JAMES BATES:The LA Times article

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Posted by Dave Brewster on April 29, 2000 at 01:02:19:

This was co-written by James Bates the author of the previous article that a year and a half ago slammed DWs by taking quotes from DWs animators out of context (I know the animators and was told by them that the quotes were not what they said at all). His bent was always "animators are overpaid". His work is poorly researched, out of proper context and seems to reach for preconcieved "wants" as conclusions. Not exactly what reporting should be.

The money problems on El Dorado came from having a entire staff sit around while rewrites were happening and the cost was carried by DWs because they tried with all their might to not lay anyone off. Bastards huh ? Keeping people on like that. This was a lesson they had to learn the hard way and the letting go of staff while gearing up for Spirit was basically just the inbetweeners , some clean up people and people who were on loan out from Warners to help finish ELD. People down the chain of production. Crew is due to come back soon when there is work for them. The company had to become leaner and could not afford the production collision that happened on the last film. It was the smartest move they could make. They chose to correct the mistakes they made rather than sacrifice the studio out of trying to be kind.

El Dorados poor showing is something film makers risk all the time. There were no "secret projections " that I know of and the idiotic assumption that any company would project low for any film they haven't done seems a ridiculous. The company can not instantly create a history like Disneys and even Disney had failures. It is a process that takes years to establish.

When I was at DWs someone came up after POE was just released and started talking about "profit sharing" and "where was their money"? That is the kind of people James Bates wants to interview. It was always understood by anyone with even the slightest business sense that the studio had to make a real profit before it could be "shared". Bates quoting Steve was the silliest of all since it was already known that profits would be tied up in current productions and not just tossed out to people like the free lunchs. Their is no question that had the films done incredibly well there would be profits to share. DWs was the LEADER in paying it's employees well, feeding them for free and providing them with the best place they could to do their work. To even harp on the obvious seems not only petty but just a continuation of James Bates outstanding hate of Jeffrey.

I've also seen the work on Spirit and I have to say that it is nothing short of stunning. Totally different . Incredibly beautiful. The studio is gaining it's legs through the only real way to build a studio , experience. It takes no real genius to see they are acting responsably by doing things that allow the proper development process and trimming down to keep costs reasonable. James Bates may try to make it look like it's failure driven while those of us who know the company see it as absolutely intelligent foresight (and well learned). Perhaps in his next article he could take a wider view without coming to the conclusions well before he begins to research.

DWs (like Max and Dave were ) will always be portrayed as "the Disney enemy" while the only real goal is to do film as well as possible. If Mr. Bates was trying to show DWs how to try and aim lower by not having such high hopes for their work than his article must have reached his own lower expectations.

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