Sunday, October 31, 2004

Letter To The Editor?

In a comment to one of my blog entries, someone asked if there was an email address that I could be contacted at. I replied with staloren [at] and he wrote me a very nice email. Since I want to remain anonymous, I was hesitant to reply directly. So here I am, responding with this blog entry.

This young chap wrote the following (edited for brevity and to keep him anonymous).

  • Some how I stumbled onto your blog and your writing caught my attention. I enjoy reading what you have to say and the way you present it in a no b.s. manner. I found myself reading from post to post wanting to hear more. I’m not trying to kiss your ass it just seems like to me you have a good grasp of what the animation industry is about. I myself pretend to be in the animation industry with the hope of someday attaining a job at an animation house. I graduated from XYZ SCHOOL in SOME STATE IN THE US with an Associate's degree in animation. Although good at animation I know I’m not great… I’ve came to three realizations since graduation: 1. As much as I would love to be I will probably never be an artist at a major production house. It’s not that I’m a negative person it’s that I’m honest and want to be realistic with myself. 2. I am willing to do anything of any capacity as long as it has something to do with the animation industry. I’d take out the garbage cans of animators if it meant getting a quick glimpse of their screens. And 3. I feel my strengths lye in the project management/production side of things. [specific school information deleted] I have absolutely no idea how these [organizational] skills could relate to the industry, I am not too savvy when it comes to the inner workings of a major production house, so I was hoping you could point me in the direction of a job title that might accommodate my skills.

Dear Young Chap,

It sounds like you might be a candidate for a producing job. However, in order to become a producer, you must first be good at kissing client and boss ass and have no problem with the notion that animators are the bottom of the barrel in society. You have to be slick, a fast talker that controls a conversation to such a degree that the other people cannot get a word in edgewise. Think your typical political personality.

In all seriousness. That is my definition of a bad producer. A good producer understands animation and appreciates the animators and works with them and not against them. They back the team up and are honest about it, never being two faced. I've seen some really great producers in my time that I would be happy to have as friends. But, I've also seen producers that make me sick to my stomach and I curse their name. Unfortunately, those dishonest fast talkers seem to make it farther in the production world. Maybe you could set a new standard.

Your first step may be to get into an animation shop as an assistant to a producer or as a coordinator. But, I really don't have much to offer in the way of suggestions since this is not familiar territory for me. It will take a lot of door knocking and scrubbing toilets to get started. As far as job titles... Coordinator, manager, producing assistant... There are many that you could be a fit for. Take a look at the credits of any major motion picture for some ideas. Another option is to look at help wanted ads on AWN.COM or VFXPRO.COM.

Possible angles for a job... Check with local post production facilities for internship opportunities. If you offer to work for free, someone will probably like to have an extra assistant around.

Being a producer can get you far. You'd be suprised at how producers are treated differently from studio to studio. At DreamWorks for instance, the films are basically creatively run by the producer. They are "producer-driven" films there, instead of "director-driven" films at most other shops.

Good Luck!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

News and Tidbits

I have't been updating this blog as much as I originally intended. Not to make excuses, but things have been extra busy the last couple of weeks. Enough complaining already... I woke up this morning thinking about this blog and was wondering whom I could verbally attack next.

Tidbit topics:

  • DreamWorks IPO
  • Shark Tale BO
  • The Incredibles - DBO Prediction
  • CritterPix’ “Ollie the Otter”

So far, I've been trying to hold back and watch my words. Maybe as I warm up to this whole idea of a blog, I will get more vicious and really take people to task like I wanted too, to begin with.

Since I don’t really have a subject for this entry, I will just start typing and see what happens. Maybe that is what makes a blog so wonderful; it doesn’t really have to be scripted.

DreamWorks Animation had its IPO today. It opened at $39.50 a share. Last I checked it dropped to $36.80. Even with the drop, that is a nice jump from where it was priced yesterday ($28). At its offering price, it will raise $812 million for DW. They will still be in debt, but at least take a nice chunk out of that.

Shark Tale is doing nicely. It isn’t a hit on the scale of Finding Nemo or Shrek 1&2, but it is doing very well. Last check shows $138 domestic and $88 overseas for around a $227 million total. Production budget is listed at $75 mln and P&A is unknown. However, if I were to guess, it would be another $50 mln.

