Feet of Claymation?™
April 22, 2003 11:17 AM   Subscribe

I heard it through the grapevine that Will Vinton has been "let go" from Will Vinton Studios.

Best known for the California Grapes commercials, the creator of Claymation™ has been rather unceremoniously kicked out of the animation studio he started.

Isn't this like kicking out Walt Disney or Jim Henson (when they were both alive, obviously)? What's the value of a studio without the talent it was named after?
posted by jpburns (12 comments total)
"Isn't this like kicking out Walt Disney or Jim Henson...?"

Or like 1985.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:23 AM on April 22, 2003

Maybe he's a loudmouth boozing skirtchaser. Or a obnoxious, proselytizing Christian stapler stealer. All I know is someone probably did a cost-benefit analysis, and out he went. Maybe he can find work in the 1980s? Oh, that's a time, not a place. A very special time when California raisins bestrode the planet.

I hated the California raisins.
posted by luser at 11:36 AM on April 22, 2003

without claymation, would we have Wallace and Gromit? :)
posted by shadow45 at 11:41 AM on April 22, 2003

More from the Oregonian.
posted by turbodog at 11:45 AM on April 22, 2003

Why would anyone want to steal Christian staples?
posted by Cerebus at 12:07 PM on April 22, 2003

Oh, and personally I think Ray Harryhausen and George Pal are more important to the history of stop-motion animation than Will Vinton.
posted by Cerebus at 12:10 PM on April 22, 2003

Yeah, I hate the raisins, too, but the point was; is an animation studio the same without the founder?

(personally I think all animation has gone downhill since Gertie the Dinosaur, speaking of which, shouldn't this be actionable? Weasels!)
posted by jpburns at 12:34 PM on April 22, 2003

it wasn't running on his money. the suits eventually take over when it's thier money. ask phil greenspun.
posted by quonsar at 12:34 PM on April 22, 2003

Didn't Vinnie Vincent get kicked out of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion? Now that musta hurt.
posted by Fabulon7 at 2:44 PM on April 22, 2003

"Getting let go" isn't always the unilateral action it appears to be. Take it from someone who's been through it--if you've decided on your own that you're already had it with a certain gig, being part of a "reduction-in-force" action (or whatever euphemism they want to use) can actually be a much more advantageous way to walk out the door. Not only do you get access to COBRA and other improved benefits (compared to walking out on your own volition), but most enterprises will have executive severance packages in place. (I'm assuming that Vinton was some kind of exec there.) Exec packages can run to a year or more of salary (in a single check), subsidized office space--with an assistant--for an indefinite period, and all sorts of other perks.

No way to tell from the information in these stories, but if Vinton was sick and tired of the grind, or just didn't get along with the new folks running the show, he easily might have raised his own hand and said "It's time for me to go." There are a number of tax and legal reasons why both sides might have felt this was the best way to handle it.
posted by LairBob at 2:45 PM on April 22, 2003

Not surprised - the company has had trouble hanging on to people in recent years, partially due to the economy, having to make layoffs, etc.
posted by illusionaire at 2:47 PM on April 22, 2003

Let me get this straight. Jeff Farnath, a former Disney executive, who now runs one of the more profitable stop-motion animation companies, kicks out the founder and restructures the company to reorient it towards...motion pictures? Immediately after Phil Knight buys the controlling share?

This link, published a while back, describes Jeff Farnath's intentions fairly well. This looks more like Vinton didn't want to cave into Disney's idea of animation, and so Farnath told him to take a walk.

I can't wait to see what this studio's going to turn out now...bleck.
posted by FormlessOne at 9:00 AM on April 23, 2003

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