Re: In general

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Posted by Dave on March 23, 1999 at 21:30:42:

In Reply to: Re: In general posted by Steve Gordon on March 23, 1999 at 10:50:23:

: :I think you will see that I said directors. Most often a producer will sit a director down and ask him to tell him all his ideas. Why would you ask him that ??????? A director is a master of story
telling, a person who can control and understand how to frame a character (he understands) for the best drama and comedy film wise. The story isnít important other than the director is inspired by
it enough to want to do it and in that sense they are the best judge. A director that isnít inspired shouldnít direct that film .

:I Agree wholeheartedly! But when was the last time you saw someone who was offered to direct a film (or TV for that matter) turm=n it down because he didn't like the project? It doesn't seem
implausible, but I sure can't think of any instances.

Not right off but I can tell you it was Kroyers choice to not direct Quest. He felt given the state films political structure it would be impossible to do a good job. He was right.

:: Animators loved Cobbler for the animation ,not the story. Animators were in fear and awe of Cobblers animation. It had nothing to do with it being an animators pick for best story to do. Cats was
just refreshing after heavy handed human animation. Neither I think would mjke it to an animators list as a choice of films we would like to see done. As I said, the final choice should be the film that
inspires the director.

:Unfortunately I've heard many animators, etc. not think further than how much fun a project will be to animate.

That is a problem. Portfolios at the cost of the film. You would think that desire would be a benefit the fim but it tends to be hurtful and creates a huge lack of teamwork. It is very hard when some animators sometimes to think past just becoming the next Milt Kahl.

: I heard so many animators speaking of Thief (and sometimes even cats) as if it was
the emerging messiah.

They are different. Itís not that they are perfection but for an animator they represent a challenge to change direction visually and forge a path that is more unique. They are not the end of the search but an inspiration to the beginning of the search.

: I find it very dificult to work on a project with a weak stor (God knows I've had to do it over and over though), but I always try to find something in the project that inspires
me or I can't do the work day in and day out.

I was the one who did the 90 ft promo that sold the Care Bear Movie to American Greeting Cards. I had three weeks to do it and it was mostly on ones. I worked creating all kinds of pose sheets I felt represented the different bears personalities (no one has ever seen them). Now some would say it was a waste but I found the things I liked about them and explored. You often are asked to do things that most people find less than worthy but if you look, there is always a something of interest. Curiostity is an animators best friend.

: :The real question here Steve is not whether a film is a financial hit or not. Disney so often quotes their films as instant classics. You are totally correct that they canít force it but they can
manipulate it. For example Armageddon. A film that most consider very weak yet swallowed huge boxoffice. The only thing a studio canít do is keep it huge. Only time and the public determines if a
film becomes a real classic.

:Are we trying to make classics or are we trying to make enough money to make other companies hungry enough to try to make animation also?

As I said, being prepared to totally lose is the best sign of whether it is worth doing to me. Whether companies want to do films is up to them. If their desire was really an honest one they would make sure the script was together and hire people who have enough experience to run it. Most unfortunately scamble to throw together the unit with no research , hire mouth pieces and waste money infighting over silly story points they can get credits for and what big names they can get.

:It would be nice if making a great animated film was
enough, but while it may feed the soul it doesn't pay the bills. Let's assume that the Kroyers hadn't left Quest and they somehow managed to make it a great film (Though I doubt anyone's presence
could have made that into a great film)

Not given the total interference.

:, but the public still didn't respond - and we all know that the public doesn't always respond to great films. Warners would still be in exactly the same situation
they are now.

Kroyers story was more like Mulan. It didnít sink to bad gag humor. Chances are totally the opposite in terms of sucess. Why hire him if you canít see that he knows his job ? I went there just to work with him because like Brad Bird, Kirk and Gary, John and Ron , I believe he is one of the best out there. As an animator I know he is totally knowledgeable of boarding, timing, staging and acting.
For me my past experiences with him have been nothing short of pure joy. Not because he is a pal, because he is a total professional. It is beyond me to believe that he could do less than a great job given his talent.

Here is just a note. The best directors I have worked with know what they want. They know the character. Their boards are gospel. Their overview of the film is clear so their pacing is in control.

:Undecided as to whether to continue or not and laying off hundreds of animators and not execs.

That is the nature of animation. I would rather be laid off than jump into another film without the proper developement. The hell that causes is far worse than any time I have to spend reflecting.

: :By the way, I really enjoyed Mulan. I think it will stay for a long time.

:I agree - i think Mulan was Disney's best film in years. It was formula, but they pulled it off very well - much better than the last 3 or 4 films.

Sorry. I really liked HB too. Perhaps Iím prejudice but Iím rather proud of having worked on it. Tony, Don, Kirk and Gary also made it a great experience. I think they suffered the Pocha lash back domestically. Still , it made 300 million so I think Iím not alone in this thought.

