Preliminary reports have Tom Hignite and crew down for the count with no hope nor prayer for a rematch. Despite the best efforts of Miracle Studios to secure finishing funds for their flagship animated film, it appears that investors left as soon as they arrived to the bargaining table; 2D artists and animators, storyboard crew and associated draftsmen were sent packing along with animation cleanup and digital timers; and the Animation Nation administrators have declared a temporary moratorium on discussing the topic at length as Charles Zembillas has deemed the subject too sensitive for public dialogue (at the present). You can read this article's predecessor here.Â Â
The first major Miracle Studios topic after the last major brouhaha between Tom Hignite and the Animated Nation community occurred on October 10th when Floyd Bishop's first post contained these words, an excerpt of an Animated News posting:
Tom Hignite's Miracle Studios is a lot less animated these days.
The home builder's team of former Walt Disney Co. artists, assembled in Washington County for a new 2-D animation movie and commercial-making business, is less than half the size it was a year ago.
But Hignite said in an interview Monday that even though the staff is down from a high of 11 to five - and may shrink further - his dream of creating a feature-length Disney-like movie hasn't died. The fate of the movie, he said, ultimately depends on whether investors will put up what he says is the $15 million to $25 million needed to produce it.
Then our old friend, the metaphorical knife-wielding Anim8tUSA, came outta nowhere and seized the opportunity to deliver yet another wordy smackdown on Hignite--;
The truth is he laid off the entire staff yesterday, they are down to zero! A couple of them are staying until the end of the month, the deal they were offered was, they could leave with two weeks pay or work out the month, but then no severence. My friend was threatened for weeks and weeks before he/she left on her own in the summer. Then he laid off four people and now he has laid them all off. This is not gossip, this is what has happened. The staff are all upset about that article because the only truth seems to be that they were based in Wisconsin.Â
Unsurprisingly, Charles locked the topic, preventing further postings until further notice.
Then, four days later, the atomic bomb.
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Hello to all;
This is long overdue; I was at Miracle Studios and got layed off in August. Yep, there are only two left and they are gone the end of the month. Tom couldn't get funding on his project as he has no studio. The last shot they had was a TV series and he was planning on doing that overseas as he has no staff left. That's why I can post now.
The staff agreed not to post as long as there were still people drawing a paycheck. All bets are off now.
I just got back to CA; glad to be out of the most bizarre experience in my 30 years in this business.I have limited internet access right now but had to address the most recent developments at Miracle.
This should be a long thread Charles....I hope you let it play out. We talked months ago and I explained I couldn't talk until this nightmare played itself out....and it has.
Tom accused me of being anim8tUSA ....repeatedly.This should prove to him I wasn't.anim8tUSA... everyone is still wondering how you had all your facts down.Please e-mail me at email@example.com if you can.
I am spending time with family tonight and will keep posting with a lot more info on the train wreck I just experienced.Thanks to all on this forum who have expressed concern for the artists at Miracle. It really meant a lot to all of us.
In the meantime, if anyone wants to contact me, please go to my website...olivagrafix.com
The posts here kept us all going....I can speak for the whole crew in expressing our gratitude.
Straight up, Mike Oliva, a member of the Miracle Studios cult, no pimply-faced teenager trynna raise up some hell or instigate a deathmatch Derek Smart, Usenet flame war. The real deal. A McCoy unlike any other. Authenticated by C. Zembillas. October 14th. And a few hours later, Charles came and Bob Dole'd (locked) this one as well.
Nearly three weeks later, on Nov. 1, I read on some blogs that Miracle Homes (the chief revenue stream of Miracle Studios and The Many Stories of Miracle Mouse's last hope of making it to a theater screen) is in financial trouble. Tom Hignite was a Christian builder of homes before he decided to blindly jump in the industry of animation, and seldom did Miracle Homes ever fall below the company's financial expectations. Therefore, this was how many animators (ex-Disney or otherwise) was attracted to the idea of jumping on Hignite's bandwagon and making the Miracle Mouse movie a (hyper) reality--; the concept of a constant and unabated revenue stream. As in, the fundamental product (home sales) was plentiful and popular enough to sustain not one but two living breathing companies at once. Both were money sinkholes; one more than the other, however. All of my deep-rooted suspicions were confirmed with Frank Panucci's 11/2 posting and since then, my appetite for knowledge of Hignite and the situation of his angered and frustrated staff has not only been renewed, but is insatiable. I'm crawling every search engine, looking at every clue, trying to piece this entire Rubik-like puzzle before anyone else does, just so that I can claim bragging rights to solving it.
And yes, Charles plugged the November Miracle Mouse threads as well.
So, how's Hignite doin'? From all accounts it sounds as if he's hanging by a thread. It sounds as if there's gonna be lawsuits soon. Sounds like Hignite's facing the sharp end of the sickle, the wooden part of the guillotine, the wrath of Medusa, the ice-cold barrel of a Winchester special. Hand-crafted. Maybe I'm having too much fun writing about these incredibly tragic circumstances; many of the artists who were sucked into this seemingly unstoppable vortex will be in some state of financial ruin for years--; the most painless consequence, which would still bear some pain, will be substantial debt the height of my Dreamcast game collection.
No wonder Anim8tUSA was so pissed. The sting of the horrible realization that a film that had so much energy and talent and money poured into it wasn't gonna happen would be felt by even the remotest, dimmest spectator. You didn't have to be part of the Miracle Mouse crew to be acquainted with their sadness, their despair, and finally their frustration with their endeavor and the self-imposed gag they subjected themselves to, preventing themselves from airing out their grievances and bringing themselves steps closer to fully exhaling that bad air from their lungs, air that makes you realize that at some point during a particularly painful experience you made some decisions and choices which resulted in the worsening of an already horrifying situation.
Charles Zembillas will divulge everything he knows about what's going on with Miracle Studios, real soon. I just know it. I already know, it's not gonna be pretty.