Disney: Day Two of the D23 Expo

Day 2 of the D23 Expo continued right where Day 1 had left off, with some even bigger surprises. During Studio President Dick Cook’s presentation, special guests John Travolta and Johnny Depp wowed the crowd, as did his sneak peak at several future studio releases. You’ve all seen the photos…no need to repeat them here. Well…OK…here’s a link to Access Hollywood’s footage of the two visits (A short commercial precedes the footage).

Although Miley Cyrus, Nicholas Cage and Tim Burton were also wandering the property at various times, I was busy off in the press conference room, hosting no fewer than five post-presentation soirees throughout the afternoon and evening with animators, Imagineers, producers, preservationists and songwriters. Quite the docket, to be sure.

Imagineers Steven Davison and Sayre Wiseman

Imagineers Steven Davison and Sayre Wiseman

First up was the Imagineering tandem of Steven Davison and Sayre Wiseman, leaders of the team designing and executing the upcoming (Summer of 2010) “water-and-fire spectacular” at Disney’s California Adventure. Really can’t wait to see it out at DCA. It sounds amazing.

Following Steven and Sayre was noted animation preservationist Ron Stark of S/R Laboratories, who has been studying and practicing the art and science of the restoration of animation art for decades. Ron was a great interview. His business card says that nobody knows more about animation art, and I can believe it!

Andreas Deja and David Pacheco with D23 Expo host Craig Hodgkins

Animator Andreas Deja and Master Artist David Pacheco with D23 Expo host Craig Hodgkins

Later in the afternoon, it was my pleasure to welcome long time Disney artists and friends Andreas Deja and David Pacheco to our little corner of the D23 Expo. Their presentation, “The Evolution of Mickey,” filled the Stage 23 auditorium. Andreas and David joined Walt Disney Animation a few weeks apart in 1980, and have each gone on to great careers with the company. Andreas most recently lent his talents to next year’s The Princess and the Frog, and David is currently a master artist, responsible for mentoring and advising the hundreds of artists in the Disney Consumer Products division.

Two more fun conferences rounded out the day. First, the team behind the recent Disney Cruise Line stage success, “Toy Story–The Musical,” told of the creation, gestation and production of this fun on-board show, currently exclusive to the Disney Magic. This energetic team includes Michael Jung, Matt Almos, Brendan Miburn and Valerie Vigoda.

Don Hahn and Dave Bossert

Don Hahn and Dave Bossert discuss Disney Rarities

Our conference day concluded with a personal favorite of mine, producer and author Don Hahn, who appeared with Dave Bossert, the Creative Director for Walt Disney Animation. The two had combined for a presentation called “Disney Rarities,” which featured a collection of short films which had not seen theatrical distribution in decades.

Dave is the man who convinced the company to re-release several of the cartoons produced during and for WWII, including Victory Through Airpower and many other shorts, which came out on the Walt Disney Treasures DVD set On the Front Lines. Don’s is the author of the recently published “The Alchemy of Animation: Making an Animated Film in the Modern Age.” He is also the author of one of my favorite books on creativity, titled “Dancing Corndogs in the Night.” He is currently producing a documentary in the late 1980s renaissance in Disney animation.

craig hodgkins

For links to posts about past Disney events, click HERE.

~ by Craig Hodgkins on September 12, 2009.

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