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  1. #1

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    12-21-06 Animation Update Story and Style, Not Format, at Root of Recent Upheaval

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    Disney Animation Update: Story and Style, Not Format, at Root of Recent Upheaval

    By C. W. Oberleitner
    December 21, 2006

    Long before celebrity couples could quietly end a marriage citing “irreconcilable differences,” Hollywood’s creative community has been parting ways with studio heads over “creative differences.” More than the move from CG animation back to 2D animation appears to be what’s behind Chris Sanders removal as director of Disney Animation’s American Dog.

    Read the full story here >>

  2. #2

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    Re: 12-21-06 Animation Update Story and Style, Not Format, at Root of Recent Upheaval

    This sums up the whole enchilada nicely:

    “I think in his heart he believes the Pixar he helped build is just like the Disney of old, and now he wants to bring that back down here to Burbank, but he can’t do it with people who’ve never worked for anyone like him before.”


    There are plenty of Disney Divas™ still working for the Mouse. And because of past successes, they feel entitled to maintain the status quo, that the New Rules should not apply to them.

    But John has been tapped by Iger to re-invent WDFA and WDI, even if that means the babies get tossed with the bathwater (heavy emphasis on the 'babies' part). Bruised egos and acrimonious attitudes will be inevitable. And when the time comes for Lasseter to clean Glendale's house, I hope the ongoing pandering and sucking up by the Imagineering 'babies' won't fool him into mistaking them for mature and responsible adults.

    Given that Chris Sanders was recently shown the door, I finally feel encouraged about WDI's future, more so than I've felt in years.

    "Dope smoking insects and reckless driving always work." -- Cousin Orville

  3. #3

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    Re: 12-21-06 Animation Update Story and Style, Not Format, at Root of Recent Upheaval

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    This sums up the whole enchilada nicely:

    “I think in his heart he believes the Pixar he helped build is just like the Disney of old, and now he wants to bring that back down here to Burbank, but he can’t do it with people who’ve never worked for anyone like him before.”


    There are plenty of Disney Divas™ still working for the Mouse. And because of past successes, they feel entitled to maintain the status quo, that the New Rules should not apply to them.

    But John has been tapped by Iger to re-invent WDFA and WDI, even if that means the babies get tossed with the bathwater (heavy emphasis on the 'babies' part). Bruised egos and acrimonious attitudes will be inevitable. And when the time comes for Lasseter to clean Glendale's house, I hope the ongoing pandering and sucking up by the Imagineering 'babies' won't fool him into mistaking them for mature and responsible adults.

    Given that Chris Sanders was recently shown the door, I finally feel encouraged about WDI's future, more so than I've felt in years.


    Well said...

    and great article O-Meon!

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    Re: 12-21-06 Animation Update Story and Style, Not Format, at Root of Recent Upheaval

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    This sums up the whole enchilada nicely:

    “I think in his heart he believes the Pixar he helped build is just like the Disney of old, and now he wants to bring that back down here to Burbank, but he can’t do it with people who’ve never worked for anyone like him before.”


    There are plenty of Disney Divas™ still working for the Mouse. And because of past successes, they feel entitled to maintain the status quo, that the New Rules should not apply to them.

    But John has been tapped by Iger to re-invent WDFA and WDI, even if that means the babies get tossed with the bathwater (heavy emphasis on the 'babies' part). Bruised egos and acrimonious attitudes will be inevitable. And when the time comes for Lasseter to clean Glendale's house, I hope the ongoing pandering and sucking up by the Imagineering 'babies' won't fool him into mistaking them for mature and responsible adults.

    Given that Chris Sanders was recently shown the door, I finally feel encouraged about WDI's future, more so than I've felt in years.

    Correct me if I am mistaken, but Chris Sanders was taken off his pet project, not outright fired from Disney?

    Overall, well said BlueSky. I ALWAYS love your posts, and all this helps clear up a lot of drama that people are spewing out regarding this news at the various boards. Some people, I swear, can't read between the lines.
    Anyway, nicely put.

  5. #5

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    Re: 12-21-06 Animation Update Story and Style, Not Format, at Root of Recent Upheaval

    Quote Originally Posted by tcsnwhite View Post
    Correct me if I am mistaken, but Chris Sanders was taken off his pet project, not outright fired from Disney?

