An Entrepreneur’s Story Gianne Itaralde
Walt Disney Walter Elias Disney
About Walt Disney • Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA on the 5th of December 1901 • An American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. • Founded The Walt Disney Company (formerly known as Walt Disney Productions) with his brother, Roy O. Disney
Walt Disney’s Life • Walt became interested in drawing at an early age, selling his first sketches to neighbours when he was only seven years old. • At McKinley High School in Chicago, Disney divided his attention between drawing and photography, contributing both to the school paper. • At 16, he enlisted in the Red Cross and served in World War I • Upon his return, he worked as an advertising cartoonist in Kansas City, Missouri, but this soured quickly.
Walt Disney’s Life • Disney then decided to move to California, where he joined forces with his brother, Roy. • The Disney brothers borrowed a little money, set up a studio in their uncle's garage, and made some noise with a series of black-and-white cartoons featuring a rabbit named Oswald, which he produced for Universal Studios. • When Walt asked Universal for a raise, they refused. • Since the studio retained the rights to the character, Disney quit drawing Oswald after 1928, although the series continued.
Walt Disney’s Life • Disney went back to the drawing board, producing a silent cartoon called Plane Crazy that featured a new character named Mickey Mouse • Since it was a silent cartoon and the coming of sound in films in Hollywood changed everything, he delayed Plane Crazy and instead produced a second Mickey Mouse cartoon, this one with sound. • Steamboat Willie, released in 1928, was the first animated film to feature synchronized sound.
Walt Disney’s Life • Despite the film's international success, Walt and Roy still needed cash, so they licensed Mickey Mouse's image for a fee of $300, to be used on a tablet of paper aimed at children. • Disney became fixated on using the newest technology for his films. • He obtained exclusive rights to use Technicolor in animated films for two years, winning his first Academy Award in 1932 for the animated short Flowers and Trees, which was also the first full-color cartoon.
Walt Disney’s Life • During the next few years, Goofy, Donald Duck and several other memorable characters were created. • But Disney believed that the future of company was in feature-length films, so, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in 1937. • It was the first feature-length animated movie to be produced in Technicolor, and cost nearly $1.5 million to make, an unheard of amount in Depression-era America.
The Walt Disney Company • Had an annual revenue of approximately US$36 billion in the 2010 financial year. • He and his staff created some of the world's most well-known fictional characters including Mickey Mouse, for whom Disney himself provided the original voice. • He won 7 Emmy Awards, received 4 honorary Academy Awards & won 22 Academy Awards from a total of 59 nominations, including a record four in one year, giving him more awards & nominations than any other individual in history.
Walt Disney’s Success • He created more than 81 feature films and hundreds of shorts. • He earned more than 950 honors, including 48 Academy Awards. • He founded the California Institute of the Arts. • He built Disneyland.
Walt Disney’s Trials • The Disney brothers were frustrated with their relationship with their dad. Eager to move on himself, Walt himself would lie about his age so he could be an ambulance driver during World War I. • Despite his experience with his dad, Walt Disney became the leader and the voice of family entertainment. • About Disneyland, he would comment how badly he wanted a place where children and parents could enjoy time together. • He, along with his brother, did their best to honor and support their parents until the day they died. He was a good son.
Walt Disney’s Trials • After the failure of a cartoon series in Kansas City, Walt experienced bankruptcy at the age of 22 • He headed to Los Angeles with $40 in cash and a suitcase containing only a few clothes and some drawing materials. Doubting his skills, he thought about being an actor in Hollywood instead. • The upside was that he and his brother Roy realized there was no animation business headquartered in California. They set up stakes and the rest was history. In time, they became the most successful team of brothers in Hollywood.
Walt Disney’s Trials • On the heels of a successful run with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt learned not only that he didn’t hold ownership of the character, but that most of the artists who worked for him had committed themselves to working for the distributor instead. Essentially, Walt's entire organization was taken from him (except for artist, Ub Iwerks) • On a train ride back from that fateful meeting in New York, Walt created a new character, Mickey Mouse. Iwerks himself would help design Mickey and he supported Walt in pioneering many innovative achievements. Most importantly, he was considered Walt's oldest friend.
Walt Disney’s Trials • In the early 1930s, Walt suffered what he called, "a heck of a breakdown." He was doubting that maybe his cartoon shorts may not bring him good profit. He was irritable, unfocused, sleepless at that time. So he decided to go on a vacation with his wife. • After their vacation, Walt was refreshed and ready to start on something really ambitious: The development of a full-length animated feature we would know as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which was a huge success.
Walt Disney’s Trials • Walt and Lillian (his wife) raised two daughters in the wake of what was known as "The Crime of the Century". This was in reference to the abduction and murder of Charles Lindbergh's 20-month old son in 1932. With Walt’s status in society, they became more concerned about their children’s safety. • Mindful of protecting and cherishing their daughters, Walt and Lilly spent many nights at home. They stayed away from the public eye. Walt and his wife really cared for their daughters and they deeply loved them back. Walt himself would accompany his children on daddy-daughter trips, many of which led him to early thoughts about building an amusement park enterprise.
Walt Disney’s Trials • The company had more than $4 million in debts, and business was still very slow after the World War II. The company was distributing films in Europe, but they had difficulty getting monies to come back to the Studios in the US. Described by Roy O. Disney as "the lost years," after a heated exchange one night, he told Walt: "Look, you're letting this place drive you to the nuthouse. That's one place I'm not going with you!" Still, Walt struggled to deal with the stress he was facing. • With monies held in Europe, they began producing some of their first feature films across the seas. This supported Walt as he learned to diversify his studio beyond doing animation. He also took up a new hobby to deal with his stress: trains. And that interest in trains fed his interest in building a park with a train running around it.
Walt Disney’s Trials • Walt could not find the money to build Disneyland. The only way he could see was in doing television. But the major Hollywood studios put pressure on each other not to support television production as it would ruin the movie business. • Walt took courage and went with television anyway. From it, we have classics like The Mickey Mouse Club, Davy Crockett, and The Wonderful World of Color. Moreover, Walt gained the financing to open Disneyland.
Walt Disney’s Trials • On July 17, 1955, Walt Disney dedicated Disneyland before a television audience of millions. Meanwhile, forged tickets were bringing thousands of people into the park without his knowledge. The newly poured asphalt melted the heels of women, and a plumber's strike kept drinking fountains from being installed in time. Critics blasted it as "Black Sunday." • Walt resisted allowing the park to become poorly cared for. He held the park to high standards of customer service as well as paying attention to detail. The result was that Disneyland became a phenomenal success, spawning other parks, and creating a critical component of the Walt Disney Company.
“Get a good idea, and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it's done, and done right.”
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Sources • Research: • http://fuv.hivolda.no/prosjekt/gunnargrodal/bio.htm • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Disney • http://entrepreneurs.about.com/od/famousentrepreneurs/p/waltdisney.htm • http://www.mouseplanet.com/9365/Of_Failure_and_Success_The_Journey_of_Walt_Disney • Pictures: • http://www.disneymania.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/MacacoMickeyMouse.jpg • http://www.cartoonresearch.com/winkler/angry-ozzie.gif