Friday, May 12, 2006

The Week's Studio Jaunts

Let's see, where to begin? I thumped around Fox Animation, Disney Television Animation, and Sony Pictures Animation... Nothing big to report at Diz. A production board artist and I got into a discussion about how overseas studios can pull a good script and boards down...or a bad script and boards up. "You're at the mercy of overseas animators. A couple of years ago, I got a real mediocre script to board and I worked hard to make it better, but there was only so much I could do with it. And then it got sent to Disney's highest rated overseas studio -- the one in Australia. How great it would have been if the best studio had gotten the best script, instead of the worst..." At Fox, the second season of "American Dad" is wrapping up, and its crew is waiting for word of a pickup (the word is that this should occur within weeks.) Several staffers told me that they've received multiple job offers in the last several weeks. Their view is: the tv toon biz has really picked up. At Sony Pictures Animation/Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPA is unionized; SPI is not) work continues apace. "Open Season" -- Sony's first CGI feature -- is finished, and a large number of computer artists and technicians were recently laid off from "Monster House" as that film completed production. On the story development side, a number of artists have just signed new one-year employment contracts, so clearly Sony doesn't plan to leave the feature animation business anytime soon. A story artist I've known for thirty years but see only occasionally fell into jawing about the state of the industry, the people we've seen rise, fall and pass away, and how it's a good not to take things to seriously (we both knew Pete Young and Joe Ranft, animation stars who died abruptly...and way before the normal three-score years and ten.) I stayed so long at Sony reminiscing that, driving home, I got caught on that parking lot called the 405 freeway. Always a treat.


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