Friday, November 7, 2008

The Power And Influence Of Success...


Power is fleeting...

It doesn't last very long, to anyone in this world. When one has it they tend to abuse it. Most tend to squander it. Very few tend to divvy it out wisely. Careful now. Those that travel ahead will find themselves on a course for the island of "Fawning over John Lasseter." Or at least that will be how it will go in the e-mails I get after you read this.

Many people don't like me praising Lasseter. Or as they would say, giving too much credit to him for the success of Pixar. Sorry, but I have to disagree with you. My comments and compliments are not meant to raise John to the point of deity, he is a man like any other. We all have faults and we are each and every one of use human. His decisions are not always right and the results of his work are not always the best...

But they tend to be better than most.

As Lasseter has made or produced films over the last decade, his power and reputation have gotten bigger. There are not many companies that Disney would purchase for the desire of getting access to one individual. Much less, pay almost seven billion dollars for his company. Many will argue it's not just him. True, it's two if you count Ed Catmull, who is absolutely a great asset to the Mouse. This doesn't count the hundreds of talented artist that Pixar employs either. They all count. They all contributed. But it was Lasseter's influence over Pixar that guided it on the success it has achieved. It will be his influence or failure of it that guides much of the Walt Disney Company for the remaining part of this decade and far into the next. Get used to that statement...

Embrace it. Look at it as a positive. And add to it. Contribute.

What do I mean by that?

As most of you know, John Lasseter is the head of all thing animated at the Mouse sans Walt Disney Television Animation. The title he was given as a carrot to take over those responsibilities, "Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering," is the primary reason we've been enjoying bigger budgets that we were a few years ago. Iger, I believe realizes that the money put into the parks the last decade under Eisner and Pressler was too little, but we still wouldn't have gotten what we have without Lasseter greasing the wheels a bit. So that said, for us to keep getting those type of budgets in these grim financial times requires his success in animation to continue. It requires the first official film under his reign to be a hit. A big hit. This is where you and I come in. We have to prove to Iger that his investment, his trust in Pixar and Lasseter was the right thing to do. When "Bolt" comes out in a few weeks, we need to make it a hit. A box office hit and hopefully the number one movie that weekend. And then...

We need to keep on going back to see it. Over and over. So that the box office gross puts a smile on the CEO's face and green in his pocket. Now, am I asking you to go see a dud just because it's from Disney? No I'm not. I've seen enough of the film and talked to enough people to know that this film is not a dud and it's not a dog. Errr, you know what I mean. It's a very good film. A very funny film with warm touches that have been missing from many of the Mouse's offerings the last few years. It's going to be a film worthy of seeing over and over again and I ask you to participate. You'll not only get to have a wonderful time at the movies, you'll be helping to ensure the parks keep getting quality attractions.

And not just quality attractions, but "Tokyo Disney Resort" quality attractions. But more on that in a future post.

TTFN.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Honor - keep doing what you're doing.

The backlash against Lasseter is understandable and expected. Some people typically envy success and the fawning that comes along with it - even though it might be well-deserved. That's just the way it is.

You can explain it all you want, but these guys will always point out the bad stuff - like losing Chris Sanders and Jan Pinkava (e.g. "How can he be good if he dare fire those perfect people?? After saying it's a director-driven studio and whatever the director says is 100% right and should be treated as kings - what a hypocrite!! We all know that Pinkava and Sanders are really the ones behind animation's success, Lasseter doesn't know what the hell he is talking about."), or Cars hitting only 75% on rottentomatoes, officially making him the worst Pixar director ever. This is to be expected.

It is to the point now that even though you might not be saying Lasseter is perfect, just that he did something good, and these people's knee jerk reaction is "Oh there goes someone acting like John Lasseter is god again, let me take it down a notch." Debbie Downing is a way of life sometimes (see: Jim Hill).

But some of us appreciate positivity, so keep on doing what you're doing. Thanks.

Toole said...

I saw Wall E nine times but I doubt I'll ever do anything like that again.

Anonymous said...

"But some of us appreciate positivity, so keep on doing what you're doing. Thanks."


I agree with you 100% anonymous.
Thank you for saying all that. :) You hit the nail right on the head.

So yes, Honor, please keep doing what you are doing. And thanks for the great blog.

Todd said...

I'm with you 100%, Honor.

That said, the fact that "Bolt" is rated PG will make me pause before taking my little ones to go see it. It's not that I never let them see PG movies, it's just that I'm very cautious and picky about it.

-doopey

Justin said...

If you are concerned about the PG rating just watch the clip "The Chase" on Apple.com and you will see the entire extent of the PG content so you can make an informed decision:

http://www.apple.com/trailers/disney/bolt/

Anonymous said...

Honor talk me down here,
Over at TAG Blog someone said that there was nothing in development at WDAS after King of the Elves and that Iger wanted Pixar to do all their animation. I'm hoping this is just someone's sour grapes and not the truth. What do you know? Also, do you think it was a good idea for them to open Bolt the same day as Twilight?

clockworkmonkey said...

