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article

Disney-Pixar Merger Op-Ed Piece in the New York Times

I came across this great editorial in the New York Times about the Disney-Pixar deal. One thing I’ve learned recently about the deal is that the company is purging itself of most of the middle management that isn’t directly involved in creating the artwork. What they are doing is recreating the old Disney studio from the 1930s when Walt was in charge and story was king.

In the end, Disney is doing something that perhaps no other corporation of this size has ever done: actively de-corporatizing itself. It is reassigning authority from the bureaucracy to a small group of creative individuals. It is, in short, trying to resurrect Walt Disney and his early hands-on management style. Running the company out of his own head was a difficult enough task for Walt Disney himself. Whether the new crew can pull it off is anyone’s guess. But if they do, it will reverse the dynamics of the entire entertainment industry by empowering the putative visionaries over the suits.

Times Article – When You Wish Upon a Merger.

Categories
animation

Toy Story 3 Shelved

It has only been a short time since Disney’s all stock buy-out of Pixar and already some big changes are under way. The Los Angeles Times reports that with this deal comes an end to quarrel over Pixar sequels.

In remarks made during a Tuesday conference call with analysts, Iger and Pixar Chief Executive Steve Jobs implied what other sources confirmed Wednesday: that Disney’s 150-plus-person Pixar sequels unit — which is housed in a Glendale warehouse and is already at work on Toy Story 3 — will soon be no more.

“We feel very strongly that if the sequels are going to be made, we want the people who were involved in the original films involved in the sequels,” Jobs said.

Iger sounded the same note.

“It was really important to me that the people who made the films originally, who had the vision, who knew the characters and the essence of these films get a shot at making any films that were derivative,” the Disney chief said.

“While Disney might have been able to make them, Pixar making them is just so much different,” Iger added. “Not to take away from the talent of other people who might have been picked to make them.”

The announcement isn’t a complete surprise since Disney making Pixar sequels (or not making them) was a major factor during negotiations. Still it’s nice to see that Disney will no longer be destroying classics as they have done in the past. And because Pixar is taking over for Walt Disney Feature Animation, I guess this also means no more Dumbo 2? (Yes, they really were thinking about it.)

Categories
Disney

Disney-Pixar Deal

I’ve been hearing rumours about Disney buying Pixar in an all-stock deal for a couple of days. Here is the lowdown:

The Telegraph article was the first one that I heard of announcing the deal.

Today the New York Times reports that Disney may announce their acquisition of Pixar as early as tomorrow. According to the Times, the deal would combine Pixar with Disney’s animation unit and give Mr. Jobs a seat on Disney’s board.

The LA TIMES article Walt’s Shoes at Disney Could Be a Fit for Jobs draws an interesting parallel between Steve Jobs and Walt Disney.

Harry Mccracken has a collection of interesting questions about the Disney-Pixar merger on his blog posting, Disney+Pixar=?.

Update: Over at Cartoon Brew they have a copy of an email from Walt Disney Feature Animation President David Stainton as he prepares to hand over the position to John Lasseter. Especially interesting is the comment from an anonymous Disney director.

Categories
Art

Mickey Mouse’s Suicide Attempts

A recently discovered old comic strip set from the 1930’s shows Mickey Mouse repeatedly attempting to end his own life when it appears Minnie has fallen for another mouse.
Update: Barnacle Press has removed the comics, here’s their explanation: “Mickey Mouse is gone because, even though those strips were terrific, in the Public Domain, and easily the most popular material on the site, we didn’t really feel comfortable with the attention they garnered from sites that linked to them. We didn’t want to be known as the novelty site where you can see Mickey try to kill himself!” You can still see a few of the pertinent frames here.

Categories
life travel

My Disneyland Vacation

Thursday, July 10th, 2003 – Early Evening

After deciding to actually go on this crazy trip the day had finally arrived (finally as in it had been almost 3 days since we got the tickets). I was planning to work both my life guarding job and then do 3 hours at the phone survey place. Well as luck would have it Anna-Maria talked me into phoning and getting the whole evening off so that we could just leave and get to Calgary. It was a good thing because it took me about an hour to get everything done I needed to, plus we ran over to Anna’s and then back to pickup some last minute laundry at my house. It was 9:30 by the time we arrived at Wally’s house. We ran out and got some food for Friday and Saturday from the nearby Safeway. Helga set the alarm clock for us and we hit the hay.

