Thursday, May 10, 2018

Mouse In Orbit

A few years back, I wrote about Disney Animation in the seventies and eighties. I did this because A) I was there at the time so it seemed like a good idea to pen a history, and B) I wanted to get my memories of the period down before they carted me off to a neighborhood senior facility.

That book was called "Mouse In Transition" and ended up (through blind, dumb luck) on Cartoon Brew.

Now, four years later, I've done the same thing about life in the Animation Guild and the major L.A. cartoon studios, from the depths of animation's recession in the late 1980s (when Filmation crashed and burned and there was minimal work around town and the animation union had 710 active members) to the towering heights of the 21st century: "Zootopia", "Moana", the roaring television industry, and the cutthroat corporatism of the big entertainment conglomerates. This effort ("Mouse in Orbit") is a little different, since I interviewed multiple artists and did research to paint a picture of the whole animation industry. (It's hard to be "inside" all the different cartoon factories when you're the union representative. You walk through studios, but you don't live in them eight ... or ten ... hours per day.)

Anyhow. If you want to know what contract negotiations were like back in the nineties, or what Disney artists went through creating the second "Golden Age" of hand-drawn features, they tell you here. Other artists relate what it was like working on "Fern Gully", "Space Jam", and all the other features and television series being created as the L.A. cartoon biz roared back from the doldrums.

(Final note: Professor Tom Sito was kind enough to write the foreword. I had an enjoyable time penning the rest. And a big THANK YOU to all the animation pros who sat down to talk about about their working lives in the biz; they're really the ones who made this book what it is.)

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