:: The only reason I agreed to work on POE (my contract was for ElDorado) is because the first day I got there Jeffery was talking to a bunch of us and quite honestly admitted that the three of them had
NO idea if this film would do well. They even accepted it might totally flop. They just didnít know and felt it was a film they had to do. Just accepting that made it easy to work on. There was noď gotta
be a megaď hit pressure at all.

:I would've loved to work on POE and my feelings as to whether it would be a hit were a long-shot at best. I really admire them for "going for it" and I enjoyed that film as well especially the
relationship between Rameses and Moses.

Again, Iím prejudice having worked on it. I swore I would never touch it but was surprised by what Simon, Brenda and Steve had done with it. By the way, in terms of directors, those three were heaven to work for. All of them. They are just incredibly professional and talented. All of them worked totally together and never fought amongst themselves. It was so easy and I really loved it. Five snaps for them.

: :The discussion needs to identify the problem in more detail before we could discuss a solution.

:So far I've seen very lttle identification. Just a lot of blame. Hopefully this meeting will help.

I would like more discussion before meeting. I need to hear what solutions are possible and what arenít.
Myself I would truly love for Brads Birds Iron Giant to get the press it needs. How can we help ? Itís a film that needs to be boosted because it represents the exact opposite of a managers film. He did this little film on a small budget and put his heart in it. My feeling is that Kroyers leaving is why this film was able to exist this way. Without allowing the corparate controllers to have their failure alone it would have been blamed on Kroyer (not that he would have been able to accept their approach at all). Iron Giant needs to get press.

:: Well, you know what I found.
: :1)I treat everyone the same (animator, cleanup, inbetweener, cleaning staff, security, pizza deliver people) and listen when I see someone in obvious pain. I donít run from them like they have the

I agree and that's the way i work, except it often still will create enemies.

That is the thing about people. Some see you the way they want no matter what. This is where your ability to forgive and put things into perspective comes in.

:: 3)I believe failure is a natual part of learning and donít penalize people for mistakes.

:Agree. I'm always willing to alter my work if need be, but not many I've come across are so willing.

Well, what I try to do is retain everything in their animation. If it is just drawing it can be fixed than it will not change what they have done as an animator. People invest a lot of time in the work despite the fact it may not be exactly what you want. Our want does not eliminate or invalidate that persons efforts. Our understanding that is incredibly important.

:: 4)I donít tear down others to make myself feel bigger.

:Agree. I's important to stay constructive, but sometimes necessary to jump in with both feet - I admit I' not always the most tactful, but sometimes time and budget necessitate this.

Well, that can earn you some real enemies if you are not. Being tactful is terribly important , despite the fact you are totally exhausted or the film is low cost. People deserve that respect. I just ask myself how I would want to be treated if it were me.

Films last maybe an hour, the production usually an year and a half. Itís definantly worth the time to put yourself in the other persons shoes.

:: 5) Iím honest with them and expect the same from them. I donít try and keep them out of companies I go to (yes even the people that hate me) because I believe that it is not my right.

:Agree. I've more than once had to save the job of a worker (that I was fond of) because they were an important component in the equation. Unfortunately I've not seen the same consideration from

Ahh. That is the rub, isnít it. Perfection is not something that determines a persons worth. If you keep in mind their is always someone better than you , it will allow you to let people work towards personal challenges rather than towards competing. If I want absolute perfection I will work with a machine.

:: 6) I forgive people who plot against people because I think it is something you need to pity them for. People are weak if that is how they have to function, not strong as they would like to think.

:Agree. I only hope that" Karma" works.

It does. A very wise person said ďWhat goes around comes aroundď.

:: 7) I can forgive .

:Agree, but it's best not to forget.

Funny, but after things happen I donít think not forgetting is a problem. Forgiving for some is.

:: 8)If any producer is weak enough to allow these weak plotting people to prevail then it is a job I would rather not have.

:Often it's the producers that allow those types to exist in the firs place.

They always exist but yes a bad producer can feed it. Iíd like to think of it as a huge waste for all parties involved.

:Sometimes one doesn't have a choice as far as jobs - I'm glad you do.

For the moment. All things change.

:: As an animator, no one gives you your ability. You came with it. Politics donít rob you of it nor do people working behind your back nullify it. It is always there. You will be an animator here or you
will be it where ever you go. No company owns that. No company can take it from you. The parking sticker is the most that they can get back.

:Agree. unfortunately, as you know, sometimes ability is not always enough.

Agreed. Ability to work with a team, genuine love of people and a childlike curiousity help. I do this because I love it. Otherwise I would be hooking 20,000 pd bundles of steel to a crane. This much effort could not be justified by money.

:We obviously agree on most things I'm just not as good as you at expressing my :opinion in typing. Beleive it or not I'm actually an optimist.
:Drop me a line sometime through e-mail. we don't have to carry this :conversation on so publicly if you don't want.


That would be fine Steve. The discussion is interesting. Itís not often we get to express them this way. Being an optimist is important. Itís not that we should put blinders on but giving people the benefit of the doubt and a real chance is a good bet to make. I find it creates more winners than losers. I like that. See ya. Dave.

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