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Imagineering Exodus?

 
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lightguy



Joined: 30 Mar 2008
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:35 am    Post subject: Imagineering Exodus? Reply with quote

Has anyone else heard the rumors of layoffs at Imagineering in January?

Most importantly, Tony Baxter and Joe Rohde may be on their way out. That would be a huge blow to Disney's brain trust especially Disneyland California and Animal Kingdom which the two oversee.
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wokcreative



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 197
Location: ProgressLand

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Either of them leaving would be devastating to creativity..., both of them leaving would be the biggest mistake the company has ever made.
Hopefully just a bad rumor.
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Loric



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure who from this forum is from central Florida or southern California, but I do think those that do get to Disney's parks would agree that something is not quite right in Imagineering lately.

There have been several major flops in terms of design elements, maintainability, and guest satisfaction. Many projects have, to be honest, been creative stinkers.

It's likely time for new blood. My experience working in the institutional setting has been that creative people start to get sloppy when they know a paycheck is coming and there will be another show in the pipeline. I even got lecture from an advisor about how at some point i had to choose to ignore the "research faculty" (aka tenured professors) at my school if i knew they were leading me down their prefabricated equation for show design. I would think in big established companies like Imagineering the same creative lull sets in.

I'm certainly not pointing any fingers without knowing the situation, but I do think the group as a whole needs fresh blood and new ideas.
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Holly
Site Admin


Joined: 06 Aug 2007
Posts: 229
Location: Orlando, FL

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't blame creatives wholesale if you don't like the product... The product can also be effected by marketing & business decisions (so that many decisions are already made before the creative is on board)... And creativity can also be effected by corporate culture, how employees are valued (or not), how receptive upper management is to new ideas, and on and on... That is why companies like IDEO and Pixar are so sought after: they have figured out how to harness the energy and talents of their creatives in a way that is also beneficial for business... Usually, it seems the balance between creativity and business is not easy to strike... In the "old days", Walt was able to make some really risky decisions -- and while people thought he was crazy, they let him do many of the crazy things he thought up. Now Disney is beholden to investors who don't tend to get really excited about risky decisions... they want their nest egg's value to keep rising every quarter. So the creative problems may not be the fault of the hundeds of creatives working there... things can be more complicated than that because there are a lot of relational and logistical things that happen on the way to making an attraction...
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wokcreative



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 197
Location: ProgressLand

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said, Holly. The creatives have been held back many times by the accountaneers making the business decisions. The two specific creatives mentioned have outstanding track records for what they have done and brought back, and had to fight for.
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Loric



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the main reason i blame the "creatives" is that i'm seeing lots of high-quality-bad.

That's design which focuses on the skill of fabrication or looks more like a creative exercise then an entertainment product.

It has merit in the parts, but is just not effect. A certain broken Yeti comes to mind.

If the Yeti you design and costs bazillions of dollars breaks because it was not properly designed to operate within the constraints of the park (be it funding, workers, climate) then whose fault is it? I say the designer.

The end of the world might be one of the most spectacular sights - that doesn't mean I want to see it at the expense of my life and well.. the end of the world.

Also, executives unrelated to the creative field do not write poorly worded scripts (just pick one of the bad ones we've had tossed at us lately) and then hire Dame Judi Dench to narrate. That means your script writer is poor while your casting director is awesome. Why on earth did she sign on for that drivel? ("Thank the Phonecians!")

Imagine if the World Showcase was crafted to what we currently consider Disney's "standards." We'd have 2D sets with minimal depth that poorly use perspective to try and convey Japan to us.

The 2nd renovation of Imagination and Monster's Inc Laugh Floor proved that someone in the creative department has an affinity for finger painting as that mode of sign making constantly keeps reappearing.

And why on earth is there visible chicken wire in Spaceship Earth? That's completely inexcusable. There's lots of it and it's obvious. It's not an oversight. Even the absolute poorest and deprived scenic department can come up with enough black curtains to hide chicken wire - or heck, paint it black. It's not even painted black. And if they painted it black and it still showed because of any gloss in the paint - spray it with $3 worth of matte finish available from your local Joanne's fabrics and crafts.

These are things that just speak to a person's professionalism and integrity as a designer. You can't let a bad product be shown. That is your work, that is the end result of your design - your name is all over it. You go down in flames if the end result is not good. It is your fault.

Design is not pretty concept art or heady ideas. It is the ability to get something made, to convey an idea properly, and then allow an audience to enjoy your creation. You fail to get it made properly then you simply fail - that is part of the job. Pixar is coveted because they found new ways to do animation. The technology did not exist before them. They didn't sit there and say "hey, i want to do this cool looking effect of particles floating in water to create the ocean but the programming doesn't exist so lets make it a big empty unrealistic space." No, they made the program that creates the particle effect. They wanted lenses and such for Wall-E so they created that programming too.

When i worked in Epcot i was told stories from senior CM's about how they got the Universe of Energy to work during Test and Adjust. There was too much friction and the massive turntables wouldn't spin. They sent people out to buy all the talc/powder from the Goodings grocery store to reduce the friction.

Letting the low quality or unfinished work open to the public the way WDI has lately speaks of a "not my problem" mentality that needs to be hunted down and stamped out at all costs. No creative endeavor can survive a lack of pride or personal devotion to a project.
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