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An open letter to Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

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#21 of 92 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted February 26 2013 - 10:44 AM

As for the princesses, I think the whole "every girl can be a princess" mentality is a lie that cheapens the inherited titles. As a product line, it cheapens the films from which the characters came. And as for Disney's gender/sexual politics, remember the Southern Baptist Boycott of the 1990s? (1995's "Priest," a Miramax with Linus Roache and Robert Carlyle, was one of the films mentioned) blew up in the church's faces and had no effect on Disney. There was an Goofy cartoon from 1949 called "They're Off." It was about horse racing, and one of the horses was named Old Moe. One of the goofs bet on that horse and made a very stereotypical limp-wrist hand gesture as he said "Old Moe? Moe?" Considering it was 1949 and which studio made it, I thought it was funny. Then there were the rumors about Scar in "The Lion King" because of Simba saying "you're weird," to which Scar replied "oh, you have no idea." That wasn't a gay joke, it was a reference to Jeremy Irons' role in "Reversal of Fortune."

Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I am going to boycott The Walt Disney Company until then. And while you're at it, PLEASE stop dropping DVD/laserdisc extras from Blu-ray releases of other films.


#22 of 92 OFFLINE   jim_falconer

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Posted February 26 2013 - 10:45 AM

Well written letter Matthew...I agree with all points you make, especially with the disappointing blu-ray releases of "Muppet Christmas Carol" and "Pocahontas".

#23 of 92 OFFLINE   Reed Grele

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Posted February 26 2013 - 11:04 AM

I still have my Japanese SOTS laserdisc and working players, so until the PC climate changes for the better (and I'm sure that it will) I'll be somewhat content. But what's the story with Scarecrow of Romney Marsh? It was offered on DVD for only a very limited time back in late 2008 (if you blinked, you missed it). That really deserves a Blu-ray release.

#24 of 92 OFFLINE   Ejanss

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Posted February 26 2013 - 12:08 PM

But what's the story with Scarecrow of Romney Marsh? It was offered on DVD for only a very limited time back in late 2008 (if you blinked, you missed it). That really deserves a Blu-ray release.
TSORM was a TV show (hence its Disney Treasures tin), while "Dr. Syn Alias the Scarecrow" was the feature film, and could theoretically come back on disk as just the feature the way the Davy Crockett and Zorro feature re-edits came back, but nothing's happened so far. That was one of the chief holdups that took so long to get it on Treasures tin in the first place, namely whether it was officially classified as a movie or DIsneyland TV episode. (But more proof that You Can't Always Get What You Want, but if you try real hard, you might sometimes get what you need.)

#25 of 92 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted February 26 2013 - 05:58 PM

No quoting the Stones in a Disney thread...rofl...

#26 of 92 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted February 27 2013 - 05:43 AM

I love you all, but this thread has taken more twists and turns than "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride."
 

 


#27 of 92 OFFLINE   lukejosephchung

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Posted February 27 2013 - 06:27 AM

Originally Posted by Ethan Riley  I love you all, but this thread has taken more twists and turns than "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride."
I would have chosen the Matterhorn Bobsled or Space Mountain myself... But your point is well taken!!! Let's get back to the focus of this thread, which should be CONSTRUCTIVE criticism of Disney's current marketing choices for their home video releases in terms of which versions, bonus features and even movies to make available to the buying public.

#28 of 92 OFFLINE   Doctorossi

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Posted February 27 2013 - 06:46 AM

Well, apart from it reinforcing the negative (and inaccurate) stereotype that all adult male fans of Disney movies are happy, gushy inner-child gay people who go to Disney World every June...
If you want to write your own ultra-hetero letter to Disney, please, as they say, "be our guest". You can even create your own thread about it and perhaps some of the hardier and burlier among us will visit.

#29 of 92 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted February 27 2013 - 07:11 AM

Rossi... Are you trying to say you're a bear? BTW...I don't mean any offense...2 broke girls just did an episode bringing it up...

#30 of 92 OFFLINE   Doctorossi

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Posted February 27 2013 - 07:29 AM

Are you trying to say you're a bear?
I'm about as bear as Ryan Seacrest.

