disney legends 1

15 12 2010

just right for the christmas time I start a new series of posts – the DISNEY LEGENDS. ‘legends’ because a lot of these artists worked on the legendary animation-masterpieces starting with SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS and a bit longer after WALT DISNEY’S death in 1966. I have quite a big collection of production-photographs from magazine and book publications, very interesting remnants of a nearly forgotten time. not too many of the artists from those days are still alive and probably most of you haven’t even heard of some of the names I added in the photographs.

a lot of critics accused walt disney that he was keeping his artists in his shadow. but when I looked through the publication-photo-folders in the disney archives I found it remarkable how many pictures were officially taken by a studio photographer during the production of all these movies, pictures of all different stages and in all departments, of all the artists, even a lot in the ink+paint department. only a few of them have ever been published, but at least they exist. well, during all my years working in the studio I can only remember one occasion before the release of MULAN when publicity pictures were taken of some of the artists, pictures where we had to stage some faked presentation. but there was never anybody around to document our work in our thousands of meetings or to look over the shoulders in our rooms/cubicles.

look at the footage in the background of the recent documentary of WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY. most of it is amateur-film-material, except when there were major voice-acting stars in the studio, or a documentary team came in from the outside. interesting, isn’t it? no wonder that the WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY documentary is just about the clash of the titans, they were on camera whenever possible. that small powerful group made the public believe that they were the heart of the studio, – who would want to witness the boring artistic struggle to create the artwork that kept them in their positions. in my series there will not be anything from recent years, i want to concentrate on the REAL ‘GOLDEN ERA’ of animation, the time and its images that made me want to work in animation and that is now once and forever history.

© disney enterprises, inc





waking sleeping beauty DVD

30 11 2010

release date on DVD november 30, 2010

this is a DISNEY-press release -

WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY is no fairy tale. it’s a true story about the renaissance that took place between 1984 and 1994 at the fabled WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS and how DISNEY animation regained its magic with a staggering output of hits including THE LITTLE MERMAID, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, ALADDIN, THE LION KING and more. available on DVD november 30 from BUENA VISTA HOME ENTERTAINMENT, the 86-minute documentary features the people who were actually there — MICHAEL EISNER, JEFFREY KATZENBERG, ROY E.DISNEY, JOHN LASSETER and others. directed by DON HAHN, who produced some of the period’s biggest hits, and produced by PETER SCHNEIDER, who led the animation group during this amazing period and later became studio chairman, WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY gives viewers an unprecedented look at the conflict, drama and tension that ushered in a decade of unparalleled disney creativity.

after WALT’S death, without his hands-on supervision, by the mid-1980’s the DISNEY animation division had fallen on hard times. the artists were polarized between newcomers hungry to innovate and old timers not yet ready to relinquish control. these conditions produced a series of box-office flops and pessimistic forecasts that led everyone to wonder if the best days of animation were over. HAHN and SCHNEIDER provide a fascinating and candid perspective of what happened in the creative ranks as MICHAEL EISNER, JEFFREY KATZENBERG and the late ROY E.DISNEY (WALT’S nephew) worked to breathe new life into the company. HAHN and
SCHNEIDER bring insider knowledge, and offer refreshing candor and humorous anecdotes in describing ego battles, cost overruns and failed experiments, set against dynamic tensions with top leadership.

director DON HAHN puts several memorable samples on display and marshals a vast array of interviews, home movies, internal memos and unseen footage.
bonus features:
– why wake sleeping beauty? overview featurette
– deleted scenes
– black friday
– HOWARD ASHMAN’S lecture
– losing howard
– recording ‘part of your world’
– research trips
– to Sir with love
– the sailor, the mountain climber, the artist and the poet – Celebrating Roy Disney, Frank Wells, Joe Ranft and Howard Ashman
– studio tours – personal video footage from animator RANDY CARTWRIGHT documenting the animation studio in 1980, 1983 and 1990
– a reunion – ROB MINKOFF and KIRK WISE
– WALT – what would WALT do? a comparison of WALT’S era and the current era
– audio commentary – view the film with commentary by director DON HAHN and producer PETER SCHNEIDER

© disney enterprises, inc





lost treasures

4 05 2010

a while ago I started with the layouts of another book project, LOST TREASURES. below you can see the first 54 pages ( as double-pages ). the plan was to showcase all my recreated backgrounds from the ‘golden years’ of traditional animation, and from all the major feature films and shorts from that time. I am not sure if it ever will be finished, but it is fun to plan the whole thing.

© disney enterprises, inc / WB / MGM / paramount / UPA / john hubley





1993/94

11 04 2010

and the last captured moments from my documentary video during the production of BALTO in the london AMBLIMATION studio.


© AMBLIN / UNIVERSAL pictures





1993

10 04 2010

BALTO went into full production in 1993 in STEVEN SPIELBERG’S london animation studio. and there was a change in leadership, SIMON WELLS became the sole director of the film. below is the second part of the captured moments from my video documentary during that time.




© AMBLIN / UNIVERSAL pictures





1992

9 04 2010

recently I looked through my historic video archives and found some 16 hours of documentary stuff i had shot on hi-8 video during the years 1992 to 1994 in london, duesseldorf and finland. in a way this is my ‘WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY’ version of DREAMWORKS, what was at that time AMBLIMATION, located in london, acton town. I was allowed to shoot my personal video throughout the whole studio during the production of BALTO, in meetings, fun-events and reference trips ( to finland above the arctic circle, to study huskies and sled racing in deep snow ). nobody has ever seen this footage, so this is really a historic event. there hasn’t been any documentation about these few years of steven spielberg’s animated feature film production in london. for me it was a very good experience to work with incredible artists from all over europe. most of them moved in 1995 to L.A. and became the core group of DREAMWORKS feature animation. the pictures shown here are frame-grabs from the transferred hi-8 footage to digital then to dvd.




