The day before I moved to LA, I got a call out of the blue from Disney Junior asking if I was interested in doing some character design work. Apparently they’d seen my characters on the Lamington Facebook page and thought my style would suit a project they have. Talk about good timing. A meeting was booked and, after a few pushbacks (it’s the Hollywood way), I got to go to Burbank and talk cartoons, which is essentially the best way you can spend your morning. The overwhelming impression I got is that people at Disney are mega nice. It’s brilliant. Do you think people work there because they’re so nice already or do they become nice after working there, through some kind of nice osmosis? WHO KNOWS. Anyway, hopefully I will be doing some designs for a preschool show, which is ace.
After that, in the evening, we went to see BRAVE at the El Capitan. Man, I was not prepared for the onslaught of WTF I was about to experience. All I knew is that Disney owned the theater and ran it right. The El Capitan is actually a venerable old theater – it’s where they premiered CITIZEN KANE – and it has one of those gorgeous interiors that looks like the Muppet Show should be happening any second. Well, I wasn’t far off – when I saw the guy playing a massive Wurlitzer organ, I knew something was different. He ran through all the Disney classics, even a rendition of The Circle of Life which is always welcome. Then he sank into the ground and about fifteen curtains swiped in from different directions. Only these weren’t ordinary curtains, these were laser-curtains, containing about a million lights each. They proceeded to put on a light show that would make Stanley Kubrick blush, and then they parted for some 3D trailers. Don’t know what 3D system they are running there, but it was snazzy as hell, as was the Dolby Atmos sound which is just ridiculously powerful.
The trailers ended. So now it’s time to watch BRAVE, right? Wrong. The screen itself lifted, revealing a huge stage with two people who started singing and dancing. Naturally, this was the beginning of a full-scale song and dance spectacular, featuring a cast of dozens, with people dressed up as Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Snow White, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Daisy, etc. Parents were clapping, kids were screaming at their favorite characters, streamers were falling from the ceiling, general mayhem in the aisles, until the finale bought the house down. The whole thing took like an hour.
Then we watched BRAVE. It was okay!