Thursday, September 05, 2013

Moving Around

Older news, but still noted.

... No sooner was it officially announced that Oscar-winning director Bob Peterson taken was off of Pixar’s summer 2014 joint “The Good Dinosaur,” than came word that John Kahrs, the inventive animator behind last year’s Oscar-winning short film “Paperman,” has left Walt Disney Animation Studios for parts unknown. ...

A little while ago, animation became a "project-by-project" industry, just like live-action. The era of forty-year careers at one studio went the way of the passenger pigeon.

Here in the 21st century, few stay in one place for very long. (There's Ron Clements and John Musker at Disney, there's Burny Mattinson at Disney, and the crew on The Simpsons. And then ...??)

These days you could hold a convention of long-term animation employees in Danny Devito's dining room and have room left over. People move on all the time, for a wide array of reasons: they get a better offer, they need to take a break, they want to go try something else, etc.

Oh yeah. Occasionally somebody gets pushed overboard. There are large, colliding egos in the entertainment industry and sometimes they bang together in hurtful ways. And the ego with less juice exits. When that happens, we get a terse press release like this:

"We are saddened at Bill Brilston's departure from Chicken Peck Pictures. We adored working with him, but he wanted to spend time in a Colorado cabin hand-embroidering doilies, and we respect his decision ..."

In due course, we'll find out more of the circumstances of Mr. Kahr's departure from the House of Mouse. We may or may not discover all the reasons for his leaving, because in tinsel town, keeping things opaque is a well-crafted art.

Add On: Gadzooks. I overlooked the actual press release that Diz Co. issued:

"John is an incredibly talented filmmaker and artist and all of us here at Walt Disney Animation Studios are proud of his vision for the stunning and innovative ‘Paperman,' We wish him the best in his future endeavors."

"... Wish him the best in his future endeavors," says it all. It's one notch up from "We wish him well ..." And never will you hear: "We hope he goes back to Ohio and installs car mufflers, which seems a better use of his talent."


Grant said...

Kahrs was a fair animator, and an ok director. And while I liked Paperman fine, it's not terribly original. And obviously, Disney didn't think he was feature director material (no, it wasn't about "slots.")

Unknown said...

"Danny Devito's dining room"? I love your style of rhetoric!

Anonymous said...

Steve, now that Kahrs has left Disney does that mean the 2D/CG hybrid he developed will be abandoned?

Do you know if this Paperman technique is being used on other projects at Disney?

Melanie said...

"Fair animator?" Really?? Some of the finest and most memorable Pixar performances in the last decade are because of John.

Unknown said...

Paperman was a truly successful short, and very moving both aesthetically and emotionally. I'd love to see a feature film directed by Kahrs, and I imagine I still might, but maybe not from Disney/Pixar.

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