Thursday, December 17, 2009

INSPIRATION 5 - “ Branding is for Cows ” – Excerpt from speech by Roy E. Disney (March 3, 2004)

{ thank you to Merlin Jones at Cartoon brew for this post }

“ Branding is for Cows ” – Excerpt from speech by Roy E. Disney (March 3, 2004)

“The Walt Disney Company is more than just a business. It is an authentic American icon — which is to say that over the years it has come to stand for something real and meaningful and worthwhile to millions of people of all ages and backgrounds around the world.

This is not something you can describe easily on a balance sheet, but it is tangible enough. Indeed, it is the foundation on which everything we have accomplished as a company — both artistically and financially — is based.

I believe our mission has always been to be bringers of joy, to be affirmers of the good in each of us, to be — in subtle ways — teachers. To speak, as Walt once put it, “not to children but to the child in each of us.”

We do this through great storytelling, by giving our guests a few hours in another world where their cares can be momentarily put aside, by creating memories that will remain with them forever.

This is the core of what we’ve come to call “Disney,” and to my mind, our single biggest need is to get back to that core.

In my view, the essence of who we are lies in the business of film — especially animation — and the stories, characters, music, and humor that well-made films generate. This is the engine that drives the train, and everything we do as a company basically flows from it.

You will note that I refer to our film work as a business. Whatever else it may be, it is always that as well — a business that needs to be run on a sound basis by people who are sensible as well as sensitive.My Dad was quoted once as saying, “It’s easy to make decisions, once you know what your values are.” Unfortunately, our corporate values have been compromised in recent years.

In large part, this is the result of a cynical management’s belief that, in the absence of ideas, the road to success is to cut back on everyone and everything that once made you successful, that you don’t really need to give your guests value for money, that creativity and originality are luxuries you can no longer afford … that art and artists are commodities to be bought and sold like any other office supply.

To me, the wrong-headedness of these beliefs is self-evident.

The creative process is the lifeblood of the Disney Company. If it is to thrive, we must do everything possible to establish an environment in which it can once again flourish.

Creativity is a funny thing — difficult to quantify, but obvious when it’s missing. It’s a living, breathing force with a life of its own, and it tends to flower among individuals or small groups. It doesn’t always show up on demand … or at convenient times or places. And it often gets killed by committees or by something called strategic planning. So we need to always be on the lookout for ways to nurture it, and not let it be trampled by a lowest-common-denominator mentality.

One of creativity’s worst enemies is something I call “Institution Think.” This is a very tricky issue. After all, Disney is an institution. But that doesn’t mean it has to think like one.

Let me tell you about the danger of Institution Think: It is often said that our company’s most valuable asset is the Disney name. You’ll get no argument from me. I kind of like the name myself. But, in recent times, there’s been a tendency to refer to it as the “Disney brand.” To me, this degrades Disney into a “thing” to be bureaucratically managed, rather than a “name” to be creatively championed. And lately I’ve been seeing Mickey receive this treatment too, as well as Pooh and a lot of others.

As I’ve said on other occasions, branding is something you do to cows. It makes sense if you’re a rancher, since cows do tend to look alike. It’s also useful to lots of businessmen, and they brand things like detergents or shoes for almost the same reason as ranchers. Branding is what you do when there’s nothing original about your product.

But there is something original about our products. Or at least there used to be. Our name already means something to consumers.I really believe that if we keep thinking of Disney as a “brand,” we will lose all the meaning that has been built into those six letters for more than three-quarters of a century. We need to get back to thinking of it as a “name” that needs to be prized and enhanced, escape the clutches of Institution Think and resume our trajectory of creative and financial success.

How did the Disney Company create enormous shareholder value in the past? Two ways: first by trusting the talents and imagination of its creative people — and then by supporting them with the resources they required.

I don’t care what current management may tell you.

The plain fact is, you can’t fool all the people all the time. Nor can you succeed in our business by trying to get by on the cheap. Consumers know when they are getting value for their money, and they know when you’re trying to sell them second-hand goods.

So what kind of change do we need to make? It’s really quite simple. We need to install a new management team, one that understands and believes in the enormously valuable legacy that’s been entrusted to us.

Speaking as someone with the last name of “Disney,” it is my firm belief that we are not a commodity. As long as we continue to believe in the power of creative ideas, then our best years still lie ahead.”

