Big meetings today at Disney Feature Animation. Ed Catmull, Andrew Millstein, and Ann Le Cam rolled out the animation division's new blueprint for feature animation employees in the hat building's first floor theatre, talking about changes that will be coming...
Feature Animation will be undergoing some downsizing. When "Meet The Robinsons" wraps up, the division will be casting employees for "American Dog," the next animated feature on the production calendar. Some of the staff that doesn't roll onto that picture will be given sixty-day notices, and at the end of those two months, laid off.
Artists who talked to me understand that some of their peers -- and maybe them -- will be looking for work other places after the first of the year. "It's kind of the way of the entertainment industry, isn't it" one sighed. "Nothing's forever."
The mood around the hat building was subdued, but many staffers were glad that upper management called them into meetings and told them what was up. "What I like about Ed Catmull is he doesn't beat around the bush," another said. "He tells you what's going on, even when the news isn't great. It's better to know than not."
A few employees told me they thought Feature Animation would be stronger after the layoffs were over. But wherever I walked on the first and second floors, things were, ahm, somber. And the oncoming changes were the prime topic of conversation.