Saturday, December 05, 2009

Happy Birthday Walt Disney

Today is Walt Disney's birthday. The internet and blogosphere will no doubt be filled with posts to commemorate the occasion, most of which will be far more informative than anything I'm prepared to offer.

I'm a big Disney nerd, and have been for as long as I can remember. Through the various stages of my life I've admired various aspects of Walt's work and character for different reasons, but the thing I most admire about the man beyond all of the groundbreaking innovations he's contributed to art, entertainment and popular culture, are three things.

1. He never gave up on what he wanted to accomplish. Setting out repeatedly into uncharted territory that no once else believed would be anything other than a disaster, he stuck with it, proved everyone wrong, and then found a new frontier to explore. The fact that his company was on the verge of bankruptcy throughout his entire life never deterred him either. He never gave up and took a job at a bank instead. He simply forged ahead.

2. His notion that nothing he had a hand in could simply be good enough. It had to be the best possible product they could produce, and until it was released to the public, it could always be improved.

3. His sense of storytelling, even in the parks. The notion that everything that appears in a story has to have a reason for being there, that every item has its own story, and that it's about characters over laughs. This plus the way the audience is guided through a story in the same manner that the layout of the parks guides you towards the next thrill is something that over time has been completely ingrained in me and is often something I fall back on when solving problems in my own stories.

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