Dream On Silly Dreamer

Features, Shorts, Live-Action and Direct-To-Video
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Postby Christian » February 8th, 2005, 2:38 am

Oh, yeah. It's Evelyn.

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Dream on Silly Dreamer showing in Columbus Thursday...

Postby GeorgeC » April 26th, 2005, 6:50 pm

I'm a registered participant in the Columbus Chapter of Animation Co-Op and I just got an e-mail from our CCAD (Columbus College of Art & Design) sponsor that there's a free public showing of "Dream On Silly Dreamer" at the Canzani Auditorium April 28th (Thursday) at 7:00 PM...

One of that film's producers/directors is appearing in-town to answer questions. He's also an alumnus of CCAD.

Also showing is another animation documentary but the name escapes me.

I didn't think I'd get to see a free showing of this movie any time soon!

Pays to live near the state's biggest city!

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Postby GeorgeC » April 28th, 2005, 12:44 am

I'm going to try and make this meeting on Thursday...

I definitely plan on asking questions to the filmmaker who's showing up for the viewing.

I've heard scuttlebutt about the Disney Orlando studio's problems... Be interesting to hear from a veteran of the West coast branch.

And I'm definitely going to ask some questions that might be a bit uncomfortable and less genteel to ask, but I think they need to be asked because there's been an awful lot of B.S. peddled by the studios, schools, and animation industry over the past 15 years that I'd kind of like to partially sort through.

I doubt a 45-minute film is going to address everything that I have questions about.

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Postby Christian » April 28th, 2005, 12:53 am

If it's Dan Lund you're talking about he has worked in both the Burbank and Orlando studios.

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Postby GeorgeC » April 28th, 2005, 2:24 am

No, it's Tony West who's going to be present at the CCAD meeting. West went to CCAD years ago and is a guest alumnus.

There's another film called "AOL: Animation On Location" that's also showing with "Dream On Silly Dreamer."

I just know if I don't get some questions down before the meeting I'm going to miss an opportunity to get some things answered... There's almost a secrety society mentality to every industry you can think where you have to ask questions and sometimes have to code things to get answers. It's something I've never liked and I'm going to see for myself how candid this guy is.

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Postby GeorgeC » April 28th, 2005, 10:36 pm

Okay,

Got back from the Dream on Silly Dreamer event about 40 minutes ago.

The meeting ran a bit past 9 PM since a lot of us had questions.

I've gotta say that on the whole, it's a bittersweet film. It's a WELL-made documentary, but there's no question this film about Disney doesn't have a happy ending.

I was impressed by Tony West. He's an ex-Disney effects animator who went to school at CCAD in the late 1980s and was literally on the ground floor of the Florida studio from its opening through its closing for 13 years. He knew a lot of people there and now works with a few ex-Disney animators at an outfit called Project Firefly which I believe operates off the Universal Studios Backlot in Orlando. (Been on that backlot, know where it is... Hopefully they didn't suffer too much from the hurricanes that hit the area about 2 years ago.)

DOSD is his first film and it was a big learning experience for him. There were a ton of interviews that DIDN'T make the cut into the film. The documentary was mostly filmed within days of the decision to close down the Disney Feature Animation Studios.

The people that worked at Disney Feature Animation loved their jobs and struggled for years through low pay, insane work hours, and indifferent management to craft lovely films -- several of which (mainly the 1989-1994 features) are as good as anything produced during Walt Disney's life. They're under no illusions that they were poorly paid for their work, but that isn't the point. The fact is that they loved working for a company that let them do what they wanted with their adult lives. They're sad, though, that everybody got greedy in the mid-1990s and the atmosphere that used to exist pre-1994 was destroyed by management's insistence on producing yearly $300 million blockbusters.

Although Tony West has hopes that Disney may re-open traditional animation, he's under no illusion that it will ever be the same again.

There are plans to release the DVD -- hopefully as a 2-disc set -- but West and Lund have had problems finding distributors for a 40-minute film and it's mostly been shown at festivals and free events like today's. The Disney Company, of course, has no comment on the fairness and accuracy of this film and continues to sit behind the B.S. of the sociopathic, soul-eating managers that run the company.

Stay tuned to www.dreamonsillydreamer.com to see news about the eventual DVD release of this excellent film. Tony West says there are plans to get it out in time for the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland... They're shooting for a June, July release and hope to get the DVD on Amazon.com but definitely have plans to release it through the website.

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Postby Josh » April 28th, 2005, 11:02 pm

What were some of the questions asked that might have made certain people feel uncomfortable?

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Postby GeorgeC » April 29th, 2005, 12:09 am

Nothing was said that made anybody feel uncomfortable.

