I have Sheenah Freitas here to talk about the magic that is in Disney films. I hope you enjoy.
I’ve always thought that the inspiring storytellers were the people who could craft magic. Whether you do that literally as J.K. Rowling has done with Harry Potter or you do it like Suzanne Collins did with The Hunger Games, an inspiring storyteller should be able to wow you, to make you excited for more. There are people out there who aren’t your stereotypical novelist but are equally important storytellers such as Stan Lee and Frank Miller, but the most important storyteller out there, to me, is none other than Walt Disney.
Walt Disney had an eye for telling stories that every animator wants to achieve. Hayao Miyazaki, Howard Ashman, and John Lasseter are but a few of the people who have striven to bring out the very best and who I feel emulate (or in Howard Ashman’s case emulated) everything that Walt Disney was.
There wasn’t one project that Disney had worked on that didn’t get his mark of approval. If something wasn’t working, they would put it back and work on it at a later date such as with The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. He made sure to cut out scenes that slowed down the story, no matter how much he loved it. Disney was able to create a sense of awe with his movies that kept audiences enraptured and part of that was because his characters were real. He saw the importance of music in films and used it — probably most masterfully in Bambi — to establish mood.
I propose that every fiction writer sit down and analyze a Disney film. What about that film do you love? Take note of the characters. How can you make your characters more Disney-like? And I don’t mean squeaky clean either. After all, the Wicked Stepmother wanted Snow White’s heart brought to her in a box, Pinocchio smoked a cigar, and Tinkerbell was an envious, slightly homicidal pixie before turning a 180 in the new Tinkerbell movies.
Trying to make your story more Disney-like can be a fun exercise that can help breathe new life into your work and who knows? Perhaps one day you’ll be an inspiring storyteller like Walt himself.