... I would go to work at Disney at 6am, work on my screen tests until 8am, then work on Frank [Thomas]’s scenes until 5PM, then back to my screen tests until 6pm then, drive down to Don’s house in Culver City to work on our short film well into the night, many times seven days a week. This would go on for the next seven years.
In February of 1973, another trainee arrived at Disney. It was John Pomeroy. I introduced myself to him on his first day. And, after his third month screen test and approval, I introduced him to Don and we invited him down to Don’s garage. John was impressed with the idea of double-duty to learn the art of animation faster. ...
Don, Gary and John spent several years making their own featurette, Banjo the Woodpile Cat, in Don's garage. When I knew Don, he wanted to be his own boss, and he ankled the Mouse House in '79, taking Don, Gary and a third of the animation staff with him, off to make the feature The Secret of NIMH.
When they left, it threw the Disney animation department into a wee bit of chaos.
Everybody who was around the studio back then has their own take on the battles and in-fighting that took place. (Mine are here and here.) But it's good to have Don and Gary's points of view. They were, after all, major players in animation for two decades.