Friday, January 27, 2006

Miracle Week

I am sorry for not posting more than i have this week, but as any of you know who are even remotely interested in the world of feature animation this has been a HUGE, MONUMENTAL, COLLOSAL WEEK!
It all started on Monday morning when i saw the headline "Disney buyout of Pixar?" I was thinking, what's up with the question mark, tell me more man! as i made my way through the article and the possibilties unraveled my heart began to race, my palms got sweaty, and my throat got dry. All of the things that my friends and i have talked about over lunch all of the sudden went from never happening to a very real possibility. I decided to choke back the tears, turn the computer off and try and do something constructive with my time. I have been to let down before by big news and i wasn't gonna let it get to me now.
Cut to (sorry, so used to film) Tuesday afternoon, i get online to see what the latest scoop is (not to mention i had talked to about 5 billion people by now). and there it read "Disney buys Pixar" and "Lasseter and Catmul to be heads of creative affairs inculding feature animation. I just about had a heart attack... it was almost like when Rudy in "Rudy" gets his exceptance letter to Norte Dame! I was freaking out man!! I spent the entire day with a headache because of the emotion of it all. I went to teach at CalArts that night as well and the school was partying man, total rejoicing. Like at the end of Return of the Jedi!
Cut to Wednesday morning... I had heard all of the rumors about John being interested in doing 2D again. but as i said before, i've been let down a lot of times and i wanted some smal bits of proof. Well, the first article i found was in USA Today. It was an interview with Dick Cook (chairman of the disney studios) and him being asked some of the tough question. One was whether 2D would come back. His response, "John and I have talked about reviving 2D for quite some time. It wouldn't surprise me at all if a project were found and we wanted to make it in 2D." Do you know how HARD it is to get straight answers like that from people so high up!?? Huh, do ya? That NEVER happens. no he didn't say yes, but he did admit that they WANT to revive it and that they are more than likely searching for the RIGHT story to tell in 2D. plus for any of you who know John Lasseter the guy is a fan. He LOVES animation, not just CG but hand drawn and stop motion. He just loves the art form!! What do i think, i think it's only a matter of time before we hear about them repening the division. The other amazing piece of information was that Johns first act in his new role at Disney was to shelve Toy Story 3. Bam baby!! and his reasoning, we should only do sequels if there's a good story. plain and simple, don't you just love it that way. the TRUTH, not the rhetoric that we're used too!
anyhow, all of that to explain why i haven't posted more this week. I am still working on getting another tutorials together for everyone on the face and how it works. It's just taking longer than i thought because of unexpected, joyous news. your thoughts?


Carla said...

I knew about the merge and whatnot, but not about the shelving of TS3 or the reviving of 2D! You made my day! Thanks!

bill(y) said...

one can also hope that they reopen the florida studio...right?

anyway, glad you're excited, but now i'm gonna start hounding you now that i know your next tute is about the face. i'm moist with anticipation!!

BTW, your tutorial on the walk cycle was very helpful. i haven't been animating in a long time. i decided to work on some personal stuff and animate. i was actually struggling with my walk cycle until reading your tutorial. thanks man.

rngnt99 said...

yeah man i heard about all the news on tuesday, and was also very excited to hear about the prospect of 2d being revived. and who better to do the job. also i was very excited about the shelving of toy story 3 and not making it unless the story was great. finally someone who cares about the work and not the bottom line. Hope this works out for everyone. Thanks for your thought Matt!!!

Matt Williames said...

Yeah everybody, it's time to par-tay. I used to live in Florida Carla, and i used to want to be a vet too until i saw a 3 legged dog and my mom told me who was responsible for amputating (sp?). So, animation it is!

Mark Borok said...

Wonderful, wonderful news. I was pessimistic because in the end it comes down to what the financial backers are willing to financially back, but who knows?

I wonder if the lack of success Disney had with "Chicken Little" had anything to do with it, or if the deal was already being finalized when CL was released.

Matt Williames said...

nope, i don't think Chicken Little had a lot to do with it according to people i know. Disney thinks C.L was a raving success! even though Brother Bear made more and cost less to make. anyhow,as far as financial backing goes, it's Disney, they got the dough! now, they just have to use it. Come on Lasseter!!!

Jeremy Bernstein said...

It truly is an amazing time. The tables have turned for the better with an artist in charge. I know 2d will's just too precious to throw away.

Mark Borok said...

Disney thinks C.L was a raving success! even though Brother Bear made more and cost less to make.

If so, that confirms my impression of the Hollywood mentality. I think the studios believe their own preconceptions over the facts, i.e. if the conventional wisdom is that audiences want to see 3D films, they will continue to believe this even if B.O. receipts for 3D films start falling off. I realized this when reading about the live action film "Red Rock West". It was a film noir and the conventional wisdom was that nobody wants to watch film noir. Even after the film did really well in test screenings, the head honchos refused to distribute it.

I'm optimistically hoping that Lasseter will have a lot more pull with investors than the guy who made "Red Rock West".

Has Roy Disney ever voiced his dissatisfaction with the "death" of 2D? I doubt Walt would have cared, he was more interested in story-telling than "art", I think.

Matt Williames said...

well Mark i guess we're gonna have to respectfully agree to disagree on this one. I do think Walt would have cared very very much about hand drawn being tossed out (though he was very interested in story-telling in all it's forms), and i've heard Roy say that he hates that it happened. Dick Cook, Don Hahn, Iger, and now John Lasseter all want to see it come back. David Stanton's gone... I think that the roadways are finally clear for it, let's hope so huh?

The Raven Flight said...

The only thing that could send me over the top into heaven after all the goodness floating around would be if they gave the 2D department over to Brad Bird. I'd probably poop my pants.

Carla said...

What a coincidence! When I was little I wanted to be an animator, until I realized that I didn't have the gift for it!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Jason C said...

Man.. The events of last week definitally got the blood pumping... There's an artist in charge of feature animation!!! an artist who loves the medium!! who's already proved by shelving Toy Story 3 that he's commited to top quality stories!! I can't wait to see what happens in the weeks to come.......
Maybe we'll get to see Brad Bird direct a 2-d Disney Animated feautre... wouldn't that be wicked!!! too many possibilities..

ChewBloggers said...

hey matty...thanks for stoppin by the chewblog...
so great to see where you're at and what you're becoming...
it's so interesting to hear all of what's going on in the industry and it seems that we all have a tendency to be so close to it that certain things like 2D will NEVER make a revival...and we also have a tendency to forget that this medium and industry is in a constant state of is incredibly's like the stock market in many just ride it and if it don't feel fun it's o.k. to get off...anyway i wanted to reconnect with you and i've been able to catch up a LITTLE bit through your blog...really nice in touch

take care


Matt Williames said...

Jason C- Dude, it WOULD be wicked. I know a lot has to happen first but like you said, all of the possibilities are just mind candy to think about.
and JOE! Glad to hear from ya dude and was real wicked excited to hear about your studio! Your right about things, they are in a constant state of flux-- there will be peaks and valleys, many many more that's for sure. I just know i love hand drawn animation and feel like there is so much left to explore. So glad to hear from ya buddy, i'll have to write you sometime and catch up more!

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