new Mission Impossible trailer was screened last weekend and I couldn't help
looking for the screen credit, "Directed by Brad Bird." I've always considered Brad to be a risk
taker and I remember him saying that a creative person has to be willing to
"leap off the cliff" if necessary.
Brad Bird knows what it takes to make good movies
today's less-than-creative environment it's cool to hear such sentiments
expressed so openly. When Bird journeyed to Pixar Animation Studios some years
ago to "shake things up," he was new to the company which was known as a hit
maker. Instead of playing it safe, the writer-director pushed further &
harder and the result was "The Incredibles." A film that changed the rules and
broke new ground, but it didn't come easily.
guess that's why I've always been fascinated by risk takers. While others fear
failure, the risk takers are ready to leap off the cliff and land flat on their
butts should fate decree. You're already well aware this business is full of
such people and this lucky guy has had the good fortune to work with some of
would imagine Walt Disney to be the ultimate risk taker. Always attempting
something new & untried and betting the farm on each venture. Undaunted by
naysayers and skeptics, Disney plunged ahead focused only on his vision. You
can be sure there were failures along the way, but such setbacks only seemed to
make him stronger. Perhaps Walt had his share of sleepless nights but no one
appeared to notice. Disney always came across as confident and fearless. It's no
wonder so many followed his lead.
Walt Disney was the ultimate risk taker. The man had no fear. None
lackluster entertainment we experience today is the result of this risk-adverse
environment. Naturally, media producers want financial success but they seem to
want it all risk-free. This means nervous executives continually micro-manage
creativity and you already know where that leads. The breakthrough film, novel
or television show only happens when the artist is allowed to create. The
innovator can't be managed, second-guessed or guided by creative executives. He
or she needs the freedom to leap off the cliff and -- more importantly -- the
freedom to do so. If this is too much pressure for the top-level executives,
they're probably in the wrong business. These bosses should have chosen a more
mundane career such as selling insurance or manufacturing widgets.
feel that taking risks is what creativity is all about. It's doing a daring
high-wire act not unlike the Flying Wallendas. This is a job where failure is
public. When you're writing & directing a movie, you're working twelve
stories above the ground and you're doing it all without a net. Yes, boys and
girls, that's the rush and the risk. Clearly it's a job not for the faint-of-heart.
I've always felt true creativity is somewhat organic in nature. Unpredictable
and surprising, it's a process seldom understood. This risky process keeps our
work from becoming pedantic & mundane and it's something I've applied when
working on a writing assignment. Back in the 1980s, I wrote dozens of Disney
comic stories. Rather than constrain myself with structure, I kept my writing
loose and let the story take me where it wanted to go. Of course, there's
always the danger of "painting yourself into a corner." But it kept things
fresh and exciting for this storyteller. If the story is going to compel the
reader it should certainly interest the author.
A typical strip of the Mickey Mouse daily comic that Floyd Norman used to write. Just swap out "radio & headphones" for "iPod" and this gag still plays.Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
I apply this same technique to my cartoon gags and I tend to let my drawings
decide what the gag should be. While sketching characters on a page, I'll
notice a "dialogue" beginning to take place and I'll see where it leads. In a
strange way I like not knowing where the whole thing is going. I like leaping
off the cliff and I like working without a net.
line, this is what keeps things fresh and exciting. We work in a business where
the mantra continues to be, do what works. Don't take a risk or try anything
not proven to be successful. Companies now "manage risk" because they fear
failure. The sad thing is, by fearing failure; they pretty much guarantee
they'll eventually fail.
guess that's why I applaud the fearless. Guys and gals like the Old Maestro,
Walt Disney and young filmmakers like Brad Bird, Brenda Chapman, Chris Sanders
and Dean DeBlois. Willing to defy
convention, these creative storytellers often break the rules. In this current
atmosphere of pasteurized corporate entertainment where movies amount to little
more than commercials for consumer products, it would be nice to see someone --
anyone -- eager and willing to leap off the cliff.
Writing & directing animated feature films is a dangerous high wire act and notfor the faint-of-heart
Did you enjoy today's risk taking tale from Floyd Norman? Well, if you'd
like to learn more about the many amazing & amusing adventures that this Disney
Legend has had over the course of the 40+ years that he's worked in the
animation industry, then you definitely want to check out some of the books
which Mr. Norman has written.
Floyd's most recent effort - "Disk Drive: Animated Humor
in the Digital Age" - is available for purchase through blurb.com. While Mr. Norman's original
collection of cartoons and stories -- "Faster! Cheaper! The Flip Side of the
Art of Animation" - is still for sale over at John Cawley's Cataroo. And if you still haven't had your
fill of Floyd, feel free to move on over to Mr. Fun. Which is
where Mr. Norman posts his musings when he's not writing for JHM.
If the story and characters are there, licensing should follow.
If Brad Bird is such a risk taker why did he copy the characters of The Incredibles directly from The Fantastic Four?
Yes he did. The powers of the characters are directly lifted from the FF. Stretch-Mr Fantastic/Elastigirl Strength-Thing/Mr Incredible Invisibility-Invisible Girl/Violet Fire-Human Torch/Jak Jak Dash had the same attitude of Johnny Storm.
You could even say he lifted the X-Men as well with FroZone as Ice Man and Dash as Quicksilver.
Heck the Mole Man even made an appearance in the end.
It's easy to just say "No he didn't" and not support your opinion. There are plenty of people in the cmic industry that say the same thing about the Fantastic Four/Incredibles rip-off. If Brad Bird was such a risk taker he would have made up his own heroes with unique abilities. Not steal from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Or Dash could be Kid Flash? Clearly, incredibles was inspired by superhero comics ranging from Fantastic Four to Watchmen (the whole cape bit) but I think the approach was meant to be more evocative of superhero comics and cartoons one grew up with. I do have to wonder if the Incredibles would accept someone like Batman though.
The bit with the cape was trash. Part of the concession with superheroes is that some wear capes. If you ridicule something as simple as that, you are ridiculing the whole genre. It's like saying that baseball is stupid because managers wear the same uniform the players wear. It's part of the game. Deal with it.
I think it depends on the take. I do think the "hyper realism" is bordering on self-parody, www.youtube.com/watch
But I don't think it's going too far if capes are removable, particularly among the non-powered set.