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SCOTT CAPLE / Concept and Design for Animation / Environment /Character / Layout / Storyboard / Pixar / Disney / Blue Sky / Aardman / Lucasfilm

Monday, September 28, 2009

Don Hahn


This is Old News now, but we had the Uber Producer from Disney, Don Hahn, out for a visit to the College. He was primarily in town for TIFF, accompanying his documentary, Waking Sleeping Beauty, another take on the so called second Golden Age of Disney animation. I didn't make it to any of the three screenings myself, but here's a review from the Telluride Film Festival.

He was also promoting his new book, Drawn to Life, the legacy and memories of Walt Stanchfield, Life Drawing Instructor to the Stars at Disney for years.

Seemed to be a real shot in the arm for the students. He gave a very slick presentation of what goes into the making of an animated film, a Disney one at least. It was a good review of the production process and the application of the elements and principles of design.

It's interesting that the doc takes in the time 1984-94, as if the Second Golden Age was already drawing to close.

I arrived at Disney in 94, two months after the massive Northridge earthquake, to work on Hunchback of Notre Dame, which Don produced, taking over from Roy Conli about halfway through production. Within two more months, Lion King was just about to be released, Frank Wells died in a helicopter skiing accident, Eisner had heart surgery and the stage was set for the upheaval that led to new studios, tons of animation production, animators' salaries going through the roof and all the rest of the exhilaration and ultimately hubris of that time.

Out of that came six years of working on various features, but I still have a soft spot for Hunchback, as I love the medieval time period and was discovering life in SoCal. As the mighty animation industry grew like a new mountain range and sowed the seeds of its own doom, I was happily scratching away at layouts of cathedrals, bell towers, the lovely winding streets of medieval paris and meeting my destiny among new friends and the arrondisements of LA that I had always read about but was only seeing for the first time.

One of the things that came out of the time was a ton of caricatures and cartoons: Here's one of Don, done just post Hunchback, with the period still at high tide. Our beards were still brown!

11 comments:

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echoform said...

thank you for sharing such a great story. i wish these spammers from china would go away.

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nickwatson said...

Great story !..anymore old layouts you can post, great to look at!

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scott Caple said...

Thanks, Guys! Old layouts, comin' up!!

Qian Wang said...

Hi, Scott, I think it would be nice that one day you can write a book about your life as a great layout artist. I will buy it for sure! :-)