 16, which is now defunct. If unionizing is so good for VFX artists why was IATSE driven from ILM?

I suppose the most glaring fault in your defense of unionization for VFX artists is the portability problem. When unionizing automobile workers, cel animators, or electricians there is no threat of the business picking up and leaving town. With VFX, the work is utterly portable, so if the costs get too high the work simply goes elsewhere. End of analysis. And end of your job. Excuse me - not your job. You are the union guy. You get to keep your job. It is the VFX artists that will loose their jobs.

I can't help but note the irony of his claims to be motivated by "the health of the employment in Los Angeles for VFX artists" after just returning to the United States from India where he was training Prime Focus artists on the use of The Foundry's Nuke. He then has the chutzpah to say I'M helping bring down the vfx trade in Los Angeles!

In his comments, Mr. Wright further exposes his ignorance of the issues at hand as well as his lack of research into the discussions that have taken place within the last year. After making some tangential points, he provides the crux of his argument: unionizing and the introduction of portable benefits is unfeasible because of costs.

We've stated multiple times that costs are certainly a factor, but signing a union contract could be a cost benefit to a visual effects studio depending on the benefits that are currently being offered. At studios doing tent-pole feature film work, artists could be provided benefits that could save the studios money through the scale at which the IATSE can offer participation in the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan. Simply, for clarification, the contributions to MPI Health Plan could be cheaper because the IATSE contracts a lower amount due to the number of participants it has.

Secondly, the viability of participation in MPI has been discussed as the IATSE is attempting to form a national local that would provide coverage across the United States and Canada. For artists inside the US, the better choice would be participation in the IATSE National Benefit Plan. This has the added ability to tailor the cost of participation based on the operational needs of the studio. A vfx studio that is just starting out and has a lower operational budget than say a DD or Imageworks can negotiate different contribution amounts based on their needs.

All of this will be hashed out when a contract with a studio is reached. All of this still provides vfx artists, both here in Los Angeles and across the country, the ability to have a collectively bargained contract that stipulates no only standard and minimum workplace conditions, but provides portable health and pension benefits that are equal to what the rest of the entertainment industry enjoys. Further, it shows that we (TAG and the IATSE) are not interested in anything more that seeing those benefits and protections provided to the artists of visual effects and have found ways to work amicably with studios to do so.

To his other points:

  • Digital Domain opened the Florida facility because they were paid by the state to do so. Not in the form of tax incentives, which would be made available if their goal of becoming a film studio comes to fruition. But in the form of direct payments and for the promise of opening an education facility. Claiming Florida's right to work status was a motivator predicates that DD felt threatened by unionization. A claim I would love to see substantiated.
  • ILM did indeed hold a contract with the IATSE at one time. Local 16 was indeed the local that was tasked with representing the artists at ILM. My attempts at getting specific information about what transpired between Local 16 and ILM have been met with little reply. Luckily, I'm having lunch with Scott Ross today who may be able to shed some light on the subject.
  • To claim that the traditional animation field has not felt the effects of the globalization of the industry just shows his gross ignorance of the craft and its tribulations.

I look forward to further clarification on his position.

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Monday, June 20, 2011


This was clumsy.

Despite warnings, the Walt Disney Company managed to let the domain name for ["Club Penguin"] a website with 12 million users expire this morning

Four years ago, Diz Co. paid $700 million for Club Penguin. Easy to see why those high-powered execs make the big bucks.

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Not Art, But Commerce

The L.A. Times describes the reason for Cars 2:

... In the five years since its 2006 release, "Cars" has generated global retail sales approaching $10 billion, according to Disney. ...

Pretty much answers the age-old question: "Tell me again why we're making this?"

As does this:

[Robert Iger] expects "Cars 2" to drive consumer products sales through the holiday season, as well as to create anticipation for next summer's opening of a 12-acre Cars Land attraction at Disney California Adventure ...

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Le droit de suite

Thanks to Tom Sito for pointing us to a well-designed animation on an interesting and relevant topic.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Arbitrary and Temporary, But ...

