ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 5.6 - SEPTEMBER 2000

A Conversation With The New Don Bluth

by Larry Lauria

Don smiles for the camera while Mrs Brisby (The Secret of NIMH) relaxes between takes. Courtesy of Don Bluth's Toon Talk.

A few months ago, I interviewed Fox Feature directors, Gary Goldman and Don Bluth for Animation World Magazine. The topic of the conversation was the upcoming release of Titan, A.E.. Part one, the interview with Gary Goldman was run in the June issue. Part two, the interview with Don Bluth, was never printed because the events which transpired at Fox Feature Animation made the interview irrelevant.

Bill Mechanic, head of the Fox Studio, and the Fox organization parted ways; Fox Feature Animation was shut down; Don Bluth and Gary Goldman were gone; and Titan, A.E. (which debuted at number five at the box office in its first weekend of release) was sent into animation oblivion.

The closure of Fox Animation has sent shockwaves throughout the industry. One major newspaper even wrote an article inferring that "2D animation was dead" ... or extremely sleepy.

Recently, I tracked down Don Bluth and Gary Goldman at the Bluth Group in Phoenix. I spoke with Don about their future plans.

Larry Lauria: How's everything going?

Titan A.E. © 2000 Twentieth Century Fox.

Don Bluth: I think it's going very, very well. For us, it's basically finding new ground to plough. What really helps us is the contacts we've made over the years. Right now, I'm kind of excited -- more than I've been in a long time.

LL: Is there any particular area you are interested in pursuing -- whether it's feature animation or the Internet?

DB: It's probably a combination. I know we [Gary Goldman] will stay in the feature business. We do have a couple of things we are developing. Foremost, is a Dragon's Lair feature -- which we have been scripting now for maybe six months. It's a comedy and very funny. So we're pursuing that right now with everything we've got.

Don at work. Courtesy of Don Bluth's Toon Talk.

LL: Gary Goldman mentioned something about lessons?

DB: I'm going to go out on the road. I'm going to go to Los Angeles, Chicago and New York starting the first three weeks in November. I'm going to do some seminars out there, but, they're not quite a seminar. They have a lot of stuff in them. It's more like -- a little show -- like a musical show. I talk about all the things I've learned in animation and things that I think might help other people who are the future of animation. I'm going to do that for three months and see what happens. If it works really well, and I understand what the audience is trying to learn, I will use it as a precursor to go online and do classes on the Internet.

Dragon’s Lair. 1983 Bluth Group Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

LL: Who would it be directed toward -- students in junior high, high school and college?

DB: Yes, students, all of the above. People who are aspiring to be in animation. There will be two Websites, DonBluth.com, and in a few weeks, Toontalk.com. Toontalk is more like the instructional area. It is where we concentrate on the learning experience, the teaching. There will be a room in Toontalk, where, if you join that room -- which will cost you a monthly fee -- it's the Academy of Animation. There we will do most of the lessons and show most of what we are doing. Hopefully, we will be able to stream a lot of animation. You can see it live, respond live and ask questions live.

LL: Have you had much feedback regarding The New York Times article?

DB: Not a lot.

LL: Have you seen it?

DB: No.

LL: They kind of made it sound like 2D animation was dead. I don't know if you read that...

DB: What do you think? Is it?

LL: Oh no, I don't think it is at all.

DB: Do you know anyone doing it?

LL: Anyone doing what...2D?

DB: Yes, 2D.

 

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Note: Readers may contact any Animation World Magazine contributor by sending an e-mail to editor@awn.com.


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