#31 of 92 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted February 27 2013 - 10:53 AM

Well this certainly changed tones. From Disney, please release SONG Of THE SOUTH to bears, and not necessarily the country jamboree ones. Matthew put forth an excellent open letter with subjects that many if us have questioned, if not in our mind, in the various threads concerning those Disney Titles. For some reason, to me, the Disney titles are very important, I assume it is that I grew up in my theatre seeing those films either in their first release or rerelease. I will never forget sitting in a packed house with my little sister watching a double feature of THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR and THE SHAGGY DOG. The 1000+ in attendance roared with laughter. This happened with many of the Disney films. I will also never forget seeing 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA or SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON in a packed house. I love BONNIE & CLYDE, FUNNY GIRL, PATTON, MASH, LORD OF THE RINGS, but the Disney films make me smile and allows me to think I'm a kid again. I applaud Matthew for his well thought out letter and hope some people at Disney are reading. His remarks, not so much some of the others.
"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman


#32 of 92 OFFLINE   Ejanss

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Posted February 27 2013 - 01:38 PM

I applaud Matthew for his well thought out letter and hope some people at Disney are reading. His remarks, not so much some of the others.
Well, that was sort of my point: They DON'T read here, they DON'T read e-mail, and they've heard it all before. Very before, and very often. Have you ever seen Bob Iger's face at the stockholders' meeting when he gets another Song of the South question, and it's not because of the movie? It's sort of a pilgrimage: Every fan has to think he has to singlehandedly "cure" the company himself, "discovers" trivia about lost scenes we've heard about and YouTubed for years, and believes that his one letter will awaken the studio's eyes not unlike Thomas Paine. Good, that's over with. Are you finished now? :rolleyes: But the company has been around since before most of the fans were born. They own most of the world; try to 'hammer down the brick wall", and you'll find another brick wall behind that. Change will come, but it has to come one disk at a time, with specific disk-by-disk issues, addressed to the company, at the time of release, while the disk is in the studio eye at that time, while the studio is worrying about direct sales effects on that title. (Eg. objecting to the Virtual Vault on Pocahontas, and saying that as a fan, you would not want to buy further titles with VV's, etc.) If you want to impress with how much you "know" about Disney, try impressing us with how much you know about how the company properly conducts its business. You've got shopping lists?--Save them for the grocery. You got trivia?--Save it for bar bets. You got personal love letters to Cinderella?--Go hug her at the parks. And then, when you've gotten all your personal self-esteem issues out of the way, let the video fans and company handle the videos.

#33 of 92 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted February 27 2013 - 02:21 PM

Well, that was sort of my point: They DON'T read here, they DON'T read e-mail, and they've heard it all before. Very before, and very often. Have you ever seen Bob Iger's face at the stockholders' meeting when he gets another Song of the South question, and it's not because of the movie? It's sort of a pilgrimage: Every fan has to think he has to singlehandedly "cure" the company himself, "discovers" trivia about lost scenes we've heard about and YouTubed for years, and believes that his one letter will awaken the studio's eyes not unlike Thomas Paine. Good, that's over with. Are you finished now? :rolleyes: But the company has been around since before most of the fans were born. They own most of the world; try to 'hammer down the brick wall", and you'll find another brick wall behind that. Change will come, but it has to come one disk at a time, with specific disk-by-disk issues, addressed to the company, at the time of release, while the disk is in the studio eye at that time, while the studio is worrying about direct sales effects on that title. (Eg. objecting to the Virtual Vault on Pocahontas, and saying that as a fan, you would not want to buy further titles with VV's, etc.) If you want to impress with how much you "know" about Disney, try impressing us with how much you know about how the company properly conducts its business. You've got shopping lists?--Save them for the grocery. You got trivia?--Save it for bar bets. You got personal love letters to Cinderella?--Go hug her at the parks. And then, when you've gotten all your personal self-esteem issues out of the way, let the video fans and company handle the videos.
I believe that they read HTF, if not explain their invitations to the members to visit the studio and show off. They don't have to listen but they do read.
"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman


#34 of 92 OFFLINE   Ejanss

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Posted February 27 2013 - 02:39 PM

