It’s time to talk about that favorite subject of mine, my personal crusade, foreign outsourcing. No one is talking about it, and we are in serious trouble. Candidate Howard Dean says he plans on creating two million jobs if elected. But it isn’t creation we need, it’s retention! No one was concerned when animators lost their jobs to inferior overseas production. Will we worry when its programmers, technicians, customer service, virtually all kinds of white collar jobs? Jobs we never thought would be vulnerable are going to India, Korea and the Phillipines.
The popular response to this complaint is that we should retrain ourselves for other jobs. But that’s not a solution. We retrain ourselves and then that job is outsourced later, or we find ourselves competing for the very few supervisory positions available. Once there was a thriving television animation industry. Now animators compete for the very few pre-production jobs, many of which are also starting to go overseas. Animators who then trained themselves in 3-D are now also being threatened by Indian studios vigorously clammering for 3-D work. Or, like Big Idea, the jobs go to Canada.
Not a week goes by that I don’t get yet another poorly translated e-mail from an Indian studio trying to get me to outsource to them. The only joy I get out of these solicitations is going to look at their site to see just how poor the work is going to be this time. But executives aren’t concerned with quality anymore, and outsourcing has not only killed this industry, it’s buried it six feet down and poured cement on top of it.
Scott and I support Roy Disney and his cause, and if you support him too, you can let him know by going to SaveDisney.com. Letters and cartoons related to the Roy Disney movement can be submitted to the site and have a good chance of being posted. Eisner is on a mission to remove everyone that criticizes him from power, and we are on a mission to remove Eisner. Why do I loathe Mr. Eisner? My reasons follow:
- For having the vision to allow Michael Graves to create the Swan and the Dolphin, only to hand over their upkeep to chains outside of Disney. They are the most poorly kept up hotels in the parks.
- For supporting his ignoramus of a son’s porn cartoon website, Romp.com (now defunct).
- For the pathetic deterioration of Disneyland that has caused the close of several attractions and numerous serious accidents.
- For Disney’s California Adventure, called “cheap” by Roy himself, though all of us knew it already.
- For producing the Insane Clown Posse. Because they’re controversial? No, because they’re terrible.
- For unleashing Britney Spears and N’Sync on an innocent world. What did we do to deserve that?
- For refusing to exercise even some minor controls over the melee that is Gay Day.
- For his unholy alliance with the Weinsteins, who have every right to make films (many of which are very good), but should not be doing so in partnership with a company that calls themselves “family.”
- For wasting time and money on ABC.
- And the best reason of all, for the repeated desecration of some of the best films ever made with sequels that are not only written with only money in mind, but made so much on the cheap that even the kids are disgusted.
And let me add, that I loved the Country Bears, and removing the ride, then following it up with a farce of a movie, was really the icing on the cake, even for Eisner.
Triplettes of Belleville is out in Seattle, please pardon me if I choose not to get the French title precisely right. “Triplettes” best asset is the way it takes advantage of the traditional medium to prove once again that animation is not restricted by the laws of physics or even common sense. In its way, its also refreshingly unconcerned with many of the laws of animation drilled into our American brains. That doesn’t mean “Triplettes” is an example of how all home-grown animation should be done. Appeal is nowhere to be found in the character designs; sometimes they’re fun, sometimes disturbing. And a number of sequences, especially the frog scenes, mingled with the heavy atmosphere of Seattle’s Egyption theatre and induced nausea. At least for both of us. But this sometimes playful, sometimes dreary film is a window into another world, unique and memorable.
“Triplettes” will be a contender for the Oscar this year, but passing over “Nemo” would be a slap in the face for Pixar that would be very undeserved. “Nemo” is an enormous achievement, and this needs to be Pixar’s year. My contention is that the choice of Shrek over Monster’s Inc was a Dreamworks over Disney decision, even an anti-Eisner decision. Choosing “Triplettes” over “Nemo,” a film with a limited audience that few in the States will really understand or even like, would be a misguided attempt to look intellectual. Or perhaps an example of Hollywood supporting France for political reasons. Whatever the case, “Nemo” is not only one of the best films of the year, but a milestone in technology, in box office numbers, and in animation history.
Which brings me to another milestone, the theatrical release of Destino. It was touching to once again see Roy Disney’s name in the credits of a project that would never have been finished otherwise. Walt Disney and Salvador Dali came together in the forties to produce a short during the time when Disney features were combinations of unrelated musical numbers. While watching Destino however, my thought was, “What were they thinking in the first place?” Destino is a mish mash of bizarre, surreal imagery. Well, yes, of course it is, it’s Salvador Dali isn’t it? But if I had ever bothered to ask myself, would I like to sit through a series of moving Dali paintings that tempts me with a story, yet never actually delivers one, set to a musical chorus right out of the Three Cabelleros, would I have said yes? When it was finished, I knew the answer for sure. One thing I can say about Destino: I’ve never tried LSD, and now I feel like I’ll never need to. Yet I don’t feel any better off for it. I’m expecting to see an Oscar nomination for it in the short category, and considering the lack of serious competition these days it might have a shot at winning.