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Hercules Development Crew Outing

Ron Clements
falling out of his chair.

Words by John Ramirez:
At the end of Storyboarding we had a party at a Moroccan restaurant. We had such a great time, with such silly people there like Kaan Kaylon, Bob Shaw and Don McEnery and of course Ron and John…we were laughing up our couscous.

(John Musker, Kendra Holland, Barry Johnson, Jeff Snow, Tamara Lusher, Sue Nichols, Autum Hull, Kevin Susman, Bob Shaw and Alice Dewey
(Photo care of John Ramirez)

Words by Tina Price:

Working on these animated films was always a “huge” physical and emotional team effort. Each individual department in the pipeline was like a proud family in the long production crew lineage. During this 2-3 year gestation process of an animated film that starts with Visual Development and goes all the way through to Post Production, each department would finish with a thank you celebratory gathering usually themed in relation to the film. After that time each department would peel off the production and move on to the next film to start the process all over again. In this case most of us would roll onto Tarzan.

Kaan Kaylon being fed, Kirk Hanson, Tina Price

From a blank sheet of paper to three acts up on reels with all the characters, environments and props conceptualized and voices recorded, the Visual Development’s work is done and this project now boards the production train headed towards it’s final stop 2 years down the road on opening day. These thank you/departure parties were always an emotional release for everyone.

Ron Clements being a good sport and belly dancing)

The first department on the project and the first to roll off is the team of storytellers and designers from Visual Development who after working together for up to 60 hours a week for 18 months take this welcome break to let off steam and relax.

Ron Clements
falling out off his chair while others try to save him and save themselves

These projects played such a large dominant roll in all of our lives that most of us remember and acquaint our personal life details outside of work by associating what movie we were working on at the time. Our lives and our vocation were critically tied together.

(Tina Price and Jeff Ranjo)

This was the amazing life of an animation visual development artist at Walt Disney Feature Animation during that 15 year toon boom period. When all was said and done and I look back on what feels more like one long movie entitled “The Black Mouse Mermaid Down Under, Kingahontas of Notre Dame with HercZan and Mu-Groove 2000 of the Lost Empire at Hercules Planet”. We all felt very proud to participate in carrying on a legacy during a time when we were Drawn2gether.

(Please leave your memories and comments below.)

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Posted by admin at 12.55 AM | 10 Comments
Labels: 1997 Hercules, Visual Development Artists


  1. Jean Gillmore (May 26th, 2008, 7.38 pm)

    I remember this day, the restaurant event depicted. Look how cute YOU are!!! I remember going to the Getty (the one on PCH) to take photos for reference with the whole crew, and coming “home” (the studio) in our bus/van some of the hills were ablaze, as it was into the fire season in L.A.. Will have to jog my memory for other details. Thanks.

  2. Suzanne L. Wilson (May 27th, 2008, 2.18 am)

    Rowland didn’t tell me there was a belly dancer!

  3. john ramirez (May 27th, 2008, 7.41 am)

    Jean, I remember that ride back to the studios. Seemed like it took forever! That year we had to be sent home because we had major rain and the studio was flooding, we had the Rodney King riots and we had to be sent home! Then we had major brush fires all over town and the air was thick with smoke. Some of our co-workers had to evacuate their homes. Wasn’t there an earthquake in there somewhere too??I remember Amy Pell’s dog bit somebody then the news was all over that about Disney no longer allowing pets at work. We had a reporter outside the studio and we were forbidden to speak to her.

  4. Kevin Sussman (June 2nd, 2008, 5.51 pm)

    What a blast from the past! I only had a few minutes to check-out the site and was instantly transported to another place and time.

  5. Sue Nichols (July 18th, 2008, 7.04 am)

    After this “thank you and farewell” party, I went on to work through to the end of post production and into merchandising and training TV on the designs. I was still drawing “Hercules” art when Ron and John got BACK from their post ‘Herc’ vacation and started developing their next film. The longest I’ve ever worked on a film!!! Earthquakes, riots, and two million office moves, it was quite the adventure. I’m very proud of this film and of the oodles of people I met working in all of the departments. The position I held may have been a fake, but the love I have for this crew is real.

  6. Sue Nichols (July 18th, 2008, 7.24 am)

    KAREN BLACK! No, not the actress – the PA. I think that’s the name of the PA Kevin and I am sitting next to. Any of my old CalArts students can tell you how horrible I am at remembering names. So I apologize if I’m wrong. I hope I got the name right because she was a very fun person to work with. Any help?… Jean??? And I can’t quite tell from so small a picture, but that might be the lovely Tamara Lusher sitting behind me.

  7. Kevin Susman (July 19th, 2008, 3.40 pm)

    The fun PA you’re thinking of has to be Autumn Hull. Yes? She spent most of the movie with the story department. I’ve sent mail to Angela Lepito and Autumn to ask them if they can help solve the mystery. Heck, I barely recognized myself!

  8. john ramirez (July 19th, 2008, 6.24 pm)

    Yes, It would be Autumn Rain Hull. And it was Tamara Lusher sitting behind you, Sue!

  9. Sue Nichols (July 19th, 2008, 10.39 pm)

    Thanks, Kevin and John! My apologies to Autumn. I remember who she is and what she did, I just am not a word person or I would have been a writer instead of a story artist. (lol)

  10. Kevin Susman (July 21st, 2008, 8.22 pm)

    OK, I emailed Kendra Haaland and she confirmed that the woman between us is named Jill. I have to dig out my old Herc yearbook to get to the bottom of her last name. But she was the production manager prior to Peter Del Vecho joining the movie!

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