I do believe that do read HTF, if not explain their invitations to the members to visit the studio and show off. They don't have to listen but they do read.
I alluded to it earlier, but guess some people didn't know the details--It's still a good story about HOW to pressure a studio professionally and on their own solicited terms. Back in 1999, after Disney was recovering from Miramax's disastrous arthouse run of "Princess Mononoke", most people weren't aware that Disney didn't have video rights to the original Japanese soundtrack at the time, and objected to Disney only announcing the English-dubbed version for DVD. Some higher-up video and anime fans complained and pressured Disney through the proper channels (and personal meetings through the right connections)--And Disney, who had been hoping to prove that Ghibli was "unpopular" with the mainstream anyway and cut back their distribution, agreed to put it up the public petition as to whether they should recall the upcoming English-only release and delay it in favor of negotiating a dual-language version. Rather like Fox's letting HTF vote on new titles, BVHV made very specific requests for fans who wrote in: - Paper letter only, as most e-mail is literally unread at the office, - Only addressed to the provided address of the specific executive in charge of the release, - Only in regards to the Mononoke issue, no side requests about uncut Mickey or Br'er Rabbit, - Only from fans who would state that they definitely planned to buy the title if Disney should offer it, no idealist supporters for principle need apply, and - Only during a set six-week period specified by the company, as the on-paper results would be presented to the exec in person at an upcoming meeting. FTR, Disney had hoped to cement their own position and "prove" the unpopularity with 500-1000 niche-fan responses at the most, and were presented with five boxes of paper letters. Needless to say, they were caught at the disadvantage, but at least it was fair and square. Disney was forced to go back and make new negotiations with the Japanese distributor, and Japan was forced to reappraise its own DVD market. Moral: There are always ways of doing these things professionally. If a blog page falls on the web, does anyone read it?

#35 of 92 OFFLINE   Doctorossi

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Posted February 27 2013 - 06:32 PM

...

#36 of 92 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted February 28 2013 - 07:24 AM

Geez, I've been gone a long time. Do you know what it takes to get au jus stains out of a lace shirt collar? Walt Disney was a product of his time where this issue was concerned (I could bring up the Tommy Kirk story, but I don't think it's relevant, nor is the fact that the studio didn't mind working with Roddy McDowall, who was strongly rumored to have been gay, in five films before Eisner came along), but my point was that Johnny was being teased for not conforming to an arbitrary and unfair social norm. Dumbo getting teased for having big ears, which he was born with, might be a technically better analogy to being gay per se, but this is not just about being gay, but facing harassment from bullies. In my experience, children will harass other children over the most trivial things, and the results can often be tragic. The last thing I'm going to say about this: watch Pink Flamingos in a double feature with The Little Mermaid and see if Ursula reminds you of anyone...

And yes, I'd buy a Jodie Foster box set. You still have to admire the fact that she did Taxi Driver and Freaky Friday within a year of each other.


As for Song of the South, Johnny's parents are separating, and they seem to ignore him, as do all the other whites in the film, rich or poor, except for Ginny. And Uncle Remus' life is far from idyllic, even though he chose to stay on the plantation (perhaps it was because of his advanced age), as Johnny's mother (played by Ruth Warrick, and when she was working for the company as Phoebe on All My Children when it was on ABC, she, too, supported the release of the film) tells him to stop telling him stories, even though Remus tells him the stories specifically to help him deal with his problems. Br'er Rabbit uses his intellect to solve his problems, many of which he created in the first place.

The only reason I mentioned my sexual orientation in the context of Song of the South was because no one talks about the content of the film, its plot, etc.; only the perceived backlash that may or may not happen if Disney lifts its US embargo on the film (which still airs on TV in the UK every now and then) or whether other perceived racial/ethnic/sexual stereotypes in Disney films of any era are as bad or worse than the perceived stereotypes of blacks in SotS. I normally don't talk about it here unless I think it is relevant to the discussion of the art of film. And it was not until someone else brought it up to engage in smilie abuse that this thread took the direction it did. Disney tried to hide the film from sight, but they didn't do a very good job of it.


