Monday, September 18, 2023

A Conversation with Bruce Reitherman

I thought you might be interested in this article that appeared in the summer 2022 issue of WDFM (the magazine/newsletter of the Walt Disney Family Museum).

Bruce Reitherman talks about working with his father Woolie on voicing Mowgli forThe Jungle Book.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Little John

This is a scene animated by Milt Kahl from the opening sequence of Robin Hood. I just realized that this film premiered 50 years ago! When it opened in Germany I found out that an art gallery in Cologne exhibited a fair number of original production cels. Of course I had to pay a visit, and in that gallery I saw Disney cels for the very first time. It was fascinating to observe that the colors on the cels differed a little from what I had seen on a movie screen. They actually looked a bit duller. Much later I found out that when photographed under a camera at Disney, the strong overhead lights really punched up the colors.

Anyway, this animation follows a moment when Robin Hood had just thrown an arrow through Little John's hat and into the tree trunk. "Watch it Rob, that's the only hat I've got!" he complains.

I had he opportunity to discuss the overall sequence with Ollie Johnston, who co-animated it with Milt. Ollie thought that Milt exaggerated the dialogue in this scene too much. Every vowel is drawn with a wide open mouth. By contrast Ollie's dialogue scenes with Little John show more restraint. His mouth shapes are relatively small. An audience would never see those different approaches. You'd have to be a geek to catch something like this. And that's what I am...

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Lilo & Scar

I posted a rough sketch of this composition before a few years ago. And I had almost forgotten that at one time I turned the image into a watercolor drawing. The black lines are thin Sharpie. There is something different about Scar's face. Any idea?

This was a donation to a charity auction. Wouldn't you know, it is now up on Ebay.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

MUSHKA Sequence 14, Scenes 63 and 64


I loved animating these scenes. The tiger is being pushed from a cliff into a river. By Sarah and Alex. I won't give you the story context here, but this moment is part of the MUSHKA trailer:

It is extremely comforting when you realize that you can animate such a scene without any reference. These are actually poses for the storyboard, but I also used them as a guide for the animation. After drawing tigers at the local zoo, studying footage of them frame by frame, you get to a point where you just wing it. Gut feeling, intuition. Of course Daniel Ernesto's beautiful water splash animation sure helped to make this a convincing scene. 

At Disney I hardly ever had the chance to do action scenes. I needed to focus on personality shots. But on MUSHKA I was able to do both, and I loved it. Figuring out the proper pacing for an action sequence was absolutely thrilling. You try to escalate the danger before things come to a halt. And then the resolve. 

Woolie Reitherman talked about this in several interviews. And I definitely kept that in mind.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Pinocchio Poolroom Sequence

One of the great sequences in Pinocchio. In the poolroom, just before the horrifying character transformations begin. I love these photostats that show the sequence in progress. Storyboard sketches mixed in with frames from the rough animation. Be sure to click twice on the image for large scale viewing.

Lampwick by Fred Moore, Pinocchio by Milt Kahl and Jiminy Cricket by Ward Kimball.