Monday, July 26, 2010

Success Spawns Success

Now with Add On.

We're informed that Mac Guff Ligne, the production house for Despicable Me, is on a roll.

Universal’s decision to extend the partnership with Mac Guff is a big boost for the French audiovisual industry. With domestic film and television production in the doldrums, Paris-based animation and visual effects studios like Mac Guff are looking to Hollywood for new business.

As Mac Guff gets to work on “The Lorax” and a third, undisclosed feature film with Illumination, another French studio, Buf Compagnie, is developing visual effects for “Thor,” a live-action film based on a comic-book superhero, with Walt Disney’s Marvel Studios. Other French rivals, like Mikros Image, which have largely focused on domestic production in the past, are trying to drum up business in Hollywood, too. ...

Who would have thunk it? Those Socialist wine sippers, where the workers work 35-hour weeks and suffer under the yoke of Socialized Medicine, making all those American films in and around Pa-ree.

What we want to know is, how could this happen? After we saved the French from the Huns. (Twice.) And after they refused to support our invasion of Iraq. How could our fine American conglomerates stab us in the back this way? And where is Bill O'Reilly when you need him?

Add On: Some of the reasons Illumination Entertainment went to French animation studios for the creation of its maiden effort? Possibly these:

France is the number-one producer of animated film in Europe, and the third in the world. The Gobelins school in Paris nurtures a lot of that talent.

... As an applied arts school, Gobelins trains people in a variety of image-related fields but its world-wide reputation for excellence comes from its animation and film-making courses. Graduates are regularly sought out by the big animation studios like Pixar, Sony Pictures and Dreamworks.

“I’ve been following the Gobelins work for years; shorts like California Love and Cocotte Minute really stayed in my mind,” says Chico Bela, a Brazilian animator working mostly in TV commercials and series. ... Christophe Serrand, former Gobelins student, now supervis[es] animation [at] Dreamworks in Hollywood. He enjoys coming back to Gobelins to share his knowledge, and experience, of working on big productions ....

Walking through DreamWorks Animation and some of the other studios in the east San Fernando Valley, you figure out that a goodly number of French nationals are animating and drawing for American cartoon companies.

Apparently France is training and employing a lot of artists to work in its cartoon studios, and a lot of those folks find their way to other points of the globe.


Anonymous said...

You're blaming "society" for studio decisions. There are many American animation houses who could have done Despicable Me as well or better than did Illuminations (ah, what's in a name? A more blatant rip-off of the Pixar Luxo logo couldn't possibly exist). Frankly (no pun intended) the Frankish studio got lucky; it hit on a good story that resonated with audiences. That is the kind of thing no studio, American or otherwise, can count on; nine times out of ten, it just happens. Illuminations won the crap shoot....this time. We'll see if it builds a track record out of it...

Steve Hulett said...

En actualement, I was being facetious.

Based on their results, the French have the chops to turn out a hit animated film.

Tres bien for them.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of work going out of the country but with the reported costs to make an animated film in California these days you can see why they went elsewhere. I'm sure there are other places domestically that could have done it for the same price and quality as the French. It was a good film.

Anonymous said...

"the French have the chops to turn out a hit animated film."

But they're still just a service company, with no skills in place to tell a story Hollywood would buy.

Anonymous said...

But they're still just a service company, with no skills in place to tell a story Hollywood would buy.

American story folks will be fine. American animators...not so much.

Anonymous said...

The credits for "Despicable Me" noted that it was produced, in part, with a "tax credit" from the French government.

I wonder how much that amounted to?

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