Tuesday, October 28, 2008

All Disney? All the Time?

It sometimes feels that way.

Today, because of different commitments, I found myself at Disney Toons, Disney TVA, and the Disney Animation Studio.

At Diz TVA (the Sonora Avenue branch), the last of the My Friends Tigger and Pooh staff is being laid off. The mood: bitterness and wistful resignation, mingled together. (I can hardly fault them. I felt much the same way the times I was slipped the axe.)

By contrast, the still-working Mickey's Clubhouse group are relatively happy. And pleased to be working ...

And Disney Toons upstairs is a tranquil island of soft-light stability. The managers from the North have eliminated the harsh fluorescent glow of industrial tube lighting found downstairs; on the second floor, everybody works by the illumination of floor lights and hanging bubble lamps created by George Nelson (which must be breeding, as there seems to be more and more of them, hanging from the ceiling.)

But today, the first Tinkerbell DVD was released, which explained all the champagne and cork-popping that was going on. Not. A Toons artist looked up at me startled when I mentioned it was the launch date for their first movie.

"Oh yeah, the video comes out today, doesn't it? I'm so busy on the third one I lose track. But we're going to have a little event for it here tomorrow, when they're handing out the disks.

"The plan is to make five Tinkerbells. On the other side of the building, they're getting new ideas together to be pitched. Word is they want to get going on another franchise, maybe geared toward boys this time, instead of girls ..."

At Disney Animation Studios, I learned a lot about stereo animated features as a tag along to a print interview. One take away: Disey is doing ten stereo features next year, and live-action stereo movies are a lot trickier to make than the animated variety.

Some days you learn more new stuff than others.


Anonymous said...

A whole bunch of ugly and poorly animated CGI going on over at the Disney tlevision studios.

Was that harsh? I'm sorry but sometimes reality can be that way. I'm just calling it as it lies and the three CGI properties you mentioned are noteworthy to others in the industry for how attrocious they are visually. Disney is a joke.

Anonymous said...

Disney isnt a joke, by all accounts Bolt is a fantastic movie.

But I think Disney making crappy, budget CG is a joke.

Steve Hulett said...

A whole bunch of ugly and poorly animated CGI going on over at the Disney tlevision studios.

To be clear, there's different c.g. going on at different Disney places.

Prana Studios in Mumbai did the Tink feature for Toonz. Variety called the product like "watching plastic dolls ..." A Toonz staffer told me the animation is stiff. I think Prana's stuff probably does the job for the market it serves (undemanding young girls), but it's several notches below the theatrical stuff.

The staffer didn't think much of it, doesn't think most Mumbai animation is very good: "Some of the problem is cultural, the characters they design look Indian, and too often they just move the characters rather than have them act."

Bolt looks excellent.

Mickey's Clubhouse I haven't seen. But I wouldn't expect that it would sets any creative hearts afire.

You get what you pay for.

Anonymous said...


Christopher Buckley said...

Anything new on princess and the frog or rapunzel

Anonymous said...

"Some of the problem is cultural" is right on the money. Good animation is learned through osmosis. By watching 'Looney Tunes' and other stuff on tv as a child, you learn the languaje of animation. It's a slow process.Cal Arts or Sheridan, only puts the cherry on top. You really can't expect to mass produce 'good' animators, in under four years, in a production line fashion, like they're trying to do in India or China. And then expect them to do feature quality stuff right off the bat.


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