Monday, October 26, 2015

Kick-Starting Hand-Drawn Animation

My long-ago Disney mentor seeks to bring back an older animation art form.

... Don Bluth and Gary Goldman are looking for $550,000 to get started [on Dragonslair: The Movie. Now, if they reach this goal, that doesn’t mean that the Dragon’s Lair film will automatically be made. It just means that the duo will have the necessary capital they need to pitch the film to studios. Other animators and filmmakers have done this recently: we saw Disney animation veterans Aaron Blaise and Chuck Williams do this a few years ago with their film Art Story and that film has yet to be green lit. ...

The duo are touting this as “an opportunity to resurrect hand-drawn animation”, which, if successful, could be huge since the majority of animation studios in the US have steered away from feature-length traditionally animated films. This is definitely smart marketing on their behalf, since this angle is what helped Hullabaloo become so popular during its Kickstarter campaign last year. ...

This is a fine idea, and we wish Don and Gary the best of luck in their endeavor. ...

But the thing to remember here is

1) First you need to raise the money.

2) Then you have to recruit and ramp up the development staff.

3) After which you have to make sure the story sparkles before you charge into production.

4) Once production begins, do you do it in California? Or Canada? Or split it between the two? Or do it someplace else? (Hint: Free money could very likely come into play.)

5) When production ends, you need to acquire a decent distributor or make sure the distributor you've already acquired will support your baby.

6) Lastly, to give American hand-drawn feature animation a decent shot at resurrection, you need to have a HIT.

All of these things are a tall order. I know of other hand-drawn projects that still struggle to get airborne. Here's hoping that Gary and Don can make their dream come to life.


F. Kousac said...

Who will they get to write and direct? I mean, story and character have never been their strong suit. Will it be Union? Don't they owe a lot of people money? Shouldn't they be more concerned with paying those ex-employees off first? Or did a bankruptcy court resolve that?

taloolahtoo said...

thank you for that, Kousac….no there was never a settlement for American workers…Don Bluth and Gary Goldman owe me and others thousands for work at Sullivan Bluth. I understand the great hope of many for a return to hand drawn animation. Many gifted artists lost out when cg took over. At one point, recently, Hulett was put on the spot for why he deserves his well paid position. He cited(only) 3 cases of his activism for animation workers…one of those cases was mine, against Fox(American Dad) for violating the contract as regards to severance pay. Hulett fought hard and won. No one on that crew stood with me. No one challenged Fox’s hubris and they almost got away with it. There was no courage on my part. I was retiring and did not fear for my job. So welcome back Don and Gary, to the corporate world of animation. You have nothing to fear from today’s animation workers.

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