April 23, 2013

Disney Laying Off Traditional Animators


That name, brand, and its films are some of the most iconic and recognizable in the entire world. It all started with a short film called Steamboat Willie and introduced the world to its newest and most unforgettable obsession, Mickey Mouse.

With this success, he paved the way for new creative features such as Snow White, Pinocchio and Bambi. All of these films excelled more and more in the progression of the art form known as hand drawn animation. The artistry and love put into these films are the roots of a legendary company. From then to the early 2000’s, the company has maintained its heritage and sure, they have not hit the marker every time, but each of these projects never lacked in craftsmanship.

The times have changed and the traditionally animated films just don’t bring in the dough that the CGI features do.

I am not upset with that; things change and one day the CGI of the current times will have a successor (I can’t imagine with what though, but it’s going to happen; it’s just the nature of technology).

It has been a while since the house of mouse has done anything with its heritage of classical animation, but it was always in the arsenal. The unfortunate news on the other hand is that just recently it was written out of Disney’s game plan. Cartoon Brew reports that Disney has slaughtered their hand-drawn animation division, including veterans that worked on the films during their renaissance from the early 90’s to the early 2000’s.

For those who did survive the layoffs and still have a job, the Animation Guild is saying that “The veterans are being called into meetings to discuss pay cuts and/or buyouts.”

This means that there will be no “major” classical projects and by that I mean no box office releases, no direct to DVD releases and anything else that would be could be considered a void of serious entertainment.

The part that sort of bothers me is that an art form so near and dear to me barely even exists (at least at Disney), but what’s done is done. The only things that boggle the animators and industry insiders are the alternatives that could’ve happened instead of just shutting all down completely.

One alternative is that they could have at least preserved their long heritage with short films that premiere just before the latest Disney flick just like Pixar does with their own films. Hell, even Paperman looked like a hand drawn original short and everyone liked, no, loved the short. It even won an Academy Award this year because it was loved so much.

Maybe it’s just business and at the end of the day it’s about running a successful corporation and having a house in the hills. I just think a major company like Disney can afford to keep its heritage intact without taking a financial loss, especially with the short film route since it has been basically proven with an Oscar Award that they can still provide a positive reception with far less capital rather than putting together another classical animated film that actually losses more in the box office.

But who knows, maybe they have something up their sleeves or maybe they don’t have to try anymore since they basically own all of the other creative efforts the world has spun out.

I guess it’s just business to not celebrate your past.

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