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Author Topic: Disney Directors Being Replaced on Films
Semaj
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The recent controversy goes on about Glen Keane's replacement on Rapunzel, which is understandably a different scenario than Chris Sanders leaving American Dog/Bolt.

Jim Hill mentioned on his website earlier instances where Eric Larson was dismissed from co-directing Sleeping Beauty, and how Wolfgang Reitherman was dismissed from directing The Fox and the Hound.

I'm particularly interested in Reitherman's dismissal, because I've read elsewhere that he was injecting many ideas, including yet another performance for Phil Harris, that most animators by then had gotten sick of.

Also, this may not be totally related, but the same website reveals a tidbit about whom were supposed to direct The Black Cauldron.

Any further information?

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EustaceScrubb
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That article you linked to (by Tom Sito) says more specifically:


quote:
"Woolie Reitherman wanted to add a sequence three quarters through the movie where Phil Harris and Charo , playing two whooping cranes, would sing a silly song called, "Scoobie-Doobie Doobie Doo, Let your Body Goo, err...Go."
The mind boggles ...
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Mr. Fun
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Yeah, that’s a funny story by Sito.

Sadly, we all eventually get old, and there’s a time to realize we’re no longer hip. There’s nothing more embarrassing than an old dude trying to be cool.

This is not confined to any one generation. We’re all guilty. Remember Disney trying to be cool with “Hercules?”

Actually, the only advantage black dudes have is - - no matter what age - - we’re always cool.

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pud
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[thumbsup] we certainly are.... oh wait... ..... uh.... ....
I'm white. nevermind. [Razz]

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Semaj
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quote:
Actually, the only advantage black dudes have is - - no matter what age - - we’re always cool.
Very true. [Wink]

[by request]

[ October 17, 2008, 02:54 PM: Message edited by: Charles ]

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SNAKEBITE
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I like how they find out these dudes are too old to be cool in the middle of production. like at the negotiation table no one noticed their age.

I can see it now

"dude, I thought he was thirty or something. he's like old. we need to get someone cooooler, young, hip, edgy"


hahahahahaha

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tstevens
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It's hard to even be cool in your thirties anymore! In the advertising world, it isn't uncommon at the bigger agencies to be considered past your prime once you hit 30.

Regarding animation directors, I think part of the problem is that they keep on getting "old white guys" to direct movies targeted at ten year old girls. Certain subjects require a certain sensitivity. Think about it like this: would want to have your 65 year old grandma direct the Incredibles or would you rather have Brad Bird?

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Mr. Fun
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One way to stay cool is to continually get the feedback of kids. They’ll gladly tell you when you suck.

We brought in kids when I worked on “Toy Story2” at Pixar. We learned a lot from them.

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SNAKEBITE
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my Grandma? no. but a 67 year seasoned vet with understanding and mad experience executing effective story telling while knowing he was only as strong as his team? yes

Directors don't make movies cool. the team he picks and directs does.

I think there are just as many cons hiring a young director as there is in hiring an older one.
sometimes even more cons in hiring a younger one.


I would lay money a lot of the times older directors get fired because of conflict with management. I'm guessing because of what I've heard and experienced myself. but I would bet.

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Charles
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Anyone remember the Star Trek episode from the original 60s series, where there was this community of kids who would get a disease when they got to around 17 and 18 years old and then they'd die? That's what the age bias trend in animation reminds me of.

If you're young in the animation industry and you want to project into the future, take a look at what happens when you get into your 30s and you're suddenly uncool. The same will happen to you, and you can thank yourselves for it cuz that's a trend that you're responsible for.

Some of the hippest people I know are in their 80s and even 90s. When I hang out with old folks I get something out of the experience. With younger folks, at least to me, I find that they tend to be looking for things still, like life experience for example. In today's social model, especially since it's a value imposed by entertainment media, the image of the wise young person and the out of it older person has become the norm it seems, even in industry.

For example, I have a friend who's worked in the food service manufacturing business, mostly in chocolate. He's got 23 years of experience in the field, knows right where to go to get the raw cocoa in South America, knows where to process it into chocolate for a wide cataegory of applications, and also how to market. So his company has asked him to retire early, he's only in his 40s, but he's so knowledgable and experienced, they want him to sign an agreement as part of the package that he won't work for a competitor for a year. That makes perfect kiddy sense, let's get rid of him cuz he's too old, but let's try and keep him from working for someone else cuz he's too good at this.

