Friday, December 05, 2008
Mr. Big Shot, Squisher of Dreams
I've been fascinated by animation since I was little. By my teens I decided I'd either become an animator or the person who did storyboards. But how would I get to be either of these? Sure, loved to draw and tell stories, but so did a lot of people, many more talented me. And it wasn't like there were animation studios on every corner. Did I have a chance? How could I increase my chances?
I read everything I could find. Information was limited. These were pre-internet times. The main library only offered a few outdated books. So did branch libraries. Bookstores at the time were modest barbershop sized places. I had some luck, but still wasn't sure what I should start doing now to increase my chances.
I wrote to the Disney studio to ask what to do. I figured I'd get a form letter that would set me on the right track.
The reply wasn't a form letter. It was from a higher up (not an animator or a story department person, I might add). We'll call him Mr. Big Shot. It opened like this:
"You sound confused. Do you want to be a writer or an artist?"
His answer to my questions?
"Why don't you take it upon yourself to do some research at the local library?"
I forget other details, but the gist of the letter seemed to to be that I either lazy or clueless, perhaps both-
"If you want to make money, go into law" he concluded (did he think I my main motive was getting rich?). Brief nebulous nonsense about magic and dreams followed.
Magic? I thought dreams!? It was like hearing "You can play with us if you become cool enough" on the playground.
My animation dreams died with that letter. I'd learned nothing. Mr. Big Shot at Disney seemed disgusted with me. Maybe I'd even blacklisted myself. Had I really sounded so stupid in my letter? Maybe I was stupid.
Well, it's just as well, I thought. I can't really draw that well anyway.