Friday, January 19, 2007

Homer Works Overtime

When I started this job, I used to visit Disney Feature Animation and find artists bent over their light tables working six and seven-day weeks as they created Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Lion King. (My wife -- one of the Disney worker bees -- seemed to live there in those days; for a while I became the primary care-giver raising our four-year-old)...

Fifteen years later, I'm once again encountering artists bent over their light tables working six and seven-day weeks on The Simpsons feature. The Fox flick steams inexorably toward its mid-summer release date, and nobody at Rough Draft or Film Roman -- the two L.A. studios working on the film -- is dogging it. (I think I've hinted at this before, yes?)

But nobody is complaining. "I'm just f-i-i-n-e," one artist at Rough Draft told me yesterday afternoon. "I'm getting plenty of overtime money and I'm enjoying it while it lasts."

With production deadlines looming up, everyone knows the work won't last forever. And for artists who love hand-drawn animation, the gigs where they can put pencil to paper are few and far between. (Curious George was the last one. Frog Princess will, a year from now, probably be the next.)


Anonymous said...

How many more hand-drawn features get made is going to depend, I think, on how many hand-drawn features clean up at the box office.

If The Simpsons feature does good, Fox will probably do another. If Frog Princess hits a home run or triple, Disney will crank up for more.

And if they don't perform? Well, 3-D CGI will be in our future.

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