stabilityon May 14, 2006 at 7:28 pm
The story of Disney’s silent film career is not so much one of artistic expression as one of commercial stability.
-Walt in Wonderland by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman
This is still true. I’ve again been railing about the half-baked stories I see in so many animated projects, be they multi-million dollar features or indy home projects. It seems that everyone is concerned with success, so much so that the stories are sold rather than written. In The Player, Robert Altman makes fun of the pitch, the “It’s like Shrek meets Little Mermaid in a Pulp Fiction meets Brady Bunch world, on ACID!” The idea that a story is good if everyone in the boardroom is laughing, that a script can be “developed” rather than written… maybe that’s what I am against.
My favorite movies have all been written by a single individual. Sure, they have been tightened up, but the stories were not the collaborative, washed-out four-writer spectacles such as The Wild or whatever that Jennifer Anniston movie about The Graduate was called. Preston Sturges, Orson Welles, Brad Bird, Miyazaki… they are interested in writing something true. Pleasing the boardroom was never the point.
Walt never, never was that way. He had some great folks working for him, so he was lucky, but he could have done so much better.