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Month: January 2015

Update on Dreamworks Layoffs. It is Much, Much, Much Worse.

The western animation industry has taken one of the biggest blows in its history. And the VFX market is heading towards dislocation.

PDI/Dreamworks Redwood, was one of  the biggest CGI production companies in history. They produced some of the most high end CGI this side of ILM, and they were the best in the business from 1983 to 1992. Some of those fantastic works pre Dreamworks will be shown to show what used to be the epic feel, and wonderful production – the hype before the event.

But here is the bad news:

Dreamworks going to be hit with massive layoffs (400).

The LA Times states:

In a move to cut operating costs, the Glendale studio intends to significantly reduce the size of its workforce, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the plans.

Layoffs are expected to include animators, story-board artists and other production personnel and support staff at the studio’s Glendale and Redwood City facilities, which employ about 2,200 workers.

A spokesman for DreamWorks said the company “does not comment on rumor and speculation.”

The restructuring comes after a turbulent period for DreamWorks Animation, which has been attempting to diversify its operations following a rocky period at the box office that has eroded profits and caused a sharp decline in the company’s share price.

The company, founded two decades ago, has struggled to replicate the success of its earlier “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “Madagascar” movies.

The company has reported three write-downs in the last two years for “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” “Rise of the Guardians” and “Turbo.”

More at the LA Times

In a unusual move, Mandy Patinkin will voice Papa Smurf in new Animated Smurfs movie.

The last two times he did voices in animation was for Ghibi’s The Wind Rises and Jock the Hero Dog:

Homeland star Mandy Patinkin is in final negotiations to voice Papa Smurf in Sony Pictures Animations’ reboot of The Smurfs.

Kelly Asbury, the animation vet who was nominated for the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or for Shrek 2and directed the animated comedy Gnomeo & Juliet, is helming the feature project, which is an all-animated venture.

Downington Abbey gets animated…for at least 11 minutes.

I really didnt know Arthur was still going – now in its 16th season?!

In the drama-filled “Fountain Abbey,” Muffy finds herself absolutely devastated when she learns her great-great grandmother, Mary Alice, wasn’t royalty at all. She was a common maid — oh, the indignity! However, through reading Mary Alice’s diary, Muffy is transported back in time to the famous English estate where her ancestor worked. There she discovers the surprising story behind her humble roots.

GKids, Gets Marnie as the Last Films of Ghibi come state side:

Animation distributor GKIDS has announced that it has entered into a distribution agreement with Studio Ghibli for the North American rights to the upcoming animated feature When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Marnie). Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arrietty) and based on the British children’s novel by Joan G. Robinson, the film tells the story of a troubled young girl, Anna, who finds herself drawn to the abandoned Marsh House and a mysterious girl Marnie who appears in the window.

Is “Me and My Shadow” Back from the dead? The TAG Union Thinks So…

The TAG Union Blog stated this:

To give a bit of history on Shadow: the movie was in development in 2011, when Mark Dindal was developing the feature from an idea by one J. Katzenberg. Mark started work on the picture in 2010.

I saw some of the early art and test animation, and it looked promising. Different. Mark was nice enough to sit down for a TAG blog interview when he was slammed with work on the film (we talked in a DWA conference room and cut the session short when he had to get to a meeting); seven months later he had departed the project due to creative differences. (From accounts these were actual, 24-karat creative differences. Not the fake press release kind designed to cover a firing.)

Sony, Dreamworks and Disney: “Lawsuits are Not Going to Work”

Note: There will be two articles coming that will showcase a bit more about what is going on in the VFX world – and give you the whole view on why their are so many problems ahead for VFX and Motion Capture as a whole.

The recent expose concerning the techopolis scandal in animation has built up a firestorm in the VFX and animation world. That being said, the lawsuit that is in play in the courts could change the way Movies and TV are done for the foreseeable future.

Which makes this news item curious:

On Friday, The Walt Disney Company, DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures and Blue Sky Studios fired heavy legal artillery at a proposed class action lawsuit that aims to punish the studios for allegedly conspiring to deny workers in the visual effects community better work opportunities. The defendants are demanding a dismissal on new antitrust claims as coming too late and being bereft of necessary factual support.

The Venture Bros. Returns With an All-New Special

One can never get enough of The Venture Bros., especially since the series seems to take its sweet time during season breaks (at least, compared to other animated series that have no off-seasons.) Thankfully for fans like us, Publick and Hammer’s award-winning adult comedy series will be premiering an all new hour-long special on Monday, January 19 at midnight ET/PT on Adult Swim.

Titled ‘The Venture Bros: All This and Gargantua-2,’ the series will follow the Ventures and a bunch of other colorful characters as they come aboard the Gargantua-2 space station and encounter things that are not stated in the travel brochure:

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