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.