Thursday, April 03, 2014

Meanwhile, On Riverside Drive ...

Inside the hat building, production is accelerating on Big Hero 6. ....

Staff tells me that there's a lot of action unfolding in the new picture, which isn't surprising given it's Marvel origins. An artist also told me that a memo/e-mail went around on Tuesday that said, in effect: "Oh, we're adding songs to Big Hero 6." (April FOOL!)

When production ends on BH6 next Fall, I'm informed that large numbers of staff will be temporarity moved out so that building renovations -- which have been ongoing -- can be completed on all three floors of the structure's interior.

The general consensus re Hat: The building, which sits along the side of the 134 freeway, might be "whimsical" and interesting-looking" from the outside, has never been particularly functional on the inside. When new, the lobby was a slow-cook oven with tall glass windows that let the afternoon sun beat down on receptionists, with third-floor offices often toasty and first-floor offices that were usually frigid.

Under Lasseter and Catmull, lots of spaces have been opened up, lots of walls taken down. But the non-functionality of many parts of Hat are tough to overcome. Several years ago, the idea was kicked around to relocate Disney Features in a different building in Glendale, but it seems the current option of choice is to improve the interior of Hat.

Here's a piece about it from eight years ago:

... The interior space is a broken honeycomb of hallways, offices, cubicles and open areas, and the thing is a b*tch to air condition or heat properly. In the summer, if one floor is a comfortable 72 degrees, another floor is a meat locker, and ANOTHER floor is like an overheated Soviet apartment.

In the winter, people use small space heaters under their desks so they don't get frostbite (I exaggerate but slightly). The company doesn't like employees to use space heaters; people use them anyway.

Some little while back, animation head David Stainton ordered a cost study about what it would take to gut the building and make it more livable. The cost estimate came back and it was prohibitive, so a less draconian study was initiated. The costs (apparently) were still prohibitive. ...


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

So that's why Disney animation has no film scheduled for 2015. They're renovating the Hat Building once BH6 wraps up.

One question Steve: We know Zootopia is scheduled for 2016, is that the only film from Disney Animation that year, or will they're be another? "Giants/Moana"

They're is so much Fan-Art of Moana online right now, is shocking.

Justin said...

I've worked in the Hat building for 10 years and I still need to look at a map to find any given office number. I can also vouch for the heating / cooling problems. Many people keep a sweater or coat at their desk just in case. I think the costs are still extremely high, but they're much lower than building a completely new building. I also think $1 billion at the box office helps take the sting out of the price tag a little bit.

Steve Hulett said...

The Hat Building is like a lot of studio structures put up during the Eisner era: "edgy" designs, but non-functional.

The "Team Disney" building -- that's the large building on the other end of the lot with the 7 dwarfs on it -- is as bad or worse than the Hat Building. The thing's got lots of wasted space, narrow corridors, cramped offices, and many people that know the structure hate it.

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