Thursday, October 29, 2009

Middle Links

Wednesday Linkage ... since we haven't done it in awhile.

Jonathan Demme gets animated.

... Mr. Demme (whose films include “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Rachel Getting Married”) said that he had acquired the film rights to “Zeitoun,” whose cover illustration by Rachell Sumpter had inspired him to make it into a cartoon.

“I was staring at the book,” Mr. Demme said in a telephone interview, “and there’s this wonderful line drawing on the cover, the character of Zeitoun in his canoe, paddling through a submerged neighborhood. And I suddenly imagined, What if we could do an animated film and visualize the experiences of the Zeitoun family and all of New Orleans?” ...

Disney grows its Santa Clarita ranch.

... Disney and ABC Studios announced plans Wednesday to build six pairs of soundstages and other production facilities on property it owns in the Santa Clarita Valley north of Los Angeles.

Known as the Golden Oak Ranch, the 890-acre site was leased by Disney in the late 1950s and then bought up beginning in 1959. Mouse House used the land as the outdoor filming location for pics ranging from "Old Yeller" and "The Parent Trap" to two "Pirates of the Caribbean" installments ...

Not exactly a story impacting animation, but building new production facilities locally is a good thing. Means more jobs down the road.

Whoops. Microsoft bails on Seth. For some reason, Software Grande thought Mr. MacFarlane was going to be somebody other than Mr. MacFarlane.

Microsoft has yanked its sponsorship from Fox's upcoming Seth MacFarlane comedy/variety special over content concerns.

... "Almost Live Comedy Show" was set to run commercial-free, with Microsoft marketing messages built into the special instead (Daily Variety, Oct. 14) ... But that was before Microsoft execs attended the special's taping Oct. 16 ...

Movie studios stare at the decline of those little silver disks ... and search for alternatives.

... Hollywood heavyweights were loath to speak too openly about the promise of digital entertainment — the downloading and streaming of movies and television shows on computers, Internet-enabled televisions and mobile devices. Nobody wanted to anger retail partners like Wal-Mart ...

But business currents have shifted. While DVD and Blu-ray will remain a huge profit center for years to come, studio executives are finally confronting an uncomfortable reality: little silver discs — for reasons of convenience, price and consumer burnout — may never recover their sales power.

... Disney announced last week that it had developed a system to track digital ownership, so people won’t have to buy the same movie or television show multiple times for different devices ... A mother could start streaming “Toy Story” on a laptop for her kids, continue the film on an iPhone at a restaurant and finish it at home with a video-on-demand cable service ...

And Diz Co.'s Robert Iger states the obvious:

... [T]he Walt Disney chief executive, has issued a stark warning to Hollywood, saying the film business is "changing right before our eyes" after a turbulent year in which studios have been forced to re-examine their business models ...

The business model that underpins the movie business is changing," Mr Iger told the Financial Times "If we don't adapt to the change there won't be a business - that's my exhortation to my team."

Mr Iger advocates a thorough re-examination of costs associated with marketing and producing movies. The solution, he said, required "research and development, risk-taking . . . real focus on changing the "status quo".

Pixar director Pete Docter reveals (again) the nub of the whole deal:

... [E]very one of our movies is lousy at some point. It’s just that we allow ourselves time to fix it. And we have this co-op of directors who are all doing their own thing, but who together at certain times to analyze and assist with everyone. On “Up,” for example, about every four months we would show the film to John Lasseter and Brad Bird and Andrew Stanton, and then we’d go upstairs and talk about what was wrong with it.

You want as many people as possible to not only boost you up, but also poke at the soft spots: “Hey, you’ve got some dry rot over here, let’s get the wood putty.” You end up with a big heaping pile of notes, some contradictory, and as the director I’m left to decide what points I agree with and which solutions seem good.

Have a productive workweek, you're halfway home.


Anonymous said...

There goes that Iger again prognosticating about why the way they used to screw everyone doesn't work anymore and how they have to find a new way to screw everyone if they want to continue screwing everyone successfully.

Todd Jacobsen said...

Wow...Jonathan Demme wants to make "Zeitoun" in animation? I'm very intrigued.

Given the subject matter, it has the potential to be another "Waltz with Bashir" or "Persepolis."

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