For info on these alternate cuts (when I called Disney's hotline, they stated point blank their policy is "original theatrical cuts only"), here's the LA Times article about Anchor Bay and Happiest Millionaire (of which I have only seen the long version, so I am unaware of the differences between it and the 144-minute short version, and I've heard there was an even shorter version at one point) that seemed to rub Eisner the wrong way (no pun intended, believe me), and I know of at least one administrator who is looking forward to that film's eventual Blu-ray (and it does deserve better than what it got on Disney's in-house DVD).

Richard M. Sherman on Family Band shortly after its release (from "Walt's People, Volume 8"): "As far as The Family Band, I think they acted like horse's asses. We had a one-hour-and-fifty-six minute picture, which is an ideal time. Now when a picture is done it's like a painting. Take out one character and there will be a hole, the work of art is ended. And I'm not talking as purely as an artist, but as a businessman. A one-hour-and-fifty-six minute musical is an ideal time, but some jerk in New York who ran the Music Hall said, "If you can give us a one-hour-and-thirty-six minute picture, we'll run it in the Music Hall." Bill Anderson was shocked, and we were shocked. What are we going to do? Let's not give it to them. But no, the powers that be at the Studio now said, "At the Music Hall we can pick up half a million dollars." And so they bastardized and prostituted artistic values. They cut out motivation songs. There was a song called Westerin', which also was one of Walt's favorites, which the father sings to himself, his inner urge to be moving westward. That was completely cut, clipped. Once they did that they never put it back again, although we were promised that it was just for the Music Hall.

We also said that the critics were going to review it at the Music Hall, that when it's first out, that's what we're going to be judged on. Well, people don't act the way they seem to in this picture.
There was reason for people's motivations. But they hacked it to pieces."


Richard M. Sherman on Bedknobs, in an interview that tied in with the last DVD (yet another irony: on that disc, they cut everything from the 20 minute "Music Magic" featurette from the 30th Anniversary Edition that discussed the cuts) and talks about it more in-depth than the usual "and-then-we-wrote" articles (I still wonder how much screen time Roddy was supposed to have had, considering he was 3rd billed, the closest thing to a box-office draw at the time because of Planet of the Apes, and no version mentions his character's name in dialogue, though he's credited as "Mr. Jelk"). Seriously, who inherited Walt's final cut privileges after he died?


And since the Pete's Dragon matter is apparently closed for now (it, too, played the Music Hall right before they gave up playing movies regularly, and then there's the matter of Don Bluth [it's been years since I watched any of his solo work, but I remember liking his 1980s stuff a lot when it was new, and it's a coincidence his star fell around the time [i]Little Mermaid[/i] came out] and his fallout with Disney), here's what Dave Smith of the Disney Archives told someone who asked nicely (the soundtrack has shown up on iTunes recently).


This site discussed the cuts and reshoots to The Watcher in the Woods.


Disney didn't save all their extraneous material, but apparently, they saved more than most, likely because they had a smaller library to begin with. Interestingly, it's musicals that suffer the most when the executives barge into the cutting room, so I'm not singling Disney out. They're just the last of the legacy Hollywood studios that still has an identifiable style of filmmaking, though it's changed over the years (honestly, I wouldn't have minded if they kept making the same type of wacky, over-the-top live-action cartoons until the sun goes supernova if the scripts had been better and they varied the diet with intelligent dramas for adults that bore the Disney name). Every studio used to have its house style and a genre or form it specialized in: MGM had musicals and costume dramas, Warner Bros. had gangster movies and films noir (I've resigned myself to accept the fact that there is no possible way to release Looney Tunes to Blu-ray in a way that will please everyone, so I just focus on the quality of what they do release), Universal had the monsters, Fox was the king of literary adaptations, Columbia was a poverty row player who hit its stride because of Frank Capra and the Three Stooges, and Paramount had a disproportionate number of German Jewish emigres who got out while the getting was good (Billy Wilder was a notable example) that influenced the style of their films. Now, all other studios' films seem generic and indistinguishable from one another, while any individual voice that comes through is because of either the director or a very influential writer (writers seem to have more say in TV, which has always been superior to movies as a form of long-form storytelling).