    Overall, well said BlueSky. I ALWAYS love your posts, and all this helps clear up a lot of drama that people are spewing out regarding this news at the various boards. Some people, I swear, can't read between the lines.
    Anyway, nicely put.
    I think he might be done. Wasn't his contract JUST for the Dog movie and then to be renegotiated? I don't think he has an ongoing gig like Glen Keane, but I could be wrong.

    In any event, I hope they gave Chris some options before showing him the door. I mean...this has been the guy's LIFE for the past three years. All of those hours spent writing and designing...much of that stuff is now going in the trash. I would HOPE they gave Chris the option of radically rewriting the film and switching back to traditional hand drawn animation before telling him to pack up.

    It's a tough business. One of my very good friends was working in Orlando having moved his family back there before Mulan. No warming up in the bullpen or anything. One day they are taking computer animation classes, the next day...no more Orlando studio. I guess that's show biz, but I would have loved to have seen much more of an effort to make things work before throwing all of these people out on the street. And ditto for what just happened to Chris.

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    Re: 12-21-06 Animation Update Story and Style, Not Format, at Root of Recent Upheaval

    ^Oh trust me, I know a few things about the animation biz.
    What happened back when the Orlando studio was closed wasn't a good time for WDFA, and the leaders in charge wouldn't be exactly folks who I would say "got it".

    Now, Ed and John and the rest of the Pixar brass have quite a bit of power. And to me, these folks truly "get it". Unfortunately, a culture has been created in the last I don't know how many years that is nothing like what these new guys are trying to bring to the table. Thus, some people, no matter how talented and great they are, cannot get with the new program. There are other reasons as well, but the vibe that I am getting is that John and company are trying to chart course in a whole NEW (and old-school) direction, and in the process some sacrifices are going to have to be made. It's a grim reality, but my gut tells me in the long-term, this is truly all for the better.

    Again, I am NOT saying this was why Chris was taken off his project, and truthfully, none of us truly know why. (unless one has connections, which I don't)


    Honestly, this is a rough transition period for WDFA and it is probably going to be this way for quite a bit longer. The culture, attitudes, egos, and whatnot are going to have to change. Maybe American Dog just wasn't what John was looking for as one of the first films that will be released under his leadership.
    If you think about it, he was hired to turn everything on its head and bring WDFA back to its former glory. What I think is that John knows he has to release a truly strong and successful film, especially the first one out under his watch. Everyone, inside and out, is watching and judging his every move. Can you imagine the pressure he may be feeling? He may love it, who knows? But I would think that he KNOWS he can't make one mistake right now, and quite possibly American Dog was just not the right film at this time. Maybe it truly was too quirky for its own good? Maybe the buzz on it was over hyped? Maybe Chris was just not liking input from his superiors (ones who I would think are coming from a different place than the individuals before). I don't know- just my speculations. nothing more.



    What I am questioning is the fact that everyone on the various boards is saying he was fired. From everything I have been reading, John took him off his project. I don't remember hearing anything about Chris being fired from Disney outright.

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    Re: 12-21-06 Animation Update Story and Style, Not Format, at Root of Recent Upheaval

    Quote Originally Posted by tcsnwhite View Post
    What I am questioning is the fact that everyone on the various boards is saying he was fired. From everything I have been reading, John took him off his project. I don't remember hearing anything about Chris being fired from Disney outright.
    In a sense he was "fired" because AD was the only thing he was working on. And I believe he was not under a long-term contract. So, no project = no job.
    "Dope smoking insects and reckless driving always work." -- Cousin Orville

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    Re: 12-21-06 Animation Update Story and Style, Not Format, at Root of Recent Upheaval

    ^Ah, I see now, makes sense.
    Well, I hope he is able to grab hold of something else because he is such a great talent and it would be sad to outright lose him. Didn't he do character design before directing?

    I remember reading at the TAG blog that ED and John got rid of Personal Service Contracts, so now everyone has a job as long as they get put on another project. Basically, everyone is expendable. No more long-term or length of time contracts anymore it seems. They said that is the way Pixar operates, though, I don't hear of layoffs coming out of them ever.

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    Re: 12-21-06 Animation Update Story and Style, Not Format, at Root of Recent Upheaval

    I know this is a bit off topic, but it looks like Disney animation (hopefully) is on its way back to the greatness it once had. I really pray American Dog will be a succesful movie.

    Now if we can only get the Disney Channel back on track....
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