Tuesday, October 21, 2014

If It's Not Broke ...

An animation chief on out-sourcing:

Pixar boss John Lasseter said that he owes a debt of gratitude to South Korea, but that there are no plans to transfer animation production away from the U.S.

“All production is to remain in-house at this point in time,” said Lasseter, who is chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, at an event in Seoul that marked the first leg of an Asian tour.

“We’re focusing on hand-crafted work in the studios. We recruit people from everywhere around the world but everything happens in house,” he said. ...

In the 1990's, various animated features were outsourced to Asia. They all tanked.

At the same time, Disney was having a hot streak with some Burbank-produced animated features: Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King, etc., etc.

Fox, Warner Bros, and Turner took a look at the two different production approaches, and opted for the Disney model. The pictures they ultimately made didn't do well at the box office, but the decision to make them in the east San Fernando Valley made sense: better to spend $40 million and get yourself a blockbuster earning $200 million than spend $10 million and end up with a flop.

From what I've learned, that's some of the reason Pixar closed its Canadian studio. It was more important to keep the mother studio in Emeryville robust and healthy than to lay off staff in Vancouver and keep the outpost in British Columbia limping along. Because in the end, quality trumps low cost, especially when quality pays off like a rigged slot machine and low cost (mostly) buys nothing.

So it isn't surprising at all that John Lasseter plans to keep feature animation work in California.


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