From paintings and illustration to animation and cinema, great art is great storytelling.
SDA 08: Playhouse Pictures and the Story of Animation in Old Hollywood
In the 1950s a cameraman from Walt Disney Studios formed a revolutionary animation studio called UPA. And a number of years later, this cameraman, now producer, opened his own small animation studio that he called Playhouse Pictures.
In the 70s and 80s his two sons, Ted and Gerry, took over the studio. Gerry Woolery was the creative director, and Ted was producer, editor and cameraman. After I graduated from film school, I moved to LA and my first job in animation was at Playhouse Pictures, and I worked for Ted and Gerry Woolery for almost ten years. It was the perfect place for me to get my start and learn the ropes of animation production. Those were amazing days in West Hollywood. I have so many great memories of that time.
I asked Ted to be a guest on this podcast to give us an oral history of Playhouse, which is to give us the history of a long gone era. He talks about the Disney strike in the 40s, the formation of UPA, how WWII impacted the animation industry, and how technology changed animation. You’ll hear about many legendary figures from that era, and some who you never heard of before.
SDA 07: Story Transcends Culture with Richard Walter
Richard Walter was professor of the UCLA Screenwriting program, which is the most successful screenwriting program in the world. It’s harder to get into this program than it is to get accepted to Harvard Law School, and for good reason. Richard is a consummate storyteller, no matter what the medium, and that’s one of the things I love about him, every conversation is not only instructive, but a good story. And you can tell that he not only knows his stuff, he loves what he does.
Richard Walter | Hollywood's Screenwriting Professor part 1
Richard Walter, was the chair of the UCLA Screenwriting Program, which is the most successful screenwriting program in the world. It’s harder to get into this program than it is to get accepted to Harvard Law School, and for good reason. Richard is recently retired from teaching at UCLA, but that doesn’t mean you can benefit from his teaching. Richard has published what I consider to be the best of the best instructional books on screenwriting, titled, “The Essentials of Screenwriting.” Richard also holds live, interactive online screenwriting workshops, and you can get on a waiting list for an upcoming workshop at his website richardwalter.com.
Richard is a wealth of story and cinematic wisdom, and everything he says has high entertainment value.
Tom Bancroft | From Disney to Indie
My guest in this episode is Tom Bancroft -- who was the Supervising Animator for Mushu on Disney’s animated feature Mulan. He was also an animator on Pocahontas, Tarzan, Young Simba on Lion King, and Iago on Aladdin. You might know Tom has a twin brother named Tony, who has also worked on many Disney films as a character animator. Tom and Tony produce a podcast, well-known in the animation industry, called the Bancroft Brothers Animation Podcast, which has over 150 episodes. If you enjoy the month-long Instagram event in May called MerMay -- Tom was the one who started that. He continues to animate as a freelance animator and teaches in the animation program at Lipscomb University in Nashville.
Navigating Art Education with Valery Mihalkov
If you’re a student looking for a good school to teach you art or animation, where do you begin?
My guest today is an Instructor in the Animation Program of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University. His name is Valery Mihalkov. Valery came to Concordia after many successful years making a living as a fine artist, and working in the animation industry at studios such as Cinar and Cinegroup. He was awarded an Emmy for his work for Sagwa.
Valery’s reputation as an artist and instructor is well-known in the Montreal community. When my daughter was a major in the Drawing & Painting program at Concordia, she added a minor in animation just to be able to take classes taught by Valery.
The Creation of Timeless with Armand Baltazar
This is the second part of my conversation with the legendary painter, film designer, and now author, Armand Baltazar. Armand has written AND illustrated a novel called Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic. This is an achievement that is rare in the history of art and literature. The author/illustrator is a rare breed that is usually only found in Children’s literature. Armand stands alongside author illustrators such as James Gurney and the great Howard Pyle.
Not only is Timeless a best selling book, it is being produced as a film at Disney, and the Executive Producer on the film is Ridley Scott.
In this episode, Armand talks about how Timeless came about, how it found a publisher publication, and how the film deal with Disney has come together.