Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Shopping Scripts

It seems that someone is shopping a CG film around Hollywood. Okay, so maybe that is not very unusual. However the person shopping it has only been in the animation industry a few short years. Still not unusual? Keep reading... ...continued...

What if I told you that this "youngin" is set to direct the film (with no real directorial experience outside of a short film that he did)? Still don't think it is unusual? Now here is the kicker, Tim Burton signed on as Executive Producer.


Yes, all true. Now, in the Hollywood world, many well-connected people will sign on as Executive Producer on a potential film. They do this all the time and a lot of these project don't get off the ground. And maybe this one won't either. However, it surely is an odd story for American audiences (I could see it as live action film before I could see it as animation).

So will this thing get made? Beats me. I do know that a representative for this youngin is calling around seeing what animation studio is available. Rumor has it, they do not have the money yet, just putting their ear to the ground trying to round up funds and distribution. My first question is: How many studios would be able to take this on that are large enough and not already up to their armpits in work? None pop to my mind.

And lastly, directing an animated feature is HARD work. Certainly a bigger task than a short film. And even harder for a youngin. This is why most studios (Pixar, DreamWorks, Disney) have more than one director. There are simply not enough hours in the day to do everything he has to do. Further, when you put someone in that role that hasn't done it before... well... Let's just say this could be interesting. Smart money is on that whoever funds this project will require that another experienced director comes in to hold the youngins hand. Especially if a completion bond is involved.

If this project gets funding, distribution and actually goes into production, it will prove one thing to all of you film maker wannabes... All you need is one big name to sign on Exec Producer to get your film made.


jason said...

so c'mon.. who is the young'un? at least.. what's the short film?

please? :)

Grover said...

I believe I know the project you are talking about. Certainly it is a good short, far better than most of the shorts I see coming out from 'studios'. It is NOT a feature, that is true, and truth be told, it is a bit lite on story, but it is an inspired piece.

I think the attitude you express in this posting is a bit too cynical and bitter. Every feature film director has a first movie. They get that opportunity for many different reasons, but most of the time, sad as it is to say, it is not because they are the most talented. Luck plays a big part. Having a 'look' or an idea that suddenly resonates, for whatever reason can get you an opportunity.

This "young'n" worked for 5 years to bring this story to life. It has faults, but tell me that Home on the Range or Atlantis doesn't have faults! That Treasure Planet wasn't a mess, that Shrek 2 wasn't a horrible rehash of the first Shrek. That Robots wasn't uninspired and boring. Exactly what test should be administered to someone who wants to direct a feature? In live action very rarely does a second unit director ever become a director, obviously being a director means you bring more to the table than just technical skill, or having acted as the director on Lion King 3!

This short is a bright vision by a young person with a very clear ability to tell a story and who has great control over the tools that make modern animated films. He deserves a break as much as the next guy. For the rest of us, we have to remain honest with ourselves and not be too upset when luck happens to someone else. He if gets his shot, and makes a great feature, your essay will seem shrill and condesending. If you feel you alone can tell who will make a great feature and who won't, than you have a skill that is better than magic.

Staloren said...

Good points. Although the difference between this person and most new feature directors are their experience in the field. Most directors work their way up. From story positions or as an editor or as a supervisor, or something. Not as a newbie with limited background in production or film making.

Let's face facts. This feature would never happen if the short didn't directly appeal to Tim Burton. It would never sell in Hollywood without his big name attached as an Exec Producer. And even with Burtons name attached, they still haven't found money to finance it.

I wish this guy the best, although unless he gets some help, it will be more than a struggle. That is, if funding comes in.

Grover said...

In retrospect, I think my first comments was a little over the top and I see your POV clearly.

And certainly it is a long shot, but getting any feature produced is a long shot. I would guess the odds are worse than playing Lotto.

I know of a recent UCLA Animation Grad student who is directing Monster House at Sony. We will see how he did next year. He had never worked on a feature before.

Having the production experience of making a feature or working in current production is equivalent to a writer who spells well. While it is important, it is not THE most important thing.

Venice Menace said...

I've seen the short as well. I don't think it would make a good feature though.

I can see why Tim Burton was interested. It fits his sensibility.

I also know the animation studio that is the front runner for the movie. It's an effects house that wants to get into the feature game. On the good side though, they have some very talented folks working for them and I hope they pull it off.

jon said...

We are trying to find good online movie rental to take the kids this weekend. Good online movie rental reviews are hard to find

I just stumbled onto your blog while looking. Seems to happen to me a lot since I am a knowledge mooch LOL