Wednesday, June 22, 2011

At the Feature Facilities

Some of the things going on at the feature facilities in Burbank and Glendale ...

At Walt Disney Animation Studios, there will be pitch and story reel sessions for Mr. Lasseter in the next few weeks as comes off the Cars 2 bandwagon. And at Disney Toons Studios (which now has its new parking lot completed), I'm informed the creative chief will be looking at the new installment of the Tinkerbell saga. (Meantime, the second installment of the Planes features has started into work.)

And down Flower Street at DreamWorks Animation, staffers are being reassigned, furloughed, vacationed and (in some cases) laid off as sequences of The Croods are held back for story work. As an administrator said today:

"... The pictures this year haven't slotted into the schedule as well as they did last ..."

But Puss in Boots is in the last month of animation (with a lot of animators still on board), and The Guardians is in work.

On another front, DreamWorks Animation has instituted financial savings accounts for employees' kids (no tax-advantaged health savings accounts as yet, but there are ongoing discussions with the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan about it.)

(DWA is the only studio setting up financial savings accounts for its unionized workers. Hats off.)


Anonymous said...

Sorry--a little off-topic, but when is open enrollment to change health/dental plans? And how does one go about doing that?

Steven Kaplan said...

Going to the HMO from PPO, you can switch at the beginning of any month. Going from PPO to HMO is only open in July.

You will need to fill out the Plan selection form ( and contact MPI to let them know of your intention. They're number is (818) 769-0007. Use extension 263 for health.

Anonymous said...


To double check, I assume you meant "Going to PPO from HMO is only open in July." Right?

Steven Kaplan said...

Incorrect. Let me put it this way:

PPO -> HMO: July only
HMO -> PPO: beginning of each month

Steven Kaplan said...

On page 11 of the Health Plan description book it reads:

Open Enrollment
The Open Enrollment period occurs throughout the month of July each year for Plan enrollment effective August 1. At that time, you may change your medical/hospital and/or dental coverage. Please Note: Enrollment for the MPIHP/Blue Shield and/or the Delta Dental PPO Dental Plan is open all year.

Anonymous said...

- Cars-2

Nice! 44%...:

(Cue the Pixies: "Yeah, but Cars made 10 billion in merchandising, so, it was like, totally worth it!)

Anonymous said...

Wow. 'Bad Teacher' is getting better reviews than 'Cars 2.'

Anonymous said...

Not to worry.

John "I've got Disney blood in my veins*" Lassiter came in to fix the film. He's good at this. He made Meet The Robinsons a blockbuster after he retooled it to his liking.

*actual quote

Anonymous said...

Was better after John than it was before. And thank goodness he was wise enough to can the mess American Dog. Not the biggest Bolt fan, but at least it made sense.

Dream a little now and then said...

"Not the biggest Bolt fan, but at least it made sense."

Yes, yes, so we're told and so we must accept it in the "received text" version. (that is : Sander's 'American Dog' was a train wreck and at least 'Bolt' was a coherent film , even it was middle-of-the-road, unimaginative fare ) .

But who really knows what American Dog would have turned out like if it had been allowed to keep moving through the pipeline ? No one. (not you, not me) Maybe the final version of Chris's film would have been a mess, maybe not ... we'll never know.

What we do know is that "Bolt" makes sense, but you know what ? --- I don't really care if I ever see it again. It was ok , but nothing about it draws me back for repeated viewings. It is not a film made from a unique point-of-view.

Part of the reason most mainstream American animated features are so f-ing boring and predictable is that they always have to "make sense" (in the conventional Robert McKee and other Story Gurus Inc. understanding) .

Anonymous said...

I hear Croods is going well under Sander's vision at Dreamworks. Wait. No, I heard it's a wreck and now they're asking their employees to take unpaid leave. Yup, that's the Sanders I remember

Dream a little now and then said...


No one ever said the development and story process wasn't messy sometimes (most of the time , actually). So what else is new ? The end result is what matters. Don't like the messy process ? Sorry, that's the way it's done. Unless you prefer to have everything just be sequels and remakes. That's certainly safer and less messy, but limits the possibility of ever seeing anything fresh with a unique vision.

Anonymous said...'re probably one of the people keeping their jobs.

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