“Hollywood back then was a much more exciting place, especially at Disney,” he said. “They had just built the theme park and had just gone into television with the weekly show, and the daily “Mickey Mouse Club” shows.”
When he started, animation was still a labor intensive artistic endeavor, requiring 12 separate drawings for each second of film time. Today, computer software streamlines much of the repetitive work.
“The work is different, but not any more or less so if you’re smart, accept the changes and go forward,” he said. “Technology has always changed things, but it hasn’t affected me because I still do what I’ve always done—try to tell effective stories and make entertaining movies.”
Norman evidenced that with his work on newer Disney and Pixar films such as “Mulan,” “Toy Story” and “Monsters Inc.” But the film that still stands out for him is “The Jungle Book,” because on that project he got to work directly with Walt Disney.
“Of the hundreds of people who worked at Disney, only about a dozen or so would actually have contact with him on a daily basis, and he picked me for that job,” said Norman. “It was unexpected, and a real joy. He was very good to me. I owe a lot to Walt Disney.”
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