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that we don't lose sight of one thing. That it all started with a mouse."
-- Walt Disney
And given that Mickey is basically the well-spring from which all good things
flow at The Walt Disney Company ... well, it's kind of appropriate that -- on
Disney's Glendale Campus -- there's this very cool Mickey-inspired fountain.
Photo by Noe
what exactly were you & Noe doing on Disney's Glendale Campus?," you
ask. This past Friday was Mickey Mouse Day,
a media preview where we -- along with a bunch of other reporters -- got a chance
to look at two of the nineteen new Mickey Mouse shorts that will soon begin
playing on the Disney Channel. We were also given an in-depth look at the new
Disney Mobile game which will based on
these shorts as well as the wildly popular game "Where's My Water".
served as MC for the first part of the day's events. He expressed what it was
that made working for the Mouse special for him:
Bart Decrem welcomes
the press to Mickey Mouse Day at Disney's Glendale Campus. Photo by Noe
that never ceases to sort of amaze me and impress me is just the depth of the characters and the worlds that Disney stands
for and the emotional connection that our guests have with those characters. The other
thing that blows me away is sort of at Disney every couple of months is just the amazing
talent, the talented crew of people we have here," Decrem decried.
Coleman, Senior Vice President in charge of Original Series for Disney
Television Animation, echoed this
sentiment. When introducing Where's My Water creator Tim Fitzrandolph, he said: "I dare you to find a
more talented game-maker on the app store."
Eric Coleman, senior
VP of Original Series at Disney Television Animation. Photo by Noe Valladolid
explained the responsibilities that came with re-creating what is arguably the world's most iconic character: "We're very
excited about what we've been doing with Mickey. When we at the TV Animation Studio
were given the opportunity to do new Mickey
Mouse shorts, we were thrilled. We set out with three specific goals in mind.
introduce Mickey to a new generation, Entertain families that have their own memories of Mickey Mouse and highlight the
personality of this character; show what
a star he is.
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2. We wanted
to make sure that they feel contemporary. So to us this doesn't mean that we just give him an iPhone and call it a
day. It was in the tone, the sensibility, and the execution in the shorts. Where
they're edited, if music plays, the feel of it.
3. We wanted
to make shorts that really bring him to an international audience. We have Disney Channels in 167 countries now, a
huge global audience. While the appeal
of Mickey Mouse is universal, we wanted to make some shorts that felt very customized to some of our specific audiences."
thing Disney Television Animation had to do was assemble a team that could actually
pull this project off:
"We were really, really fortunate to bring aboard
Paul Rudish, who in the animation industry is highly regarded. He's beloved,
he's talented, he's extremely handsome .. .he's legendary, he's Emmy-winning,
he worked on The PowerPuff Girls, Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack; he also designed the original 2D Clone
Wars designs, he's worked on so many groundbreaking
shows, and we were working with him in-house on some things. And when this
opportunity came up, Paul was the perfect sensibility-wise to tap for it," Coleman explained.
Eric Coleman (R)
introduces Paul Rudish (L). Photo by Noe Valladolid
"So the next thing was for Paul to pull together a
team. And under Paul we have some incredible storyboard
artists, character designers, background designers, just a hugely talented
crew. We said to Paul, we want to do this, these are the things we want to
accomplish, and you have a wide berth
here to tell us if you take that challenge on, what you want to do with it,"Eric continued.
shared his feelings on the project: "When the offer came to get on this project, it was kind of overwhelming. It was
exciting to me as a fan of Walt Disney's classics to tackle the original cartoon
character (almost). But not in the scary way, being that he's so iconic and such a strong
character and his world and cast of characters is very iconic and actually very
easy to navigate. So the weight of what Mickey Mouse could be went away pretty
quickly, and we are really comfortable to just get in there and play with this
guy," Rudish stated.
version of Mickey Mouse was a character) that I felt like I knew. (As a kid,
one of my favorite things to do was) was going to Disneyland and going to that
little theater on Main Street and watching all the old black-and-white cartoons
like Plane Crazy, the original Mickey Mouse cartoon and one of my all-time
favorites," Paul said "(So I) started drawing and instantly found the want to do that
rubber-hose, old black-and-white kind of
thing. Honestly not doing old time, black-and-white cartoon, but the
sensibilities of those original cartoons, that were just a little more surreal
and very graphic and very playful."
challenge with creating these sorts of Mickey Mouse shorts in the modern age
where he's once again) that whimsical
mischievous little rascal, finding his character, that little guy that's kind of naïve, and then finds himself
in trouble, then finds a clever way to get himself out of it," Rudish continued. "So we started exploring the
graphic tone of them, the music cues, the original sketches that I was playing
with, I just find black-and-white so appealing to me personally that white face
and black head and just a powerful graphic, and those three circles that's instantly recognized all over
the world, it's just really iconic.
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"It doesn't matter
what you do with (Mickey). You can put him in different costumes, in different
places, and kind of
cast him with different roles around the world, and he's still always Mickey Mouse.
Some different international things are happening, we are exploring different things that are happening, different
locations, the cast of characters are there; we were looking for the rubber hose is fun, Goofy is
more like his original origins, Dippy Dog, and it's still really like him, the 1950s incarnation
of Donald and Daisy. Donald was super-cute then," Paul enthused.
"So it's kind
of an amalgamation, things kind of percolated naturally as I was drawing, things kind of came up in my
head, I imagined the characters, and then to complement that, again provenance
of being at Disney and the history of all the amazing artists that were always inspiring me was
right at hand, fantastic pieces of art by artist like Walt Peregoy, Mary Blair,
Eyvind Earle, had me super excited," Rudish said. "so we drew inspiration from all around Disney, eras and
different productions ..."
for these new Mickey Mouse shorts done in the style of Mary Blair. Copyright
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showed the members of the press who had come out for Disney's Mickey Mouse Day some fantastic inspirational artwork he'd done for the shorts, and
pointed out to us where the inspiration came from. Some, like the Mary
Blair-style art Paul did for the Alpine
short, were very obvious. Some, like the Chinese zoo, were subtler.
We got to
see two shorts, one which took place on an American boardwalk, the other in Tokyo. What was interesting was that they
did, indeed, play to an international audience - some of the shorts were in another language
but needed no translation. Some had no talking
at all! But like the original Mickey Mouse short, Plane Crazy, no words were
FYI: The Disney
Channel is going to begin airing these new Mickey Mouse shorts starting on June
28th. The first batch includes "No Service" (in which Mickey and
Donald try to buy lunch from a beachside snack shack but are unceremoniously
turned down because of the classic "No shirt, no shoes, no service"
admonition) and "Yodelberg" (where Mickey longs to visit Minnie atop her
mountaintop chalet but quickly realizes that the threat of avalanche has made
the trek up the mountain more challenging than usual).
I'll discuss what happened during the second half of our visit to Disney's
Glendale Campus on Mickey Mouse Day. Where we then got to scope out what the
Company hopes will be its next big app, "Where's My Mickey?"
But what do
you folks think of what you've seen so far of these new Mickey Mouse shorts?
Does this artwork and/or the comments from the filmmakers make these shorts
seem like something that you'll seek when they air on the Disney Channel?
Yes, I really enjoyed reading about this post, I will be watching Disney Channel on June 28th. Just like reliving my youth. Thanks to All.
This is another exciting one to watch out for. And the fountain above is really adorable.
The Mary Blair inspired backgrounds are my favorite! Thanks Jim for covering this.
This really sounds like a lot of fun. Hopefully they'll be on DVD at some point.