Well is wasnt exactly Santa Claus who attended the Animation Guilds holiday open house party on Dec. 12, 2003 but it was just about as anticipated and welcome amongst animators when Roy E. Disney strode into the banquet room at Pickwick Gardens in Burbank, California. The huge crowd rose to its feet and parted like the Red Sea for Moses when Disney, embroiled in a power structure with Michael Eisner for the direction of the Walt Disney Co., made his dramatic entrance. Animation chat rooms have been buzzing with gratitude for Disneys letter to Eisner, in which he resigned from the company board of directors before it officially dumped him, and accused Eisner of mishandling and leading the company astray from the vision of his uncle and father who founded the company.
After visiting for about an hour, Guild president Kevin Koch brought Disney to the microphone to say a few words. A hoarse but impassioned Disney reminded animators to be true to their art and their passion, saluted them for their dedication and thanked everyone present for helping him revive Disney animation. He concluded with the salvo, It aint over yet! to which he received a thunderous ovation.
A group of animators have been collecting signatures in support of Disney and his longtime trusted adviser Stan Gold, who also resigned from the board and has gone public with his disapproval over Eisners performance and direction of the company. The animators have collected more than 4,000 signatures, which can be viewed and added to at http://www.pruiksma.com/letterofsupport.html.
Gold and Disney have started a Website, www.savedisney.com, seeking support to restore Disney to its position as the preeminent entertainment company in the world.
The rest of the holiday party was relatively upbeat, compared to previous years. More 2D animators are making the transition to 3D, finding new areas to work in or finding seemingly unappealing projects far more rewarding and enjoyable than they had anticipated. A great many are still out of work or looking for better assignments.