It's been nearly 30 years since Eisner came on board, and he'll always be a double-edged sword to me. I can't imagine Disney history without The Golden Girls (I'm starting to think Rose missed her true calling in life: playing Cinderella's Fairy Godmother at Walt Disney World), Ruthless People, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Ashman and Menken's oevure. That rapid growth made a lot of great things possible and got people talking about Disney movies and the art of animation as something current and relevant, not a relic of cinema's past or something only kids watched on Saturday morning (yes, I watched those too, and even then the animation paled in comparison to the theatrical cartoons of any era, and I caught on that many of them were trying to sell me toys, but I just didn't care; I was 5!). But his actions alienated too many hard-working animators and burned bridges with other creative personnel (Steven Spielberg never worked for Disney again until after 2005; and as much as I'd like to see the Roger Rabbit sequel happen, I'll file that under "wait for an official press release") for me to overlook. You can't run any business that way. I don't think I'd be writing this letter if he were still CEO of Disney.


Still, a lot of people, especially those of my generation and younger, don't realize that Disney was essentially a small, independent studio until he took over. The rest of Hollywood viewed them as a cartoon studio first and foremost, and theme parks seemed to get the lion's share of the attention once Disneyland opened and throughout the Card Walker/Donn Tatum/Ron Miller era. They couldn't really afford top Hollywood stars, so they built their own in-house stars (all these Disney teen stars have basically been copying Annette Funicello) or hired people who were no longer top stars at other studios (look at the cast list for Pollyanna and see what they all did before that, or consider the trajectory of George Sanders' career from Addison DeWitt to Shere Khan).


As a reviewer for HTF, I am bound to the same rules of conduct as everyone else (trying to review All in the Family while staying within the site's guidelines about politics is an undertaking, I'll admit that). But we're all here because we love movies and we want them to be preserved, restored and made available to those who want to see them.

As for what you could call my philosophy of film or any artistic media: I'm a hard-bitten idealist.


As for the efficacy of online campaigns? Facebook seems to be what people use a lot. And if paper media really is more effective, you can still send it to 500 S. Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA 91521 and see what happens.

Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I am going to boycott The Walt Disney Company until then. And while you're at it, PLEASE stop dropping DVD/laserdisc extras from Blu-ray releases of other films.


#37 of 92 OFFLINE   Escapay

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Posted February 28 2013 - 08:07 AM

In the past few years - especially given Disney's treatment towards their catalog titles - I would call Disney Customer Service directly rather than send an e-mail, and I would make sure to be connected to a cast member who will listen as I discuss a particular release with them. Sometimes it doesn't go much further than a "thank you for your concerns, we have them on record," but Disney will still consider phone calls and handwritten letters as more important (well, in the sense they will actually be read) than e-mails. Someone at UltimateDisney best explained it as something along the lines of "for every one person who calls about such-and-such issue, they represent - to Disney's eyes and ears - one hundred more who felt the same but didn't feel like calling." Calling, e-mailing, writing letters, they do help. It may seem like they are ignored, but that's what interns are for. Somebody has to read through them. And sometimes, e-mails do get a response outside of the usual form letter if they are well-written, much like Matt's open letter here. After any Disney trip I take, I like to send WDW Guest Relations an e-mail about specific cast members I came across who did either great or lousy work. This year, I sent a rather lengthy e-mail to WDW Guest Relations regarding my most recent visit to Walt Disney World. Rather than receive the usual "thank you for your e-mail," I ended up getting a personal phone call from a Guest Relations cast member to thank me for everything I wrote in that e-mail. They made sure to let me know that the cast members I discussed in that e-mail were told of their exemplary work, and that they would each receive "Great Service Fanatic" citations on their work records. Also, as Matt said, sometimes it doesn't hurt to reach out to some high-profile Disney personnel (current of former) on Facebook or LinkedIn. For example, Don Hahn (producer of Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and more recently Frankenweenie) is fairly active on Facebook and we've exchanged private messages several times. Likewise, Brenda Chapman (original director of Brave, now at Lucasfilm) has a personal Facebook account, but redirects fans to her LinkedIn account. And Leonard Maltin has also been fairly communicative with Disney fans, especially during the Walt Disney Treasures years. He was usually quick to reply to any fan concerns, and pass it on to Disney. Same for Bill Cotter (author of The Wonderful World of Disney Television). When Disney was preparing the "Zorro" Treasures DVDs a year in advance, Bill Cotter asked fans for ideas and suggestions of what would be great bonus materials, stuff they could consider in addition to what they already were looking into producing/licencing. I sent in an e-mail, and he noted that most of what I suggested were things he and others were keen on including as well, and it was nice to know that the disc producers and fans were on the same wavelength in that regard. Disney may not listen to a mass of fan e-mails, but fans can still reach out to people who have more direct connections. In addition, Bob Iger has my number on his speed dial. ;) (Okay, maybe that last one was a lie.)