... a conundrum in these times, all the same.

The Washington Post and Calculated Risk got into the issue or rising disparity of incomes in the U.S. of A.:

... Income inequality has been on the rise for decades in several nations, including the United Kingdom, China and India, but it has been most pronounced in the United States, economists say.

In 1975, for example, the top 0.1 percent of earners garnered about 2.5 percent of the nation’s income, including capital gains, according to data collected by University of California economist Emmanuel Saez. By 2008, that share had quadrupled and stood at 10.4 percent. ...

It's relatively obvious (if you're paying attention) that the top income earners -- the point one percenters -- have been doing lots better than almost everybody further down the economic food chain.

If you believe these folks are the Job Creators and should keep more of the money they take in, then this is a good thing. But if you believe the other, lesser brackets need to be getting a bigger bucket of the cash flow so they can send their kids to college, buy a new car and nicer appliances to keep the wheels of commerce humming, you're probably of the opinion that it's not so great.

I was a history major in college. And I took a lot of courses that covered the Robber Barons and the Haymarket Riots and the grinding poverty that existed in the 1890s and beyond. The U.S. had a lot of dynamic aspects back then, but it also had large-scale unrest and massive inequalities that only started to be addressed when Teddy Roosevelt became President.

My problem is, I really don't want to slide back to the corporatism, social unrest and shorter life spans of those years. But I recognize that's the way we could be marching without too much trouble.

... In world rankings of income inequality, the United States now falls among some of the world’s less-developed economies. ...

On the other hand, if we become a large, banana republic, I guess I can go buy a white suit and try to fit in.

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The Non-U.S. Horse Race

Muscled crime fighters prevail here, but fat panda bears dominate over there:

... Kung Fu Panda 2 decisively seized for the second consecutive round the weekend’s No. 1 box office spot on the foreign theatrical circuit, generating $52.5 million from 10,267 venues in 55 markets and pushing its overseas gross total to $280 million. ...

As the Mojo tells us:

... [Panda] took first place in all ten of its new markets, including France ($7.2 million), Germany ($6.8 million) and Spain ($2.8 million). It also continued to play well in holdover markets ... [T]he animated sequel should eventually pass the original Kung Fu Panda's $416.3 million foreign total. ...

Stateside, the bear has earned $143,343,000, meaning it's now made north of $423 million on a worldwide basis.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Fall Elections at the WGAw

According to the Reporter, President Wells of the WGA (west) won't be around after September:

Writer-producer John Wells ... is not seeking another term, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Sources say that one candidate for the two-year position is expected to be past president Patrick Verrone and that board member Christopher Keyser was asked by the nominating committee to run and is considering doing so.

... The official selection of nominated candidates occurs at a guild board meeting a week from Monday. ...

This isn't a surprise. Mr. Wells is a busy, busy man and being involved with running a Hollywood union is a time-consuming job. And often thankless.

The trade paper says that Patric Verrone, one of the guild's past presidents, will again be a nominee for the WGA's top elective post. If Mr. Verrone becomes President, I would expect the WGAw to take a more aggressive stance in future contract talks, also get more active organizing animation writers.

So the next three years could be interesting. For both the movie and television industry, and us.

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The Mid-June Derby

Effects-heavy Green Lantern bursts into the marketplace at #1, taking $21.5 million on Friday. Kung Fu Panda 2 slides to sixth place, and now has a domestic cume of $137.2 million. ...

The Nikkster, in that magical way that is hers alone, snarks: "Mr. Popper's" result shows that Jim Carrey's popularity keeps waning in live-action movies: his last pair were Fun With Dick And Jane (2005) opening to $14.6M, and The Number 23 (2007) debuted to $14.3M and Yes Man (2008) which first released to $18.2M. ...

Go ahead, Nik, kick a funny man when he's down.

