13 July, 2013

Disney Mind

Disney World was a big deal for me growing up. I dreamed of being an animator from the time I was about 4 and had made Bambi, DUmbo and Donald Duck my favorite friends. Disney was the place I wanted to go and work when I got old because it seemed magical. Aside from my collection of action figures and cartoon books, our family had a jar of Pixie Dust(just really a jar of glitter) on our bookshelf and I liked to open it and sprinkle some pixie dust in my hair much to the disgust of my mother.
I created comics with Top Duck, who I decided was Donalds unknown brother. Top was very friendly, unlike Donald, and he wore a green turtleneck and newsboy cap and went on adventures where he would talk to ghosts and animals and free the liliputians. As I got older my stories got more complex and I made many of my own characters, but the original inspiration remained.
As I got older, my love of Disney faded as I realized the difficulty of being an animator and the poor conditions DIsney workers actually enjoy. Interests in nature, philosophy and a growing disconnect with my peers in school led me away from the Disney animator path and into the path of the eccentric artist/traveller, but the lure and attraction of Disney and other related ephemera stayed with me.
I hate to admit it sometimes, but those childhood joys of Disney cartoons as well as associated memories of going to McDonalds after school are things that still bring a smile to my face.
Although there are plenty of more wholesome memories- memories playing cards with my grandfather, hiking and camping with scouts and biking, the early memories of Disney are particularly strong ones.
Although it's way too simple to think of Disney as the bad guys and to simply become disenchanted once you realise the mechanics behind animation or the simple economics that fueled your favorite theme park(MGM studios was created to lure people away from Universal), I can't say that there is absolutely no lure left to work for them(nor for Klasky-Csupo, a company I almost took an internship with).
Ideally, I like to think that there are other, more wholesome outlets for creativity. And realize that as a human, I'm capable of a hell of a lot of self deception, so maybe it's better not to work for Disney and to work on being OK with that, rather than work for them for peanuts, destroying my soul in the process.
I read a book recently that really caught my imagination. It was called No Logo and it talks a lot about branding and Disney in particular. It talked a lot about how companies started out creating products first and then making a name based on that reputation. Newer marketing makes the name first and then makes the products second.
As a result of this, you get the poor working conditions of Disney(as well as other chains) as well as outsourced jobs, dumbed down movies and a general disregard for the public good.
Top Duck would not stand for that.

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