Disney management is acting like the film wasn't made, but they're aware of it and somebody at the company apparently got a copy of it. There isn't a darn thing they can do about it because the story presented in the film is another side -- the REALITY that Disney's current spin-meisters deny occurred.

This film plus the Disney War book have done serious damage to the public perception of Disney management and there's no question that nobody will ever look Eisner and the vast majority of Disney executives the same way again. They're jealous, petty people who double-talk and lie to each other, the public, and their employees ALL the time. The Disney Company management wasn't like that BEFORE Eisner was installed in 1984.

Most of us who HAVE been paying attention and have read Disney War know how we feel about Eisner... (He's the snake in the Garden of Eden...) I'm sorry to tell you guys that pull for Eisner and Katzenberg all the time, but neither man comes off well when more facts and accounts are unveiled to the public. The mess that traditional animation is in today is mainly because of those two egotistical men.

Tony West was very conciliatory, no swearing, and it was basically a family-friendly G-rated meeting. The film is very sweet and doesn't have the four-letter words and condemnations (ie, go to hell!) that are common with regards to current Disney management.

West isn't burning bridges and he genuinely seemed to want what's best for Disney. He's one of thousands of ex-Disney artists who STILL believe in the traditions that Walt Disney started. If Disney restarted traditional animation today, a bunch of these people would come back to work for the company. On the other hand, he doesn't feel that current Disney management made the right choices and that they killed the goose that laid the golden eggs that made Disney an icon.

The sad fact is that the general public that watches these films was clueless about what was going on until Disney admitted they shuttered their animation studios. For months, tour guides at the animation building in Disney/MGM were instructed to tell Disney guests that the animation department was on vacation while the building was being remodelled... This was months AFTER everybody had been laid off!

(A real crappy final job that Disney Orlando gave to its artists was to paint the windows in the animation building over in black paint so the public wouldn't see that the building was empty!)

FYI, the latest casualty tolls for Disney animation suggest that 1300 is a far too conservative tally for the number of people laid off that USED to work for Disney Feature Animation. A closer number, taking into account all the studios Disney used to have around the world that did feature animation, is actually 4500 people! Remember, that in addition to Burbank and Orlando, that Disney had satellite studios in France, Japan, and Canada. Currently, only the studio in Australia is doing traditional animation for the upcoming Bambi 2 video release.

West said the film will be changed for the DVD release to reflect the newer, more accurate tally...

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Postby Ben » April 30th, 2005, 9:27 am

Even though it's just a 40 minute film, I can't see why they would be having trouble finding a distrib if it's a planned two disc set.

They should team up with Trudie Styler and get The Sweatbox on there as well! ;)

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Postby ShyViolet » May 1st, 2005, 5:18 pm

I'm sorry to tell you guys that pull for Eisner and Katzenberg all the time, but neither man comes off well when more facts and accounts are unveiled to the public. The mess that traditional animation is in today is mainly because of those two egotistical men.


I'm under no illusions that Eisner is a saint, he's made a A LOT of mistakes and I totally DO blame him for what's happened to traditonal animation.....although not completely. I think part of it is that the world is changing, as well as the kind of entertainment people expect to see and sometimes as an executive it's your job to "go with the flow" EVEN IF IT MEANS MAKING TOUGH DECISIONS.
I think what happened to traditional animation was wrong, but I know enough of Disney history from a variety of different sources to understand that Eisner is responsible for a lot of good things that have occured at Disney, particularly in regard to the parks and the studios. It's easy to say he's a monster, but then you're blinding yourself in one eye. Things are never that simple. I actually don't blame Eisner one bit for feeling angry and betrayed at James Stewart; he offered Stewart unprecedented access to the company and Stewart turned around and did a hatchet job on him. I'm not saying that Stewart should not have included negative things about Eisner, but his book barely mentioned any of the positive things Eisner did or try to explore his deeper characteristics....which answers the question of why the book comes off as so unbearably bland. I'm sorry, but even if I completely hated Eisner's guts, that's just bad writing, bad journalism, bad reporting. Plain and simple.

(And all this stuff about Frank Wells being some kind saint or "good angel"? Come on!!! I'm sure he was a great guy and everything, but he was just as much into making money as anyone in that company. Why else do you think they were successful in that early period? Frank Wells was chosen because he was one tough guy--a corporate lawyer at Warner Brothers for crying out loud. He was the one who negotiated all the deals that cemented Disney's reputation as a "ravenous rat". And yeah, you could always say: "Oh Eisner MADE him it." I'm sorry, but that's not how things work in the real world. Also, I completely don't buy that Roy Disney was Eisner's manipulated peaon for all those years--they were SO buddy-buddy for so many years, Eisner let Roy have everything he wanted. They socialized all the time together. Maybe animators who revere Roy should go to www.wireimage.com and check out some early photos of them posing together in publicity pictures. Roy was not anyone's stooge--trust me.)