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Charles
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Check this out if you would please. If you're looking for a great role model of how one can stay viable and productive in the entertainment biz well into their golden years, I can think of no better example than A.C. Lyles.

I've had the opportunity and great pleasure to sit next to him at luncheons. He's fascinating to listen to and talk to, his stories are amazing to say nothing of his experience. The greatest thing about him is that he's still employed at Paramount Studios. He's the studio's oldest employee, he turned 90 this year. He started at Paramount around 1928 under Adolph Zukor himself.

Here he is in a video at an event where the memory of his good pal John Wayne was being honored in '07 on the occasion of the Duke's 100th birthday, sharing his stories and connecting with people. You'll get an idea of what it's like to hang out with him, and also how sharp he is.

http://revver.com/video/284907/a-c-lyles-paramount-pictures/

AC Lyles helped pioneer western themed TV shows. Check out his Wikipedia write up:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._C._Lyles

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Richard
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A lot of the times, hipness and youth culture ruin entertainment. Look at Logan's Run.

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tstevens
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Sorry if I sounded like I was putting the hammer down on older people in the industry. However, I think in a lot of industries the management looks for people who are closer to the demographic they are selling to. Music: Film: Video games: Industrial Design: Most of these professions seek out young people because (and this is the key) they "think" that they are more in touch with the people they are selling to. Trust me though: I wish that I had the chance to work with both established talent and new kids. Unfortunately experienced professionals often come with a price tag that many producers aren't willing to pay for especially outside of LA and New York.

I think the unfortunate part about the animation business is that American animation directors are stuck in a studio time warp having to produce movies for a very small demographic: the medium is much bigger than "princess" themed movies and fairy tales. I would hope that the directors at the top are fighting for more than Rapunzel and the Frog Princess.

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SNAKEBITE
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Amen, tstevens!

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Animagus
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How about a 78 year old man directing a feature coming out later this month? Hey, I just described Clint Eastwood. I bet there are plenty of young people who will line up to see "Changeling". Of course, Mrs. Pitt's(can I call her that?) name on the poster will also draw just a few people in.
Clint was also one of the last directors to use production designer Henry Bumstead, who died recently at, I think age 91. He designed "Flags of our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima", so you can see that he stayed productive right to the very end.
I remember seeing Al Hirschfeld charicatures of the cast of "Star Trek: The Next Generation", and Madonnna. He did one of James Cameron after "Titanic" won all those Oscars. That would have been in 1998, again, right before his death. And I understand he was in the middle of a project when he died.
Do I even need to mention Stan Lee?
And I guess that Kenny Ortega who does those "High School Musicals" is in his 50's.
He directed that early 90's movie "Newsies". That had Christian Bale in it. Wow! Christian Bale must be really un-hip by now! NO ONE is going to see a movie with him, are they? No one. Well, he's in his 30's. I guess he's fine as long as he doesn't try to break into advertising.

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tstevens
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The point is that most of the people who have longevity keep pushing what they do and expanding. Clint Eastwood has consistently pushed what he does and constantly moves in new directions. Very few animation directors have done this in the feature world. Also, look at Christian Bale (as mentioned). While he has made some similar movies, he has shown a definate progression and ability totry different roles. Very few people know about films like American Psycho or Velvet Goldmine but it shows how, as an actor, he has tried and experimented with new things. That is why he is relevant (same went for Heath Ledger). If you continue to produce the same thing over and over again you will lose your relevance. Chomet and a few others are pushing the comfortable confines of the standard storylines but few others are.

I love the classics as much as everyone else. However, like I said, I hope the folks at the top are fighting for more than refined versions of Snow White.

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dermot
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I think a lot of this has to do with assumptions about pay and "enthusiasm" . I was told by one producer up here in TV animation world Toronto that the number one thing they look for is enthusiasm ; she felt assured that an enthusiastic artist would give the 110% they wanted and be good for morale (assuming all artists are equal I suppose )
For that reason they tend to be more inclined to hire those who come knocking rather than look for artists themselves.

