Animation : A rare treat - THE SWEATBOX by Laurie Ashbourne

Laurie Ashbourne

A rare treat - THE SWEATBOX

Today I bring you a documentary by Trudie Styler (Sting's wife), after Disney hired Sting for a feature, she had the foresight to take on this project very early on in the process of what eventually became Disney's THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE. It really is one of those posts that belong in every category in the lounge, as it really gets to the heart of how collaborative and heartbreaking this business can be for writers, directors, composers, lyricists and every member of the crew. But more than anything, it speaks to why writing for feature animation is discouraged. Get a look while you can, Disney has been trying to bury this one for many years.

Dan MaxXx

Luv these behind-the-scenes look. Insane business. No wonder people cry at Awards shows! high stakes drama and pressure, from top brass down. Thanks, Laurie.

Scott Cadzow

Wow - they animated the film two or three times because they were hoping they could find a compelling story through some kind of vague process. I'm surprised this doco ever saw daylight. Sting was pulling his bald hair out with the song rewrites but maintained a professional attitude. The whole thing had a design by committee feel to it. Amazingly, no brats. Animators were polite and optimistic. Key decision makers should have stepped in earlier.

Laurie Ashbourne

Crazy, I know, Scott! To be fair it wasn't fully animated each change and the reality is that this is pretty much STILL the way Disney/Pixar develops films, they all have at least 2 directors and they are all done by committee. Which is why they are so expensive, because they spend years in development. Often, the greenlight is simply a pitch (more so during this era - but still). Since Pixar became part of Disney, the films now go through what is called 'the brain trust' during this process. Which is essentially a group of directors and story people from other projects somewhere in the pipeline. This process seems to derail most often when the material isn't based on existing IP. Stories like THE LION KING, BOLT, INSIDE OUT and BRAVE and THE GOOD DINOSAUR, went through similar turmoil and many more that were shelved (as EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE should have been). It's not a segment of the industry for the faint at heart or thin-skinned.

Richard "RB" Botto

Had the pleasure to meet Trudie at Cannes this year. She's not only a visionary, but one hell of a nice person. Thanks for sharing this, Laurie.

Laurie Ashbourne

Yes, she is! Definitely one of the unsung heroes.

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