Monday, September 16, 2013

The Studio Rounds

Friday was Disney Animation Studios, where work on Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Giants and Ron and John's Moana comtinues apace. (When you kick the release schedule up to one animated feature a year, you've got to raise the tempo in the story department. There were a number of meetings going on in the big story conference rooms while I was stumbling around.)

Downstairs in the light department, Frozen is in the last couple of weeks of production work. Six and seven day weeks are the norm just now, but the end of production is days away. One supervisor related:

"When October gets here, I'll be taking a month off. ..."

Today at DreamWorks Animation, I discovered that DreamWorks new TV division has temporary quarters inside the big Lakeside building. This is in addition to DWA tv's offices on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. But the new division won't be on the DreamWorks Glendale headquarters long.

"In November, we'll be moving to a skyscraper on Central Avenue in Glendale. We can't stay here on campus, there won'[t be room for us. And we've got to get four or fives series up and running. None have been announced yet, but there will be a lot of shows. And we're going to need a lot of staff, probably a hundred or more." ...

The second season of DreamWorks Dragons -- Defenders of Berk recently wrapped Season #2 at the Ventura Boulevard location. They're waiting to see if there is a third season; assuming there is, it will probably be done in Glendale.

Meantime, DreamWorks Animation TV is starting to hire staff, and they are hiring a chunk of it from Nickelodeon. An executive at a rival studio said to me:

"I'm not surprised that DWA tv is getting people from Nick. Two of DWA tv's top execs come from Nickelodeon, and they know who's over there. And who they want to use. Plus, there's probably some pay back going on." ...

From our perspective, it's great that DWA has a lot of content to provide Netflix in the next few years, because it will be fueling a lot of animation work here in the East Valley. After the DWA layoffs from last winter, that's definitely a good thing.


Anonymous said...

Is Moana going to be in ordinary CG or will it be a hybrid like Paperman?

Are there any projects at Disney, whether it's features or shorts, that will employ the Paperman technique?

N/A said...

I've heard a rumor that WDAS will be cutting back on 2D shorts as well. Their last fully hand drawn short was The Ballad of Nessie in 2011.

Does that rumor hold any water? Are there currently any 2D shorts in the works?

Steve Hulett said...

When last I checked, "Moana" was a feature that would have hand-drawn elements/characters in it but would LOOK like a CG feature.

This was a long while ago and I haven't paid attention since.

Regarding hand-drawn shorts, I think if somebody comes up with a hand-drawn idea that grabs Mr. Lasseter, they would do one (or more.)

I believe corporate thinking is that hand-drawn product doesn't make much money, so why do that format?

(This doesn't apply to television animation. Management seems aware that on the small-screen, doing half-hours in CG doesn't necessarily goose ratings. Which is why you see a lot of hand-drawn product/flash animation* stuff on your television.

* I'm informed that "South Park" is done with Maya. So "hand-drawn" is not necessarily drawn by hand. And "CG animation" sometimes look like something other than CG animation of the "Toy Story" variety.

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