As artists we tend to have dozens of unfinished projects laying around. I’ll often start a story, comic book or short film and then never get around to finishing it. It’s not necessarily because I’m lazy. Sometimes a project gets interrupted by a real paying job and that job becomes the new priority. Once the job is completed, I found I’ve forgotten about the clever idea I was working on because something else has grabbed my attention.
I remember starting this Walt story some years ago when I worked as a writer in Disney’s publishing department. I thought it might be a cute idea to tell the Disneyland story in a different way. It would be a series of black & white rough sketches of the Old Maestro as he dreams up the wacky idea of building a theme park. The story begins with Walt taking his kids to a dumpy amusement park in the Los Angeles area. Less than pleased with the lackluster environment he realizes he could build a much better park if he put his mind to it. We see Walt trying to talk Ward Kimball into giving him his train, pleading with the bankers, and searching for the perfect plot of land to build the park.
A series of zany gags detail the construction of the theme park and a multitude of things go wrong. However, Walt is determined and he pushes ahead defying budgetary concerns and time schedules. Of course, the naysayers continue to declare the unusual venture, Walt’s folly. Eventually, the park is completed and hoards of Disney fans pour through the gates. The park is deemed a huge success and the Old Maestro goes off to plan even greater ventures.
Yep, that’s the story and it’s hardly a surprise. You all knew how it was going to end anyway, right? The only difference in this approach was telling the story in a delightful series of cartoon gags. I think it might make a pretty good book if I can ever finish it. That’s the problem, of course. There’s just too many things to do and stuff continues to get in the way. I know it often appears I’m not doing anything, but on any given day I’m juggling four or five different projects all in different stages of development. I know it’s weird, but that’s the way I work. While most people seemed to be glued to a desk all day, I do my best writing while walking around - and I walk around a lot.
Currently, I’m bouncing around two book ideas, a movie script and a few other nifty ideas I can’t talk about just yet. However, please know that this writer is actually very busy. I simply look like I’m a total goof off.
Here's a color version of my black&white Disneyland sketchbook. Not sure which I like better.