Monday, June 16, 2008

Double Deck Disney

The fabled Sonora building, home of Disney Television Animation (first floor) and Disney Toons (second floor) is where I whiled away my afternoon. Downstairs, the TVA division (run by the Disney Channel hierarchy) is producing episodes of My Friends Tigger and Pooh, also Mickey's Clubhouse. (Other TVA series are housed on Uncle Walt's Burbank lot.)

I spent the bulk of my time upstairs with the Disney Toon folks ...

Where Diz TVA has utilitarian gray cubicles, polished cement floors, gray-white walls and fluorescent lighting, upstairs is a different world altogether.

The walls are dark green or deep red. There are big George Nelson bubble lamps hovering under the high ceiling, and potted palms along open hallways. In the center of the big space is an open area with fruit and breakfast cereal on kitchen-like counters, big lcd screens on colored walls, clusters of chairs around circular tables.

Basically Toons is a generous helping of upscale, feature animation-type chic plunked down in the industrial area of Glendale, and the whole effect is more ... I donno ... restful than the grey beehive down on the first floor.

Happily, most of Toons's white cubicles (from the tail end of the Sharon M. era) have lost their strange linen roofs that gave them the look of Civil War tents. The artists inside them, most bent over Cintiqs, work on Tinkerbells #1-#3. (The DVD features have more elaborate titles but I'm stumped as to what they are). A board artist told me:

"We had a good first pass screening with Lasseter on Tink Two. We had notes, John had notes, and he has the Brain Trust up north chipping in. We're getting script revisions in a few weeks and we'll have new reels up in late August ..."

In another part of the building, Tink Three is getting worked on, and the glimmerings of Tink the Fourth are on the sunlit horizon: "It's mostly ideas and early story beats now ... no script as yet ..."

And so life continues to hum along, up among the saucer lights and potted palms.


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