I pointed out that while it's often artists who are unemployed and looking for work that are the most enthusiastic to land a job, it may not be the right person for the position....and that creative excellence is a phenomenon that requires a lot more than hiring based on assumptions .

I remember reading a 1918 article in The Graphic ( a UK magazine ) where there was an open letter to industry asking how to address the issue of work conditions and hours once the war was over . It was an address to the corporate community over the looming crisis that returning workers were likely not going to be eager to return to a 6 or 7 day workweek after the trenches and how that would affect productivity . Remembering the majority of soldiers were between 18 and 35 , British companies faced a real challenge in motivating returning heros to face the same work conditions/quotas as before the war.....and there was even a mention of how difficult it would be to dismiss these men from their jobs if they didn't perform .

I don't think it's an age thing.....just a percieved apathy thing . Perhaps some people or companies don't know how to see the difference.

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dermot
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but sometimes an old dog DOES need to learn new tricks though....I'd love to know Maya and Flash and Toonboom and After Effects and Final Cut etc etc....but I'd trade all that for a better sense of humour and timing in my boards .

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Mr. Fun
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No real artist ever stops learning.

I’m officially retired, but that’s because corporations don’t want old people around. The truth is, we’re very productive, and are good at saving money because we’ve been down the road before.

When I was a kid, I often sought out “codgers” to work on my films. More often than not they saved us a ton of money because of their experience and expertise.

I haven’t actually looked for a job since I “retired” eight years ago -- and I don’t need to.

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Bob of Bob
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Brad Bird - 51
Tim Burton - 50
John Lasseter - 52 (in Jan.)
Christopher Guest - 60!

So I guess we should get a van and drop these "over-the-hill" guys off at the Motion Picture Home.

Age has absolutely nothing to do with art...period. You want a 26 year old kid who knows who "50,(fity) cents" is...or guys with a little gray around edges who can electrify you with their story telling. The "hip" stuff is the easy part.

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Mr. Fun
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If I need to know, "hip," I simply ask my kids. That's the easy part.

Real knowledge based on study and experience? That's the hard part.

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Lee Crowe
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Yeah, and getting back to Woolie...remember that generation had a lot more "generational culture shock" to deal with -- those guys who were in their 40s or 50s when the cultural changes of the sixties happened -- they all had a difficult time even understanding it, much less assimilating. (Like remember the amazing Mel Torme singing "So Happy Together", etc.) There's not nearly as much of a generation gap going on now. Plus, "sixty is the new forty". [Cool]

I would have loved to have seen my grandma direct a movie. She'd have gotten it done on time and under budget and then woulda given us all Rice Krispie Treats.

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Graphiteman
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As for the Reitherman anecdote I would venture to guess it would have less to do with him being "too old" as being "ossified" (a word I learned from Charles Solomon's The DIsney That Never Was); growing up professionally as an artist in a single place, virtually one way of doing things, virtually one way of thinking about things. Probably not so much trying to be hip but stuck attitudinally (such a word?) in a time and place.
With all due respect I get that impression reading and hearing the golden age Disney career animators. Their experience was the exception not the rule yet their views very centric. As an aside that suggested Fox and the hound sequence reminds me of the beatle vultures in Jungle Book. Now that stops the movie for me and seems like an attempt to be hip.

"hip" to me has nothing to do with youth culture but by being oneself. Being "unhip" means trying to be hard to be "cool"; an old man like me trying to be 16.

As for hiring personnel in the demographic, they may say that's what they are doing but it has more to do with young people with less commitments and dependants being cheaper. A few weeks ago I sat across some entrpenuers who are ech starting their video game compnies. One said to other to try grads from such-and-such art institute; they're cheap and willing to work for 3k a month.

If a youth-skewed project is all scripted and laid out there are alot of things a boomer artist could do....perhaps not conceive the idea but certainly do anything else. We're partially actors too, right?

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Mr. Fun
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As a codger who worked on “The Jungle Book,” I still roll my eyes at the “vulture/Beatles stuff. We knew the old guys were trying to be hip and cool -- but just didn’t get it.

At the time, we had no idea we were working on a classic, so we simply looked the other way. Plus, we probably had too much respect for the old guys to rag on them.

Still, it taught me a valuable lesson. When in doubt -- ask my kids.

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