Friday, July 11th, 2003 – Early Smearly

I guess somehow the alarm clock was set half hour fast and at 3:30AM the annoying sound of an alarm clock went off, (actually it went on. To say that it went off would be lying. It was definitely on.) Anyway Wally was so kind as to drive us to the airport a little after 4:00AM as planned and then we were really off. After a quick layover in Seattle we arrived in sunny California and the fun began. Hitching a ride on the Disneyland Shuttle it didn’t take more than 45 minutes to be in the park. We bought our tickets and entered the happiest place on earth. It still gives me tingles just thinking about it. We did so much that day, it’s hard to remember all the places we went. Toon-Town to Roger Rabbit’s ride, bought some cotton candy, Splash Mountain, oh and we even went over and checked into our hotel. It was so much fun! Then evening we went into the Haunted Mansion and saw the truly spectactular show, Fantastica! It’s a laser/light/fireworks/live actor/animitronic masterpeice that takes place on Tom Sawyer Island and the Rivers of America. Truly an amazing site to see.

Saturday, July 12th, 2003

We got up early, went and had our complimentary hot breakfast in the train car restaurant next door to our hotel, and then walked over to the Disney Cast Building. I don’t know how nervous Anna was – I know I was nervous for her. I didn’t want to tell her I was nervous for fear that I might throw her off. She however seemed cool as a cucumber. The way the audition works was that everyone was assigned a number, and if when it came time for them to make cuts they read off numbers. If your number was called, that meant you were being cut. She said the highest number she noticed was 139. I left her to audition and hit Disneyland and California Adventure on my own. I remember as a kid, some of my fondest memories of Disneyland were from Tom Sawyer Island. I decided, well I’ll check out the old island and just see what’s over there. On the trip over I saw the character Tom Sawyer chatting it up with some of the other park guests, so when we arrived I followed him and he showed us around the Island. He showed us where Injuin Joe’s Spirit was trapped in a cave and what to do if we see him. He took us to his stash of pirate treasure that he and Huck Finn stole from Captain Hook’s own ship. Apparently Captain Hook has been circling the Island ever since trying to get his treasure back. Tom also took us through his caves up to a lookout fortress where we played “Fox and Rabbits”. It seemed a lot like hid and go seek, but a lot more fun since I was bigger than all the other kids playing. Actually I was on pretty even ground with them in my sandals, plus I wasn’t trying my hardest – didn’t want to look like a psycho. We stopped by the old graveyard, and up into Tom and Huck’s tree house where I learned their secret handshake. We also went down fishing – well attempted to fish, but they didn’t catch anything. They just didn’t have a clue as to how to catch fish. They figured it must have been some bad luck from “signing their names in all them people’s books”. Park guests would come up to them asking for autographs.

Later that day I checked up on Anna-Maria and we went to Taco Bell to get her some supper. She was doing great in her audition and she gave me all the details of her day so far. She had to go back for another couple of hours during which time I went and took in the X-Games at California Adventure.

Sunday, July 13th, 2003 – Call Backs and good news

Anna and I got our free breakfast again this morning and then headed to Disneyland to get in as much fun as we could before her 2:00 call back. We rode the matterhorn, Splash mountain, and California Screamin’ (the sweet rollercoaster they have in California Adventure) as well as the Jungle Cruise and Tarzans Treehouse. I can’t remember all the places we went, but we did a lot. We saw Muppets 3D and the Bug’s Life 3D movie as well. There was the Sword in the Stone Ceremony, not to mention watching all the parades and fireworks that evening. There were so many things we did that day. Anna went back and finished her call back and was offered the job. Whether she takes or not, well I’m not sure what she is going to do. Anyway we hooked up with cousin JP after the fireworks were over and he took us to his place in Fullerton. It’s a really cool place – I especially love the fact that they have an outdoor pool that their landlord maintains for them.

Monday, July 14th, 2003 – From Hollywood and Highland to Home

John Paul took us to Hollywood Blvd. where we checked out the Mann’s Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We saw the cement handprints of famous actors from the last century and then took in lunch at Mel’s Diner. What a great day it was. Then it was off to the airport where we flew back to Calgary and slept another night at Wally’s. This time I set the alarm clock myself.

If anything this trip was not only a not a waste of money, it has been quite possibly the best trip I’ve ever been on. Disneyland really is the happiest place on earth. If you don’t believe me, then go check it out yourself, you won’t regret it.

Categories
life

Disneyland Auditions

Anna-Maria and I are strongly considering going to Edmonton on the 28th of March to audition for a job at Disneyland. I would have to get a working visa first though and I am not sure if that will be possible, given the short amount of time I have to do it. It would be really cool to work at Disneyland though. I’ll keep you updated.

Update: We never we to Edmonton for an audition but we did end up flying down to Anaheim where Anna auditioned and got offered a job at Disneyland. Also of interest — Anna tells in detail what it’s like to wear a Disneyland costume.