Thursday, 10 May 2012

Animatic Profile: Walt Disney

Fig. 1. Walt Disney
Walt Disney was an American animator, entertainer, entrepreneur, film director, international icon, philanthropist, producer, screenwriter and voice actor, who was also the co-founder of Walt Disney Productions which later became known as The Walt Disney Company. Walt Disney is well known for creating some of the world's most famous animated characters, including; Mickey Mouse. His name is shared among theme parks and resorts, such as; DisneylandWalt Disney World ResortTokyo Disney ResortDisneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland.

Disney's cartoons first gained recognition to an audience when he began a studio called Laugh-O-Gram. It became a home to many animators, which was said to have played a pivotal role in the early years of animation, and was the birth of inspiration for Mickey Mouse. The studio didn't meet the requirements to continue to function, with a commissioned project Tommy Tucker's and one last short live-action/animation titled Alice's Wonderland, and closed down not long after opening. Some films that have survived over the period of time, which originated at Laugh-O-Gram Studio, include; Little Red Riding HoodJack and the BeanstalkGoldie Locks and the Three BearsPuss in Boots and Cinderella.

Disney then began work on a series of animated cartoons titles Alice Comedies, which combined a live action actor and an animated cat on an animated landscape. Alice's Wonderland was the first of the series, defining the premise of every other entry into the series. What may have been funny then, in terms of content, may be of concern by todays standards, as there were references to; The Perils of Pauline which came as a parody and a Ku Klux Klan similarity is found in Alice's Mysterious Mystery. After Alice Comedies, he lost most of his staff to Universal who owned the Oswald trademark whereupon he found himself on his own again.

After Disney lost the right to Oswald, he began to feel the need to replace it with another character. That character being Mickey Mouse, which he had adopted as a pet back at Laugh-O-Gram studio. Mickey's voice and personality were all provided by Walt Disney himself, up until 1947, and Mickey's designs were reworked from Disney's sketches to simplify animating Mickey. Mickey's first distributed appearance was in Steamboat Willie, noted for it's synchronised sound, the first cartoon to achieve that. It received wide critical acclaim for, it's incredibly popular character, it's innovation. After such success with Steamboat Willie, Disney went on to implementing sound into all of his subsequent cartoons. With a series of animations based on Mickey Mouse, the character undergone a colourisation making it his most popular and well received appearance to date. 

Snow White became Disney's new project, which was dubbed "Disney's Folly" due to the replacement of 'cartoonish' animation with realistic animation, which would be a full-length feature said to be the end of Disney's Studio. Disney employed the use of specialised processes, including the multiplane camera. The multiplane camera allows for various layers, which can be moved closer and further away from the camera, simulating a realistic camera direction. Snow White received a standing ovation at it's premiere and became a huge success. 

Snow White received many awards, which prompted the 'Golden age of animation'. Feature length animations, all achieving great success, came out from the new studio, with animations like; PinocchioFantasia and Bambi with Alice in WonderlandPeter Pan and Wind in the Willows in the early production stages. Meanwhile short animations, like the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck cartoon series continued on though out. 

Jim Korkis described Walt Disney as a person that takes a great amount of pride and care in his work, who, "laughs easily and heartily, and his voice is often filled with tones of eternal small-boy wonder at the miracles around him" (Korkis, 2012). Walt Disney also captured the character's appeal, for the children, in the form of toys, merchandise, comic books and theme parks. It was said that, "His vision, however, manifested itself first and foremost in his animated shorts and feature-length cartoons, which are loved by millions around the world" (Unknown, 2012).

Walt Disney was one of the first to branch out from the common animation and gave it a story, as well as memorable characters that can be connected to on an emotional level. That personality that he gave to the characters remains current to this today, acting as an influence for all animation. Merlin Jones said that Walt Disney, "always said that we could never stand still. He had to explore, innovate and experiment and he was never satisfied with his work" (Jones, 2006)


Figure.1 Walt Disney (1954) Walt Disney. Accessed at:


Korkis, J. (2012) Mouse Planet. Accessed at:

Unknown. (2012) TCM. Accessed at:

Jones, M. (2006) Re-Imagineering. Accessed at:

No comments:

Post a Comment