1. Green Lantern (Warner Bros) NEW [3,816 Runs] Friday $21.6M, Estimated Weekend $60M

2. Mr. Popper's Penguins (Fox) NEW [3,338 Runs] Friday $6.4M, Estimated Weekend $19M

3. Super 8 (Paramount Week 2 [3,408 Runs] Friday $5.8M (-52%), Estimated Weekend $19.5M, Estimated Cume $71.5M

4. X-Men: First Class (Fox) Week 3 [3,375 Runs] Friday $3.3M, Estimated Weekend $11.5M, Estimated Cume $129M

5. The Hangover Part II (Legendary/Warner Bros) Week 4 [3,460 Runs] Friday $3M, Estimated Weekend $10M, Estimated Cume $233M

6. Kung Fu Panda 2 (Paramount) Week 4 [3,469 Runs] Friday $2.5M, Estimated Weekend $8.2M, Estimated Cume $143M

7. Bridesmaids (Universal) Week 5 [2,573 Runs] Friday $2.4M, Estimated Weekend $7.2M, Estimated Cume $136M

8. Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 (Disney) Week 5 [2,742 Runs] Friday $2.2M, Estimated Weekend $8.2M, Estimated Cume $222M

9. Midnight In Paris (Sony Classics) Week 5 [1,083 Runs] Friday $1.4M, Estimated Weekend $5M, Estimated Cume $21.5M

10. Judy Moody (Relativity) Week 2 [2,524 Runs] Friday $825K (-63%), Estimated Weekend $2.5M, Estimated Cume $11.4M

Add On: And whoops, looks as though Green Lantern gets marked down to "underperformer," as the trades inform us:

... Lantern may have won the domestic box office race with a $52.7 million debut, but the 3D superhero pic fell steeply on Saturday, dashing the studio’s hopes for a launch upwards of $55 million. ...

Apparently there is an upper limit to the number of super heroes the viewing public will lap up in a given season.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

The Links of Middle June

Now with Add On!

As the second half of June unfolds, we roll out linkage of interest, starting with ...

Green Lantern actors working in a "special effects" environment? "You're sitting in a blue cave for god knows how long, and after a while, it's fine. ... You sort of adjust to it, you get used to it like anything else, it becomes the norm."

Mr. Lasseter on Pixar's pre-Toy Story days? "Ed Catmull was hired by George Lucas in 1979 and was asked to do three projects, with a fourth project added by Ed. They were insane ideas at the time: digital nonlinear film editing, digital sound editing, digital optical printing, and 3-D computer animation ..."

China's heroic quest for its own Kung Fu Panda? Kuiba, the $7 million Chinese animated debut feature film from veteran Beijing-based television studio Vassoon Animation will be released nationwide in July by the Shanghai Media Group, China’s latest attempt to showcase its homegrown cartooning talent. ...

Irish animation studios gaining traction? Two Irish animation companies have picked up awards at the Annecy Film Festival in France for their films "Santa’s Apprentice" and "The Amazing World of Gumball – The Quest."

Will a tax credit help goose the Australian games industry? Basically it’s a 45 per cent refundable tax offset (equivalent to a 150 per cent concession) for eligible entities with a turnover of less than $20 million per annum. ... [I]t’s an attempt to drive investment dollars into R&D, and videogames fall into that department – in a very big way.

"Ben 10", animation to live-action? Joel Silver has been tapped to produce a tentpole version of the Cartoon Network licensing machine Ben 10, about a ten-year old boy who finds a watch-like piece of alient technology that allows him to take ten different alien forms.

Lastly. What new exhibit is on display at the Norman Rockwell Museum? “’Ice Age’ To the Digital Age: The 3D Animation Art of Blue Sky Studios” ...

Add On: Do the Chinese like "Kung Fu Panda"? When I first heard about Kung Fu Panda in New York, I was thinking it was just another cheap ploy out to make money off Chinese culture, but I was wrong. ... At no point does Kung Fu Panda 2 lose its momentum. This film is definitely worth the effort of watching in theaters or on a big-screen TV, because of the vast visuals to behold.

Have a fine and restful weekend.

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A Talk With Jim Hillin -- Part II

In the second half of our Jim Hillin interview, Mr. H. discusses ...