© AMBLIN / UNIVERSAL pictures





crowns

9 03 2010

disney’s THE TRICKS OF OUR TRADE was a DISNEYLAND tv-special, on the air february 13, 1957. WALT DISNEY took the audience behind the scenes at the studio to show how the films were made. the MULTIPLANE CAMERA with the opening of BAMBI was a fascinating part of the show, as well as MILT KAHL, MARC DAVIS, FRANK THOMAS and OLLIE JOHNSTON drawing ballet studies for the DANCE OF THE HOURS in FANTASIA. I guess it was around 1959 when the show was on german television, in black/white of course. I was about ten years old and can still remember the whole event, it was ‘magic’! and it probably laid the path for my future. a bit different though at that time because I was the most excited about the ‘EFFECTS’ chapter, where animators studied erupting lava, smashed glass windows and falling waterdrops. especially these waterdrop-frames like crowns stayed in my memory forever. I had no idea what slow-motion was, later I tried to capture these images with my very first 8mm camera, with 48 frames/sec. and since then I collected pictures of these beautiful captured drops wherever I could find them.

© disney enterprises, inc





tale as old as time

23 02 2010

with the following ‘historic’ photographs from 1989 I want to make reference to the post about disney’s WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY and the release of an upcoming book in august this year. the photos were done in london and L.A. during the preproduction of disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. there is my workdesk with colored storyboard pictures, the 9-picture composition was drawn by DICK PURDUM, who was supposed to direct the film together with his wife JILL. on some of the others is MEL SHAW at work on his beautiful charcoal illustrations. the book I mentioned is TALE AS OLD AS TIME: THE ART AND MAKING OF BEAUTY AND THE BEAST written by CHARLES SOLOMON. there will be a lot more pictures in the book from my collection and other sources.







© disney enterprises, inc





waking sleeping beauty 2

20 02 2010

DON HAHN sent me a note about the opening of the DISNEY documentary WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY on march 26th in LA, NY, San Francisco and Chicago.
he wrote -
peter schneider came to me a couple of years ago wanting to tell the story of the animation renaissance of the ‘80s and ‘90s at DISNEY.  so many books and articles had been written about this dynamic and challenging period in DISNEY history, but we felt the story hadn’t been told with candor and in a way that captured the joy and struggle of the art form. We lived it, and we wanted to tell the story from our perspective — basically put the audience in the rooms and at the tables where we sat, in as realistic a way as possible. to accomplish this, the film is crafted with archival footage, home movies, and raw caricatures most of which have never been seen before. the end result captures the perfect storm of people and circumstances that led to what John Horn of the L.A. Times proclaimed to be “the biggest comeback story in Hollywood history.”
for anyone that works in the animation industry, they will probably recognize a lot of faces in the film, and hopefully learn something new about this fascinating period of DISNEY history.  For those who worked at DISNEY during that time, this is really their story and a celebration of their work. 
We’ve just launched the trailer on Apple Trailers, so be among the first to take a peek at the film at:
 
http://www.apple.com/trailers/disney/wakingsleepingbeauty/





moments 7

26 09 2009

TURNER PICTURES released in 1992 a very well done documentary WHEN THE LION ROARS, the history of MGM. six hours on a three VHS tape set. the following mosaic with forgotten memories from the early days of filmmaking is my inspiration for the weekend.

forgotten mosaic 909 web

© TURNER pictures/MGM





waking sleeping beauty 1

23 08 2009

DON HAHN sent me some information about a documentary he directed – WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY, the renaissance of animation during the so called ‘golden nineties’. can’t wait to see the film, since it covers a creative period of time I had a chance to be a small part of.

Waking Sleeping Beauty, will be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) next month, and will be released theatrically in the spring of 2010.

beauty0005

here is a synopsis -

WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY
From 1984 to 1994 a perfect storm of people and circumstances changed the face of animation forever

Directed by Don Hahn
Produced by Peter Schneider and Don Hahn

By the mid-1980s, the fabled animation studios of Walt Disney had fallen on hard times.  The artists were polarized between newcomers hungry to innovate and old timers not yet ready to relinquish control.  The conditions produced a series of box office flops and pessimistic forecasts: maybe the best days of animation were over. Maybe the public didn’t care. Only a miracle or a magic spell could produce a happy ending.

Waking Sleeping Beauty is no fairy tale.  It’s the true story of how Disney regained its magic with a staggering output of hits – “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King,” and more – over a ten-year period.

Director Don Hahn and producer Peter Schneider bring their insider knowledge to “WSB”. Hahn was one of the Young Turks at Disney who produced some of its biggest sensations.  Schneider led the animation group during this amazing renaissance and later became studio chairman. Their film offers a fascinating and candid perspective of what happened in the creative ranks set against the dynamic tensions among the top leadership, Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Roy Disney (the nephew of Walt).

The process wasn’t always pretty.  The filmmakers bring a refreshing candor in describing ego battles, cost overruns, and failed experiments that others might prefer to forget. During times of tension, the animators’ favorite form of release was to draw scathing caricatures of themselves and their bosses.  Director Hahn puts several memorable ones on display and marshals a vast array of interviews, home movies, internal memos and unseen footage.

beauty0013corr

© disney enterprises, inc

you can see some clips here








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