As evening rolled around I decided I wanted to see the documentary "Waking Sleeping Beauty" directed by Don Hahn. This film is about the rise of Disney animation in the 1980's and then its fall because of executive infighting. Having lived through that decade I was more than a little curious about this film. I arrived more than an hour early from another screening and decided to pass the time with a sketch. The screening was at the Regal Park Cinemas of Winter Park and the Festival staff had this makeshift table set up outside to sell tickets for the festival shows. As I was sketching the volunteers at the table people slowly drifted in and picked up tickets. I recognized the person I sketched buying his tickets as Bryan Brinkman an animator who had spoken at the animated shorts program the night before. Brian and his girlfriend Ashley Culver sat on the wicker bench next to me. I stopped sketching long enough to tell Brian how much I had enjoyed his animated short, Circlepic, from the previous night. To make this film Brian has put out a request on twitter for photos of anything circular people found around their house. He instantly had hundreds of photos to work with and he played with the motion and animation in Adobe After Effects. He tried to explain all the technical points of how he animated the hundreds of layers, masks and compositions but most of the information flew over my head. I actually had checked out his website and had admired a short he did called Gordy which was based on the turn of the century vaudeville show Winsor McCay had once performed with an animated dinosaur. I found it very funny but Brian said non animation types don't get the references and are confused. he and his girlfriend were also going to see "Waking Sleeping Beauty" and so I told him about my ten years of experiences at the Disney Studio. Several times former Disney Coworkers walked up to the ticket line to pick up tickets. Each time I saw someone I got up to say hello and talk for a bit. Needless to say this sketch took quite a while to finish. Brian told me that there were only ten tickets left for the showing of the film and that the previous showing had sold out. I got nervous and got one of the last tickets. As it turns out I could have gotten in on stand by but I wasn't willing to take that risk.
The film itself was really enlightening to me. It first and foremost is a story of how a group of artists hit rock bottom and then over the next decade created a series of animated hits. Finally I understood all the executive infighting that had resulted in the collapse of the Florida Studio. Jeffery Katzenburg and Michael Eisner all wanted to be viewed as the next Walt Disney and that battle of egos helped bring down the house the mouse built. The early history of the studios rise from the ashes in the early eighty's was fascinating and it goes to show that when the right mix of creative individuals get together that kind of magic can always happen. The film left me proud to have been a part of that golden tradition of animation magic and that animation is far from dead.