The Incredibles will be coming out next week. I will give my box office prediction that it will make $56 mln in the first weekend. I don’t feel very confident about my guess. I just do not have a good read on it. I’ve seen the movie and know it is a good one. But at the same time, I just don’t know. For the record, I was within $2 million of guessing Shark Tales opening weekend box office. Unfortunately, the blog wasn’t around at the time to prove it.

I found out more information about CritterPix in the San Francisco Bay area and their plans for their movie “Ollie The Otter”. If you remember, this studio and film was listed in part 2 of “The CG Features Come Marching In”. I don’t want to say too much at this time, I’ll save it for a full-on blog entry. Nevertheless, I will say that I haven’t changed my opinion on how I think it will do. Although they do have distribution in a certain theatre chain, I don’t feel confident in their abilities. The lead personnel are unproven in their positions and the producers have never worked in animation before. Even their choice in directors are cause for concern. And frankly, they picked a technically difficult story to tell for their first feature (budget under $30 million).

That’s it for today. I need to get back to work. I will try to write something again very soon.

Monday, October 25, 2004

DreamWorks Goes For 3 Films A Year

Rumor has it that DreamWorks wants to produce three films a year. That means two at their Glendale facility and one up at the once-called PDI up in the Bay Area. That isn't exactly startling news. But, what really gets my feathers ruffled are the rumors that DreamWorks is looking to another country to produce one of their upcoming CG films.

Will it be India, China, Korea, Singapore? Who knows (does it really matter?). I don't even think they know at the moment. But when you put your ear to the ground, rumblings are that in an effort to save money, they are looking to move production of one of their CG movies to one of these countries as a test. To just see what happens and if they can repeat the "success" of Father of the Pride in feature animation.

No need to perform a test. I can tell you what is going to happen. First of all, you will get away with a lower budget. But you will also get inferior quality and infuriate the local artist and technical base even further. Even if you do the pre-production and development in the states, when it comes time to put the blood and sweat into fine tuning the final product, something is going to give.

If you have read any of my previous bitch sessions, you know I am adamantly against farming out projects to other countries. Sure it will be cheaper to produce, but the quality is going to suffer. And perhaps that just doesn't matter to DreamWorks.

Now that DreamWorks is going to be a publicly traded company. It will all be about the bottom line. That is easy to see. Does it have to be? Obviously Pixar has proven that doesn't need to be the case.

Friday, October 22, 2004

The CG Features Come Marching In... Part 2

Part 1 of this blog entry focused on the more widely known CG feature projects. For part 2, we will be getting into more and more obscure productions from companies you may never of heard of before. Surely, a good percentage of these will never make it to the theaters.

Steve Oderkerk formed Omation Studios in San Clemente California. Steve has written several live action scripts and was involved with Jimmy Neutron from DNA and distributed by Paramount. Oderkerk was smart and kept ties with Paramount so that he could create this low budget film called "The Barnyard". In addition, it appears that they got in bed with Softimage to use XSI software as the production tool of choice. Softimage gains some potential fame as they are finally used on a CG film. Moreover, Omation gets extra attention/support and most likely receives a deal on licenses. Because of Omation’s low budget, they were not able to lure experienced production folks from other studios and in many cases are relying on first timers in the industry to work on this project. (As a side note, these young employees are working very long hours without what I’m told is proper compensation. This helps the company make their budget, but it doesn’t bode well for future projects when these people leave for better conditions.) Budget is in the $28 million ballpark. Distribution guaranteed. Release Likelihood = 8. Studio Longevity = 5.

Exodus Film in Los Angeles is developing a CG film called “Igor”. Using their own animation studio called “ElectroAge” to carry out the production, they plan to release the film in 2007. I smell lots of trouble with this super low budget production. They will mostly likely fall into the same trap as Omation, but amplified because of the even lower budget. This may be worth a future blog entry. Budget $20 million. Distribution unknown. Release Likelihood = 5. Studios Longevity = 2.

