disney tv animation studios

Why Ducktales is important

At least…If you like Disney Television Animation.  

Which I do.  Oh so much.  

If you’re a fan of Gravity Falls, or Star vs. The Forces of Evil, or Wander Over Yonder, or Kim Possible, or Gargoyles, or any Disney Television show, then gather ‘round because I’m about to teach you some history.  

“Never forget, that it all started with a Mouse,”~~Walt Disney.

Great things come from humble origins.  Never forget that Disney TV…All started with a Duck.  

It was the 1980s.  Disney Television Animation was a new department at Walt Disney Studios.  And Disney was suffering.  These days it’s easy to think of Disney as a mega-giant, but back then, Disney was suffering.  Movies were being produced on shoestring budgets, and animators (such as Don Bluth) were jumping ship to find work at studios that were paying better and producing better content.  The Little Mermaid hadn’t yet hit theaters, sparking the Disney Renaissance.  The fledgeling animation department had produced two shows prior, “The Wuzzles” and “The Adventures of Gummy Bears”.  

Disney was in dire straights from Walt’s passing in 1966 left the studio suffering up until the 80s, when they started to take a few risks.  Risks that paid off.  The studio gambled on the idea that investing more money into quality animation would pay off in the long run if the show went into syndication.  It was something that worked well with live action, but had yet to be done with animation to that degree.  Cheap animation with tons of shortcuts could be syndicated, but something high-quality had never been done before.  

Ducktales was the first show that attempted this, and it paid off handsomely.  Not only was the show a hit with audiences (and a merchandising cash-cow) but it changed the game.  It set the stage for the Disney Afternoon a few years down the road, and paved the path for every show I mentioned at the beginning.  Without Ducktales, there would be no Gargoyles, no Star vs. The Forces of Evil, no Gravity Falls.  

Heck, I take it even one step beyond that…Without the inspiration of proof-of-concept, I’d wager that even OTHER studios cartoon creations wouldn’t exist.  No Animaniacs, No Adventure Time, no Steven Universe (and don’t think I missed the shout-out to Ducktales in “Onion Trade”) 

Ducktales was important because it raised the craft of animation to another level, combining storytelling with good, non-repetitive animation to produce quality TV.  For a time, Ducktales was Disney’s Flagship TV series, waving the banner and representing the company in the realm of television animation. 

And even today, the classic Ducktales series holds up rather nicely.  Sure, some things are a little dated, but at the end of the day, I enjoy watching Ducktales without reservations.  That’s why I own the DVD sets.  

 And it’s why I’m so happy about this reboot.  

This isn’t just a revamp of an old show.  This is Disney returning to its roots, reclaiming a bit of it’s history and polishing it off for the next generation.  I’m a little misty eyed.  I had some initial misgivings when this was announced, but the cast announcement melted those fears away, and now, seeing the trailer that dropped less than 24 hours ago…I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for a TV series ever.  

Breaking down this trailer, we finally hear David Tennant as Scrooge McDuck.  I’ve actually been aware of Tennant’s presence in the voiceover scene for a few years now (Most notably, he plays bit parts in the How To Train Your Dragon franchise from Dreamworks) But hearing him as Scrooge…I really feel it works.  He’s got a certain quality the echos the late, great Alan Young, and I feel like he couldn’t have been better cast without some of that good old fashioned Disney Necromancy (And as we know, they used up their allotment of Necromancy on Peter Cushing for Rogue One) 

I love that the Nephews are getting unique characterization and personality. I loved Russi Taylor’s performance way back when, but one Nephew was really interchangeable with another.  Dani Pudi, Ben Schwartz, and Chris Moynihan really bring an awesome chemistry to their roles, just from the trailer.

And then there’s Webbigail.  Oh my God, I love how they’ve rebooted Webby.  She was always the annoying load back in the classic series.   Making her a Donald Duck fangirl is freaking GENIUS (and Kate Micucci is perfect for this role too) Bonus points given for Webby’s infamous “Quacky-Patch Doll”  being used for dart practice in the background of her room.  Webby has gone from outright “The Load” territory, to one of the most fun-seeming characters present in the reboot.  

And all of this from one minute and a half trailer.  I can’t wait for this series, even though I know I must.  I know it’s gonna be something special, I can feel it.  Maybe even Disney’s Flagship show, once again.  Stay tuned to my Tumblr, for much, much more.

