Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's Wrong

One of our fine trade papers does a lengthy story listing DreamWorks Animation's problems. You can boil it down to

Diversify more.

Make warmer, fuzzier movies.

Make less expensive movies.

Make more money.

Well, yeah.

The diversification efforts should have started long ago, but here DWA is, and they have to make the best of it.

And I never could figure out why the features, after starting out in the fifty and sixty million dollar price range, nearly tripled in cost. Sure, wage minimums crept up, but these things weren't being made in the Weimar Republic (land of rampant inflation). It's as a veteran staffer said:

As time went on, I saw a reluctance to make hard decisions and stick with them. ...

Sci Fi writer Robert Heinlein had a list of rules for being a successful novelist and/or short story writer. One of the rules was "Write it right the first time."

In other words, don't endlessly tweak. Because it costs time and money. And it never ends.

In movie-making, the experienced and (craftier) film directors know it's a good thing if you can get your scene completed in two or three takes. William Wyler never directed that way, but John Ford did. Which is one of the reasons Ford replaced Wyler on "How Green Was My Valley." The movie company knew that J.F. could get the picture made on time and on budget, which was why Mr. Wyler became a risky bet.

DreamWorks can make their features for less than $145 million. But they have to develop and produce them right the first time.

And make them warmer and fuzzier.


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