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  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: An old fashioned notion in the Cartoon Business

    At the risk of being considered a grumpy old timer, I have a need to air a few gripes from time to time. Plus, my sixty or so years in the cartoon business has earned me the right to be critical on occasion. I'll say upfront that I have no personal ax to grind. I've been treated extraordinarily...
  • 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: Could animation studios manage to get by with fewer managers?

    The two young executives stood admiring the impressive artwork that lined the walls of the studio conference room. Of course, it's a studio that shall remain nameless. Clearly taken aback by the beautiful artwork and the stellar concept designs on display, the managers were eager to know the person...
  • 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: 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: 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: The female artists & animators who changed Disney Studio’s “boys will be boys” culture

    There’s a mistaken notion that back in the 1950s the Walt Disney Studio was strictly a man’s world and women were not even allowed in the Animation Building. It was believed that women employees were restricted to the “women’s work” over in the Ink and Paint Department where...
  • 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...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: What was it like to work at the Mouse Factory back in the 1950s?

    A group of young guys and gals gathered in the office of a Disney veteran on the third floor of the Animation Building. “Boy, you missed it,” the old timer rhapsodized as he spoke about the good old days of the late 1930s and early 1940s. “This used to be a great place to work, but the strike ended all...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: The End of Endless Development

    Recently, I was listening to a writer describe President, Barak Obama and the Obama White House as being impatient. In fact, White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanual has a known reputation for being impatient, and is a guy intent on getting things done. What the heck does this have to do with animation...
  • Blog Post: Monday Mouse Watch : No Studio for Old Men

    I returned to the Walt Disney Studio in the early 1970s after a brief dalliance with my own production company. Not surprisingly, running my own shop proved to be a rather daunting task, and the thought of steady work at the drawing board didn’t seem all that bad. Plus word was out that there were opportunities...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: Remembering 2-C

    I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in Disney’s old Animation Building recently. A visit to the second floor always provokes a flood of memories. The structure has been renovated, and yet things look pretty much the same. At least enough remains to remind this Disney veteran of a time long gone...
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