Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Mid Week Studio Roundabout

DreamWorks and Cartoon Network were on my agenda... At Jeffrey's, Steven's and David's Place, lots of the staff is focused on "Flushed Away," which has mucho footage to get out in the next two months (and nobody's expecting short workweeks)... I keep receiving complaints about no Direct Deposit for paychecks, and this continues to get under employees' skins. Three-plus years ago, the studio asked the Animation Guild about bringing payroll -- which up until then had been administered by a payroll company -- into the studio. A very close split vote prompted TAG to say "no," after which the studio disavowed the practice of paying checks on a weekly basis, the better to issue checks internally on a bimonthly basis. Three years later, the company has chosen not to administer the payroll for its union employees, and people chafe because there is still no direct deposit and people still have to traipse off to the bank each payday. (When you live paycheck to paycheck, a hurried exit to the local Bank of America is kind of a necessity.) There's also the issue of no vacation days listed on the payroll company's check stubs. Trying times. And over at Cartoon Network, a new season for a spate of shows is just over the horizon (I make no claim that the list below is complete). "Camp Lazlo" is having scripts written for a fifth season (13 episodes). "My Gym Partner's a Monkey" is good for another 13 half-hours. I'm told that "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends" is good for an additional thirteen. The new show "Class of 3000" is still working on its first order, with (probably?) a second season just behind. The new show "Chowder" has just been greenlit. "Ben 10" is still rumbling along, and "The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy," which has completed production on its regular series shows, might see some specials produced in the relatively near future. Cartoon Network is certainly one of the more successful t.v. animation shops now operating in Toon Town. Morale is fairly high, and the flow of shows steady (which isn't to say that Atlanta -- where CN's upper management is domiciled -- doesn't cancel a CN show every now and again, because they do. But various projects keep rolling along, and the studio has a shorts project up and running. (For those arriving late, a shorts project at Hanna-Barbera some years back was the original incubator for the Cartoon Network Studio we know and love today. Fred Seibert ran H-B then, and Fred oversees a shorts project at Nickelodeon now. Good ideas never die. They multiply and flourish.


Ruben Chavez said...

The word from within the studio is the creator of Camp Lazlo was furious with management in Atlanta because they would not give a definite date for a greenlight on a 5th season. He gave them an ultimatum of 24 hours and Atlanta never responded, so he apparently pulled the plug.
Wether he can actually do that is another issue.

Steve Hulett said...

I was in the studio the day the "plug" was supposedly pulled. For obvious reasons, I blogged nothing about it.

Word from the crew, as of yesterday, is that the turbulent waters have been smoothed over, and that things are on track for Season #5.

I mean, scripts are being written. That's a GOOD thing, right?

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