It's not our job to make this movie a hit. It's Disney's job to make it so good that it will have to be. That was Walt's philosophy and it's John's too. If the movie is mediocre, it'll deserve a mediocre response. The last thing we should do it reward mediocrity, doing that just leads to more of the same. If the movie is fantastic, there won't be any need to grass roots campaign for it. I very much doubt Lasseter himself would want it any other way.

If Bolt is really that good of a dog, he'll wag his own tail.

Anonymous said...

I saw Wall E. ONCE, but I doubt I'll ever do anything like that again.

I agree Lasseter is really "good" for Disney...that's one "o" not two:)

Anonymous said...

Debbie Downing is a way of life sometimes (see: Jim Hill).

Same thing goes for Al Lutz, Kevin Yee, Spokker, Merlin Jones, TDLFAN, Spirit of 74, etc.

It is indeed sad when people just choose to be mean, angry, discriminatory and miserable just for the sake of getting attention.

Spokker said...

The best thing Lasseter ever did was to help bring Ghibli films to America.

He's good at Pixar. However, his involvement in the parks and at Disney Animation has been lackluster so far.

Spokker said...

And while DCA 2.0 will be a big improvement, I doubt much of it will be TDS quality.

That would require some risk-taking, something Disney is just not capable of these days.

Anonymous said...

Will somebody please delete Spokker's comments?!

hugh hogwarts said...

Awww come on, guys. Spokker can be as negative as he wants. If you don't like his comments just brush past them to the next one.

Let's not stomp on his free speech just because he's a downer.

Free speech means you may not like what someone says. Honor seems to be pretty lenient when letting us post so chill, k?

Anonymous said...

I agree. A dissenting pov is always necessary

Spokker said...

I don't think what I'm saying is entirely negative. This is a brilliant filmmaker for his accomplishments at Pixar, plain and simple.

Like most people, when I heard he was becoming more involved in the parks and Disney animation, I thought it was a great thing.

But what I'm seeing is more and more Pixar themed attractions. In Disney Animation, I'm seeing Tinkerbell, which he introduced to the world personally, looking like Bratz on steroids. Bolt, which looks like an okay movie, looked so much more interesting with the Chris-Sanders-version art. The Chris Sanders version had the kind of concept art that got my imagination going.

Bolt is sort of ho-hum to me. It's something they could throw Miley Cyrus in and make billions. It doesn't strike me as the same kind of passionate film making you see in many of Pixar's efforts.

I liked Chris Sanders and I was sad to see him part ways with Disney. It's a reminder that Disney isn't quite the happy fun place they like to make themselves out to be. It's a ruthless, cut-throat business where you're only as good as what the head honcho last thought of you five minutes ago, regardless of whether or not you helped make the company untold millions with your last project...

jedited said...

My problem is not the worship of John Lasseter, but the worship of Chris Sanders. How is the director of one OK movie now the greatest director that ever lived?!?
In case everyone forgot, he directed Lilo and Stitch, not Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin or even Little Mermaid.
I admit Lilo and Stitch was better than the movies that came out around it. But that doesn't make it a GREAT movie. It just means it wasn't as bad as the others.

Spokker said...

Where is the worship for Chris Sanders? All I said was that I liked the guy.

And to be honest, yeah, the guy proved himself and I think Disney should have listened to Sanders and given him another shot to help create a monster success for them.

Keep in mind that it isn't just Lilo & Stitch the movie. The concept he helped create has made millions in merchandise and is about the biggest thing at Tokyo Disneyland.

So yeah, it's sad that a dude like that can be left by the wayside so quickly. Hopefully whatever he has up his sleeves at Dreamworks lives up to the hype.

Honor Hunter said...

Spokker you're presuming that it would be a monster success just because "Lilo" was. It may have been, we'll never know, but what he was preparing more than likely wouldn't have been.

For all your praise, and yes, I too like Sanders, but for all you wax on about him the project wasn't working. I've seen some of what he was wanting to do and heard about the rest. It wasn't "Lilo and Stich 2" It was a weird mess. A pretty mess, but a mess non-the-less.

You act as if he presented it to Lasseter and then he just threw him off the project. That is history rewritten. He was given MULTIPLE chances to go back and come up with a story that would work(Just like Glen Keane on "Rapunzel"). He didn't change much and Lasseter didn't want to go forward with something that he felt was going to be a dud. Something he believed the public would stay away from. He does have a pretty good track record I'm sure you'll agree with? Well that's it. Sanders moved on. He'll get to prove himself on another project over at Dreamworks, two actually.

But the pretty artwork you see he was developing doesn't mean the story for "American Dog" would have been as well. What we're getting is actually an entertaining story. The completely opposite of what "American Dog" was and just as "Ratatouille" was troubled project that Lasseter and Bird saved...

So will this be.

Anonymous said...

Honor,
Can you at least confirm for me that WDAS does have more in the pipeline beyond the King of the Elves and that their not shutting it down to let Pixar do all the animation? I'm getting concerned here.

Honor Hunter said...

The name Walt Disney is golden and has an eighty year tradition that won't disappear from animation.

Don't fall prey to urban myths...

Anonymous said...

Relief!!