– - Roy E. Disney

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

2009 Annie Award Nominees

2009 Annie Award Nominees by Category


Best Animated Feature

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – Sony Pictures Animation
Coraline – Laika
Fantastic Mr. Fox– 20th Century Fox
The Princess and the Frog – Walt Disney Animation Studios
The Secret of Kells – Cartoon Saloon
Up – Pixar Animation Studios

Best Home Entertainment Production

Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas – Universal Animation Studios
Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder – The Curiosity Company in association with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Green Lantern: First Flight – Warner Bros. Animation
Open Season 2 – Sony Pictures Animation
SpongeBob vs. The Big One – Nickelodeon

Best Animated Short Subject

Pups of Liberty – Picnic Pictures
Robot Chicken: Star Wars 2.5 – ShadowMachine
Santa, The Fascist Years – Plymptoons
The Rooster, The Crocodile and The Night Sky – Barley Films
The Story of Walls – Badmash Animation Studios

Best Animated Television Commercial

Goldfish: In The Dark – Blur Studios, Inc.
Idaho Lottery “Twiceland” – Acme Filmworks, Inc.
Nutty Tales – Blue Sky Studios
Spanish Lottery “Deportees” – Acme Filmworks, Inc.
The Spooning – Screen Novelties /Acne Media

Best Animated Television Production

Glenn Martin, DDS “Korean Opportunities” – Torante, Cuppa Coffee Studios & Rogers Communications
Merry Madagascar – DreamWorks Animation
Prep and Landing – ABC Family/Walt Disney Animation Studios
The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror XX” – Gracie Films

Best Animated Television Production for Children

The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack “Candy Casanova” – Cartoon Network Studios
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – Disney Television Animation
The Mighty B! “Catatonic” – Nickelodeon/Polka Dot Pictures/Paper Kite Productions
The Penguins of Madagascar “Paternal Eggstinct” – Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation
SpongeBob SquarePants “Pineapple Fever” – Nickelodeon


Animated Effects

Alexander Feigin “9” – 9 L.L.C.
Eric Froemling “Up” – Pixar Animation Studios
James Mansfield “The Princess and the Frog” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Scott Cegielski “Monsters vs. Aliens” – DreamWorks Animation
Tom Kluyskens “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” – Sony Pictures Animation

Character Animation in a Television Production

Kevan Shorey “Merry Madagascar” – DreamWorks Animation
Mark Donald “B.O.B.’s Big Break” – DreamWorks Animation
Mark Mitchell “Prep and Landing” – Walt Disney Animation Studio
Phillip To “Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space” – DreamWorks Animation
Tony Smeed “Prep and Landing” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Character Animation in a Feature Production

Andreas Deja “The Princess and the Frog” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Eric Goldberg “The Princess and the Frog” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Travis Knight “Coraline” – Laika
Daniel Nguyen “Up” – Pixar Animation Studios
Bruce Smith “The Princess and the Frog” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Character Design in a Television Production

Bryan Arnett “The Mighty B! – Catatonic” – Nickelodeon/Polka Dot Pictures/Paper Kite Productions
Ben Balistreri “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” – Cartoon Network Studios
Craig Kellman “Merry Madagascar” – DreamWorks Animation
Bill Schwab “Prep and Landing” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Character Design in a Feature Production

Daniel Lopez Munoz “Up” – Pixar Animation Studios
Shane Prigmore “Coraline” – Laika
Shannon Tindle “Coraline” – Laika

Directing in a Television Production

Bret Haaland “The Penguins of Madagascar – Launchtime” – Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation
Pam Cooke & Jansen Yee “American Dad: Brains, Brains & Automobiles” – 20th Century Fox/Fuzzy Door/Underdog
Jennifer Oxley “The Wonder Pets: Help The Monster” – Nickelodeon/Little Airplane Productions
John Infantino, J.G. Quintel “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: Candy Casanova” – Cartoon Network Studios
Rob Fendler “Popzilla” – Animax

Directing in a Feature Production

Wes Anderson “Fantastic Mr. Fox” – 20th Century Fox
Pete Docter “Up” – Pixar Animation Studios
Christopher Miller, Phil Lord “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” – Sony Pictures Animation
Hayao Miyazaki “Ponyo” – Studio Ghibli
Henry Selick “Coraline” – Laika