TAG Interview with Jim Hillin

Find all TAG Interviews on the TAG website at this link

Text below the break goes here.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Diz

Walked into the hat building this morning while a presser (that's "press event" if you live in South Chicken Run, Nevada) was in progress ...

Turned out to be a "show and tell" for the Winnie the Pooh rollout. A staffer who worked on the movie grumbled to me:

"I don't think management is putting much money or effort into promoting hand-drawn features. We're doing these movies for 'little kids,' and Pixar is doing their movies for everybody. If we make hand-drawn cheap, and they outsource a lot of it, maybe they'll make more. And the directors here know they'll have a better chance of getting something greenlit if they pitch a CGI feature ..."

But it's kind of obvious at this point. Corporate thinking at Dis Co. and other entertainment companies is that computer animation rocks, the other kind is fit mostly for television and television-sized budgets. Disney made Winnie the Pooh for the home market, not the big silver screen. I like hand-drawn features a lot, but our fine conglomerates don't care what I like. CGI is where the big bucks are, and that is where they're gonna go.

Disney, News Corp. and the rest are not the Medicis.

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"Should I work for free?"

Besides the amusement factor of this flow chart, there isn't a question on it that I haven't discussed at one point or another with someone who was trying to answer the question. Which means it's amusing, but not at all facetious.

(The flow chart starts where it says "Should I work for free? by Jessica Hische")

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A Fairly Good Start

Last Friday, on the day we sent out this year's questionnaires, I posted about the importance of our annual wage survey. As of Wednesday afternoon we have gotten back just under six percent of the questionnaires we mailed.

That's not too bad for only three business days, but past experience has shown that we receive over a third of our returned questionnaires in the first week. We're resolved to do better than last year's 22.7% return.

By now most people should have received the questionnaire. So please take the two or three minutes it takes to fill it out and return it in the postage-free envelope. You can also download it from our website, or drop me an e-mail and I'll send another one out to you.

It's important for us to have a good return this year, so please give your Guild a hand.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Mouse and Mao

What would Walt say about his company climbing into bed with the Red Chinese? Again?!

... Walt Disney Company (Shanghai) set up its first online animation games production base outside America when its branch office was put into operation in Ningbo of Zhejiang province on June 12. ...

The whole idea of this marriage gives me the vapors. Diz Co.'s founder wore his "Goldwater" pin when Lyndon Johnson presented him with the Medal of Freedom. I'm only glad he didn't live to see this outrage.

First an amusement park, and now this. Don't people understand these people are godless commies!? How could Iger do it!?

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New Oscar Parameters

One more bit of evidence that animation continues to gain marketplace viability:

... [T]he [Motion Picture] academy's Board of Governors decided Tuesday to eliminate the need to "activate" the animation category -- i.e. decide on a yearly basis whether to have the category at all -- a decision that in the past had to be voted on by the board. ...

They're also going to be more flexible on the number of nominees allowed each year. And I wouldn't be surprised if, in the near future, pressure is brought to bear to expand the definition of what qualifies as animation. (MoCap, anyone?)

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Coastal Watercolor

It ain't Christmas and this isn't an R. Hulett Christmas card, but a watercolor that I had never seen before. (It seems that it's on sale, but I'm not plugging it, just like the painting.) ...

And since I'm running around today and haven't had time to post, I thought I would throw it up: California's central coast, back in the foggy 20th century.

Add On: Ah. It appears the auction (linked above) has ended.

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"Taking Care of Our Own"

I had the privilege of attending an event at the MPTF's Motion Picture Country Home this past weekend. The Motion Picture and Television Fund has been around for ninety years. It was started in 1921 as a Relief Fund, brought into being by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, D. W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplin for down-on-their luck movie workers, with the motto "Taking Care Of Our Own" ...

Today, the MPTF is a key part of the motion picture industry's health care system with seven health clinics in Southern California (or eight, if you count the clinic now open for business on DreamWorks Animation's Glendale campus), and forty acres of retirement housing and facilities off Mulholland Drive in Woodland Hills.