CritterPix in Northern California has inked a deal with Regency Enterprises to produce a CG film based on a children's book called "Ollie the Otter". This production has an even lower budget than anything else mentioned so far. Again, another Omation type scenario. More details coming in a future blog. Budget expected to be in the $20 million area. Release Likelihood = 3. Studio Longevity = 1.

Playtone is a production company setup by Tom Hanks to develop feature projects. One of those projects is “The Ant Bully” that will have the animation produced by DNA in Texas. DNA is the same company that made “Jimmy Neutron” a few years back. Like Neutron, this movie will have a lower budget by Pixar standards but higher than some of the more recent announced productions. This should have been mentioned in Part 1, because it is much more likely to succeed than the others listed in Part 2. Budget $30 million range. Distribution guaranteed. Release Likelihood = 10. Studios Longevity = 8.

Down in Atlanta, there has been a CG feature project that has been going on for what seems like 10 years. I don’t know the official length of time they have been working on it, but it has been a long while. Last I heard, they are still quite a ways away from finishing. Sometimes people that jump into CG feature production realize too late that it is much harder than they first expected. I’m not sure what the budget is, but you can rest assured that it has gone over. Release Likelihood = 6. Studios Longevity = 4.

This concludes part 2. I may write a part 3 some time in the future. There are just so many CG films being put together by companies most people have never heard of. A good portion of these will never be finished or won’t get distribution. Moreover, an even larger percentage will not be very successful.

The problem these smaller studios are facing is that the talent to create them is hard to find. Not many seasoned veterans want to take a chance on an unknown, and because their budgets are so low, they will have a hard time raiding talent from other studios. Because of this catch-22, they will resort to hiring students or relatively young professionals that aren’t quite prepared. Omation is a good example of this.

Creating a CG feature is a daunting task. The companies that are doomed are the ones that don’t accept this and plan for it prior to beginning production. Even studios that should be successful fail because they don’t properly plan. They exit the development stage and enter production before they are fully prepared. Even a studio as seasoned as Disney falls into this trap all the time. Just imagine what will happen to these new studios run by inexperienced managers and supervisors.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The CG Features Come Marching In... Part 1

It seems like everyone and their mother are trying to make CG films these days. You have to assume that the majority of these startups are going to fail miserably. But who has what it takes and who doesn't?

Let's go through the current slate of announced CG feature productions (there are several more unannounced projects, but I'll keep my yapper shut because I have no idea if outing them will cause problems). For the sake of brevity, I won't include the features from Disney, Pixar, or DreamWorks.

  • Rating explanations. Release Likelihood is exactly what it sounds like. The likelihood that they will release the picture they are in production or about to go in production on. 1 = No way. 10 = Absolutely. Studio Longevity is my guestimate on how long the studio will last. 1 = One strike and they are out. 10 = They will be around for many many years.

First on our list is Sony Pictures Animation. SPA has been threatening to make their own CG films for quite a while now. Several of them are in the pipeline but nothing has squirted free yet. The latest indication is that they will pump out "Surf's Up" first (although some indication is that "Open Season" will release first). This picture is a mockumentary about how penguins invented surfing. I have no idea what to expect from this film. It actually sounds interesting, but could fail on so many levels if they don't approach it properly. Personally, I'm rooting for SPA to have a hit. They are good people with fantastic talent behind them. Obviously money and distribution is no problem. It is just a matter of pumping out quality work. On a side-note. I've heard that the politics at Sony are worse than Disney. Is that possible? Budget expected to be over $65 million. Distribution Guranteed Release Likelihood of "Surf's Up" = 6. Release Likelihood of a CG movie = 10. Studio Longevity = 9.

Vanguard in London is currently finishing up Valiant. This movie is about some WW2 pidgeons. Great concept! (insert sarcastic smiley face) Actually. I have seen some of the footage from this picture and it doesn't look so bad. So technically and artistically they are above average. Will they have a good story? Well, I guess that is a matter of taste. Personally I'm not so interested in seeing a movie about flying rats. Vanguard is one of many attempts by Disney to replace Pixar. Budget unknown. Guessing in the $50-$60 million range. Distribution guranteed. Release Likelihood = 10. Studio Longevity: = 6.

