Ogres aren’t just in fairytales

March 4, 2010 at 6:09 pm Leave a comment

“Now ogres, oh, they’re much worse. They’ll make a suit from your freshly peeled skin. They’ll shave your liver, squeeze the jelly from your eyes… Actually, it’s quite good on toast.”

– Shrek, 2001


Borden, M. (2009-10).“The Redemption of an Ogre.” Fast Company, (141), 104-108.

Shrek, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and the soon-to-be-released How to Train your Dragon are some of Jeffrey Katzenberg’s projects. After running Walt Disney studios from 1984-94, he moved on to DreamWorks productions with Steven Spielberg and David Geiffen (SKG). Katzenberg’s creativity and work ethic is considered to be a “screamer […] and a very tough force to be reckoned with” by Disney’s Don Hahn. His decade-long position in Disney as Producer ended because the CEO, Michael Eisner, and Hollywood were fed up. In 1991 Alec Baldwin called him “the eight dwarf – Greedy”.               

His work ethic is one to be evaluated critically while also appreciated for its simplicity. While his ambition has strongly influenced society’s opinion of him, it in no way measures up to his true non-nonsense policy. His stance is “If you don’t come to work on Saturdays, don’t bother to come in on Sunday.” While many North Americans are amused but still ticked off by this, it does express the psychology many of us should have when we’ve chosen a field we are passionate about and strive to have perfection at all levels of production. This ambitious work ethic is seemingly rare in our culture; where a constant stream of articles offer you breaks and week-long cruises when you’ve slacked away your office hours. Students are also encouraged to spend more time “living life” then planning for their future, and the next generation’s. I can’t write that I watch less than two hours of TV a week, that I don’t party, or that I do live life in my college library. However, that seems to be the problem. While good grades are all well and dandy, the medium amount of effort expected by the labour force slowly diminishes – somewhat like expectancies for loyalty in any relationship (but that’s a whole other blog). Eventually, my generation will spend even less time in the office while asking for increasing vacation-allocated periods. As Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation CEO, says “More is never enough”.

What we can take from Katzenberg’s “philosophy” is that even though DreamWorks has a world-wide box office revenue for CG animation films since 1995 of 6.3 billion, topping their famous rival, Pixar, the co-founder lives a pretty simple life.

  • “He drives a black Prius himself even with a reported net worth of 800$ million;
  • A number of his top executives have been with him for more than a decade, a lifetime in his business; and,
  • Even though he routinely consorts with A-list starlets, he has been happily married to his wife for 34 years”

While working in Rome with Cameron Diaz to promote Shrek, the idea was propositioned that they stay another day. He declined and left Rome early to have dinner with his wife at 8.

Putting family first is always a concern no matter what career path you choose, and even Ogres have a soft spot for the things that really matter in life.


Entry filed under: Society in Transition.

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