This turned out to be a very exciting day, as talks between Disney and Pixar concerning their distribution deal ended with Pixar’s release after the next two films are up. This is an appropriate blow to Disney, who closed Florida feature only a few weeks ago and announced that they would produce all future releases as 3D films. No longer able to profit off of Pixar’s hard work, Disney will now have to find another way to make good on that promise. If they open their own studio they will be 1) lacking in credibility after their last ill-fated 3D studio effort 2) woefully inexperienced in the field 3) going into competition with Pixar. Difficult obstacles to overcome. Of course Disney retains the rights to the Toy Story franchise and every other film they’ve made together, so watch for plenty of exploitation of what’s still available to them.
More news on the outsourcing front; this post from Animation Nation member Augusto:
Outsourcing work to cheap labor is not an animation issue, as pointed out before is an issue for most workers in this country. I work for a very big corporation, and luckly I haven’t been outsourced (yet), but we have moved massive amounts of jobs overseas, while laying off staff here. During the boom in our industry (let’s just say it’s Energy related) we were ok with our manufacturing plants, but now they are gone. We have moved all corporate support to India, and have moved research centers there and to other parts of Asia. The billing department is no longer in the US, that’s done in India too. In the meantime, many in the US have to put up with the indignity of training H1-B and L1 visa replacements here in the US. We’re replacing radiologists with offshore counterparts, and pretty soon MRI scans will be analysed offshore too.
For more information on how L1 Visas are affecting American workers, see this testimony from a Siemens employee at a Senate hearing.
I would like to add, before it slips my mind, that Michel Gagne has a new book and sculpture out. His sculptures look nice in photographs, but they look even better in person! If you have any shelf space left, consider getting another weird rabbit.
I’ve been graciously offered a subscription to Animation Express, a newsletter that beams itself right into my inbox from Indiantelevision.com. I appreciate this to no end; how else would I get frequent updates about foreign outsourcing that I can bring to the attention of other artists, and where oh where would I be without so many articles by studios in India telling me more about their success?
The article that immediately caught my attention this morning was this one: Passage to Asia and India: A 3D Overview of 2003. It was inevitable that once local producers realized they could send animation overseas, and once foreign studios realized 2D was only a part of the whole, these two eager beavers would get together and start sending 3D jobs out of the country. Those animators who retrained themselves are finding that 3D is a temporary answer to their problems. None of this is really news, except perhaps how much the asian animation industry intends to grow and how fast. What was interesting is that Indian studios are hoping to break out of the service provider rut. Join the club guys.
Oscar nominations are out today, and no great surprises there if you caught the Globes. What I noticed immediately while going over the list was my prediction was correct: Destino is in the running for Best Animated Short. Competition in that category is meager these days, but to be fair Destino is a solid entry, even if I didn’t care for it myself.
Everyone’s eyes will be on the animated feature category, where only three entries made it in this year: Brother Bear, Finding Nemo and Triplettes of Belleville. I expected this, and it was an easy prediction, that those that vote for what they don’t understand and is therefore art would end up duking it out with the rest of us. Already Ebert and Roper, two of my least favorite people on television, have made their case for “Triplettes”. I did enjoy “Triplettes”, as I said in a previous entry, but Nemo amazed me, and Pixar is more than deserving. Noticeably absent is Sinbad, though not undeservedly so in my own opinion. Brother Bear enjoys a nomination it has a very small chance of turning into Oscar gold, and as I’m not putting much faith in Home on the Range, it looks as if Disney traditional animation will fade into the night without ever having won an Academy Award for one of their features. Incredible, unbelievable irony.
And one particular note to Roper, who said last night on the O’Reilly Factor that conservatives are not creative: You might want to put some salve on that bias, Jack.