In addition to medical facilities, the Fund offers financial and counseling services to motion industry workers and their families. The Woodland Hills campus offers both assisted and independent retirement living and the Elder Connection providing counseling and referrals. Day care is available at the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation Children's Center in West L.A.

Over the last few years, the Fund has gone through a rough patch. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the badly-handled annoucement in January 2009 of the intent to close the MPTF hospital and long-term care center, which led to the resignation of the Fund's CEO who had pushed for the closures. In February 2011 the Fund announced it was arranging with Providence Health Services to keep the long-term care center open.

The Fund is coming up with new ways to be of assistance. They've announced Health Wheels, a 33-foot professional mobile health center with two well-equipped private examination rooms, designed to travel to studio lots, sets and locations where workers are often too busy to take care of their health needs. The Bridge to Health program offers office visits for a flat $25 fee, designed for industry workers with no health insurance or hospital-only coverage.

What should be obvious from the above is, the MPTF is a cornerstone for folks who work ... and struggle to survive ... in the motion picture business. It provides quality, low-cost health care. It offers shelter to industry veterans who can no longer fuction on their own and have nobody else to turn to. It is, in short, a life line for literally thousands of people.

For many years, the MPTF's major source of funding was voluntary, automatic payroll deductions. But with the diversification of Hollywood employers, fewer people working on studio lots, and the unwillingness of many studio payroll departments to handle the deductions, there's a strong need for the Fund to directly solicit contributions.

The Guild is now reaching out to our members and anyone interested in the needs of workers in our industry, to encourage contributions to the Fund and its programs. (Consider this post our first step in that regard.) You can start by making a direct contribution (be sure to indicate you're a member of Local 839). You can also check to see if you work for a company that allows for automatic contributions from your weekly paychecks, and download a form to authorize deductions.

For anybody who is thinking: "Yeah, great. Worthy cause and all that, but I'll never need it," let me offer the following: During my first ten years in the industry, I lived three doors down from a Disney veteran named Bob who went to work at the Mouse House in 1939 and retired from the place forty-two years later, when he was sixty-five. He raised his kids, buried his wife, and grew old and feeble in the same Burbank residence. But when he was no longer able to maintain the house or take care of himself, the MPTF's retirement center in Woodland Hills was waiting for him. The cottages there provided him shelter, and the staff (and residents) fed him, gave him companionship, and ultimately nursed him until his death at ninety-five.

After a lifetime of work, the Motion Picture and Television Fund was there to take care of Bob and provide him a comfortable and dignified old age. There are few industries in our country that do that, but this one does. That's why it's important, very important, to see that this ninety-year tradition continues. Please give what you can, even if it's only a couple of dollars per week.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just What We Were Waiting For

You know animation is red hot when the great minds resort to this:

... [A] script is in the works for an animated TV special featuring the Cabbage Patch Kids, which were created in 1978 but became a phenomenon in 1983 ...

The hot idea from 1983 (or maybe 1978), coming to a home flat-screen near you.

I won't be able to sleep tonight.

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Animated Beasts

At the height of the nineties animation boom, it wasn't close to being like this.

The Dark Horse comic "Beasts of Burden" is heading to the big-screen with "Shrek" and "Narnia" director Andrew Adamson leading the charge.

Adamson will serve as a producer of what is intended to be a computer-animated feature adaptation of the comic. ...

The reason every movie production company and its subisdiaries are getting into the animated feature business is because it appears to be a lucrative kind of enterprise.

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The Mark Dindal Interview -- Part II

Above, the opening of "The Emperor's New Groove." Boom, baby!

Today Mr. Dindal gets into some of the nuts and bolts of directing ...

TAG Interview with Mark Dindal

Find all TAG Interviews on the TAG website at this link

He helmed the first Disney CGI feature, Chicken Little, created under the Eisner, David Stainton regimes. Mark counts the Warner Bros. animation canon and Howard Hawks as influences.

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