All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them – Walt Disney
Entrepreneur, cartoonist, animator, voice actor, and film producer. Before he became the legend, we know, he was fired by the newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
Mouse on the screen
Can you imagine anyone being afraid of Mickey Mouse? No? Neither can I but Walt Disney was told that Mickey Mouse would not work since a huge mouse on the screen would terrify women. Well, it seems that women were not scared and this mouse continues to share his story on screens all over the world.
You are dismissed
In 1919 while working for a newspaper, Disney was struggling to make ends meet. At one point, he was fired by the newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”. In January 1920, Disney formed his first animation company, which was called Laugh-O-Gram Films. He raised $15,000 for the company but following a rough start he was eventually forced to close Laugh-O-Gram, and go to earn money at the Kansas City Film Ad Company. He was soon joined by his partner, who were not able to run their business by himself.
City of broken dreams
Sometime later Disney he acquired a successful studio but profits were insufficient to cover the high salaries paid to employees. After studio became loaded with debt it wound up bankrupt. Disney was desperate and out of money. In July 1923, Walt sold his camera and, with the little money he had, moved to Hollywood. Disney faced even more criticism and failure.
He had decided he wanted to be in the motion picture business and envisioned himself as a director, so he set out to look for a job. Every studio in town turned him down. In the face of another failure he had sent his unfinished project Alice’s Wonderland to different distributers. One of them offered him a deal and with his brother Roy and best friend Iwerks they have created Disney Brothers’ Studio.
(Not so) Lucky Rabbit
One of his first huge successes in the cartooning business was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. It was so successful that it was shown in major theatres around the country with first–run films. At that time, Walt was only receiving a 20 percent cut on his films and was ready to negotiate higher share, since he was barely earning anything. But his producer had other plans.
He decided he no longer needed Walt, and by hiring Walt’s animation crew he could produce the cartoon himself. As distributer, he had the rights to do what he liked with the cartoon. It was another devastating lesson for Walt. Most of the people would cave or run home with the tail between their legs. Most of the people but not Walt. He decided then and there that he would now only work on characters to which he owned the rights.
Walt desperately needed a brand-new idea. In the back of his mind he had the idea of a mouse – a sympathetic character that had a lot of potential. He called the mouse Mortimer, the name eventually changed to Mickey Mouse thanks to the insistence of his wife.
Mickey had his own live voice–overs, sound–effect people, and an orchestra. Walt’s vison of Mickey’s voice was very specific and unique but he could not find anyone who could replicate the way he imagined it to be. So, it was Walt himself who voiced Mickey. This astounding duo made front–page news.
In 1932, Walt discovered the new phenomenon of technicolor and wanted to create a feature–length cartoon about Snow White. People in Hollywood sneered at that idea because no one could even imagine it. He was told by his banker that he would be risking everything he had on this one film. But Walt believed in his vision for the company, and he believed in this retelling of Snow White enough to go through with it. The film received both critical acclaim and commercial success. Money flowed in, erasing the entire studio debt within 6–months. Walt received an Academy Award for what was yet another risk that had paid off.
Fantasia was one of Walt’s most unusual and unique projects. His vision was to reproduce the sensation of listening to music in a concert hall accompanied with visual stimulation. He was onto an earlier version of stereo–phonic sound. The total budget of this project, however, was more than $2 million. Just as the Disney Company seemed to be reaching new heights, war broke out. Overseas income ceased funding the construction of the new Burbank studio, and although newly launched animated movies Fantasia and Pinocchio were considered Disney Masterpieces, they did not provide the revenue the company needed.
By 1941 the studio was half–a–million dollars in–debt. But this didn’t stop him. Actually, nothing ever did. He did not let a string of failures overcome him, standing strong even through his toughest times. After every storm, there is a rainbow. The next decade was a period of great financial expansion for Disney. It went from of $6 million profit at the start of the decade to $70 million at the end.
Failure is necessary
The company that Walt has left behind has reached phenomenal success. It all started from one very innovative and passionate man who demanded the highest quality and wasn’t afraid to experiment and fail with every endeavor.
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