CHAPTER SIXTEEN – HEADQUARTERED IN GLENDALE
The Rudyard Kipling project unraveled swiftly. I banged out a treatment, submitted it to Jeffrey, and he decided my take on the story wasn’t what he was looking for. (A dozen years later, he made the tale at DreamWorks Animation under the title “The Road to El Dorado.” Maybe I should have written more drafts, or gotten Pete Young suggestions, or generally kept pushing. But I wasn’t that smart.)
Most of the animation department had moved to its new, dingy digs in Glendale. Burny Mattinson and the “Basil of Baker Street” crew had already taken up tenancy, and the “Basil” animators were settling into their new offices and cubicles. Pete Young was still housed in the Burbank studio, and I found myself shuttling back and forth between story artists working on “Oliver Twist” and artists and directors still doing “Basil of Baker Street.”
Which led, by and by, to a rupture with Pete. Driving back and forth between meetings, buildings, and desks, I started feeling over-worked and under-appreciated. The greater reality was that little Steve was full of himself, and didn’t appreciate the pressure Pete was under, heading up a new picture under a new studio regime.
One afternoon at the start of an “Oliver” story session, Pete told me to take notes, and I tartly responded: “I’m not a freaking secretary!” A chill snaked through the room. Pete glared at me and said: “Whatever you want.” ...
The rest of the above is in the usual spot.
In 1985 and 1986, the Disney Feature Animation department was going through interesting times.
"Interesting," as in wondering whether your department was going to implode. Whether you'd be in a new line of work in three months. Nobody was sure what was going to happen because the string of big hits: Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King hadn't happened yet, and the only rumors anybody halfway believed were the ones that pointed to offshoring everything in Korea.
For me, three days out of every five felt like I was moving around underwater. And only occasionally coming up for air.