Friday, November 21, 2008

Walking the Disney Walk

After being sequestered in Sherman Oaks for half the week, I got back to basics with a stroll through the Disney Animation Studio Thursday afternoon.

Artists on the hat building's first floor were wondering how Bolt was going to open on the morrow, and checking the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. (As you'll note, critical response is strong.)

Disney staffers are anxious for a hit. I'm anxious for two animated features in the Box Office Top Three.

(I'm not stupid ... or optimistic ... enough to believe that James Bond is going to fade in his second weekend. But I'll predict that Bolt finishes strong but second for the weekend, behind Twilight mania*. Naturally I could be -- as I sometimes am -- wrong.)

Also on the first floor, I got pulled into a production t.d.'s room. He asked me about the new 45-hour workweek that management has been touting. I said:

* If management gets people to agree to work "on call", then they can have people work additional hours without additional compensation, Monday through Friday.

(It's time-and-a-half for work on the "sixth or seventh day" -- usually Saturday or Sunday. This elicited the remark: "Oh, that must be why they're discouraging on call people from working on the weekend ...")

* It seems management is trying to cut and/or contain costs (big duh). Disney is reinstituting the "on call" classification after a break of fifteen years.

* When negotiating a newer salary, ask peers what the range of weekly wages are, so that salary talks with the friendly studip rep is not so ... ah ... lopsided. (To this end, it's also a good idea to check the '08 TAG wage survey.)

He was happy to have the information, and I was happy to give it to him. Knowledge is power.

Up on the second floor of hat, a "Thanksgiving Lunch" was wrapping up. They were breaking down a long buffet on the outside patio, and tables and chairs still crowded the main halls.

I missed the festivities completely, but an animator told me the pumpkin pie was excellent.

* Even now, the sold-out midnight shows for Twilight are unspooling...


Anonymous said...

My theory/prediction is that the strange Twilight obsession will cause huge ticket sales and make it number one this week. But next week, the week of Thanksgiving, when the hordes of families hit the theaters, Bolt will come out as number one.

Anonymous said...

Can you expand a little on what exactly "on call" means? Are there days where you could not be working at all, then days you could be asked to put in 10-12 hours?

This is coming from a TAG outsider.

Anonymous said...

I must admit I don't think anyone expected Madagascar 2 to be this big. I saw it and its no Kung Fu Panda.

I am looking forward to Bolt and hope it does well for the industry, but I am starting to feel that it may not take the top spot and that would not be good for a lot of reasons. Mainly because of the way these pictures are getting so much pressure on them to perform out of the gate.

Steve Hulett said...

Can you expand a little on what exactly "on call" means?

"On call" shorthand:

If somebody working under the contract is "exempt" from overtime laws/regulations, and is 10% over the minimum contract wage rate, then the producer and employee can agree that an individual is working "on call." (The employee has to consent to being on call.)

IF someone is in the on call category, they can work additional hours Monday through Friday without additional compensation. On Saturday or Sunday (generally the sixth or seventh workday), they would receive time and a half. (I'm broad-bushing here for purposes of length. Consult the contract posted at our website for complete details.)

For obvious reasons, most studios "encourage" on call employees not to work on Saturdays or Sundays.

Anonymous said...

Miley Cyrus?!? I sure hope there's no country music on this movie, I HATE country music!


Anonymous said...

Wow, rufus, what are you, like 8 years old?

Anonymous said...

By early numbers coming in, Bolt looks like it will be a disappointment for Disney. The movie was okay at best! Great work on the hamster! Animators needed more time. Its better than Cars!

Anonymous said...

oh boy, 7 mil on friday. shoot.

Anonymous said...

Okay at best? More like "okay" at it's worst. Some people are already talking oscar buzz. Bolt was an effing amazing film. In my opinion, better than Wall-e, which was a disappointment after the 1st act.

Bolt had one problem Friday...the inexplicable, unexpected, unpredictable power of tween-age girl mania.

But lets see how Saturday (today) and Thanksgiving goes. Could be a different story altogether.

Site Meter