Re: JAMES BATES:The LA Times article

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Posted by A fly on the wall on April 29, 2000 at 02:16:27:

In Reply to: JAMES BATES:The LA Times article 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

Agreed that the article was terribly slanted.

: 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.
: 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.

I know what you're saying, Dave, but I see this very differently. You correctly state that the money problems came from paying a crew while story problems were worked out (and by the way, since the whole crew on El Dorado was on "end of picture" contracts, they couldn't have done then what they did now on Spirit).
BUT, the solution to the problem is NOT to cut the crew loose when you find you're into a production without having solved your story/plot/theme/character issues. THAT is NOT correcting the mistakes. That is merely cutting your loses. The real solution is to get your act together before the greenlight is given.
Unfortunately, I see some of the same problems happening again on the next picture in preproduction right now. Having everyone on week-to-week contracts will again allow DW to keep from running up a huge deficit, but it won't make the film better, it won't build company loyalty, it won't turn DW into the studio it so much wants to be.
The real solution, one which I'm not sure the powers that be can admit, is that real creative and artistic leadership needs to be nurtured, demanded, expected, and allowed to flourish. Filmmaking by committee, with the producer making the final decision on everything, is a recipe for trouble.

: 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).

I don't doubt the intelligence and the quality of the work, but I do doubt the foresight. I think Spirit will be a very hard film to sell, and I think the picture after that will be, too. There can't be just one person making all these decisions. There was only one Walt Disney, and even his instincts failed him on a regular basis.

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