Steve Williams and producer Clint Goldman somehow convinced Disney to give them a script called "The Wild" and $50 million to produce this CG film. This new endeavor has been called everything from Complete Pandemonium (name of Clint Goldmans San Francisco production company) to Train Wreck Productions. After receiving the story, they promptly shopped it around to several animation studios in the United States and Canada. They wanted a bunch furry zoo animals the same quality as the Blockbuster commercials (Steve directed those spots) in a CG film for under $50 million. Several studios were asked to give a bid and no one even came close to staying in the requirements. Except... In comes William Shatner up in Canada. Mr. Star Trek owns CORE Productions and decides he can do it for the budget. Only time will tell if Shatner has the ability to complete this project. It is important to note this is NOT a CORE production. They are simply carrying out the service work. This story is VERY similar to DreamWorks/PDI Madagascar. Basically, zoo animals decide that they have to go to Africa to save a friend. Led by a not so fearless lion. The is another attempt by Disney to replace Pixar. I expect this film to see many delays and budget breaking galore. Budget hoped to be under $50 million. Distribution secured. Release Likelihood = 7. Studio Longevity = 5.

Wild Brain recently announced a deal with Miramax. They are talking up Opus from Berkeley Breathed. However, anyone that has been paying attention knows that Wild Brain was touting a take on Little Red Riding Hood a while back. I guess that project has been put on the back burner. Budget planned to be under $50 million. Distribution Guranteed Release Likelihood of Opus = 7. Release Likelihood of any CG feature = 9. Studio Longevity (in CG features) = 6.

Blue Sky Studios in New York is working on Robots. These are the same guys that did Ice Age. There is no doubt in my mind that this film will be released. Budget unknown. Probably in the $65 million area. Distribution Guranteed. Release Likelihood = 10. Studio Longevity = 10.

That's it for part one. Part two will come shortly with the really ugly studios trying to get involved in CG feature production. Get ready for the tidal wave.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

More Opinions on Outsourcing

One of the readers of this site had some interesting comments that led me to make a new blog entry. Madcartoonist brought up some good points about outsourcing animation work to India, Asia, and even Canada...

Madcartoonist asked why outsourcing to China is any worse than outsourcing to Canada. He is absolutely correct, on one hand it isn't really any better. However, as hypocritical as this may sound, I just do not get as upset when something goes to Canada. But, I will point out when I learned that Disney and Spaz were taking their production to CORE in Canada, I was a little irritated that it was going up North. "The Wild" will be the subject of a future blog. Thanks for prodding my memory on this project.

Back to Madcartoonist comments. You are right, more and more work will leave the states and head to Asia. Right now, we have an edge. The talent is far better here, but it is just a matter of time before their skillsets rise. Father of the Pride is an excellent example. Although it is not feature quality (as much as DreamWorks would argue), it is pretty good. And is some of the best CG stuff I have seen come out of that area of the world. It will only get better and will only continue to erode the work here in the states. Lucas' announcement a few months ago about opening their much anticipated CG film animation company in Singapore only added fuel to the fire that burns my ass.

Madcartoonist. As far as your friends going over to India and China to train animators. All I can say is that these people are only screwing their own future. Unless of course, they want to work over there for the rest of their lives. I understand that maybe not everyone has as much work as they would like here. But don't these people see how they are shooting themselves in the foot! Jeeeeez. You think it is bad now. Just wait.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Toy Story 3

As everyone knows by now, Disney is hard at work on Toy Story 3. The story bake off is down to three writers and the decision with what story to go with is just around the corner.

On the director front, Disney is busy getting potential candidates in to get an idea of who will do it, and who they want to do it. This project is in overdrive. Disney wants to get the director situation squared away by December.

How will Disney do with TS3? My opinion is that they will do just fine and come up with a really great storyline and great product; if the executives can keep out of it. That is the problem with Disney. The executives getting in there and mucking around. So that if, is a really really big if. The story talent is there, the creative and technical talent will be there and in just a few weeks, the director will be there. I would be very confident in this project if it were not for the execs and managers running the show.

