Tuesday, March 17, 2009

February Studio Roundabout

At Film Roman, most of the The Simpsons's crew is finishing the current season of The Yellow Family. Various people came up to me today and mentioned that they now have five qualifed pension years under their belts. So folks who've been working there since TAG signed a contract with FR in early 2005 are now vested in both pension plans run by the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan.

A few hearty souls have already started with Season 21 of The Simpsons. One of them related:

"We've got twenty-two episodes in the new season, which is great, but they're cutting schedules, so everyone is going to have to work longer days, and with the high def format we're reworking a lot of the old locations and setups and there's a lot more pencil mileage. And the word around is that the company want's to keep salaries flat. But hey, we're working ..."

"We're working," It's a phrase I hear a lot. (I might have mentioned this before. Like twenty or thirty times.)

And it ties in with what a Disney veteran (who's no longer there) recently told me over lunch re Disney Animation Studios.

"Old friends are telling me that Princess and the Frog has tested really well, and that the rumor going around is that the studio is thinking about doing more hand-drawn features, maybe two.

"But nobody's taking anything for granted, and everybody's insecure. Like they don't know if they'll be there after PATF is done or not ..."

Then, of course, there's the tempest currently brewing in your local thimble:

... [E]ven though "The Princess and the Frog" isn’t released until later this year, it is already stirring up controversy.

For while Princess Tiana and many in the cartoon cast are black – the prince is not. Which has led some critics to complain that Disney has ducked the opportunity for a fairytale ending for a black prince and princess.

While some have hailed Disney’s decision as a reflection of melting pot America, others say the company is sending out a mixed message.

Mixed message. That's choice.

Apparently it's escaped the notice of some outraged filmgoers -- and journalists unhampered by irony -- that the United States has a President who is ... how do I say this diplomatically? ... of "mixed race." You know, like a white mother and black father?

So maybe the mixed message thing fits right in. You think?


Kate said...

I have no idea where the prince is from, but he still looks cute. (My money's on Turkey or Spain.) It still looks like a great picture and I hope it does well.

Anonymous said...

Love knows no color, but some people cannot NOT be a victim.


Anonymous said...

"Love knows no color, but some people cannot NOT be a victim."

Yes. Thank goodness we finally have someone in the White House who understands this. Amazing what the last 8 years of doom and gloom can produce.

Anonymous said...

If Disney had made it a black princess and a black prince, you'd have people asking "why did it have to be a black prince too? I thought Disney was more progressive than that!"

You cant please everyone

Anonymous said...

Yeah, gloom and doom. 8 years of economic prosperity and winning a war (which you can appreciate if you're a GROWNUP and you realize the inevitable difficulties and screwups that occur in ANY war, including those which are won; try reading a little history, for christ's sake), sequeing to an economic meltdown (thank you Barney Frank) and wimpy foreign policy (those once described as "enemy combatants" will now be referred to as "naughty boo-boos"; thank you Barney the dinosaur). But the good news is: Obama's approval ratings are dropping faster than any president's in history. Now THAT'S change I can believe in! :D

As for all that whining from some quarters about the racial makeup of the P and F leading man and lady: sorry, folks, you better brace yourselves: thanks to publicity hounds like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, I'm afraid it's only going to get worse...

Anonymous said...

Plese DISNEY, if you will made two 2D animated movies, PLEASE... SNOW QUEEN or DON QUIXOTE with Brothers Brizzi.

snif... snif :(

Lasseter ... retrieves all the great talents, please :(

Anonymous said...

Nice to see the above conservative whining about the victimhood of his party/ideology's sad failure and decline--all of their own making. Every time I see them trot out the name "Barney Frank" in a vain, futile attempt to deflect their responsibility for the worst economic meltdown in 70 years, I can only conclude that they have joined Al Sharpton in the kiddie pool of victimization.

Let's hope for more "controversy" for P & F. It will surely spell big boxoffice success, as people become more aware and curious about the film.

Anonymous said...

This may be the best Disney film in more than a decade. It not only looks great but has a good story and fun characters. Looking forward to the national release date.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see the above conservative whining"

I had to stop reading right there because I was too tired from climbing over the mountain of irony contained in that assertion. No whining about Bush in here! - only every other post is gussied up with a comment howling about the last eight years, making excuses for today's mismanagement by pointing at the previous president. But the conservatives are whining!

Anonymous said...

I'm offended that the Princess doesn't fall in love with another Princess... and get married!

Floyd Norman said...

Sooooo, how long has Rush been posting here on the TAG Blog?

