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  • Floyd Norman

    Toon Tuesday: An old fashioned notion in the Cartoon Business

    • 2 Comments
    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 well during my years in animation and my personal complaints are few. Sadly, this hasn't always been the case for my colleagues. I've watched this same scenario played out dozens of times during...
  • Floyd Norman

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

    • 2 Comments
    "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, the Disney chief executive had just announced the sad death of an art form that had once been the foundation of this prestigious media company. And with the passing of a unique art form that had been...
  • Floyd Norman

    Toon Thursday: Life lessons from the animation professionals

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    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 important benefit. a benefit rarely talked about. "Old Timers" Don Griffith and Al Dempster . There was more to life than just cartoons. You see, unlike most of us kids, these animation professionals...
  • Floyd Norman

    Toon Tuesday: Back when cartoon making was fun

    • 4 Comments
    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 production to today's digital process. You can't walk through a modern animation studio without seeing rows and rows of animation artists working away on their computers and Cintiq Tablets. What's...
  • Floyd Norman

    Toon Tuesday: Remembering Ginny Tyler

    • 1 Comments
    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 Disneyland during the re-edited and repackaged syndication run of the original Mickey Mouse Club . It was during this time she became known as the Disneyland Storyteller and was even praised by Walt...
  • Floyd Norman

    Toon Tuesday: Could animation studios manage to get by with fewer managers?

    • 3 Comments
    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 responsible. The senior executive wearing the "serious" dark suit turned to her colleague with an important question. True story. Actually overheard this conversation by two executives "Who...
  • Floyd Norman

    Toon Tuesday: My Meeting with Gerry

    • 1 Comments
    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 by retirees living in the nearby beach community. But, who were these codgers, I wondered. And why would they have any interest in an obscure little cartoon studio in Newport Beach? I could tell by...
  • Floyd Norman

    Toon Tuesday: Making Magic in the Digital Age

    • 8 Comments
    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 from their live action counterparts. In years past I remember audiences going to animated movies because they were NOT live-action and they weren't real. There was something fanciful and delightful...
  • Floyd Norman

    Toon Tuesday: Taking a wild ride on the "Jungle Book" express

    • 7 Comments
    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 have changed in the cartoon business. People constantly tell me how much "The Jungle Book" impressed them. We thought it was okay. But this movie made a ton of movie back in 1967 and helped...
  • Floyd Norman

    Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Jim Henson and the matter of time

    • 1 Comments
    The three men were engaged in a spirited conversation when I took a seat directly behind them. This was a screening room at the Walt Disney Studio and we were there to get a look at a new animated feature film being produced by Pixar Animation Studios . In front of me and to my right was the Vice Chairman, Roy Edward Disney and to my left was animation veteran and Disney Legend Joe Grant . Seated in between the two of them was the guy who owned the fledgling animation company. His name was Steve...
  • Floyd Norman

    Toon Tuesday: Working without a Net

    • 7 Comments
    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" if necessary. Brad Bird knows what it takes to make good movies In today's less-than-creative environment it's cool to hear such sentiments expressed so openly. When Bird journeyed to Pixar...
  • Floyd Norman

    How an under-developed, over-cooked "Black Cauldron" led to better days at Disney Animation Studios

    • 7 Comments
    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 Black Cauldron" served an even greater purpose. However, we'll get to that later. What I did find interesting back in the early 1980s was a change in attitude at Disney's animation department...
  • Floyd Norman

    As Walt Disney once said: "I think it's important to have a good, hard failure"

    • 1 Comments
    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 greeted with warm enthusiasm. As a matter of fact, some Disney executives wanted the movie shut down. Confronted by this dire situation, the Pixar brain trust decided to regroup and rethink the entire...
  • Floyd Norman

    Toon Tuesday: Clothes Encounters of the Disney Studio Kind

    • 0 Comments
    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 were other fascinating topics Ward's creative unit was eager to tackle. Let me tell you about one of them, and why I consider it a fascinating subject. Ward (he's the one in black wearing...
  • Floyd Norman

    What's the connection between Roy E. Disney's camera and the 1965 Watts Riot?

    • 0 Comments
    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 could take advantage of the dozens or hundreds of potential buyers who walked the hallways each day. It was craigslist before there was a craigslist and eBay before there was an eBay. A slip of paper...
  • Floyd Norman

    Toon Tuesday: Undercover (Parking) at Disney Studio

    • 0 Comments
    Once upon a time there were no parking structures on the Walt Disney Studio lot. The under and above ground parking facilities we take for granted today were once non-existent. Disney staffers either parked in available space on the lot or sought street parking. Of course, there were fewer cars in those days so it really wasn't an issue. If you were a Disney big shot back in the day you had shed parking. And, what is that, you ask? Well, if you're as old as I am, you'll remember that...
  • Floyd Norman

    Why it's dangerous for animation studios to get fat & happy

    • 4 Comments
    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 goes through this very special period. It's the beginning. It's the honeymoon. It's the start of a brave new adventure - and to be sure, it's always extremely exciting. I know - I've...
  • Floyd Norman

    Toon Tuesday: Getting Sacked, Disney Style

    • 3 Comments
    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 act as a buffer, and getting sacked was an art in itself. When we were kids back in the day, it was not unusual to see a number of animation veterans arrive at the Walt Disney Studio charged with a task...
  • Floyd Norman

    Young kids & old codgers proved to be a very powerful combo at Walt Disney Studio

    • 1 Comments
    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 veterans and green young kids beginning their move up the animation ladder. Why is this important, you ask? Read on, and you'll find out why. The entire second floor space of D-wing was occupied...
  • Floyd Norman

    The female artists & animators who changed Disney Studio’s “boys will be boys” culture

    • 3 Comments

    Disney Legend Floyd Norman take a look at the 1950s & 1960s. When – thanks to a few pioneering women -- the Animation Building stopped being a male-only domain

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  • Floyd Norman

    Toon Tuesday: The Wow Factor

    • 2 Comments

    Disney Legend Floyd Norman returns with a column where he talks about how he’d overhaul today's animation industry if given the chance

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  • Floyd Norman

    Toon Tuesday: Exploding on Lift Off

    • 3 Comments

    Disney Legend Floyd Norman returns with a column that’s sure to resonate with today’s filmmakers. Which talks about how it’s never fun when your movie bursts into flame while it’s still sitting on the launching pad

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  • Floyd Norman

    When you work in animation, there’s just no avoiding those Pink Slip Blues

    • 1 Comments

    Disney Legend Floyd Norman returns with a column that discusses one of the lesser popular aspects of working in Toontown. And that’s the layoff that invariably comes whenever a new animated feature completes production

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  • Floyd Norman

    Toon Tuesday : My Luncheon with Roy

    • 5 Comments

    Join Disney Legend Floyd Norman in the Coral Room on the Burbank lot in late 1984. And then listen in as Walt’s nephew reassures the troops in regards to all the changes that had recently been made at Walt Disney Productions

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  • Floyd Norman

    Disney’s timeless battle between the young punks and the old guard

    • 2 Comments
    Everything old is new again at the Mouse Factory. Or so says Disney Legend Floyd Norman, as he talks about the creative struggles that have gone at the Studios for decades now...
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