One thing I know for certain that I’m going to do when the pilot for this airs…A side by side comparison of the Classic Pilot and the new one.  

Peace out, 

Disney Wizard

Disney At Annecy Festival 

Well is that time of the year again and Annecy has so many cool activities 

Keynote speeches, come and hear from Kristine Belson, President of Sony Pictures Animation and Eric Coleman, SVP Original Programming and General Manager at Disney Television Animation.

Pixar’s short Coco, due in the U.S. in November, will have a special presentation ahead of the Cars 3 screening, opening the same day as its U.S premiere.

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Characters that are just like someone we all knew in high school

New Image From Upcoming DuckTales Disney XD Series

D23 (@DisneyD23) tweeted out this image of the new DuckTales today, saying it was our first look at the new series. Almost nothing has been announced about the new DuckTales series yet, but it will be premiering on Disney XD sometime in 2017.

- Christopher

Everyone starts somewhere. Push on, persevere, and succeed.

D23 Expo Animation Panel Listed

Good News The Panel Of Disney Animation And Pixar Animation Studios Have Been Listed At D23 For July 14th 

Still No Word At A Disney TVA Or Disney XD or TV Creator Driven Panel On The Way

Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios (2:30 p.m.)––See what the artists behind these two acclaimed animation studios are dreaming (and drawing) up. With such an exciting lineup of films––Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-it Ralph 2, Coco, and The Incredibles 2, just to name a few––we’re sure this presentation will be full of surprises.

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Here it is, my first TV GIG!

I got to work as an animator with Bristol based production company, Wildseed Studios on a short cartoon for Disney XD UK to go alongside the UEFA Euro 2016.

Lottie Bearshout in ‘Good as Goaled’, created by the Spin Kick Bros (Tom Gran and Martin Woolley)!

I’m so happy with how this turned out and proud to have been part of this project. Thanks to all the great people at Wildseed Studios, I had a tremendously fantastic and fun time working on some of these shots and seeing everyone’s hard work come together. It was a great experience!

“Tangled” Animated TV Series Based on Film Coming to Disney Channel

Per Variety:

“Tangled” is heading to the small screen. Based on the 2010 feature film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, the animated television series is slated to premiere on Disney Channel in 2017.

Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi will reprise their roles, voicing Rapunzel and Eugene, also known as Flynn Rider, respectively.

The series follows the success of Disney Channel’s 2012 “Tangled Ever After” short, which brought in five million total viewers.

The Disney Television Animation project reunites the movie’s composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater who will work on the series, which is being developed by exec producer Chris Sonnenburg (“Enchanted”), who will also serve as supervising director, and Shane Prigmore (“The Lego Movie”), who is co-exec producer and creator director.

“The genius of the original movie was its seamless blending of cinematic adventure, character-driven comedy and touching emotion. And we are fortunate to have several of the creative talent from that movie on board with this new production,” commented Gary Marsh, president and CCO of Disney Channels Worldwide. “With the addition of Chris and Shane as executive producers, we have the perfect team in place to create a series worthy of the original film.”

“Tangled” on Disney Channel is set between the events of the original film and the start of “Tangled Ever After.” The series follows the long-locked Rapunzel (Moore), as she acquaints herself with her parents, her kingdom and the people of Corona, and realizes there is much more she needs to learn before she can truly accept her royal destiny, causing her to put her crown and put her marriage on hold to seek out epic adventures, much to the dismay of her father, the King. Accompanying Rapunzel on her journey will be the charming bandit Eugene (Levi); the plucky chameleon sidekick, Pascal; the no-nonsense horse, Maximus; the Snuggly Duckling Pub Thugs; and newcomer Cassandra, a tough-as-nails handmaiden, who becomes Rapunzel’s confidant.

Jase Ricci (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”) is the story editor on the “Tangled” series and Kevin Kliesch (“Tangled Ever After”) will serve as the score composer. Claire Keane (“Frozen,” “Tangled”) consulted on development of the series.

The “Tangled” series is the latest step in the Disney franchise, following the huge box office success. The Golden Globe and Academy Award-nominated film opened with $68.7 million and earned $200 million domestically and over $593 million globally. The original song “I See the Light,” recorded by Moore and Levi, also won a Grammy Award.

“Tangled” is also featured at Disney theme parks, and Rapunzel has become one of the top-selling Disney Princesses among Disney Store and Disney Publishing merchandise. The tale is being adapted for a stage show on Disney Magic cruise ship, set to premiere onboard this November.