Music in a Television Production

Guy Moon “The Fairly OddParents: “Wishology- The Big Beginning” – Nickelodeon
Kevin Kiner “Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Weapons Factory” – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.
Michael Giacchino “Prep and Landing” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Music in a Feature Production

Bruno Coulais “Coraline” – Laika
Michael Giacchino “Up” – Pixar Animation Studios
Joe Hisaishi “Ponyo” – Studio Ghibli
John Powell “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” – Blue Sky Studios

Production Design in a Television Production

Mac George “Prep and Landing” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Andy Harkness “Prep and Landing” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Janice Kubo “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” – Cartoon Network Studios

Production Design in a Feature Production

Christopher Appelhaus “Coraline” – Laika
Ian Gooding “The Princess and the Frog” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Tadahiro Uesugi “Coraline – Laika
Christopher Vacher “9” – 9 L.L.C.

Storyboarding in a Television Production

Sunil Hall “The Mighty B!: Catatonic” – Nickelodeon/Polka Dot Pictures/Paper
Brandon Kruse “The Fairly OddParents: Fly Boy” – Nickelodeon
Robert Koo “Merry Madagascar” – DreamWorks Animation
Joe Mateo “Prep and Landing” – ABC Family/Walt Disney Animation Studios
Kite Productions
Adam Van Wyk “The Spectacular Spider-Man: Final Curtain” – Culver Entertainment

Storyboarding in a Feature Production

Sharon Bridgeman “Astro Boy” – Imagi Studios
Chris Butler “Coraline” – Laika
Ronnie Del Carmen “Up” – Pixar Animation Studios
Tom Owens “Monsters vs. Aliens” – DreamWorks Animation
Peter Sohn “Up” – Pixar Animation Studios

Voice Acting in a Television Production

Danny Jacobs - Voice of King Julien - “Merry Madagascar” – DreamWorks Animation
Nicky Jones - Voice of Chowder - “Chowder: The Dinner Theatre’” – Cartoon Network Studios
Tom Kenny - Voice of SpongeBob - “SpongeBob SquarePants – Truth or Square” – Nickelodeon
Dwight Schultz - Voice of Mung Daal - “Chowder:The Party Cruise” – Cartoon Network Studios
Willow Smith - Voice of Abby - “Merry Madagascar” – DreamWorks Animation

Voice Acting in a Feature Production

Jen Cody - Voice of Charlotte - “The Princess and the Frog” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Dawn French - Voice of Miss Forcible – “Coraline” – Laika
Hugh Laurie - Voice of Dr. Cockroach Ph.D. – “Monsters vs. Aliens” – DreamWorks Animation
John Leguizamo - Voice of Sid – “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur” – Blue Sky Studios
Jennifer Lewis - Voice of Mama Odie – “The Princess and the Frog” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Writing in a Television Production

Daniel Chun – “The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XX” – Gracie Films
Kevin Deters, Stevie Wermers-Skelton – “Prep and Landing” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Valentina L. Garza – “The Simpsons: Four Great Women and a Manicure” – Gracie Films
Billy Kimball and Ian Maxtone-Graham - “The Simpsons: Gone Maggie Gone” – Gracie Films
Billy Lopez – The Wonder Pets – Save the Honey Bears” – Nickelodeon Productions/Little Airplane Productions

Writing in a Feature Production

Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach – “Fantastic Mr. Fox” – 20th Century Fox
Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy – “Up” – Pixar Animation Studios
Timothy Hyde Harris and David Bowers – “Astro Boy” – Imagi Studios
Christopher Miller and Phil Lord – “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” – Sony Pictures Animation


Winsor McCay Award – Tim Burton, Bruce Timm, Jeffrey Katzenberg

June Foray Award – Tom Sito

Ub Iwerks Award – William T. Reeves

Special Achievement – Martin Meunier and Brian McLean

Certificate of Merit – Myles Mikulic, Danny Young and Michael Woodside

Winners will be announced at the 37th Annual Annie Awards ceremony on Saturday, February 6, 2010, at UCLA’s Royce Hall, in Los Angeles. For tickets and information, visit the Annie Awards website.