Friday, October 15, 2004

The Incredibles: A Review (no spoilers)

I've had the opportunity to see The Incredibles twice in the last two weeks. This last time was at Pixar's facility in Emeryville. I thought I would give a little overview of the experience and a short review of the film itself.

A colleague of mine was nice enough to set aside a few tickets so that we could go see it for a second time on Thursday in Emeryville. Pixar has several days of private screenings for their employee's friends and family in a way to pay them back for their hard work and to perhaps create some buzz for upcoming movies. It had been a little while since I've been to the campus. The first noticeable addition to the lobby is a huge robot character from the movie we were about to see. It still looked miniature compared to the oversized hangar-like entrance to Pixar. You could play a game of softball in this room it is so big. Even the ceiling is high enough that a pretty well hit ball won't break a light.

We were shuffled into the theatre and found a groups of seats. We had about 10 or 15 minutes to talk with friends and one time co-workers, it was very nice to catch up with people I hadn't seen in years. The lights lowered and the stars on the ceiling lit up.

The first thing we got to see was a trailer for "Cars". This is an upcoming Pixar film being directed by Lasseter. I've seen some footage before, but this is the first time I have seen the teaser/trailer. It was very nice. This film has a lot of potential and could be really fun. I am looking forward to this film more than ever now. Who could of thought cars could have so much character. Initially I was skeptical of this project. But, I am happy to say I was proven wrong about its potential.

Next up was Boundin. A short directed by Bud Luckey for Pixar. This is probably my least favorite short from Pixar. It was just boring and unappealing to me. Bud is a great and talented guy and I have a hard time bad mouthing this project. So I will leave it at that.

The Incredibles began. The movie was quite a departure from the usual Pixar flick. Big action, lots of violence, and a few sexual suggestions here and there. No wonder this wasn't rated G. I've never seen so many characters crushed and blown up in an animated film before. Pretty fantastic!! The characters are interesting and fun to watch. They hold your interest and you really can't wait to see what is about to happen. The villian was insane and great fun to watch. There were several laugh out loud moments, and as a pretty laid back guy, I rarely laugh louder than a giggle while in a theatre. But, that Edna Mode character was simply hilarious. One of the best animated characters I've ever seen.

Since you can only rate Pixar films by other Pixar films. I cast 4 out of 5 Woody's for The Incredibles. For comparison. I rate Finding Nemo 2.5 Woody's

Technically speaking. The Incredibles is Pixar's finest. The hair and cloth simulations are pretty darn good. The special effects are 1 million times better than any previous CG movie. The eggheads certainly out did themselves on this one. As far as animation, they continue to get better in each movie. I've seen some pretty fantastic animation in my time, and some of the shots in this movie rate right up there with the best.

Pixar should be proud with what they have accomplished. Technically, it was beyond any of their previous films and story was right up their with the best of their releases (if not the best). And folks, coming from me, that is glowing praise. I am very critical of Pixar films and I'm not afraid to say when I don't like something. Not much to dislike here.

The Incredibles was true to its title.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Help promote the blog!

In an effort to get word out there about this blog... If you frequent any bulletin boards, news sites, or other blogs, please consider giving this one a plug. It would be awesome to get more visitors. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Incredibles

I had the opportunity to see "The Incredibles" last week from Pixar. I don't want to give any spoilers or anything, but I will say a few things.

Finding Nemo (last Pixar film) was a letdown in my eyes. The story was boring and I just couldn't get into it. The ending was a total cop out. But that was that, and this is this. Incredibles is much better.

This is quite a departure from their usual films. I think you can thank Brad Bird for that. Up until now, Pixar's stories were starting to get too familiar. I think it was a good idea to bring in an outsider to create and direct a picture. Inject a little bit of variety into their work. I hope they keep doing this on future projects.

It seemed like a good match. Brad gets to do a film of his own that will be supported fully (unlike Iron Giant). And Pixar will gain a new director that would break them out of their mold and offer something different.

When Brad showed up, it seemed that everyone in the studio wanted to drop what they were doing to work with Brad "iron giant" Bird. But, it seems that the new director had other ideas. Brad not only came up from LA, but he brought up several people he is familiar working with to get work on the pre-production. As someone not completely familiar with the CG animation world, Brad made a lot of demands that drove the technical crew crazy. Eventually comprimises were made, or the techs figured out solutions and it came together.

