…down the drain 2.0

29 09 2013


it is funny to read all different articles and speculations why an apparently so interesting looking project was shelved. as I wrote in my post – it was pure incompetence, believe me. I am not talking about the FRAIDY CAT that JOHN MUSKER and RON CLEMENTS restarted in 2004. I am talking about the very first version that was offered to me late in 2000 as a 3 page treatment. I started with a lot of environmental and a few character designs and after I showed the story to ANDREAS DEJA he wanted to contribute some character explorations. he loved the treatment as well.

let me explain the reasons why a project like that could fail. one major reason – because the management at that time was for some never explained reasons convinced that a good final story develops out of over and over destroyed story-versions. I remember a meeting after a screening of some major sequences of another project, where TOM SCHUMACHER, at that time sr.vice president and head of feature animation, answered a statement of a storyboard artist that it looked great and worked well, ‘then let’s do it all over again, because it only can get better’. – I don’t think so!

to be frank, I always thought that this procedure was completely stupid and had only one effect – immense costs and a lot of wasted trees. I remember on MULAN were in the end about 10 different writers involved. coming back to FRAIDY CAT – the poor writer who had come up with this stunning treatment would have never had a chance to write the final script. unfortunately he was not too well known, but more important – he was the first one and to continue you need to throw dollars after a second one. after story-discussions in a team of vice presidents in development ( I always thought they were there for decoration and to fill some luxury offices ) the story had to move to another writer and that could happen several times.

but that was not really the main reason for the systematic destruction of a good idea. that reason was obvious in another department, but nobody else apparently saw it. usually a script ends up first in the storyboard department. one storyboard artist takes care of a sequence. as far as I remember in FRAIDY CAT’S case about 6 or 7 were involved. now there is a major problem – all the top talent in storyboard is busy to fix the disasters in the running production(s). that’s why usually only ‘apprentices’ are thrown into a starting new project. I don’t want to say that there couldn’t be a major hidden talent in such a fresh team, well, usually that is not the case. that means that, what this team comes up with as an interpretation of a third generation script, is not the best of possible versions. in a presentation to the highly competent jury of vice presidents this interpretation must look like a story that needs to be fixed, – back to another writer, and the game starts all over. you can imagine, after several redo’s there is nothing left of an original and once charming story. unfortunately nobody ever had the idea to at least look what others might have done in earlier versions. FRAIDY CAT is not the only project where I saw this happen, it was the same with MY PEOPLES, RAPUNZEL ( inclusive other major problems ), WILD LIFE ( with a ton of more and very serious other problems and directors too arrogant to listen to warnings ) and SNOW QUEEN ( OMG ). the FRAIDY CAT affair ended after I left in 2003 and ron and john tried to fix it afterwards with major artistic talent like CARTER GOODRICH and PAUL FELIX. apparently it did not help because some of the ’emperor’s new clothes’ guys thought it was not a good idea afterall. after 5 yaers and probably 50 million dollars, not to talk about thousands of pieces of art – down the drain.

usually it’s not my style to write that much, but – this had to be said

wood 9

29 09 2013

all these ‘creatures’ were supposed to be produced in real wood. the designs below are faked with some texture. it was my own project some years back, didn’t work either. ok…

animal group 708

© bilderfabrik

you are right

27 09 2013

birds 6a
birds 12a
birds 21a

if you believe these designs were from another axed disney animated film – you are right. more about it in the next post…

© disney enterprises, inc

down the drain

24 09 2013

fraidy 1

ANDREAS DEJA just posted his beautiful designs for the main characters on a project that was called FRAIDY CAT, and that was eventually shelved after the story had been systematically destroyed. when the story research group presented the rough 3 page treatment to me and aked me for my opinion, I thought first it was a continuation of 101 DALMATIANS. it was a charming crime story taking place in london of the sixties, a bit of HITCHCOCK’S ‘REAR WINDOW’ with animals. I told them it was the best treatment I read for a very long time and we should start immediately to develop it. what I did, andreas joined later. it was planned for CG, so I designed everything very stylized, a bit still remembering the look of another shelved project only a few months prior to that – WILD LIFE. the original author was apparently not good enough, another one was hired, and more followed – it went more and more down the drain. my interest followed, the charme was gone. well, I did not experience this for the first time – too bad. I still hear myself screaming in meetings, until I finally left. below some of my designs for the environment.

fraidy 2
fraidy 3
fraidy 5
fraidy 6
fraidy 7
fraidy 8
fraidy 9
friday 10
friday 11
fraidy 12

© disney enterprises, inc

thank you

23 09 2013


4 million views in 5 years and about 900 posts, a few comments

sailing nr.11

22 09 2013

sail 32a

sailing nr.10

6 09 2013

sail 30