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Disney Will Lay Off People in the Animation Division

More workforce cuts are coming to Disney. Following the closure of LucasArts, Reuters news service reported yesterday that Disney will begin a new round of layoffs within the next two weeks. Most of the cuts will come from the marketing and home video units, but layoffs in the animation department are also expected. The staff reductions are the result of an internal audit that happened in late-2012 to identify positions that were redundant or no longer necessary thanks to technological advances.

The Animation Guild doesn’t know where the animation cuts will come from. Their take on the news:

Since there are multiple divisions (Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney Toon Studios, and Disney Television Animation) they could be anywhere…Walt Disney Animation Studios has been hiring of late, putting staffers on Frozen and Big Hero Six as they ramp up into full production.

The image at top was sent in by a Cartoon Brew reader. The chalk outline of Mickey Mouse allegedly appeared this morning at the studio’s Glendale campus.

  • Deaniac

    Jesus Christ.

    I remember scoffing at a comment in the LucasArts layoff thread proclaiming these current series of layoffs as “the current studio system dying”, but now that Disney has fallen victim, it feels like this theory is becoming more of a reality. It’s disheartening, really.

    • I think that was my comment. Thank you for scoffing at it.

      • Deaniac

        …and then I said I reconsidered what I did. Yeesh.

    • Waller

      Open your eyes to the reality of the 21st century.

      • Funkybat

        Reality is what we make it. People can roll over and take whatever is dictated, or they can work and fight for the reality they want to see exist. Nothing is inevitable and immutable ultimately.

  • Pedro

    That’s a shame because they were finally make some good cartoons.

    • jmahon

      I don’t want to give up hope and resign to believing the new era of creator-driven cartoons is coming to an end, not yet. This sort of stuff scares me a bit, though.

  • Jared

    layoffs are everywhere, do they really need the chalk drawing and the silent rebellion? if you’re angry at it show your face and make your voice heard.

  • What about Marvel Animation? I heard Lucasfilm Animation got layoffs, but what about their Singapore division?

  • Ouch, never an easy thing to do. I hope those who lose their jobs find new positions quickly!

  • What did I say in my recent LucasArts post? This is part of the “Great Layoff-ening”. It’s going to continue for many many months…

  • z-k

    “…positions that were redundant or no longer necessary thanks to technological advances.”

    Translation: More hats to be placed on fewer individuals, with no adjustment to scheduling.

    I sometimes think animation’s managed by some mysterious cargo cult that the executives practice in backrooms. They dance and shake in front of new idols (Cintiqs, Bridge, etc) thinking these will bring good juju to their company, with the requisite human sacrifice taking place over a period of months in the form of bloodless execution.*

    (*That is to say, uncompensated overtime for employees. The cult masters have found out that the juju apparently decreases over time if the sacrificee is taking from the common pot of the gods and is somehow coming out even – that is to say, being paid for actual amount of hours hunched over magic totem (Cintiq); not losing sleep or patience on a regular basis; not straining family ties or marriage by being at the Hexentanzplatz (office) 16 hrs per day- 6 days per week; refraining from heart being torn from chest cavity, etc.

    There’s an entire economic science to this securing of the juju – otherwise our wise management would never be practicing it.)

  • CG_Animator

    Wait… I didn’t think layoffs at main Disney Animation Studio were all that unusual…

    Doesn’t Disney operate on a “staff up per picture” basis keeping only their core talent on a permanent salary? Has that changed?

    • jmahon

      doubtful, a lot of this is sensationalism and worrymongering. People who have gone through this are just taking another sip of their coffee right now.

  • Kartoonz Kritik

    The grafitti is wicked funny. Flowers and candles have now appeared there as well.

  • Mac

    If the climate is making you feel insecure, go with your gut, and get out now. No social network will keep you in the hustle. Huster die, art-is-t forever.

  • shagy.

    please open a school in mexico here are many people that want to learn animation from people who really love this.

  • shadypotential

    Damn that sucks. Dreaming the first half of your life as a kid and teen to work at Disney as an animator then getting fired not because of your work flow or non talents but because of freakin’ technology. what a joke

  • Kitty M Love


    • Stuff Happens

      That will never happen. It’s outsourced because it’s cheaper to make and the quality is better produced than the work here.

  • Nicholas John Pozega

    Yet another reason why I’m glad I made up my mind long ago that I never, ever work in the animation industry.

    • Jason

      Fear is the mind killer.

      • It sure is. I’ve known plenty who took their lives that way.

  • Lucas Studios and now the animation division? What is wrong with you, Disney, have you lost your mind lately?

  • Evan

    Well, it’s not like they show many cartoons anyway. All they have now are crappy teen sitcoms with ridiculous plots. Face it, Disney isn’t Disney anymore

  • Michael

    Laying off people who specialize in hand-drawn animation? I’ve heard about this, like the rest of you, I ask what was Disney thinking? Oh well, if Disney lays them off, I bet other animation studios like Ruby-Spears have spots available for some of the laid-off staff. I bet Joe Ruby and Ken Spears are paying attention to this latest news and possibly seeing what they can do to help those hand-drawn specialists that were laid off by Disney. Hey, Ruby-Spears needs the people to its hand-drawn animation dept.