Making Movies

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 made a sharp turn and moved off in a different direction. I suppose whether or not this was a good move depends on how much you liked the completed 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. Much the same can happen in live-action where movies seldom get made. My oldest daughter, Sharon has dealt with screenwriters and compensation for their work. It was not unusual for a live-action motion picture to go through multiple drafts and a number of screenwriters before the project made it’s way to a production green-light. Yet, there are often many pitfalls along the way. A suddenly change in studio management could send your movie into “turnaround” and your masterpiece may never go before the cameras.

The world of animation differs little 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 amazing, wacky entertainment business. The color sketch below is only one of the many drawings I did while developing the Disney feature animated film. Unfortunately, it’s a project that never saw production. Then again, in the wild, weird world of motion pictures this is simply business as usual.

One of the dead cowboys in the Disney animated film, "Sweating Bullets." A clever, innovative cartoon feature film we managed not to make. Oh, the wisdom of Disney management.

One of the dead cowboys in the Disney animated film, "Sweating Bullets." A clever, innovative cartoon feature film we managed not to make. Oh, the wisdom of Disney management.