Saturday, May 11, 2013

Information Miss

In a lengthy Disney piece, the L.A. Times tells us:

Traditionally, [Disney] hadn't employed formal writers but let the story instead be shaped by animators — but contemporary movies have more complex storylines, with multiple plotlines and characters. "When you're writing in live action, you have more ownership," Lee said at the studio as she and Buck were in the final weeks of making story changes to "Frozen" last month. "In animation, you have to let the best idea win. You're constantly killing your darlings." ...

Not exactly.

Joe Grant co-wrote Dumbo. Bill Peet wrote and drew any number of Disney features, children's books, and perhaps most famously 101 Dalmations (with a strong assist from the book by Dodie Smith.)

Former Bing Crosby writer (and Disney assistant animator) Larry Clemmons penned a string of Disney features in the sixties and seventies. Ron Clements and John Musker co-wrote "Little Mermaid," "Aladdin" and others.

So, uh, no.

Writers have been invested in Disney features for decades. I have no idea how anyone qualifies to be a "formal writer." What, Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio (who also wrote minor items like Pirates of the Caribbean, Pirates of the Caribbean II, etc.) don't qualify as "formal writers?" What do you have to do to get a membership card?

Who are we trying to kid, here?


Grant said...

While Disney features ALWAYS wrote screenplays for their features, it's how they were used that's different. Jennifer Lee doesn't have a very good sense of history. But she's an add on at the studio--not really directing, as she has zero animation or directing experience.. Chris Buck is most definitely driving the film. Ms. Lee is an OK writer--one of several on the film. But she's mainly a PR piece.

Steve Hulett said...

The strange term "formal writer" ... annoyed me.

What's that? Writers in tuxedos?

(Almost all Disney features have had multiple writers. Bill Peet was probably the exception, but he followed Ms. Smith's "101 Dalmations" closely.)

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