Please note: if an earlier link doesn't work, it may have changed following an update! Check the Category Labels in the side-bar on the right! There you can find animator drafts for sixteen complete Disney features and eighty-six shorts,
as well as Action Analysis Classes and many other vintage animation documents!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


In the middle of the Christmas hustle I finally found the ratings for the airing of our film "The Flight before Christmas" on December 12th: of the 98 primetime shows in the week from December 8th to 14th, it came in as number 36, just below Law and Order but just above 30 Rock! It rated 2.5, which is as close to the average as you can get, and it means 7,390,000 people were tuned in to it!

Mike Sporn points out that it aired again locally in New York yesterday, which I find simply amazing. As to the film itself, I do find that the cutting of the 29 minutes helps it along, though there are a few places one seems to be missing a bit of info. Not at all bad, though. Over all, I think the film looks pretty nice for an about $9m project. I only personally was a little shocked about the casualness with with Niko was conceived, but then again, these are reindeer...

Excuse my erratic posting these days, folks! These are crazy times!
I am thinking of what to post next, and considering what I have at hand it may be the draft for The Sword in the Stone. In the mean time, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 12, 2008

A. Film's Premiere in Denmark and on CBS!

Here is a strange coincidence! My company, A. Film has co-produced a film originally called Niko & the Way to the Stars, and it has its theatrical premiere today Friday in Denmark! Well - tonight at 9 pm PST it is shown (in a 1-hour slot) on CBS! It is domestically distributed by the Weinstein Co. as "The Flight Before Christmas."

The film was originated at the Finnish CG animation studio Anima Vitae, where the original story was produced and the basic designs of the characters was developed. A. Film has contributed with the film's director and a large part of the actual film: planning, animation, lighting, rigging, rendering etc.

How CBS fits the film within the 1-hour timeslot, I do not know (yet). But for those of you who want to see the entire thing, it's available at Amazon - and I saw it for sale at Fry's Electronics just this afternoon!

Here are the US cover and a Danish banner ad (click to unsqueeze).
DVD coverNiko banner
Imagine what we could do with a REAL budget!

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Bob McCrea

This item stands alone - here are notes for a talk held by animator Bob McCrea on Tuesday evening 9/4/56 at the Disney studios.
It shows us that there was an interest in creating an interest for the history of animation in 1956. It may be a bit simplistic, and not always correct (there is no D in Bill Nolan), but it was well-meant and they screened a few highlights that I guess may otherwise have been hard to get to see...

Why Bob McCrea today? Well, I just revisited Wall-E (my this-year-favorite film) on BluRay, and the following image ran by:
From Wall-E

On the The Animation Guild blog, we read (and check it out, as there is more info and a drawing): "Bob spent forty years at the House of Mouse, starting with Snow White in 1937 through The Rescuers in 1977. Afterwards he was an animation instructor at CalArts from 1977 until 1986, the last four years as the head of the School of Character Animation. He passed away in 1995." AHA! Bob McCrea was the "captain" of CalArts! Ok, that figures! THAT must be why they named the captain of the Axiom after him! By the way, I find it interesting that McCrea also speaks of Don Graham's classes in his talk.

[Addition: this seems to have been the center of some discussion on the web! A note for those folks: Ken O'Brien, also an animator from Disney's, also taught at Cal Arts...]

Alberto Becattini has this info for Bob McCrea:
- Inbetweener: DISNEY c35-37 (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 37)
- Animator: DISNEY c38-41/52-70/74-77 (Fantasia 40, Mickey Mouse 41 [Orphan’s Benefit], Ben and Me 53, The Goofy Success Story 55, An Adventure in the Magic Kingdom 58, From All of Us to All of You 58, Donald Duck 59 [Donald in Mathmagicland], Donald’s Silver Anniversary 60, Kids Is Kids 61, Man Is His Own Worst Enemy 62, Three Tall Tales 63, A Square Peg in a Round Hole 63, Goofy 65 [Freewayphobia No. 1, Goofy’s Freeway Trouble], A Ranger’s Guide to Nature 66, Man on Wheels 67, How the West Was Lost 67, The Ranger of Brownstone 68, The Rescuers 77)
- Key Assistant Animator: DISNEY c71-73 (Robin Hood 73)
(On this blog we have also encountered him as animator on Pinocchio and One Hundred and One Dalmatians!)

I suspect that the following info from the California Death Records is the Bob McCrea described above: Robert Edward McCrea, born exactly 10 years after Walt Disney on 12/5/1911 in Michigan, passed away in Santa Cruz 7/1/95. I am certain that in 1945 he occupied room 1D-8 in the Animation Building (the room next to Ollie Johnston), in 1957 he was in 1G-15, while in the 60s and 70s he was in 1B-11.

Personally, I first encountered his name as the animator of the - may I say rather stiff - Mickey Mouse for the 1977 series The New Mickey Mouse Club. In the end credits one could see someone flip Mickey drawings, and I always imagined this to be Bob McCrea...