Not my usual controversial blog entries. Sorry. Just don't have the energy at the moment. I'll save the bitching for another time. I need some breakfast.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

IDT Milking the last bit of Publicity

Not more than 24 hours from my last blog entry, IDT starts milking the last bit of publicity they can get out of the late Christopher Reeves.

Press release after press release begin filtering through the wires as IDT realizes that their free publicity may be coming to an end. Get your press now. While Mr. Reeve death is still fresh in everyone's memory.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Christopher Reeve Dies, Now What happens to Yankee Irving?

Tragically as it may be, Christopher Reeve died over the weekend. Although the last few years of his life may not of been great, he accomplished a lot. I know you are sitting there wondering what the heck this has to do with animation. Well, quite a bit actually. Christopher Reeve was directing an animated film for IDT Entertainment. Oh yes. The same Christopher Reeve that as far as I know never had anything to do with animation.

What were his qualifications? Could it be that it was because he was in a wheelchair?!

His lack of experience or familiarity with the process of animation didn't seem to matter to IDT Entertainment. Purely my opinion, but IDT's motives sure looked publicity based only. What better way to get press about your film than hire a famous wheel chair bound actor?

A little history about IDT. IDT is a communication company that seemed to wake up one morning and decided to get into computer animation. They had/have really deep pockets, and since starting from scratch takes way too much time for these guys, they approached dozens upon dozens of studios with money to buy them out. Several said yes. Including DKP, Film Roman, Mainframe, and more. They didn't stop there. While they have their wallet out, they bought Anchor Bay Entertainment, a interest in Archie Comics and Vanguard.

You are probably wondering why I harbor so much hate for this company. Well, I don't. Really I don't. But I do dislike their constant claims of Pixar quality films at el cheapo prices. IDT is quickly becomming the McDonalds fast food of animation. Their wild claims of producing enormous amounts of product and experience and previous work leads me to believe their films will be less than stellar. Muddying the water for better produced work from other facilities.

To IDT's credit. They did produce a wonderfully creepy animation product of the Cabbage Patch Kids Work Out video. You have to see this thing to believe it. Look out Pixar!!!

All of this leads me back to Christopher Reeve. It is a sad day when anyone passes on. And I feel for his family. I'm sure he was a great guy and anyone that can continue a life after he had that terrible accident is someone to look up to. But putting him in charge of directing an animated movie?

Since IDT must be looking for a new director, I hear that Larry Flynt and Stephen Hawking are available.

"Shark Tale" Remains #1

In its second week out in the theatres, Shark Tale still sits at the #1 one spot. Grossing Approximately $31MM this week for a total of $78MM.

There seems to be a hell bent attitude from the animation community hoping for DreamWorks to fail. If you tune into places such as or many other bulletin boards, an overly obnoxious amount of posters are anti-DreamWorks. I'm not sure where the venom comes from. There must be some major hatred for Katzenburg.

Maybe these people just hate to see a film like Shrek and Shark Tale be successful. DreamWorks seems to be taking a different route to story and it just isn't going over very well with a lot of people in the industry. I'm not exactly fond of the constant references made to products, other movies, and music, and, and, and. But, it seems to be going over with the public and I tend to enjoy the films. Most telling are the box office returns. That says it all.

So, until DreamWorks starts getting back into the dud category with their animated movies, you can expect more of the same.

My review of the film... I wasn't blown away by the story, it certainly wasn't the best thing I've seen in the last few years. However, it was a good time and I enjoyed myself. Again, I could do without the constant references to products and other movies, but it was an enjoyable.

On a technical level. The lighting was simple and sometimes flat, but other times looked very nice. Not very consistant. The animation had some really brilliant moments but also displayed some really half-assed attempts. I'm not sure if it was a problem with time, or a reflection of the talent (probably the former). I know there are some really good guys animating on this project, but it just didn't show throughout the whole picture

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Toy Story Sequels

Boy, the so-called "mainstream" news outlets have been picking up the "news" about TS sequels that are going to be done by Disney in the coming years (assuming that Disney and Pixar do not get back together).

