Friday, December 07, 2012

The CalArts Tap Root

Mr. Moore talks about the California Institute of the Arts influence on 21st century animation.

Some animation historian once said: "Walt Disney is the D.W. Griffith of animation."

But it's way more complex and subtle than that. D.W. Griffith pretty much invented the language of film. D.W. didn't invent closeups, or tracking shots, or cuts. But he put everything together and advanced film narrative like it had never been advanced before.

Uncle Walt was a wee bit different. He put modern animation on the map, pretty much invented the animated feature with Snow White, but he was building on top of the narrative styles of live-action features.

Griffith was a spent creative force by the late 1920s. Walt Disney's power and influence -- a half century after his death -- goes on and on because:

Walt and his studio trained/employed the first generation of modern animation artists.

Walt and the Disney family founded and funded the California Institute of the Arts, which was (in the beginning) staffed by many Disney animation artists who had been trained by Walt (with the able assistance of the Choinard Art Institute) in the thirties and forties.

Cal Arts graduates -- John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Joe Ranft, Tim Burton, Rich Moore, Andrew Stanton (etc., etc.) are now major forces in animation, spreading their artistic visions and creative philosophies far and wide.

Almost everything animation is today goes directly back to Walt Disney Productions in the 1930s. And Cal Arts in the '60s and '70s.


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