Thursday, July 21, 2011

Around the Horn

It's been a while since I've done one of these.  A lot has happened and I'll try to touch on a few of them.

Digital Domain seems to be making a big push to expand.  Not only have they announced the opening of a large studio in Florida (You can guess the reason for that location.  It certainly wasn't because of the talent base!) to do features.  They also seem to be opening studios in several other locations.  San Francisco, Vancouver, Sydney, London, India, Florida and of course the original LA.  Their work continues to be bits of films, commercials, and now, their big moves into doing a CG feature.  As far as I understand, the features will be done entirely in Florida.  However, I wouldn't be surprised to see much of it shipped to India.  This will be interesting to watch.  I don't really have an opinion on how successful they'll be or not.  However, I can't help but think they are expanding way too fast for their own good.  Let's wait and see.

DreamWorks just recently made an announcement that Kevin Lima was coming back to direct another animated film.  For those of you not aware, he temporarily left animation to direct a live action film (albeit with animation in it).  I'm glad he is coming back.  Usually when an animated film director goes on to live action, they never really return.  This DreamWorks film also marks a first.  It will be their first film to be entirely produced in India!  Oh boy.  Here we go.

There is an interesting video on YouTube called A Day in the Life of John Lasseter.  It was quite good and worth a watch.  Nice house he has there!  I don't really have much to say other than go watch it if you haven't already.

I've been hearing rumblings about a couple of CG films.  These are one-off productions.  Both directed by the same guy who developed a CG feature you've probably seen.  Film #1 is already funded and will be distributed by a major studio.  Unfortunately, it seems to be in story hell right now with the executives offering wayyy too much input.  Sound familiar?  Film #2 is not fully funded yet, but has a portion.  This one may actually go into production before film #1 (the one that is funded and has distribution)!  Both films have good stories.

Someone asked in the comments about that studio I used to bring up from time to time.  As said in a previous post from quite a while ago.  I've lost hope in them.  If they haven't gotten funding by now, it probably won't happen unless one or both of the following happen.  A) A change in leadership and/or  B) Slimming down the plans and asking for less $$.  I've pretty much erased them from my watch list.  So don't hold your breathe.  They made the mistake of trying to go too big too fast.  While it was an impressive list of films, producers, directors, and a very well thought-out business plan, $800 or so million is just hard to pull together these days.

That's it for now.  As I settle back into animation world, I'll have more to say.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This and That

As mentioned in the previous post, I've been away doing other things. I wouldn't say I burned out on animation, but I came close. It was in my best interest to step away before it got any worse.

During my time away, I worked with another startup. Completely unrelated to animation. The sad part, while I was away, I wouldn't say I lost interest in animation. But it wasn't in the front of my mind. In retrospect, I feel sad that I allowed that to happen.

You can now see why I didn't post to this blog. I simply didn't care. This thing has always just been something I did every once in a while in boredom. But, when I was having this hiatus from animation, I had absolutely zero interest in posting here.

As this other job wound down, I talked with a friend who is going through a similar experience. He has been in animation a long time. Like me, he loves it - it has been his whole life. But, he has interests outside of animation too. He is an animator, and a very good one at that. But, it turns out he has another talent I didn't know about it. He is tinkering with the idea of getting funding to build that business. However, it will take him farther away from his lifelong career in animation. One that started in his teens (he is now in his 40's). It is just about the only thing he has ever known.

I could hear it in his voice. He is confused and not sure what to do. On one hand, he loves animation and everything about it. On the other, this new business is technically very challenging and requires a lot of problem solving. Something that he enjoys (besides being a CG animator, he has been instrumental in a few studio pipelines). Another plus is that the potential earnings are astronomical in comparison to 99% of those working in the animation industry will ever see.

I wish I had an answer. But hell, I can't even help myself. I floated the idea of going with the new business for a while. See what comes of it. If he can be even somewhat competitive in this small field, he could fund a movie himself. Go this new route and thrive with the new challenges. Maybe you can return to animation and create your own film in several years. He had already considered the same thing. Only time will tell what he decides. If he pursues this new thing, I'll try to help him find his seed money.

If you were hoping to read a post on the state of the industry, sorry. Maybe next time. I'm still catching up with friends to get a feel for things myself. Check back soon.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm back bitches

Don't have much time at the moment. I'm busy doing useless things.

Did you guys see the latest Arthur Christmas trailer? Wow that sucked big ones. Don't bother doing a search on it. Save your time for something more interesting. Like taking a dump.

Heard some rumors about a couple of CG features getting funding. The studios are not ones you've heard of before. Portions of it will possibly be done in the states. However, the majority will be from Europe. The stories look pretty good. Not much to say at the moment. When funding happens, I'll blab more about them.

That's it for now. Hopefully I'll be back with more in the next year or two.

Friday, March 19, 2010


A new teaser came out for Megamind. Amid over at Cartoon Brew has some hate for it. He doesn't seem to be much of a fan of DWA, so I'm not surprised.

IMO, the teaser is okay. The character design is interesting, but is a little bland. Reminds me of the Great Gazoo from the Flinstones. The animation however, is pretty nice. I like it.

I don't know what to expect from this movie, but it is a little hard to make much of it from this one little teaser. I'm not ready to flame it until more can be seen.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reel FX CG Feature

It was only a matter of time. Reel FX has been doing outsource work for other studios for quite some time. They did a lot of Open Season 2, and are doing most of Open Season 3. They've done bit parts on a few other studio films. While the work on these projects haven't been all that great, the studio is capable of nice stuff.

An announcement came yesterday that they have $35 million to make their first CG feature. Now, that may not seem like much. But keep in mind, these guys are in Dallas, not San Fran or LA. Open Season 2 & 3 budgets were under $5 million. I'm confident these guys can really stretch the dollar nicely.

Of course, that is if they can keep the production in control. Meaning, don't fall into the same trap that Disney/DreamWorks/Pixar does. And that is re-working the story until everyone is blue in the face. Those other studios have the $$ to do such a thing. But at $35 million, you can't do it. And especially, you can't go back and rework the story after production begins.

We'll see in a few years how this all pans out. But for now, I bet they'll be able to do a lot with the $35. Hopefully they can find a distribution partner that can get it in front of faces.