Anonymous said...

My prognosis:

The Princess And The Frog: 620 Million $$$$ worldwide


Anonymous said...

Yup, I totally agree. We killed all those Taliban, found the weapons of mass destruction, and won the war! Terrorism is no more! Diplomacy is overrated anyway. Osama Bin Laden is behind bars and the United States is in good standing with the world. Our economy is in great shape (I mean, who needs a 236 billion dollar surplus anyway, its WAY more fun being 477 billion in the hole!) and we told those nasty old scientists to stop researching stem cells because they're sinners if they do. People with cancer and spinal chord injuries deserve to die anyway.

Besides, President Obama's 50 days in office caused the current banking crisis, everyone knows that. I can only hope we can survive the next four years before he shuts down all of the restaurants and turns them all into a Popeyes!

Anonymous said...

Why does everything turn into a political debate? That first anonymous guy, if you'd just live in the present and shut up we'd be talking about the actual topic and not this BS political stuff.

Anonymous said...

My theory is that a lot of artists must listen to talk radio while they work. I know of at least two who keep Rush on as background while they draw. I used to be surprised at how many artists could be drawn to such dishonest loudmouths. Then they'll turn around and bitch about the suits in our business with no ironic awareness. Nothing surprises me anyomre.

Floyd Norman said...

Back on topic.

Is the prince in "Princess and the Frog" Black or White? Or is he just sorta black --but in a good way?

Anonymous said...

I never know what people are talking about when they talk about "winning" the Iraq war. We invaded and occupied a sovereign nation without provocation. How do exactly you "win" or "lose" something like that? It sounds a little like "winning" a mugging.

I think the Republicans and Conservatives are forever nostalgic for the moral clarity of WWII, which they missed out on because the Democrats were in charge. They have been continuously projecting and imposing black and white interpretations on every available situation, political and economic, foreign and domestic to our, now very tangible, detriment.

Anonymous said...

Is the prince in "Princess and the Frog" Black or White? Or is he just sorta black --but in a good way?

Haven't John & Ron told you? Ask them!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Disney is going to dive into the whole 'paperbag' color thing and the bigotry that exists amongst some Blacks for those of a different shade?

LOL...not likely. Bakshi might have tried that, but Disney.....NO WAY!!!

Anonymous said...

"Is the prince in "Princess and the Frog" Black or White? Or is he just sorta black --but in a good way?

Haven't John & Ron told you? Ask them!"

Anyone with ANY skin pigment appear Black compared to those two.

Anonymous said...

Political morons and uneducated youths, Obama worshipers, Bush defenders and history revisionists - PLEASE, lets stay on topic of good 2D animation happening again.

I think the change in release date for FROG is a very good thing. Love the limited city rollout, like they use to do for a traditional animated event type of film.

Anonymous said...

"We invaded and occupied a sovereign nation"


100,000 troops can "occupy" a nation of 28 million people. Thats one soldier for every 300 Iraqi civilians. I didn't realize that we mounted the most impossible "occupation" ever executed by a military force in human history.

Either that, or you are grossly misrepresenting recent history to make things look worse than what happened. Maybe you like to pepper your posts with catch phrases and terms that don't apply in any way...
Ya think?

Because there are the facts, and then the crap you spew in here.
(that you must have heard from Keith Olbermman)

Anonymous said...

When you invade a country, and install your own government, that's called "occupation."

Regardless of how you're trying to spin things now, at this late date.

Anonymous said...

"a vain, futile attempt to deflect their responsibility for the worst economic meltdown in 70 years"

Ok, since I'm a history major I realize that this person is not. The situation ain't great, in fact it sucks. But if you know history we're nowhere near what it was 70 years ago. I'm under the belief that this person is referring to the Great Depression. We're in a recession, but the one in 1982 was bigger and there was worse unemployment. People tend to feel that the times they're living in are the worst ever and no one ever had it any worse. Here in California we've got around 10% unemployment, nationally it's in the 8's. Back in 82 we had double-digit unemployment and in the 30's it got as high as 25%. We're nowhere near that level. This is coming from a history teacher, not a Republican or Democrat.

And can we go back to talking about animation, please? Put all this political talk on a political website.


Floyd Norman said...

Frogs, war, and skin pigment.

Things have sure gotten wacky on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's kind of our fault. We made the worst fundamental mistake one can make on a forum or blog comment section...

We fed the troll.

Anonymous said...

Hey Floyd,

Enough of this stupid politics and what color a prince should be.

