The Blue-note and the Bank and Believing is Seeing
Description: A Meeting with the Masters
DON BLUTH, trained by the nine old men is one of the original pioneers of independent animation filmmaking. As an animator, producer and director he was invited by 20th Century Fox to move to Phoenix, Arizona to co-helm the creation of Fox Animation Studio in 1994, following an already illustrious career in the animation industry dating back to 1955.
His career has brought him into contact with all categories of traditional animation, from mixing colors for Ink & Paint to writing scripts, to directing and even composing songs. He was an inbetweener and assistant animator to John Lounsbery on Sleeping Beauty (1959) and Sword in the Stone (1961). He left Disney and returned to Brigham Young University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. He spent three years in the mid-sixties as the producer/director of live musical plays with his brother, Toby. He returned to Disney in 1971, after three years in TV animation as a layout artist. His career began to skyrocket, first as an animator on Robin Hood (1973); as a directing animator on Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Too (1974) and The Rescuers (1976); then as director of animation for Pete’s Dragon (1977) and producer/director on The Small One (1978). His name came to the public’s attention in 1979, when he resigned his post at Walt Disney Productions, along with long-time partners and fellow animators, Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy, to found Don Bluth Productions.
Their first film, Banjo the Woodpile Cat was produced in Mr. Bluth’s garage during nights and weekends over a four and a half year period while working at Disney. Since then, he has written, directed, produced and designed characters and environments for 12 films and three laser disc video games. These include The Secret of N.I.M.H. (1982); Dragon’s Lair video game (1983); Space Ace video game (1983); An American Tail (1986); The Land Before Time (1988); Dragon’s Lair II: A Time Warp video game (1989); All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989); Thumbelina (1994); Anastasia (1997) Bartok the Magnificent (1999) and Titan A.E. (2000).
Mr. Bluth has given seminars on storyboarding, character design, animation and directing at schools across the nation and in Mexico City, Mexico and Florence, Italy. Recently, he has authored two books; the first, titled The Art of Storyboarding was released in November 2004 and the second, The Art of Animation Drawing, in the first quarter of 2005.
Don and Gary Goldman were honored in 2001 by Animation Magazine with a Lifetime Achievement Award for their contribution to the art of animation. In 2004, Don was honored with the prestigious Winsor McKay Award, at the annual Annie Awards ceremony by the International Animated Film Society for his Lifetime Artistic Contribution to the Animation Industry. He & Gary Goldman were honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Animation by the Savannah College of Art & Design in 2005.
Don Bluth has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1976. He makes his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He continues to work on the development of animation education, produces and directs musical plays with young members of his church, and works with Goldman on developing new properties for feature animation.
Join Don Bluth, Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy for a discussion on their experiences from big studio to independants and join in the crew reunion
Gary Goldman’s first animation job interview was in February at Walt Disney Productions. He had been raised in Watsonville, CA and earned his Fine Arts degree in Life Drawing with a minor in Art History from the University of Hawaii the December before, in 1971. Three days after the interview, he was hired into their animation training program. His first assignment was as a ruff inbetweener to supervising animator Frank Thomas, on the motion picture Robin Hood.
Gary’s contributions as an animator at WDP include the films Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974) and The Rescuers (1976). He was promoted to Directing Animator for Pete’s Dragon (1977) and also served in this capacity on The Small One (1978).
Gary Goldman is a producer, director and animator who shared public recognition with his artistic partners when he resigned from Walt Disney Productions in 1979 and co-founded Don Bluth Productions with Don Bluth and John Pomeroy. Since then he has animated, produced, co-directed and supervised post-production on 12 films and four video games, including, Banjo the Woodpile Cat (1979); The Secret of NIMH (1982); An American Tail (1986); The Land Before Time (1988); All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989); and Thumbelina (1994) and the hit video games Dragon’s Lair (1983); Space Ace (1983); and Dragon’s Lair II: A Time Warp (1989) and Dragon’s Lair 3D: Return to the Lair (2002).
In 1986 he, along with Morris Sullivan, Don Bluth & John Pomeroy, moved Sullivan Studios and 87 of its employees, their families and pets to Dublin, Ireland. They produced three of the films listed above and helped start an animation course at Dublin’s Ballyfermot Senior College, in association with Sheridan College, in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
The company’s financial backing collapsed in 1992, and the studio was forced to protect itself in receivership. In early 1993, the company was purchased by Media Assets, a subsidiary of Star TV, and continued operations as Don Bluth Entertainment, Ireland, Ltd.
Recruited by 20th Century Fox in early 1994 to assist with the creation of Fox Animation Studios, Inc, Mr Goldman, along with Don Bluth, was the creative leader of the new company. Within a year and a half of agreeing to work with Fox, the duo began production on Anastasia. Fox Animation Studio was in business for six years and employed 316 artists, technicians and administrative staff. Along with Anastasia (1997), Gary was producer/director, with Bluth, on Bartok the Magnificent (a feature-length, direct to DVD (1999) and Titan A.E. (2000).
Mr. Goldman continues to partner with Bluth under the moniker Don Bluth Films, developing intellectual properties for animated feature films, and giving seminars on production to animation professionals and students from around the world at venues in New York, Chicago, Savannah, Provo – BYU Center for Animation, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mexico, Florence, Italy and Oulu, Finland.
Gary was ‘Artist in Residence’ at the Savannah College of Art & Design for the winter quarter of 2008, teaching three courses in 2D Animation, Advanced 2D Animation and Animation Production.
Gary Goldman has been a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1976. He and his wife, Cathy, live in Phoenix, Arizona. They have five children and seven grandchildren.