Walter Elias Disney has made a profound impact on my life. Not simply because I grew up watching his movies and shows, or having a blast at his amusement park, it's because I've taken the time to get to know him a little better. I'm reading The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney and currently at the beginning stages of his life in the cartooning business. There are so many reasons to admire what Mr. Disney did throughout his life and I hope that I can show just what I've learned as I've gotten to know him better.
Walt Disney persevered through much adversity
At the time Walt Disney started creating cartoons, it was a dry, desolate desert of a market. Most at the time felt that cartoons were for children and were a silly way of spending time. Simply starting in a field that was seemingly unrewarding financially shows that Walt really believed in the vision that he had conjured up. Getting his animation studio up and running proved to be difficult. Disney was saddled with debt and his first animation studio in Kansas City went bankrupt, prompting a move to Hollywood, California. Continuing on his dream, his 2nd animation studio began to gain some traction. He had success with Alice Comedies and had just created a new character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. The success prompted Walt to negotiate a higher fee for creating the popular cartoons, but the producer demanded that the fee be lowered and when Disney refused, took all the animators, who were under contract to the producer, and the trademark for Oswald, leaving Walt to start again at square 1.
These early "failures" would have prompted many men to take the safe road and get a more practical career. None of these, however, could dampen Walt's determination to continue. The Disney Bros Studios would have to continue on through the Great Depression, and World War II and many other mishaps, but Walt persevered through it all to become one of the most famous people in history and the poster child for imaginations and following dreams.
Walt Disney knew his strengths and weaknesses
Walt Disney wasn't a great cartoonist. It's strange to think about, seeing that's all we think about when we hear the name Disney, but he really couldn't have made it far as an illustrator. It's difficult to admit when we have a weakness, especially when we have a passion like Walt did for illustration. Walt knew that he couldn't hold on to this pride if he ever wanted to make something come from this. He surrounded himself with some of the best illustrators he could find, and even founded an academy for those graduating from college could come to hone their skills and bring Walt's vision to life.
Where Walt set himself apart was inspiring others to share the vision that he himself had. In a documentary, it was shared that after a long day of work, Walt sent out his illustrators to grab dinner and then to return to the studio that evening. When everyone had arrived Walt began to act out the entirety of his vision for Snow White, acting out each character (his illustration team said that Walt could act out anything, bringing life into characters). Walt knew his place. He knew his strengths and implemented them. He knew his weakness, and built a team to make up for them. He created a team which made him say,
"It's kind of fun to do the impossible"
Walt Disney was an innovator
Walt never allowed himself to be held back by the technology or techniques of cartooning in his day. In his early days, he set his cartoons apart by creating a way to make the movements on the screen and the music and sounds blend seamlessly together. This alone set him apart from his competitors, being the only cartoons that were able to accomplish this feat. He went on to create a set up that would allow different frames to be placed on top of each other, and the camera would travel through, giving a 3-dimensional feel. For instance, if a scene took place in the woods, when watching the finished product, you would feel surrounded by trees, passing individual ones as you passed by. Ideas like these and many more allowed Disney to provide a product that people didn't even think they wanted.
These among other lessons, I could have only learned by picking up a book, watching a few documentaries, and trying to understand exactly how Walt Disney was successful in following his passion. If I am able to persevere, understand my strengths and weaknesses, and be innovative in the field I choose, I am putting together some of the best ingredients to make my dreams a reality.
My name is Brian and I have a voice and something valuable to say. I'm on a quest to discover myself and the world around me. Join me and together we can do good in the world.