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  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: It's a darn shame that Disney doesn't have any new hand-drawn animated features in the works

    "We currently have no traditional hand-drawn animated motion pictures in production or development." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved I'm paraphrasing what Disney CEO Robert Iger said at the recent shareholders meeting in Phoenix, AZ . But whether he knew it or not...
  • Blog Post: Toon Thursday: Life lessons from the animation professionals

    My animation friends & colleagues can pretty much tell the same story. All of us benefited greatly by having the opportunity to work side-by-side with seasoned veterans.Our careers were enriched by the tips and techniques they generously shared with us over the years. However, there was one other...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: Back when cartoon making was fun

    It's become a constant theme in my writing this past year. I've been comparing today's animation studios to the cartoon factories of years past and the changes I've observed. Most noticeable are the amazing technological advances as cartoon making has moved from traditional hand drawn...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: Remembering Ginny Tyler

    I recently learned of the passing of my friend and colleague, Ginny Tyler . Ginny and I shared our love for Disney. And I always regarded her as a true talent as well as one of the chief Mouseketeers much like the original head mouse, Jimmie Dodd . Back in the 1960s, Ginny performed live segments from...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: My Meeting with Gerry

    As I sat at my drawing board wildly sketching away on a new feature film idea, I suddenly glanced up to see two visitors in the room. It seems they were scrutinizing the sketches, models and story boards in my cluttered office. The two older gentleman were wearing the pastel colored garb usually sported...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: Making Magic in the Digital Age

    Is it just me or has animated cartoon film making finally evolved into something else? With motion pictures like " Rango " and " The Adventures of Tintin " finding a home in the Academy Awards animated film category I can't help but wonder how these movies are all that different...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: Taking a wild ride on the "Jungle Book" express

    The other evening, a pal who works for an animation studio that shall remain nameless was telling me about the project he was developing. It was great news to hear he had garnered the attention of the studio bosses and was moving into development on his new movie. But I couldn't but think how things...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: Working without a Net

    The 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"...
  • Blog Post: How an under-developed, over-cooked "Black Cauldron" led to better days at Disney Animation Studios

    I didn't work on Disney's " The Black Cauldron ," so you'll gain no film-making insights from me this time around. Oddly enough, this was a very important film for The Walt Disney Company. And although it didn't exactly burn up the box office charts when it opened, "The...
  • Blog Post: As Walt Disney once said: "I think it's important to have a good, hard failure"

    If you're a fan of Pixar Animation Studios (and I'll admit I am) you're probably familiar with the evolution of their first animated feature. A little film called " Toy Story ." You see, the motion picture concept the boys from up north showed Disney back in the 1990s was hardly...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: Clothes Encounters of the Disney Studio Kind

    You probably didn't know this, but Ward Kimball 's "science unit" on the second floor of Walt Disney's Animation Building had a pretty intriguing development slate back in the 1950s. You see, once Kimball finished with his science films about space travel and future highways , there...
  • Blog Post: What's the connection between Roy E. Disney's camera and the 1965 Watts Riot?

    Back in Disney's old days, life was simple. It was before corporate laid down dozens of rules, protocols and regulations that complicated the heck out of everything. When an employee wanted to sell something, he or she simply posted it on the company bulletin board. That meant any Disney employee...
  • Blog Post: Why it's dangerous for animation studios to get fat & happy

    Several years ago a group of young artists were griping about things at their studio. Their behavior amused and annoyed me. I scolded the kids and informed them that one day they would look back and remember this time as the good old days and wonder why they ever complained about anything. Every studio...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: Getting Sacked, Disney Style

    It's never fun to lose your job. Getting your dismissal papers can be downright traumatic or just plain odd. Let me tell you about the unique way Walt Disney said bye-bye to the artists & writers whose ideas failed to impress him. This was a time when there was no Human Resource Department to...
  • Blog Post: Young kids & old codgers proved to be a very powerful combo at Walt Disney Studio

    It never occurred to me at the moment. I guess I was too busy being enthralled by all the amazing artwork on the walls. Yet, there was something different about the animation unit, and it took me a while before I realized what it was. It turns out the entire unit was unique. It was comprised of animation...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: The Wow Factor

    I’ve often been asked this goofy question. “How would you run an animation studio if you were in charge?” Questions like this come from young people who assume I have answers. The truth is, I’m not in that position, and I don’t expect to be. However, I once ran my own business...
  • Blog Post: When you work in animation, there’s just no avoiding those Pink Slip Blues

    It was late summer 1958 and things had been going well. The mad rush to wrap the animated feature film, “ Sleeping Beauty ” was finally succeeding, and the film was well on its way to completion. Taking a break from the drawing board, I headed up to the second floor of the Animation Building...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday : My Luncheon with Roy

    I don’t know who came up with the bright idea, but it was a darn good one. What about spending our noon hour with the Vice Chairman of Walt Disney Feature Animation ? Would Roy Edward Disney accept our invitation, we wondered? The only way to find out was to simply ask. The early 1980s proved to...
  • Blog Post: Disney’s timeless battle between the young punks and the old guard

    You probably already know the story. A group of young guys move into the establishment and begin to shake things up. The old guard naturally has issues with the young punks, and they begin to push back. It’s a story we’ve all heard before, and I find it amazing that it remains a story that never really...
  • Blog Post: Toon Thursday: When Dad's a Disney Legend, that's a tough act to follow

    The sign on their office door at the Walt Disney Studio read “KKK.” Now before you get your knickers in a knot, let me first explain the meaning behind this silly sign. You see, back in the 1960s, there were very few young people joining Disney’s animation department. Unlike today, animation was still...
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