Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Hammer Comes Down at Disney

Well the several weeks of nervous Disney employees is pretty much over. And how things can change over just a few months. Although I have served as a contract Show Director for the past several years and not an actual Disney employee, I was not really on the chopping block, as they say. But, the current climate has affected me as well. Last September, 2 of the shows I looked after closed - Comedy Warehouse and Adventurers Club. Luckily I still had Turtle Talk, Monsters Laugh Floor and World Showcase Players. And last week, I was informed that Monsters and Turtle Talk have been reassigned to one of the full time Show Directors at Maingate. I don't officially know at this time who has them, (althought I think it is Jason Surrell), I just know it isn't me. So the hammer has come down on my wee little head. I do still have responsibility for World Showcase Players so fortunately I get to keep my parking pass and still have a reason to stroll through Maingate from time to time. But my goodness - 8 months ago I was looking after 5 shows, and today, I have one. This represents a 90% decrease in my Disney responsibilities.

So like many others, I eagerly await the next chapter in my life. I bet you'll be seeing a bit more of me down at the ol' SAK Comedy Lab, that's for sure. I'll be teaching more classes I think, especially Quantum Improv which is steadily growing. Two semesters under the belt and looking forward to more of that.

As sad as it is to lose the Disney shows, I'm still amazed that I had so many in-park shows to look after in the first place. It is very unusual for a contract (outside) show director to look after even one ongoing show. For awhile there I had 5. I'm pleased to say I have really enjoyed every one of them very much. It was very sad to see the Island shows come to an end. Obviously the Comedy Warehouse is especially near and dear to my heart. I really loved the Adventurers Club too. Somehow the closing of those was dignified and I felt we really celebrated the legacy and history of what those shows were.

My wife pointed out what a special and wonderful surprise that was - to have a chance to close the shows with a little celebration and fanfare. Usually, (as it was with the current layoffs), Disney likes minimal (if any) fanfare and quick closure. You don't even get 2 weeks if laid off. You're immediately escorted off property. What a great and wonderful opportunity we had (because someone leaked the plans to the press), to close the Warehouse and Ad Club as we did. Morgan said I was able to bring a nice balance of celebrating the legacy and maintaining the dignity of all those who lost their jobs.

For some reason - there is a deeper sadness to having Turtle and Monsters reassigned. I understand it is a better fit to have them looked after by the full time Show Director staff, but I have marshalled those shows from their infancy, after being birthed by WDI. It is with a great deal of sadness that I say good bye to those wonderful shows and especially the wonderful actors who made/make those shows what they are.

Good Bye my lovelies. I wish you all the very best.