I was taking a break with my strawberry banana smoothie in a Disney hallway when a gentleman walked up to me and said, “Hey! I just bought your book.” Naturally, it's a delight when family and friends make a purchase. It's something else again when a total stranger surprises you with such news. I can honestly say it's been immensely encouraging to know that something I've sometimes doubted could end up being so successful. The letters and emails I've received because of “Animated Life” has been one of the high points of this old veteran's long career. And, I'm delighted I've been able to share that experience with so many.
I began this journey by trying to remember how I felt when I entered this amazing business so many years ago. What began as a series of blog posts eventually became edited into more fully realized ideas. Once these ideas were pitched to my publisher I knew I would have to knuckle down and truly structure what I'd written. Writing a book is always a daunting task and I didn't want to get bogged down over worrying and over thinking everything. I wanted my readers to get a sense of this wonderful business without feeling they were being educated. I did all I could to avoid making this book another dull, academic tome.
I began writing at home, but I didn't feel comfortable working in writer's isolation. I moved into an empty cubicle at Disney's Glendale Consumers Products Facility and continued my editing there. On occasion, I walked over to Disney Imagineering where I sat in the open campus like setting to complete my ideas. I needed the Disney “vibe” to fully realize my ideas. The Old Maestro, Walt Disney actually walked this campus many years ago and I felt a connection to that Disney that once was. I visited the Animation Building in Burbank and walked the halls of Ink & Paint and Camera. The sound stages were like a second home to me, and I can tell you what movies were shot on each particular stage and who directed that film. My head was filled with enough Disney knowledge for a series of books.
Perhaps more books will follow this one but I really don't know. I suppose that depends on the success of this first book or whether publishers are craving more Disney stories. Should there be a need for more stories and adventures inside Walt Disney's wonderful magic factory you can be sure I've still got them. The Walt Disney Studio was a rich and magical place, especially in the days the Old Maestro ruled his kingdom. That magic is increasingly becoming a thing of the past as the company becomes more corporate and pursues more conventional interests. I can clearly hear this daily as businessmen and women speak excitedly about profits. In the old Disney days, we spoke about creativity and innovation and profits were simply a by-product of that amazing activity. However, for now I'm just delighted that my Disney experience in “Animated Life” is making people smile just a little. Happily, there are more wonderful animation stories to be told, and with a little luck I just might get the chance to tell them.