Check the Category Labels in the side-bar on the right! There you can find animator drafts for sixteen complete Disney features and eighty-five shorts,
as well as Action Analysis Classes and many other vintage animation documents!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Walt Disney Family Museum

A quick note from the road: the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio in San Francisco is simply AMAZING! If you plan a trip, you will not be disappointed! I had the good fortune to attend one of the previews today, and I am still overloaded with new experiences, new things to see, new knowledge to gather. My favorite item? There are many, but one that stands out is a kind of "missing link," a message from Walt to Roy during the recording of the music for Steamboat Willie, describing the bouncing ball and "stick back-and-forth" system for synchronizing the music to the picture that I described earlier!

You MUST come and see all these fantastic artifacts; you will get a new understanding of Walt Disney, the man! The museums opens officially on October 1st.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

D23 Expo Recap

Though there was less traveling involved in the D23 Expo than in Comic-Con, it was no less hectic, fast-paced and exciting.
As was to be expected for a first venue, there were a few hitches, timing problems etc., but in all it was a remarkably wonderful four days, with lots of surprises, celebrities and interesting events.

Mind you, I was already a D23 convert from the outset, as one could quickly calculate that four expensive-to-produce magazines (4 x $16 = $64) and a free trip to UP (with celebrity appearance) for two (2 x $11 = $22) easily covers my $75 membership fee.
But the Expo was, of course, a separate deal, four days in the Anaheim Convention Center especially for the fan community.

It did give the fans quite an interesting peek into the thoughts of the different divisions and showed which of them likes their fans (Walt Disney and Pixar Studios, Archives), and which seemed to not care much (Disney Channel).

It also showed me the qualities of a REAL star. I can mention the wonderful voice of Sleeping Beauty, Mary Costa, who stayed after the late night screening of the film to sign autographs and meet her fans, though for her it was 2:00 AM. She did not need to do this, but she asked if it would be OK...

What grabbed me was that there was hardly a feeling of "pushing the Disney brand." Instead I felt that things were done especially for us the fans, with celebrity appearances of original Mousketeers, famous A-list actors as Johnny Depp (in pirate costume), Nicolas Cage, the John Travoltas, Robin Williams receiving one of ten Legends Awards, as did Don Iwerks. I must admit that I was especially glad to see retired Buena Vista International's exec Harry Archinal on stage receiving his Legends Award, as Frank and Ollie talked about him as if he was their best friend!!
Harry Archinal

Things to remember for next time:
- More time to roam the floor: longer hours, and maybe a preview night like Comic-Con...
- When you invite writers, invite their books as well, and have the signings right after their presentation, not hours before when few know what it's about...
- Steven Clark is the magazine's figure-head - I met him at Comic-Con and he seems to be a very nice person - logically, he should have been introducing the keynotes, as well as capping off the event with a thank-you, to put a face on things, making it an even more personal, less corporate experience...
- In rooms where the back rows cannot see the podium (e.g. Stage 23 and Storyteller), use video stream of the goings-on on the podium on the side screens...
- Do not plan similar events for similar crowds at the same time - but I am sure this is obvious...
- Leave more time between events! When we were done with the Lost Chords, the big auction we wanted to see had started...
- Make the Expo info available on a non-Flash site for mobile users...
- Hang tags instead of armbands, like at Comic-Con...

But these things aside, I had a great time, it was even more fun than I expected. I look forward to next year's event, hopefully again in the same venue, as it was perfectly suited for this event!

As to our Lost Chords concert, I found that someone posted a medley on YouTube - look for "D23 Lost Chords"! I'm the one in the burgundy shirt, the only non-Disney-Castmember of our ensemble. Thanks to everyone who commented positively! It was a LOT of fun to do!

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Walt & El Grupo

Walt&ElGrupo
Wednesday last week I had the good fortune to see Ted Thomas' wonderful new film Walt and El Grupo, as part of an audience that could boast of more Disney legends (or their offspring) than at any other recent event. The film is a documentary telling the story of the trip through South America that Walt and his staff made during ten weeks following their departure on August 11, 1941. Above poster will be for sale after the film officially opens tomorrow September 9th in the AMC in Anaheim! More dates on the official site!

Amazing historic footage and modern visits to the sites of 1941 are interspersed with interviews and readings of letters sent by the members of Walt's group to their family, as well as never-before-seen artwork. My favorite shot shows the group leaving the animation building in beautiful colors, with Ward Kimball, Ollie Johnston and Milt Kahl waving their goodbyes - Kimball looks like he thinks "yeah, right, why am I not coming, too?" Go see it!

The Argentinian caricaturist Ramon Columba is prominently featured in the documentary. In the July-September 1941 issue of the magazine Páginas de Columba we find Columba's own sketches of Walt and most of his staff.
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The only ones missing are Lee Blair and Herb Ryman...
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The last image seems to caricature two of Buenos Aires' newspapers: the text, translated to English reads roughly: "Walt Disney came to Buenos Aires in search of characters to take to the screen. We presented him with the two most typical of our country: The Chronic Duck and the Creole Mule."

We also find this photo of (l. to r.) Walt Disney, the Argentinian president Dr. Ramon Maria Ortiz (who already at this time due to diabetes had given up his powers to vice-president Ramón Castillo and died a few days after resigning office the following year), Ramon Columba and Douglas S. Clark (whom I do not know more of).
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Will I see you at the D23 Expo? I'll be at the Disney's Lost Chords presentation on Saturday afternoon!

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Prod. RM9 - Mickey's Trailer

Another classic! I bet everyone has seen this film.
Animation by Louie Schmidt, Johnny Cannon, Don Patterson, Gerry Geronimi, Tom Palmer, Cy Young (effects), Frenchy de Trémaudan and Ed Love.

Directed by Ben Sharpsteen, released on 3/6/38.
This draft dated 1/19/38...
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Excuse my erratic posting - things are crazy busy, with the upcoming D23 and our Lost Chords concert there on September 12th!

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