Frank and I get called in on most of the features as consultants. I’m not sure how much we help them because they are really thinking a different way than we did. We try to plug warmth and heart and personality relationships and good acting but they are more tuned to the new way of doing story where something new is happening every minute and you don’t really have time to stay with the stuff and bring out the personalities the way Walt tried to do. Part of the trouble is that the young animators don’t yet know how to get all this stuff into their work. They have some real good animators who are excellent draftsmen but they are only now beginning to discover the possibilities in character relationships and letting the audience know what their drawings are trying to say - what they are trying to tell the audience. I think in the next few years you will see some improvement in this.
I think there is some improvement in the animation in The Little Mermaid over what was done in OLIVER[and Company]. From what I’ve seen so far it has more heart but there is a ways to go, that’s for sure. The young directors will tell us that they like our ideas but they don’t know how to put them on the screen. I can sympathize because I sure had trouble too. It’s a tough medium - there is so much to think of and it’s so easy to mess up on something.
The big thing that is encouraging is the fact that the new management sees the importance of animation. Of course they look at it much from the standpoint of how much money they can make with it. But still, I’m pleased with the interest that Jeffrey Katzenburg has in the department and the fact that he would even call us in encourages me. I think that given time some of these guys will animate something not like we did, but something of their own that will have the ingredients that we always tried for and this may change the type of story material so that it involves the audience more. They they will make pictures that have a more lasting quality to them.
also of note is Seward Street appears to be back, and even more interesting, he appears to have a seperate blog StoryFanatic that looks like it might have some gems in it.