Friday, November 22, 2013


Various news outlets report:

Pixar Animation Studios has laid off less than 5% of its staff due to the delay of its upcoming film “The Good Dinosaur,” according to a company spokesperson.

Earlier this year, “The Good Dinosaur” was pushed back from its original release date of May 30, 2014, to Nov. 25, 2015, leaving the award-winning company without a film in 2014.

“At Pixar, we are constantly re-evaluating the creative and business needs of our studio,” a Pixar spokesman said. “With the release date change of ‘The Good Dinosaur,’ we have realigned our production and support priorities. ...

"Realigning production and support priorities" is studio speak for

"Hey. We thought we had the picture by the balls, you know? Story development was percolating along, everybody thought everything was moving great (except for some issues in Act II, but we can iron those out, right?)

"So the production managers and coordinators sent two sequences down to the animators and tech directors because the production crew needed work. Then two more sequences got shipped to the boys and girls in front of the computer screens. And swear to God, the shots looked great, the character designs were knocking everybody's socks off. But then the Brain Trust looked at the whole movie strung together and saw that, oopsie! There's some big continuity and character problems. And some big pieces of the thing don't make much sense. And the jokes aren't funny enough.

"There were a shitload of notes, and the four sequences got pulled back to story. And all of a sudden production doesn't have anything to work on. And you can't just have everybody sitting around doing 'experimental test animation' or reading the paper or twiddling their thumbs, you know? So some people got let go. It's crappy, but what you gonna do?"

Okay, so it might not have gone down EXACTLY this way, but I've been around enough animated features to know the general drill. Things aren't working so you have to stop the parade in its tracks. And there is collateral damage in the form of employees who get pink slips because of production hiccups.

It happened in the seventies and eighties, and it happens now. (You will note that the studio's public relations person who talked to the reporter didn't give hard numbers about layoffs, only percentages. Smart move. A few years ago a Disney spokesperson told a Bloomberg reporter that Walt Disney Animation Studios was laying off 140 people and there was internal negative fallout. Diz Co. likely wants to avoid that road a second time.)


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