#38 of 92 OFFLINE   Ejanss

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Posted February 28 2013 - 09:16 AM

This site discussed the cuts and reshoots to The Watcher in the Woods. Disney didn't save all their extraneous material, but apparently, they saved more than most, likely because they had a smaller library to begin with. Interestingly, it's musicals that suffer the most when the executives barge into the cutting room, so I'm not singling Disney out. They're just the last of the legacy Hollywood studios that still has an identifiable style of filmmaking, though it's changed over the years (honestly, I wouldn't have minded if they kept making the same type of wacky, over-the-top live-action cartoons until the sun goes supernova if the scripts had been better and they varied the diet with intelligent dramas for adults that bore the Disney name). Every studio used to have its house style and a genre or form it specialized in: MGM had musicals and costume dramas, Warner Bros. had gangster movies and films noir (I've resigned myself to accept the fact that there is no possible way to release Looney Tunes to Blu-ray in a way that will please everyone, so I just focus on the quality of what they do release), Universal had the monsters, Fox was the king of literary adaptations, Columbia was a poverty row player who hit its stride because of Frank Capra and the Three Stooges, and Paramount had a disproportionate number of German Jewish emigres who got out while the getting was good It's been nearly 30 years since Eisner came on board, and he'll always be a double-edged sword to me. I can't imagine Disney history without The Golden Girls (I'm starting to think Rose missed her true calling in life: playing Cinderella's Fairy Godmother at Walt Disney World),
Yeah, y'know, you do raise an interesting...WHAT THE HECK DOES THIS ALL HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING???? ;)
In the past few years - especially given Disney's treatment towards their catalog titles - I would call Disney Customer Service directly rather than send an e-mail, and I would make sure to be connected to a cast member who will listen as I discuss a particular release with them. Sometimes it doesn't go much further than a "thank you for your concerns, we have them on record," but Disney will still consider phone calls and handwritten letters as more important (well, in the sense they will actually be read) than e-mails. Someone at UltimateDisney best explained it as something along the lines of "for every one person who calls about such-and-such issue, they represent - to Disney's eyes and ears - one hundred more who felt the same but didn't feel like calling." Calling, e-mailing, writing letters, they do help. It may seem like they are ignored, but that's what interns are for. Somebody has to read through them.
That's not what I was told. I doubt it's changed significantly since the 90's, but the upshot was that the unsolicited--let's focus on that word, UNSOLICITED--e-mail traffic was so overwhelming to one or two catch-all addresses, that unless it was through the specific Customer Support complaint channel (which is usually filtered for a specific issue, such as faulty disks, etc.), it's lost in the Trash bin. It would be nice, but I sure wouldn't want to be the temp hired to read 2000 near-identical e-mails a day that didn't address specific product issues. That's rather why, even for those lucky enough to personally follow up a bit of networking with execs on the web, they asked for paper letters--a much more professional presentation that finds a place on a desk longer than a Facebook chat or a Tweet--and very likely still do.
And sometimes, e-mails do get a response outside of the usual form letter if they are well-written, much like Matt's open letter here
Oh, you mean, the one where he rambles for sixteen paragraphs, makes himself the headline story with vanity jokes about his own lifestyle (and then wraps himself in rainbow flags and reduces EVERY complaint to that issue, if he should receive the slightest public censure for it), throws a myriad of every possible Disney-geek trivia story, literally from the 80's on up, into the soup whether it relates to a specific video issue or not, and never particularly seems to have one focused issue thread running throughout the marathon piece from one paragraph to the next? I can think of more efficient letters. As some of us on another forum have made a running-joke out of reminding one other "favorite" vanity marathon-letter writer, too wrapped up in Wherever The Topic Would Take Him to engage the recipient into back-and-forth discussion: "Uh, psst...You're blogging again. :rolleyes: "
After any Disney trip I take, I like to send WDW Guest Relations an e-mail about specific cast members I came across who did either great or lousy work. This year, I sent a rather lengthy e-mail to WDW Guest Relations regarding my most recent visit to Walt Disney World. Rather than receive the usual "thank you for your e-mail," I ended up getting a personal phone call from a Guest Relations cast member to thank me for everything I wrote in that e-mail. They made sure to let me know that the cast members I discussed in that e-mail were told of their exemplary work, and that they would each receive "Great Service Fanatic" citations on their work records.
That, presumably, would be because you have specific stories to tell them, about how their employees treated you, or how a particular service or experience on your trip went above your customer expectations. That's a factoid they like to hear, because it lets them shape sales and customer relations for future products, and become aware of any complaints paying customers might have. If you'd put on your Smug Disney Smarty-geek ears and said "Say, did you know Walt had an apartment over Main Street?" , I doubt you'd get more than a form letter. (Let's just assume they already know that. Don't knock yourself out shoveling coal to Newcastle. ;) )
Also, as Matt said, sometimes it doesn't hurt to reach out to some high-profile Disney personnel (current of former) on Facebook or LinkedIn. For example, Don Hahn (producer of Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and more recently Frankenweenie) is fairly active on Facebook and we've exchanged private messages several times. Likewise, Brenda Chapman (original director of Brave, now at Lucasfilm) has a personal Facebook account, but redirects fans to her LinkedIn account. And Leonard Maltin has also been fairly communicative with Disney fans, especially during the Walt Disney Treasures years. He was usually quick to reply to any fan concerns, and pass it on to Disney. Same for Bill Cotter (author of The Wonderful World of Disney Television). When Disney was preparing the "Zorro" Treasures DVDs a year in advance, Bill Cotter asked fans for ideas and suggestions of what would be great bonus materials, stuff they could consider in addition to what they already were looking into producing/licencing. I sent in an e-mail, and he noted that most of what I suggested were things he and others were keen on including as well, and it was nice to know that the disc producers and fans were on the same wavelength in that regard. Disney may not listen to a mass of fan e-mails, but fans can still reach out to people who have more direct connections. In addition, Bob Iger has my number on his speed dial. ;) (Okay, maybe that last one was a lie.)
Still, it, like any SPECIFIC name of those execs directly involved with development who can address customer concerns about the problem, would help. In Iger's case, I doubt it would help with Song of the South, but we can hope. Just as long as we keep the hoping on topic, and to a couple paragraphs at the most.

