Secret Lab Closing Not So Secret
In a follow up to a story about the Secret Lab closing that was written in VARIETY and subsequently reported in AWN and numerous other media outlets, AWN was told that the layoffs were part of an overall restructuring of Disney, including the feature animation department, that was announced in April 2001. According to a Disney representative, the layoffs and move of the Secret Lab staff into the feature animation building was planned as part of this restructuring effort and "not a surprise." Although she could not confirm the number of layoffs, or what types of jobs were cut, she responded that there are visual effects artists from the Secret Lab working under Thomas Schumacher in feature animation, and other staff will be hired on a per project basis "as they usually are." She also confirmed that Disney Feature Animation will not be soliciting for outside projects the way the Secret Lab once did but will continue to provide visual effects for Disney films if they are asked.