Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sharon Morrill

By now, everyone has heard Sharon Morrill has been removed. It has been published on just about every animation website. However, there doesn’t seem to be anyone telling the whole story.

I must preface the following by saying it is all rumor. I’m hearing much of this information second and sometimes third hand. Take any of this with a grain of salt because it is probably 100% false.

Not many of the artists at Disney liked Sharon. At least that is what most of them told John and Ed when they interviewed a chunk of the staff while Sharon was away in India. Upon return, she was told bluntly, “Your staff doesn’t respect you.”

My source (my best Jim Hill impression) tells me that Sharon is still under contract and will continue to pull in her mid six figure salary until it expires. Half a million a year for doing nothing. I'm told that she wasn't put into any other real position, rather put somewhere to wait our her time. Many of you are probably thinking that would be a sweet deal. However, I imagine for Sharon, someone who loved her job and was so wrapped up in that Tinerbell movie… it is absolutely devastating.

I don’t imagine she will sit out the rest of her contract at Disney. This is pure speculation on my part, but I think Sharon will end up at Warner Brothers as President of animation. Sure, Lisa Judson has just filled that spot, but I think she will either be “moved” somewhere else or Sharon will magically become her superior.

Back to what went down between John and Sharon. Lasseter hasn’t been happy with the Toons studio. It was watering down the Disney brand. For a while, he has wanted to either get rid of it entirely or redirect the efforts to something else. The division has had all sorts of problems with the shows, however the latest, Tinkerbell, seems to be especially troublesome.

This faeries movie is Sharon’s baby; she has fired and hired so many directors trying to find someone who can adapt her ideas properly (is that really her job responsibility?). As soon as she felt they weren’t doing her version justice, they were removed. A while back, when Lasseter asked the current director’s opinion, he gave his take on fixing the problems. John agreed and decided that was the way to go. Sure, they would have to scrap some of the movie, but it would be stronger in the end. Sharon wasn’t happy. She liked her version and rumor has it – she ordered two versions of the movie to be made. Hers and the Lasseter supported director version. I’m skipping a whole lot of what went down, but at some point recently, Sharon tried to push for her version again and Lasseter wasn’t happy about it. When she went away to India, the Pixar boys talked to the staff and concreted their decision to remove her and speed the redirection of the division.

Again, all second or third hand information. I’m sure I’m missing quite a bit. Whatever went down, it is safe to say John wasn’t happy and Sharon wasn’t the right person for the job. It seems that a lot of people at Disney are thrilled about her removal, especially the artists. I guess that is what happens when you aren’t respected.


Anonymous said...

Woooowee. If that's all true, I'm glad to see artists getting some control and execs being put in their place.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Sharon several years ago and she was the most inspiring boss I have ever had. She was a team player, who encouraged those working with her to grow. It did not matter how junior or senior you were, if you had good ideas, you were heard. Sharon had a vision, drive and despite all her responsibilties alaways had time to listen. On a human and and professional level she is someone to look up to. I wish her all the best.

Anonymous said...

The operative word here is "was". I'm sure when she was first in the business she was all for team spirit. Unfortunately, that seems not to be the case anymore. With countless revisions to a script and numerous director changes it is apparent that team spirit has worn off.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance! I'm glad she's finally gone and her horrid disneytoon studios won't be making any more crappy direct-to-video sequels anymore!