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View Full Version : LAIKA in latest issue of Wired magazine


EricLyman
01-26-2006, 09:18 PM
There's a great article in the Feb. issue of Wired about LAIKA and Phil Knight:

LINK: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.02/knight.html (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.02/knight.html)

During the four decades that Phil Knight spent building Nike into a merchandising and pop culture machine, he came to realize the company would outlast him. "Obviously, man is mortal," he said in April after stepping down as CEO. But facing mortality isn't easy. What would the 67-year-old marketing genius do next? Hit the lecture circuit? Too shy. Golf? Sure, but not every day. Spend time with the grandkids? That's no full-time position. In fact, Knight tipped his hand back in 1998, when he gave $5 million to Vinton Studios (http://www.vinton.com/). Will Vinton, the Oregon animator known for his dancing California Raisins commercials, was looking to open a Hollywood office so he could make movies. Knight, a Portland native, was eager to support local artists. "Vinton was on a roll," Knight says, "and I wanted to contribute as a passive investor." Within four years, Vinton had burned through the money but hadn't made a single animated film. The studio was nearly bankrupt when Vinton came back asking for more cash. By this time, the search for a successor at Nike had begun. Knight gave Vinton $450,000 more, but there were strings attached. He wanted control of the company.

FloydBishop
01-26-2006, 10:00 PM
There's something creepy about funding a studio, then taking it over and ousting the man who created it in the first place.

I don't know the whole story behind why Will Vinton is no longer there, or how he lost his own studio, but I can't see anything from LAIKA without thinking about it.


From the article:

...the CEO of Laika is a former Nike executive, Dale Wahl, who admits that he had to read a book about the movie business before he took the job. "When Phil Knight calls you and says he wants to talk to you about a job, you don't call back and say, 'I'm not interested,'" Wahl says. "The first thing out of my mouth was 'I don't know anything about this.'"

So the CEO didn't know what he was doing, but the guy who ran the studio (and knows more than most about animation) gets run out on a rail? Very nice.:rolleyes:

mangolass
01-26-2006, 10:36 PM
Knight gave Vinton $450,000 more, but there were strings attached. He wanted control of the company. ... Now he's running the animation studio... But what perhaps drove him most to take a leading role there was his son Travis. In 1997, Knight helped him get a job as a production assistant at Vinton; today, Travis is an animator with a seat on the board. ... father and son talk business every day, though Travis says he's "more of an artist than a business guy.'' Exercising the prerogative of a billionaire, Knight got face time with big names in his new industry. He met with top decisionmakers at Lions Gate, Paramount, Universal, and Warner Bros. - all studios buying animated movies.
So all you need to succeed in this business is a really rich dad!

:scream: "Hey, Dad, are you a billionaire yet?" :scream:

LT

MooseDog
01-26-2006, 10:52 PM
So the CEO didn't know what he was doing,

Within four years, Vinton had burned through the money but hadn't made a single animated film

apparently, neither did the studio owner:shrug:

Flog
01-26-2006, 11:15 PM
Give me 5 million and I'll make your film. Wow, now to go around and try to find an investor.

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