Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sometimes There Are Unforeseen Complications

With Add On.

Yahoo asks:

Only yesterday it was announced that Pixar were cutting their staff by 5%. What this means is that 60 jobs will be lost at the animation studio due to a decision to postpone the release date of 'The Good Dinosaur'. ... This comes just six weeks after Pixar, Canada were forced to close their doors, making 100 staff jobless with a vague and nondescript reason.

Pixar's main man, John Lasseter, is now Chief Creative Officer for both Pixar and Disney, which begs the question: ... Have the demands of a busier workload put him under pressure to not only work on more projects, but to lose focus on specific Pixar-related ones? ... There's only so many projects a person can juggle at one time. ...

This is silly.

As regards the "busier workload" meme, Pixar/DWAS have, between them, two pictures coming out each year.

In a good year. And in 2015 there is one. (Okay, two. If you care to count the Planes sequel.)

Studio moguls in the long ago had dozens of film going out in each twelve-month cycle. Darryl Zanuck used to oversee story development, production, and post-production for 20th Century-Fox's entire slate of films with three or four assistants (called "Associate Producers.") Ditto for Hal Wallis, B.P. Schulberg and others.

The problem isn't development being stretched to the max; the problem is that stuff happens. Story development is art, not science. Nobody can press a button and spit a hit movie out. Cobbling features together with riveting, compelling characters and plots that work like a shop full of Swiss watches is tricky work. When stories go off-kilter, there's the temptation to say, "We'll fix that later" and keep plowing along. Then later arrives, and the movie still isn't working, and back-tracking is unavoidable.

That's when production layoffs become necessary. Pixar and WDAS are profit-making companies, and the main lot doesn't want people sitting around with nothing to do, so when the movie grinds to a halt, staffers get separated from employment. Nobody wants it, but business is business. Of course, there's the possibility that the layoffs are the result of too many whirling plates on the ends of too many sticks, development-wise. But I would bet my Aunt Sheilah's good holiday dishes (and soup tureen!) that the actual reason is:

Stuff happens.

Add On: Internet Commentators get stranger and stranger.

... The baton has been passed. With the release of Frozen, the latest feature from the wizards at Walt Disney Animation Studios, I’m now officially more excited about the stories barreling forth from this creative house than I am from Pixar Animation Studios. ...

Frozen is the movie that finally convinced me Disney's animation arm is operating at a higher level. It is a throwback to the formula that drove Disney through it's most recent Golden Age, when theater-swelling musical numbers burrowed into our brains and served the story. ...

Pixar? Well, they’ve settled into a comfortable pocket of prequels (Monsters University), sequels (Cars 2) and original stories that miss their mark (Brave). While Walt Disney animators are pushing the envelope by transporting crowds to new worlds populated by brilliant new characters (with wonderful new songs), Pixar’s tapping into the known. ...

Look here! Flapdoodle to the left! Flapdoodle to the right!

Pixar in Emeryville, run by Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, is doing prequels and sequels of their hits of yesteryear. And the occasional new misfires that win Academy Awards and make lots of money.

But in the meantime, down at Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, run by John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, they are making magical fairy tale musicals that are very much like the magical fairy tale musicals of 1989-1994.

Which is, you know, a higher level.

Somebody on the internets needs a straitjacket, but I don't think it's me.


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