Friday, May 13, 2005

Another LA Based Animation Studio?!

I originally heard about this a couple of months ago. However, I decided not to post anything to this blog for a couple of reasons. First off, I did not want to immediately out myself in case the source of this information is a reader. Second, I wanted to get another confirmation to see if it was real. I tend to hear a lot of rumors as I jump around. Some of these are completely false, but most of these turn out to be real even if they never see the light of day for one reason or another. ...continued...

Anyone that has been to this blog before, knows that I am pretty skeptical about new studios coming out of no where and claiming to be the next Pixar. They obviously have good intentions but are bound for self destruction. Either the management or the producers or even the supervisors themselves don't know what they are doing. Or have so little experience that success is unlikely. If animation is difficult, an animated feature is almost impossible. And let us not forget that simply managing a business of this size is a difficult task in itself.

A quick rundown (in no particular order) tells me that the winners will be: Pixar, DreamWorks, Blue Sky, Sony Pictures Animation, Disney, Wild Brain, DNA. The losers will be CORE, ElectroAge (Exodus Film Group), Critter Pix, Gigga Pix (never mentioned this one before, more to come), Fathom Studios. I'm still on the fence about Vinton Studios, Omation, and IDT. Our first casuality seems to be Vanguard.

You may be wondering if I am schizophrenic by now. The reason I brought up the whole "animation is difficult" speech is because this new startup that I am hearing rumors on, doesn't seem to be falling into the category of "you've got to be kidding". They don't seem to be making unrealistic goals and they seem to be jumping in with people that have done it before.

So what is this rumor? It appears that a new LA based studio is in its infancy. Not too long ago, I'm told that they started the process to buy a HUGE swath of land and office space. Now, I won't give the location, however I do know where it is and have seen it in person. It will be pretty impressive to be able to get a hold of a property like this in this location. The office square footage and land acreage is immense. They say location is everything, and this seems like a really nice location to me (I only say LA as to remain vague). I've also heard how much they are spending and it won't come cheap. That can mean two things. They are foolishly spending a lot of money on space and location when they can get a cheaper deal somewhere else. Or it could mean, they have lots of financial backing and getting this space is not an issue.

Unlike the list of studios that seem to pop up every month getting ready to jump in on the CG feature feeding frenzy, this one seems to be going in with its head on straight. Even the head honcho looks to have his priorities straight (story first second and third) and is listening to the creatives. Some of the people that are involved are people that I have heard of and have been a part of some really great projects. The others that I hadn't heard of, I did a Google and IMDB search and was impressed. If this thing pans out, it could be one of the few startups jumping into CG features that I have some faith in. They have two important ingredients. Talent and financial backing.

What about another ingredient? And something that I found that was strange. Is that they do not have a story yet. There are people involved that have been on the story crew of some of the biggest blockbusters around, but a first movie has not been selected. I guess the money that is being invested is based on the crew and management rather than the story. Guess this is a good opportunity for someone out there.


Grover said...

Interesting rumor. I haven't heard this.

It makes me a little uneasy that they are looking for A+ realestate right out the door. Sounds a little dot-com to me. Unless they have huge financial resources and want to impress, and NEED to impress.

Would be great to see another company get involved.

My gut tells me Sony is overextending themselves and as they grow so quickly either the chaos or the importing of so many 'experts' from different studios ETC will tear projects apart. I am always uneasy when what is basically an effects house, jumps into full-on animated features. Especially when their initial selections of titles to produce seems so odd.

Grover said...

Just a question, but I am considering building a tracking site on a blog that would list, (try to keep track of)every animated feature in pre-production and those in production.

Does something like this (short of The Studio System) already have a home on the web?

Is this something you are interested in building into your site?

TMOAT said...

who is it?! Who is iiiiittt?!!!!!!!!!

TMOAT said...


TMOAT said...


serene said...

Interesting to hear your comment that Exodus Film Group will not survive. I have been watching them closely over the last year or so and they seem to be making all the right moves to pull it off. Jim Rygiel on the Bunyan and Babe movie. MAx Howard for the Igor animation movie. Fil Barlow directing. I also read that they just recently signed Christian Slater to do the voice of Igor which I think is also a good move. On the animation talent side they also seem to have a strong team so I am betting that they are going to make it.

Steven said...

the time and effort in setting up a film pipeline is no walk in the park. i am at one of the studios you have listed about being unsure about. it would be a shame that a studio not produce another film after investing soo much in a pipeline. your right its difficult but to even produce one that makes it to the screen, proves your pipeline can do it. after that you take what you have learned and go at it again.

i think the closing of Vanguard was premature. we haven't even seen what they produced yet.

Staloren said...

Hi Serene.

Max Howard seems like a good enough guy. And I do not have too much personal experience with him other than talking on the phone a few times. However, many people that I know that are more familiar with him are less complimentary than that. (an understatement)

As far as Jim Rygiel. I knew Jim back in the early 90's, he is great guy with a deep knowledge for special effects. However, it remains to be seen how he translates over into directing a picture. I'm not saying he can't do it. But it definately it isn't a given.

And finally, as far as Exodus and their animation talent. I cannot say for sure, since I absolutely do not know anyone working on these projects. I'll believe it when I see it. :)

Fesler said...

Call it an obsession, call it pre-planning my theatre tickets. This is a list of all the films Announced, In Development, In Production and Rumored that I have found on industry sites including IMDB, Variety, AWN and others.

