Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Last Hurrah of "The Simpsons Movie" Crew

Ran around to Starz Media and Rough Draft Feature Animation this a.m and p.m. At Starz Media, there is maybe a week or eight days left on the feature. (People I've seen on the feature the last nine months keep filtering back to "The Simpsons" television version.)

Work also continues on Slacker Cats, a series Starz Media is doing for the Disney Family Channel. An eleven-episode order is wrapping up, and there are rumors of more down the road, but thus far only rumors.

Over at Rough Draft Feature Animation (a cousin of Rough Draft Animation Glendale, which in turn is a cousin of Rough Draft Animation, Korea), The Simpsons Movie staffers are pretty much in their final days on the Yellow Family picture. I got lots of questions from artists about other work around town ("When is 'Princess and the Frog' going to start hiring? Anymore hand-drawn projects out there?")

I was delighted to answer promptly. I told them I didn't know...but I thought the end of '07 or the start of '08 was a good guess, and that I didn't know how much of The Princess and the Frog would be done in-house and how much someplace else (70%? 90%? Who knows?).

But as The Simpsons Movie wends its way to a conclusion, most of the staff's happy to have worked on it, confident of its success, and pleased that the writers over at the Fox lot on Pico kept rewriting, as it created more well-paid work. And well-paid work -- in these uncertain times -- is a good thing.


Anonymous said...

Hey Steve,

Love the site. I've always loved animation so I really like hearing the "inside baseball" you dish in.

I was wondering since you were talking about The Princess and the Frog, what's it's status? I think you said it was up on reels? Is this just story boards animated with temp voices? Is it further along, songs, ect? Oh and and what are the people over at Disney saying about what they're seeing of it?

Oh, and if that wasn't enough, what's the opinion of Lasseter's tenure so far?

Thanks much.

Anonymous said...

I haven't worked at Disney in awhile, but I have friends that do.

The story crews at Disney work hard and get sets of notes from the brain-trust at WDFA, also the trust at Pixar. Notes get given, and the story artists I talk to seem to think the feed-back is pretty good. (They like that they don't get endless input from executive types, which was the case under previous regimes...)

Production people on the first and second floors are less starry-eyed about new-management changes. (There's been lots of layoffs, so this is understandable).

From what I'm told, Lasseter doesn't have the same glossy reputation inside the studio as he does outside it. But I know there's folks that think he's fine.

Steve Hulett said...

Without getting into specifics, I think that WDFA is going through the kinds of changes that always happen when there's a management shake-up. As Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg imported a lot of the 1980s Paramount culture when they arrived at Disney, so now is Disney Animation taking on a lot of the Pixar methods and approaches.

Some people are pleased at the way things are going, others are a bit more wary. The layoffs that occurred early in the year had a definite impact (like, many of the employees that got laid off had a negative attitude about it. Which is pretty understandable.)

I think it's going to take another year or two for things to completely shake out.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Dreamworks will ever do another hand drawn animated feature? Or is Disney the only one that is smart enough to continue this?

Anonymous said...

What happened to you and "updating daily"? Did you get thrown in jail for something?

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