About Katzenberg, I think if anything that book showed how hard he really worked and that he DID care about animation and WANTED it to succeed. Yeah so he wasn't perfect....who is? Maybe he did make them work crazy hours sometimes, but he worked even HARDER than anyone else did. And please don't try to tell me that he screwed up Feature Animation....yeah, that place was really printing money before he came along wasn't it?? He completely devoted himself to that department, he DID care about it, just like he cares about DreamWorks now. None of those artists who made that film would ever admit that he did a good job, however, or that the renaissance had anything to do with him; they'd be betraying their "brothers" or something. Give....me.....a.....break!!!!

And even though James *kiss up to Roy" Stewart tries to make it look like Roy E is some kind of hero, he does let one particularly damning anecdote slip out: The hissy fit/bitch-and-moan thing Roy does when Katzenberg organizes that first meeting.....On a SUNDAY at 7am: Oh, the horror! OK, now it's clear why Roy wanted K fired. Those animation meetings cut into his "permanant vacation" time.

And George, you're right--the facts, by and large, have not really been unveiled to the public....if anything Disney has been OBSCURING the facts about K for ten years now, acting like he never existed, just like they do with that Dreamer film. If anything, I think that once the facts REALLY start to come out (once Eisner is gone) K will be understood better, and so will his HUGE contribution to animation.
"It is written among the limitless constellations of the celestial heavens, and in the depths of the emerald seas....the world which we see is an outward and visible dream of an inward and invisible reality."

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A different take on "Dream on Silly Dreamer"

Postby CoryMitchell » May 11th, 2005, 11:57 am

we got an interesting e-mail at JHM that had a real scathing review of "Dream on Silly Dreamer". check it out.

http://www.jimhillmedia.com/mb/articles ... hp?ID=1439

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Postby Christian » May 11th, 2005, 12:17 pm

I'm tempted to write this up and we do need some news to post for today but I would have a hard time being unbiased about it since I know this guy got EVERYTHING wrong. See my response as Darth Maui at Jim's board.

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Postby CoryMitchell » May 11th, 2005, 12:53 pm

Christian,
I had no idea that you were Darth Maui on our boards! I'm glad to see that you are over there. When we relauch the site with it's new design, we should work out some links back and forth between our sites. I hit Animated-News more often than JHM on most days.

Cory Mitchell
Creative Director, JHM

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Postby GeorgeC » May 13th, 2005, 12:54 am

I read the dissenting letter.

My take on it is that the letter-writer is a TV animation person who's jealous of the feature animation guys. It's sad in a way that it seems he's talking some delight in the fact that hand-drawn feature animaton is dead in the US...

Let's face it -- hand-drawn feature animation got far higher budgets than TV animation, isn't outsourced, and frankly smacks the pants off of most TV animation in pure quality. (The only stuff on TV that looks as good as feature animation was originally screened as theatrical shorts between the 1930s and 1950s!) There's no way that outsourced, limited TV animation is going to beat feature animation in quality unless the feature itself is outsourced, too! 22 minutes of $250,000 to $500,000 worth of outsourced LIMITED animation is NOT going to look as good as 22 minutes (out of 85 minutes total run time) of hand-drawn full-animation done in country by a team of hundreds of artists working with a a budget of $70 million to $80 million!

I've encountered arrogant animation pros both online and in real-life. Generally speaking, the worst types are the guys who have their own websites and rule their bulletin boards (and others) like they're miniature fiefdoms. I could name names if I wanted to, but I'm not going to do that because there's no point in doing that. These fellows tend to be guys that work or worked in TV animation. Some of them still occasionally post at Animation Nation but generally stay in their little corner of the Internet where they never get questioned seriously and charge people fees for the privilege of posting on their bulletin boards.

Inevitably, for whatever reasons, I've found far more TV animation pros to be arrogant and less secure than the feature animation folks I've met in real life. TV animation has probably been cut to the bone as far as it can without completely driving people out. If there weren't such a language barrier problem, I'd wager that TV animation production would have left the US entirely over 2 decades ago. There really aren't any TV character animation posititions left -- the only jobs done in-country are character design, boarding, layout, backgrounds, and script writing along with technical sound jobs (scoring, mixing, ADR, voice recording) and voice direction. The rest of it is outsourced overseas. It's a cheat and a lie I think to call someone working on a TV show an animator when his job is storyboarding or layout. Even moreso when the job is character design which is even further removed from animation.

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Postby Ben » May 14th, 2005, 4:22 pm

We don't generally feature links between sites, but the old Animated Movies page contains plenty, including JHM! :)