As the astute reader of this blog will have noticed, I have posted a good amount of Animation Drafts, documents listing the scenes in a film. In the 74 shorts and six feature film drafts (see links on right) I have posted so far (go look if you haven't already), we have found that some also name the director and the layout personnel, and some are more accurate than others. There are First and Second drafts, as well as Post-Preview and Final drafts. We have seen that they are not always correct or complete.
What the drafts do have in common is that they name the names of the animators. This is the part that often is the most interesting - and the most thwartingly illusive, because, as I have mentioned before in disclaimers, the drafts were never meant to be historical documentation. The names indicate not only the footage to be credited to a certain animator (or effects animator, e.g. the Pinocchio draft), but also represent the responsible go-to person during production. Only one draft has Directing Animators indicated, and that in only a few sequences (Fun and Fancy Free). At times we are surprised to find that sequences we know to be animated by Frank Thomas in Bambi or Mr. Toad have the names of less well-known animators in the draft. This does not mean the draft is wrong, or that Frank did not plan and animate the scenes. But the persons responsible for final drawings in the scenes had to be kept track of.
In all, we get a pretty good view of the main responsible persons in the animation department. It leaves us with the thought that we are getting to know these people, and not only Fred Moore, Norm Ferguson or the "Nine Old Men," but the likes of Hal Ambro, Eric Cleworth, Phil Duncan, Jerry Hathcock, Hal King, Cliff Nordberg, John Sibley, Harvey Toombs, Judge Whitaker, Marvin Woodward and Bob Youngquist. Accomplished animators few have heard of, like Paul Allen and Lee Morehouse. Animators from Disney's earliest growth period like Johnny Cannon, Tom Palmer, Chuck Counch, Leonard Sebring and Frenchy de Trémaudan. Animators that became famous in other studios, like Ed Benedict, Emory Hawkins, Ed Love, Ken Muse and Ray Patterson. The list goes on and on. The animation drafts give us an unsurpassed "nearness" to the process of animation, especially since most of the films, now available on DVD, can be studied with drafts in hand or using mosaics like those made by Mark Mayerson.
More to follow!
[Note for those of you who want to access ALL the draft postings: the Category Labels only give access to the first 21 postings. To see older drafts you will have to browse the Archives starting in May 2006 - links in right sidebar. You may find other things you like, as well...
***NEWS! I have added new category links in the sidebar: you can now access the shorts by distributor: Powers, Columbia, United Artists and RKO. To see the oldest posts in the UA and RKO categories, choose the links with 2006 in the title.]