Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Max Howard at the Orlando Film Festival

Max Howard gave a talk at the Orlando Film Festival held at the Plaza Cinema downtown about the marketing potential to be found in independent animated films. Max was running the Disney Feature Animation Studio when I was hired there more than a decade ago. He helped found and build the Florida Studio. he left the studio shortly after I started to work on the Disney Films. I remember him as a straight shooter so I couldn't resist going to hear what he had to say. It turns out that many other former Disney artists living in Orlando had the same idea.

Max began by showing clips from many of the animated films he helped create some of them being films I had worked on. He began with a history lesson in the finances behind many of those films. In terms of traditional hand drawn films Disney earned 80% of the market share and other studios divided up only 20% of the market share. This showed that back in the 80s the Disney name carried clout. If you look at computer animated films however, Disney - Pixar earned just 55% of the marked share while other studios share 45% of the market. This means that computer films are judged not just by a company name but by story. Animation has proven to be very profitable compared to live action films.

After the talk the former Disney folks went to Urban Flats for some food and drink. There I got to catch up with some old friends. When Max was asked if he remembered everyone, he said "Well there seems to have been some squash and stretch over the years. The shapes seem to have changed."


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