This late breaking news makes me wonder if people have had their heads in the sand for the last 6 or more months. Folks, this isn't new. Disney's Toy Story plans have been going on for a long time. So long in fact, they have had office space built out (still being finished), they hired writers long ago for a story bake-off, and they have been searching for directors to head the project.

It appears that finding the director is not as easy as they had hoped. Last I have heard, they still haven't found someone. These guys are very reluctant. They know that directing this project may reflect badly upon them. I'm sure they will find someone, because there are a lot of people out there that would love to make a Toy Story film. But, for now... The search goes on.

What are my feelings on this whole TS sequel situation? Well, I can't say I'm fond of the sequels that Disney pours out. But you cannot argue with the returns they are bringing in. It only makes business sense. I am much happier that Disney is doing a feature sequel rather than a DTV sequel.

And most of all, I'm happy that it is being done in the United States and not being outsourced.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Robots - Blue Sky

Robots is the next CG movie from the creators of "Ice Age". I've been seeing more and more bits and pieces of this film over the last few months and I must say, it is looking quite nice.

The story looks interesting enough. But I don't know enough about it to gauge much. What really catches my eye are the fantastic character designs and the wonderful animation. It is pretty unusual for me to have glowing praise for the animation I see out there. But this looks good. Some really strong poses combined with great timing. I'm really looking forward to this movie.

Father of the Pride

I really don't know how to get one of these blogs going, so I will just start typing.

Father of the Pride (NBC, Tuesdays, from DreamWorks) has really caught some negative feedback from the animation community. Some of it justified, some of it not.
  • First of all, on a story level. This thing is mildly funny. Personally I think Seigfried and Roy are hilarious in this show. I would be much happier if the whole thing was centered around these two. Those lions are un-funny and boring. Snooooze. If only DreamWorks would wise up and concentrate on the two humans. These magicians must be really good sports (in real life) for them to let the writers do what they do with the animated characters.
  • Now for the animation. It has been getting better over the weeks. It started out kind of sketchy but has been getting increasingly better as the artists ease into a comfort zone. I can speak from experience and say that it takes time to get into the animation flow on a new project. I think they are easing in quite nicely. It still does not compare to feature work. But it is good for series work.
  • Lighting, shading, etc. They need some work in this area. I know it has short deadlines and not as much money as a feature. But come on. It is hum-drum. And the claim by DreamWorks execs "same quality as Shrek". Bull crap. Have you even watched this show?

Now, this is where I get bitter. DreamWorks is farming out this work to China. Actually, they are outsourcing it to a company that previously manufactured plastic Christmas trees. Don't think I am kidding either. This whole outsourcing to other countries is a real pisser. Those of you from other countries that are getting this work. I can't blame you for taking advantage of the situation. But my pissiness is for the studios (DREAMWORKS!!) sending the work overseas.

The budget on each of these shows is huge for a series!! They could easily do it here in the states if they would apply themselves. This is just plain pathetic for DreamWorks to do this.

Side note: I am all for these other countries doing animation. But when an American company outsources the work to hire workers at pennies on the dollar, it pisses me off. That is where the problem is. If DreamWorks wants to employ people from another country, then go to that country and set up shop there. Damn. I wish this government would stop making it so attractive for businesses to outsource.

So. In conclusion. I continue to watch the show because the Siegried and Roy characters still make me laugh. And I have a technical interest in how things develop from show to show. But the other half of me wants to hate this show and not watch because of the outsourcing. Argh. Come on DreamWorks!! (Whats the icon for spitting on the ground?!) Makes me wish I could see the budget sheet for this project. What a misuse of huge $$ on this series.


This is the first post to my blog. Actually, this is the first post I've made to any one of these things, ever. I stumbled onto one that someone else created and thought "boy, that is pretty cool. Maybe I should do something like that?"

Well, I guess I did. I don't know if I will tell anyone about this blog. I think it is just a place for me to vent. Even if I am the only person reading it.

If anyone wanders in here, you can post replies if you'd like. But if you say anything nasty, or I am in a foul mood and don't like what you have to say. I will delete it.

I'm mean like that. :)