Perhaps it's simply an indulgence or a fanciful idea that will come to nothing. In any case, I've decided to begin writing a biography. Whether the book will ever be published is anybody guess. In any case, I've been wondering how I would pitch the book so I'll share my thoughts with you.
A book of this sort may seem a little odd. After all, the author is hardly rich or famous. His life is not unusual except for the amazing people he’s known and worked with. Plus, he’s lived through some pretty turbulent times and even recorded some of the events on film. His animation career spans from Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men to Pixar Animation Studios’ famous Brain Trust. His personal films were diverse, covering subjects from science, history, Juvenal Justice and America’s institution of slavery.
Floyd Norman spent his fifty plus year career as a filmmaker and story teller. He detailed his years at the Disney Studio in his last book, Animated Life. However, those Disney years are only part of his fascinating story. His story moves from the Korean Conflict to the Civil Rights Movement. From hand drawn animation to the digital revolution, Floyd continued to lend his skills to the world of film and print. He taught kids the alphabet on Sesame Street and instructed Navy pilots in the delicate task of refueling their aircraft while still in flight. In his rich filmmaking career it’s not an exaggeration to say he’s done damn near everything.
Floyd Norman grew up in the culturally rich community of Santa Barbara in the fifties. His music teacher was the brother of jazz legend, Dave Brubeck and he took art lessons at Santa Barbara’s Museum of Art. Before graduating from high school, Floyd had already secured a job as an assistant to Archie Comics cartoonist, Bill Woggon, and he sketched the fifties icon, Katy Keene the Fashion Queen. However, Floyd Norman was only beginning his career. His next step would be Art Center College of Design before moving on to a position at the Walt Disney Studios where he would work with the Old Maestro himself.
Yet, these were still baby steps for the writer-artist. He would eventually serve in the military, launch his own production company and work with a series of entertainment icons including, Steve Allen, Oscar Brown, Jr., Smokey Robinson, Rod Serling, Bill Cosby and many others. He would take his camera crew into the burning streets of Watts in 1965, and travel through pre-Civil Rights Alabama documenting the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. While at Pixar Animation Studios, he connected with another famous person. Because of his chats with tech icon, Steve Jobs, Floyd often joked, “No one could ask for better tech support than having your questions answered by the Apple CEO himself.”
Like most kids born in America’s nineteen thirties depression, Floyd never knew he was poor. Life held enormous opportunity and the future seemed limitless. He dreamed of a magical life while watching Walt Disney cartoons in a Santa Barbara movie theater and knew he was destined to one day create that magic as well. Unlike most biographies, this book is not a dark story of overcoming, or a climb out of poverty or deprivation. It’s a story of creativity and limitless possibilities when one is determined to live life to the fullest.