Sunday, June 1, 2008

Re(de)fining Mickey...


As WDAS slowly morphs into a Pixar-like environment there are always interesting and strange things happening...

With Lasseter and Catmull now in charge of almost all Mouse animation it has become introspective in what it creates and what it has already created. Such an example would be the decree that Lasseter put down about not having anymore cheapquels. The latest example of the redefining of what Walt Disney Animation (Studios) is happened in the middle of last week without much notice.

There was a get-together over in the Valley. A sort of meeting like the Brain Trust at Pixar has, or the Story Trust at Disney has been having. But being as Suits are "persona non grata" with John in charge there was simply a gathering of animators, story people and such. The focus was on the reemergence of Disney's most famous creation...

Mickey Mouse.

There was a brainstorming as to how can he become more relevant. How can he be brought back into the consciousness of a 21st Century America and even a 21st Century world? What format would be best to present him in? Where should the largest amount of energy be spent on doing this(Shorts, Movies, the Web, etc.)?

Creative people trying to come up with solutions and not a Suit in sight...

Nice. I like it. From what I've heard there are several top animators that have some exciting ideas they want to move forward and get greenlit. I'm crossing my fingers that they succeed. One thing is for sure, though. The marketers and bean counters didn't have much, if any say in what route Mickey takes in this. No soulless demographic slide show or pie charts saying what they felt the public needed or wanted(ala: DCA), just good old fashioned creativity thrown out into the arena of ideas.

Let the winner now be determined...

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Thanks for the info Honor. Splendid to see this kind of thing taking place, no?

Although there was no suit in sight, as you mentioned, forget not that in a recent interview, Bob Iger himself said he is the man in charge of overseeing the "Mickey Mouse Franchise," meaning the entire slate of Mickey Mouse related products, from toys to dvds alike.

So even though no suit may have been present, one has to wonder if this meeting of creative minds comes at the behest of the ultimate suit, Iger himself!!

Honor Hunter said...

Iger tends to defer to those that know more about something than himself...

Lasseter would most likely be the one that makes the majority of these decisions. At the very least, his word hangs heavy over any decision Iger would make regarding Mickey.

Spokker said...

I hope Lasseter doesn't appear in a preview clip pleading with viewers to accept the new 3D Mickey.

Anonymous said...

Mickey Mouse is the most boring character in animated history. The reason he is famous is for the novelty. Disney has released both 2D (Three Musketeers) and 3D films (Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas) with the character recently only to discover that his counter-parts steal the show time and time again.

The reason Donald is the hot head is because of the 1930 public's request to make the mouse a role model. Almost ever character in his "universe" shows more dynamic range than Mickey.

If you've ever watched the cartoons, you'll know that Mickey doesn't really have a personality. In the two movies I've mentioned and the countless animated shorts, Mickey is playing a role. Even in the new preschool show, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Mickey is consistently playing the role of the viewer (preschoolers) by breaking the third wall. Seems more like a host than a character.

I think Disney fan obsession with Mickey is odd. Its obviously a recognition of history, but none of Disney's best films ever included Mickey (Fantasia he was playing a role). He works better as an optimistic symbol for what the corporation strives for rather than a vehicle for a story.

What's sad is that this post isn't even about Mickey Mouse, but rather to further push your creatives vs. suits rhetoric.

"Bean counters?"

Trust me, someone was counting beans at Pixar long before the Dinsey buy-out.

The failings to produce a successful Mickey Mouse film are not the fault of accountants. After all, wouldn't they want to push such a trusted, low-risk brand?

Justin said...

It's only in the later Mickey Mouse movies and shorts that he has no personality and his side kicks steal the show. In the early Mickey Mouse shorts he was far more entertaining and was himself the purveyor of gags, rather than just the observer. Mickey has become bland and boring. This meeting is to discuss how to make him interesting once again.

KINGCRAB said...

I agree with Justin.

But, IMO, the Mouse Works and House of Mouse cartoons did a good job in attempting to bring Mickey's old personality back.