The Disney Animated Western

Motion pictures often have many iterations before reaching the screen. Sometimes the completed film bears scant resemblance to the initial concept. Anyone who has worked in the motion picture industry and particularly in the animation industry knows this is nothing new. Of course, there are many reasons why a particular film heads off in a new direction. Sometimes the reason for the change is wise and sometimes not. I suppose it might depend on whether or not it is your film that takes the hit.

Some years ago I had the opportunity to work on a cartoon western at the Walt Disney Studio. For a number of reasons I’ll not discuss here, the animated feature length western went off in a different direction. I suppose whether or not this was a good move depends on how much you liked the movie. In any case, this is simply part of the world of animated film making and I doubt the process will ever change anytime soon. I’ll admit I was somewhat partial to the earlier version of the animated Disney western and the subsequent changes took me by surprise. However, this is nothing new in the world of motion pictures. My oldest daughter, Sharon has dealt with screenwriters and payment for their work. It was not unusual for a live-action motion picture to go through several drafts and a number of screenwriters before the project made it’s way to a production green-light.

The world of animation hardly differs from its live-action counterpart and our movies can easily move through countless iterations before becoming a cohesive project. That’s just the nature of this incredible, wacky business. The color sketch below is only one of the many drawings I did while developing this Disney feature animated film. Unfortunately, it’s a project that never saw production. Then again, in the wild, weird world of animation this is simply business as usual.

One of the many sketches produced during development of a Disney cartoon western. Unfortunately, the film was never produced.

One of the many sketches produced during development of a Disney cartoon western. Unfortunately, the film was never produced.