#39 of 92 OFFLINE   Will Krupp

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Posted February 28 2013 - 10:33 AM

Originally Posted by Ejanss  Well, apart from it reinforcing the negative (and inaccurate) stereotype that all adult male fans of Disney movies are happy, gushy inner-child gay people who go to Disney World every June...
It's only a negative stereotype if you're a homophobe

#40 of 92 OFFLINE   Escapay

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Posted February 28 2013 - 11:22 AM

Oh, you mean, the one where he rambles for sixteen paragraphs, makes himself the headline story with vanity jokes about his own lifestyle (and then wraps himself in rainbow flags and reduces EVERY complaint to that issue, if he should receive the slightest public censure for it)
I doubt one sentence in reference to his personal life makes him the headline story in the entirety of his letter.
That, presumably, would be because you have specific stories to tell them, about how their employees treated you, or how a particular service or experience on your trip went above your customer expectations. That's a factoid they like to hear, because it lets them shape sales and customer relations for future products, and become aware of any complaints paying customers might have.
And likewise, for any consumer being given a product that is not up to par, they would have "specific stories" to tell them. Differences between film edits, how it affects the viewer, whether such changes are for the better or worse, those can all be considered issues with the product that WDSHE should be aware of. If they know that people are *not* buying a movie on DVD/Blu-Ray because it's not presented in the best way possible, maybe they should listen to their reasons why. Whether or not personal life stories are included. It's not just Disney-geek-trivia, these are factors that some consumers will take into account in whether they want to buy a product or not. Just because they're not using Disney Blu-Ray as a virtual babysitter does not mean their concerns are less important than Joe Sixpack and Jane Soccermom, who'll take whatever's given because it has the Disney name.





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