How would you rank the movie since you've seen it?

And when will you let us know what you're working on for Disney?

Floyd Norman said...

I'm just having fun with Ron and John. I've got no beef with the color of anybody in the film -- and that includes the critters.

I confess, I haven't seen the film from beginning to end, but what I have seen I've liked very much.

I think audiences are going to love the film as well.

And, the boss says, I still can't tell you.

Anonymous said...

"When you invade a country, and install your own government, that's called "occupation.""

...and the numbers SHOW that if it wasn't the will of the people in that country, they could eject those troops and dismantle the government in one afternoon.

You know that they have had two elections with this government don't you? Or do you bury your head in the sand at facts like that. The occupation and installed government...which chose it leaders through elections with a turnout rivaling that of our own nation.
get a clue.

Anonymous said...

The Boss? Yer working directly for Iger!!!!??? Wow, must be something really hush, hush!

Let me guess...

Mr. Fun the movie? No?

How about "The Princess and the Floyd?"

Anonymous said...

The Iraqi's just had a national poll of how good things are now thanks to American troops and the coalition, versus under a murderous dictator Saddam. its hard to believe that people would still support the government of Saddam instead of liberty. Now onto Afghanistan like our new pres Barrack Obama say's "Send in the troops!"

...oh back to topic - and go see Princess and the Frog this winter!!

Anonymous said...

Now for something completely different:

I am deeply disturbed by the Simpsons news. I believe it would be a huge mistake for Starz Media to tamper with the tried and true production methods that have made the Simpsons such a consistent and reliable success over the years. They are in grave danger of killing the golden goose, shooting themselves in the foot, cutting their nose off to spite their face, etc- pick a cliche.

Perhaps they are demonstrating that the raises the voice actors received and all those "producers" credited at the top of every show have cut into their profit margin. Too bad, Starz. learn to share. All of those people who helped make the show the record breaking success it has been more than deserve their piece of the pie- they've earned it.

If you take it out on the production budget, you will destroy the show and there will be nothing left for anybody to share. Try to see the big picture. Resign yourselves to making a little less profit, but for a long, long time. That would be a much smarter choice.

Steve Hulett said...

As far as I know, The Sompsons will remain a layout show and not a "board driven" show.

Starz, like every other studio I know about, is holding down costs wherever possible.

Production schedules are not being extended, even though the high def format is more complicated.

Anonymous said...

Rufus, if you want to talk politics please do it on a political board. I love seeing things about animation here, but hate it when the conversation takes a left or right turn into people's biases.

Get off yer high horses and talk about the subject of the article, not some beef you have with the last president, current president or whatever.

There are plenty of places to foam at the mouth and call people names regardless of party. Go there. If you want to talk about animation please do so. Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely agree. Take that political bias rhetoric to another site.

Anonymous said...

-If you take it out on the production budget, you will destroy the show and there will be nothing left for anybody to share.

There is already nothing left. They've already robbed the store blind.

Prime time animated fare has been a double-edged sword. They've provided steady work and numbers for the guild, but at the expense of loss of leverage over talent closer to the front of the train, because that's the order some producers and writers in a room at Fox decided the order would be.

The result has been a steady degradation of sharing in the overall spoils of success, a kind of balkanization of production that houses people who draw in a separate bunker than people who write, a diminishing of the status and import of animation directing, a narrowing of promotion opportunities as an artist, a loss of enjoyment in the art, a diminishing of a proud history of the art, and a steady creep of more and more work being filtered overseas. More than a few talented producers of animation have set up successful ventures exploiting this last one, whether they be artists, writers, or directors.

Loss of leverage to the above-the-line crowd continues in prime time, unquestioned and unchallenged. But hey! We all can't wait for the next Fox family idiot dad show!

Steve Hulett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Banks loved to give people what they wanted - easy credit. Short term is easy. Long term is much harder, and takes much more planning, foresight, intelligence, and courage.

Anonymous said...

Short term is easy. Long term is much harder

The Simpsons is the longest-running show on television...


Anonymous said...

to Powered Action Hero:

you said:"go elsewhere to talk politics"

and the next paragraph you said "Get off your high horse"

Am I the only one to see the irony here?

Read the last paragraph of the post, the one about Obama. ...Whatever man!

Still, on the topic of wether there's a controversy over race related to PATF...I don't see any controversy. If there is one, may someone point it out? Thanks.


Anonymous said...

_The Simpsons is the longest-running show on television...


Yes. Too bad for TAG that it was a sit-com and not animation.

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