I have been tracking this information for almost 2 years now so some of these new announced films could be listed as other names ala the Hoodwinked I also have listed Little Red Riding Hood under dead? projects

Robots Blue Sky Studios Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp
Madagascar DreamWorks Animation DreamWorks Distribution LLC
Foodfight! Threshold Digital Research Labs Lions Gate Family Entertainment
Surf's Up Sony Pictures Animation Sony Pictures Intnernational
Valiant Vanguard Films Production Buena Vista Pictures
Chicken Little Walt Disney Pictures Buena Vista Pictures
Happily N'Ever After Vanguard Films Production
Delgo Electric Eye Entertainment Corporation
The Water Warriors
Appleseed Geneon Arcangelo Entertainment Inc.
Racing Stripes Alcon Entertainment Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
Pooh's Heffalump Movie DisneyToon Studios Buena Vista Pictures
Steamboy Steamboy Committee Sony Pictures Entertainment
Howl's Moving Castle Walt Disney Pictures Buena Vista International
Kronk's New Groove Walt Disney Pictures Buena Vista Home Video (BVHV)
Sian Ka'an Paramount Pictures
Corpse Bride Tim Burton Animation Co. Warner Bros
Disaster! Dream Entertainment Inc.
The Adventures of Brer Rabbit NBC Universal Cartoon Studios Direct to Video
Pokemon: Destiny Deoxys 4 Kids Entertainment Miramax Home Entertainment
The Animation Show 2005 The Animation Show The Animation Show

Ice Age 2 20th Century Fox
The Barnyard Nickelodeon Movies Paramount Pictures
The Wild Walt Disney Pictures
Over the Hedge DreamWorks SKG DreamWorks Distribution LLC
Cars Pixar Animation Studios Buena Vista Pictures
Monster House ImageMovers Sony Pictures Entertainment
Open Season Sony Pictures Intnernational Sony Pictures Entertainment
A Day with Wilbur Robinson Walt Disney Pictures Buena Vista Pictures
American Dog Walt Disney Animation Buena Vista Pictures
Ant Bully DNA Productions Inc. Warner Bros. Pictures Co.
The Spirit Bear Melwood Pictures
Where the Wild Things Are Playtone Productions
Yankee Irving IDT Entertainment
Horton Hears a Who Fox Animation Studios Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Jimmy Neutron 2 DNA Productions Inc. Paramount Pictures
The Spider and the Fly Playtone Productions
2004: A Light Knight's Odyssey Jupiter 9 Productions Inc.
A Scanner Darkly Section Eight Ltd. Warner Independent Pictures
Bambi and the Great Prince of the Forest DisneyToon Studios Buena Vista Pictures
Big Bug Man Studio-Free Studio Shanghai Film Studios ... funding
Cat Tale Image Services
Charlotte's Web Nickelodeon Movies Paramount Pictures
Cowboys and Aliens Escape Artists Columbia Pictures
Curious George Imagine Entertainment Universal Pictures
Garfield 2 20th Century Fox 20th Century Fox Pictures
Gnomeo and Juliet Walt Disney Animation
Heavy Metal Thunder Crispy Films
Ratropolis (formerly Flushed Away) DreamWorks Animation DreamWorks SKG
The 1 Second Film
The Fantastic Mr. Fox Revolution Studios Sony Pictures Entertainment
The Last Unicorn Continent Film Ltd.
The Magic Snowman II Prime Rate Investors
Bongee Bear and the Kingdom of Rhythm Yankee Films
The Tale of Despereaux Larger Than Life Productions Universal Pictures

A Wilderness of Monkeys Playtone Productions
Awful End Circle of Confusion Warner Bros.
Bee Movie DreamWorks SKG DreamWorks Distribution LLC
Beowulf DreamWorks SKG Sony Pictures Entertainment
Igor Exodus Film Group
Last Days of Coney Island
Opus Storyopolis Dimension Films
Crood Awakening DreamWorks Animation DreamWorks SKG
Rapunzel Unbraided Walt Disney Animation Buena Vista Pictures
Ratatouille Pixar Animation Studios
Rockfish Blur Studio
Shrek 3 DreamWorks SKG
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Immortal Image Services
Tortoise Vs. Hare DreamWorks SKG
Toy Story 3 Walt Disney Animation Buena Vista Pictures

2008 and Beyond
Kung Fu Panda Pacific Data Images (PDI) DreamWorks Animation
Puss in Boots DreamWorks Animation DreamWorks SKG
Crood Awakening DreamWorks SKG
Ribbit Vanguard Films Production
Space Chimps Vanguard Films Production
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs Sony Pictures Animation
Elgin's People Disney Feature in Florida
Unknown Fantasy title Out of our Minds
Bunyan & Babe
Ollie The Otter Regency Enterprises
Geppettos Secret DVX Entertainment
Happy Feet Warner Brothers
Might Mouse
Tam Lin Sony Pictures Animation
Wainscott Weasel Blue Sky Studios

Project Dead ?
Gnomeo & Juliet Elton John's Co? Disney
The Snow Queen Disney
Little Red Riding Hood
Robots of Mars Midland Productions
PC and the Web Moon Crescent Studios

Foreign & Limited US
Pinocchio 3000 Cin├ęGroupe
The Magic Roundabout Pathe - Action Synthese
Back to Gaya Ambient Entertainment GmbH
Kaena: The Prophecy Chaman Productions Samuel Goldwyn Films
El Cid: The Legend Castelao Producciones S.A. Filmax Animation
Gisaku Filmax Animation
Donkey Xote Filmax Animation
Nocturna Filmax Animation

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Abril said...

this is a very good blog... cool info...

Now im moving to Montreal, and i dont know if you know the movement about animation in Quebec or Montreal... because im applying in many diferents areas to do some post-production...

Do you have tips ?...

These is my demo reel... thanks