The Quotable Walt Disney

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Having recently returned from Disney World, I find I am flushed with insights and quotes after immersing myself in all things Disney for the last 10 days.

Here are some of my favorites quotes from a book I recently read on Walt and his philosophies on life and business.

We allow no geniuses around our studios.

I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible, because dreams offer too little collateral.

I’ve never believed in doing sequels. I didn’t want to waste the time I have doing a sequel; I’d rather be using that time doing something new and different. It goes back to when they wanted me to do more pigs (Three Little Pigs).

When we opened Disneyland, a lot of people got the impression that it was a get-rich-quick thing, but they didn’t realize Disneyland was this great organization that I built here at the Studio, and they all got into it and we were doing it because we loved to do it.


A word may be said in regard to the concept and conduct of Disneyland’s operational tone. Although various sections will have the fun and flavor or a carnival or amusement park, there will be none of the ‘pitches’, game wheels, sharp practices, and devices designed to milk the visitor’s pocketbook.


I had different costs estimates; one time it was three and half million and then I kept fooling around a little more with it and got it up to seven and a half million and I kept fooling around a little more and pretty soon it was twelve and a half and I think when we opened Disneyland it was seventeen million dollars.

Everyone needs deadlines. Even the beavers. They loaf around all summer, but when they are faced with the winter deadline, they work like fury. If we didn’t have deadlines, we’d stagnate.


If I were a fatalist, or a mystic, which I decidedly am not, it might be appropriate to say I believe in my lucky star. But I reject ‘luck’ – I feel every person creates his own ‘determinism’ by discovering his best aptitudes and following them undeviatingly.

No matter what the provocation, I never fire a man who is honestly trying to deliver a job. Few workers who become established at the Disney Studio ever leave voluntarily or otherwise, and many have been on the payroll all their working lives.

Happiness is a state of mind. It’s just according to the way you look at things. So I think happiness is contentment but it doesn’t mean you have to have wealth. All individuals are different and some of us just wouldn’t be satisfied with just carrying out a routine job and being happy.


You reach a point where you don’t work for money.

Some people forget that you can still do good work even though you work with dollar bills. We took almost nine years to make Fantasia, and if we had to do it again I’d take a long hard look at it, because today it would cost us fifteen million dollars. At some state or other I have to walk in and tell the boys, ‘OK. Start wrapping it up.’ If I didn’t, we’d never get the work finished. But that doesn’t mean we pull back on quality.


Everyone has been remarkably influenced by a book, or books. In my case it was a book on cartoon animation. I discovered it in Kansas City Library at the time I was preparing to make motion-picture animation my life’s work. The book told me all I needed to know as a beginner – all about the the arts and the mechanics of making drawing that move on the theatre screen. From the basic information I could go on to develop my own way of movie storytelling. Find that book was one of the most important and useful events in my life. It happened at just the right time. The right time for reading a story or an article or a book is important. By trying too hard to read a book that, for our age and understanding, is beyond us, we may tire of it. Then, even after, we’ll avoid it and deny ourselves the delights it holds.

There are some gems in there – quotes that really resonate with me (especially on the virtues of hard work, aligning talent, and putting your heart into it).

I hope this quotes do the same for you.

The Alchemy of Animation by Don Hahn

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My son picked up The Alchemy of Animation today from the library. One of the things that struck me is the shear numbers of roles involved in creating a CGI animation. Here they are.

The Team

Director – Chief storyteller
Producer – Team builder, coach, psychotherapist, and cheerleader
Writers – develop the story
Song writers – write the songs
Story artist – someone who can draw and tell a story

Production designer – responsible for the way the movie looks
Art director – sees that the design is executed through every frame
Visual development artists – create art that helps explore and visualize the universe of the film
Sculptors – make 3D models for the animators to digitize so they can draw characters from every angle
Voice actors

The Production Team
Associate producer – worries about x3 things: people, time, and money
Production Manager (PM) – works closely with producers to set goals for each week and manage the daily flow of work
Department heads
Production Department Manager
Modelers – create the elaborate 3D sets
Rigger – takes a modeled character and attaches the animation controls that allow an animator to move the model around

Cinematographer – works with director to plan exactly what the audience sees through the window of the movie screen
Layout artist – designs and creates the films sets

Art and Technology
Technical Director – highly creative jack of all trades who is part artist, part technician. Makes sure artists have user friendly computer screens to work on
Software developer – tests new commercial tools. Builds whatever they can’t buy
Look development artists – create the look of the surfaces on the character

Creating Life
Animators – are actors with a pencil

Animation Tips
Strive for the most effective and clearest extreme poses.
Where do you want the audience to look.
Don’t move anything without a purpose. Holding still is just as important as moving.
Let the whole character tell the story, not just the animator.

Visual effects
Visual effects animator – helps create the feeling of a believable plausible environment.
Lighters – apply final lighting to scenes

All you can do sometimes is just press harder on your pencil to try to make the drawing express what you’re feeling in your heart, and you hope that the audience can feel it as they’re looking at it. – Glen Keane

Designing and Planning
Layout artist – designs the sets for the film
Background painter
Art director – plot the flow of color through a movie

Clean-up artist – make sure everyone is on model

I found this role interesting. Just as everyone’s handwriting is slightly different, every animator has his or her own personal style. So the supervising animator draws a series of ‘model sheets’ to show all the animators on a film how to draw a character.

Ink and Paint
Color modeller

Anyways. It was a cool book and I would recommend to anyone who wants to inspire their kids or to learn more about what goes on in creating a CGI movie.

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