Friday, November 20, 2015

What Ed Said

An entertainment journal does a lengthy question and answer with Dr. Catmull, including:

... How much pressure [does Pixar] get from Disney to make more sequels?

Some people don't believe this: They don't give us any pressure and they don't pick any of the films. ...

Two Pixar directors, Andrew Stanton (John Carter) and Brad Bird (Tomorrowland), have made expensive live-action flops for Disney. Will there be reluctance to draft Pixar filmmakers for these big Disney projects?

It's not that we "draft" people into live action. These are two people who've been extraordinary here and they love live action, so that just is what it is.

Disney is now making live-action remakes of its classic animated movies. Would you endorse a Pixar film being remade?

It has never come up. So I haven't even thought about it. We're not involved in that. ...

In the beginning, Pixar paid artists with production experience, particularly story artists, top dollar. The company needed to pay a premium to entice a seasoned crew into leaving Southern California and moving north to work on movies for a small, barely-known animation studio. But when Pixar matured, making hit movies and building its reputation and culture, it stopped using so many artists from Southern California, and stopped paying top dollar.

Because it no longer had to.

A couple of days ago, a former Pixar staffer communicated that he had been making 30% less up in Emeryville than at an L.A. signator studio, even woking at contract minimums.

I answered that the "Pixar discount" he was telling me about stands to reason, since they've

1) Never had a collective bargaining agreement for artists and technicians that drives pay upward, and

2) No longer need to shell out high wages, because people are happy to work at Pixar for less, just to gain the experience.

When you're a red hot cartoon studio with leverage, you use the leverage.


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