Disney Channel has dated the small-screen debut of the all-new animated movie and TV series set in the world of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Tangled. Taking place between the story events of the original feature and the short Tangled Ever After, the Disney Channel Original Movie Tangled Before Ever After debuts Friday, March 10 at 8 p.m. ET, leading into the premiere of Tangled: The Series on Friday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The new Tangled tales feature stars Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi reprising their roles as Rapunzel and Eugene — the charmer formerly known as Flynn Rider. Both the movie and series will have same-day launches on Disney Channel VOD platforms, and will roll out worldwide in 162 countries following their US debut.

Rapunzel & Co. will also appear in new print and e-book titles (including original middle grade series by Leila Howland) from Disney Publishing; Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media will debut new playsets, dolls, role-play, apparel and accessories later this Fall at Disney Store and all other retailers; the singles “Wind in My Hair” performed by Mandy Moore and “Life After Happily Ever After” performed by Moore, Zachary Levi and Clancy Brown releasing on February 10 and March 10, respectively, from Walt Disney Records, and a DVD of the TV movie and four animated shorts releasing April 11 by Disney Studios.

The vibrant, energetic new adventure-comedy animation projects unfold as Rapunzel gets to know her parents, kingdom, and the people of Corona. With her irrepressible spirit and natural curiosity, she realizes there is a lot to learn about the world and herself before she can assume her role as Princess. Along for the ride are beloved Tangled characters including loyal chameleon Pascal, no-nonsense horse Maximus, and the Snuggly Duckling Pub Thugs.

In Tangled Before Ever After, Rapunzel grapples with the responsibilities of being a princess and the overprotective ways of her father. While she wholeheartedly loves Eugene, Rapunzel does not share his immediate desire to get married and settle down within the castle walls. Determined to live life on her own terms, she and her tough-as-nails Lady-in-Waiting Cassandra (voiced by Broadway’s Eden Espinosa) embark on a secret adventure where they encounter mystical rocks that magically cause Rapunzel’s long blonde hair to grow back. Impossible to break and difficult to hide, Rapunzel must learn to embrace her hair and all that it represents.

Starring alongside Moore, Levi and Espinosa are Julie Bowen (Modern Family) as Rapunzel’s mother, Queen Arianna, and Clancy Brown (Shawshank Redemption) as her father, King Frederic.

The recurring guest voice cast includes: Jeffrey Tambor as Big Nose, Sean Hayes as Pete the Guard, Jeremy Jordan as teen alchemist Varian, comedian Jeff Ross as Hook Hand’s brother Hook Foot, Richard Kind as Uncle Monty, Paul F. Tompkins as Shorty; Jonathan Banks as Varian’s father, Quirin; Peter MacNicol as Nigel the Advisor; Diedrich Bader as Stan the Guard; M.C. Gainey as Captain of the Guards; Laura Benanti as Lady Caine; Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as blacksmith Xavier; Pat Carroll as Old Lady Crowley; Charles Halford as Vladimir; Steve Blum as Attila Buckethead; and James Monroe Iglehart as Eugene’s friend Lance Strongbow.

Produced by Disney Television Animation, Tangled: The Series was developed by animation veterans Chris Sonnenburg (Enchanted) and Shane Prigmore (The LEGO Movie). Sonnenburg serves as executive producer and supervising director; Benjamin Balistreri (How to Train Your Dragon) is supervising producer; Jase Ricci (Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero) is story editor; and Alan Bodner (The Iron Giant) is art director. Celebrated artist Claire Keane (Frozen, Tangled), who painted Rapunzel’s tower murals in the feature film, is the series’ Visual Development Artist.

The series features songs by Academy Award-winning Disney Legend Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater. Emmy Award-winning Kevin Kliesch (Tangled Ever After) serves as score compose

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This is my piece for the “Re-Animated Zombie Art Show” over at Disney TV Animation Studios. To celebrate TVA’s 30 year anniversary the studio made pieces of past and present Disney cartoon characters re-designed as Zombies!  I got to do one for the Mickey Mouse Shorts. It’s done in ink brush pen and prismas. If you stop by the studio be sure to visit the gallery. There’s a lot of fantastic pieces!

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ZOOTOPIA - Official TV Spot #3 (with new footage)

It was so hard not to cry when I saw this