Walt Disney: Early Failure Is Good Learning / Understanding Your Strengths And Weaknesses:

Multi-MickeyWalt Disney incorporated Laugh-O-Gram films at age 20. But Disney was completely incompetent as an artist and couldn’t draw Mickey if asked.  Disney was the visionary instead. But by the late 1920s, Laugh-O-Gram had failed as a viable business with Walt doing (unfortunately) a good portion of the drawings for his cartoons. What Walt realised was that his talent did not lie in actually drawing cartoons. Instead Walt Disney had the intelligence to hire and train quality artists rather than try to improve his skill as an artist and persist in failure. Kansas City Film Ads introduced him to puppet joints but he was unsuccessful in animating them. Only after moving to the West Coast could he, his brother and Iwerks realise their full potential as artists, project managers and entrepreneurs. Disney famously invested in training his employees in an art school to improve the visual quality of the backgrounds and character craft. “I put all my artists back to school” then set up a new art school within Disney Burbank Studios to control the education more closely. Because they were dealing with action, reaction and motion, these animators had to try to bring the animals to life while making the act realistic.

Bambi Original DrawingsAudiences had to believe in the animals and Disney’s perfectionism made sure that this was realised. He knew what he wanted to do but then realised his weaknesses and shifted his career. Other artists would provide the human-like characteristics to characters in all the Disney movies. The human like features were essential to allowing viewers to connect with Bambi or Jiminy Cricket, as examples. So in short, Disney trusted in the creative genius of his team rather than micro-manage his team and the creative process. He had the ability to trust in others and focus on what he could bring to the table which was vision, financial backing and business acumen.

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