Sunday, July 16, 2006

Floyd Norman On the Joys of a Disney Story Meeting

Floyd Norman has some pithy visual observations about story meetings with Walt . The drawing on the bottom is missing a caption. It seems if Walt walked out of a story session without lingering for comments or small talk, he wasn't happy. Which meant everyone there wasn't happy... The tale of a Walt story session that sticks in my mind (and that I maybe told before) was one given me by a Disney old-timer some years ago. It seems a relatively new board artist had a gag in a story board that he presented that Walt didn't like. And at the first pitch of the board, Walter D. said "I don't think that joke up on the first row of drawings works." The board artist dutifully reworked his board. And took the gag out of the first row of drawings and placed it in the last. Weeks later, Walt came in to see the changes, and this time said: "I didn't like that joke when it was up at the top, and I don't like it down there at the bottom..." The third time around, the artist -- who was, apparently, not overly swift on the uptake -- put the gag in the MIDDLE of his story board. When Walt saw it, he never said a word. He just walked out quietly when the presentation was over. And at the end of the day, the artist received his pink slip.


Anonymous said...

Yep, there were some who didn't think Walt paid attention to details. He paid attention to everything -- and God help the story man who thought he could pull one over on the Old Maestro.

Truth be told, I was actually too afraid to pitch to Walt. Thankfully, I had Vance Gerry.

Anonymous said...

Great stories.Fred Lucky told me that Woolie Reitherman would review a storyboard by chewing on the dry end of a cigar and yanking panels off their pins and letting them drop to the floor- "Ya don't need that, we don't need that...."

Unfortunately , I was too young to savor the delights of pitching to Walt or Woolie. In the back of my mind I do still hear Charlie Fink sucking a long drag on his cigarette and saying:" SO SITO, IS THIS WHERE I'm SUPPOSED TA LAUGH?"

Steve Hulett said...

Woolfgang would sometimes pull the drawings off; he'd also fold the drawings over and anchor the corner with a pushpin (at least he did on "Fox and the Hound"). Then he'd scribble these indecipherable hen tracks onto small bits of paper that he'd stick up on the board. ("There! Like THAT!")

The cigar? By the time I arrived, Woolie had stopped smoking them. He just gnoshed on the things, and would then cut off the gooey, chewed end with a pair of gummy scissors and gnosh some more.

Anonymous said...

Another entry to bad mouth Disney- probably because they laid you off- get over your sour grapes!

Kevin Koch said...

Remind us not to give you a copy of "Faster! Cheaper!" or "Son of Faster! Cheaper!" Wouldn't want you to burst a blood vessel.

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