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Bluth, animation, and new adventures...

I had mentioned that, come November, I’m enrolled in an intensive, year-long training program in traditional, hand-drawn animation taught by Don Bluth, whose THE SECRET OF NIMH remains my favorite animated film of all time.

Today is Bluth’s 83rd birthday, and he’s been in the news again as of late with the announcement of the resurrection of his Don Bluth Studios, which will develop traditionally animated shorts and features. Lavalle Lee, a young Bluth associate who runs the Traditional Animation website, will be the company’s Vice President. I had chatted with Lavalle at length about the Bluth University program, and his feedback and enthusiasm allayed any fears I may have had about enrolling.

The timing of the program seems to align with their new endeavor, and to have Bluth as a teacher will be an extraordinary (if daunting/terrifying) thrill and honor. It’s the kind of opportunity I wish I had taken 20 years ago. (Here's wishing you a very happy birthday, Mr. Buth!)

Animation has been foremost on my mind these past few months, also because two animated screenplays I wrote (one feature, the other a holiday short) have been receiving some positive feedback and accolades in a number of writing contests and festivals. I’m thinking the training program might give me the proper “kick in the pants” I’ll need to finally try creating some concept designs for these projects in the coming year.

I’ll wrap this blog post up with a little bit of personal trivia. After years of trying to track it down, I’ve recently acquired this incredible poster concept artwork by the late Tim Hildebrandt, drawn for THE SECRET OF NIMH. I have it framed in my home, beneath my own illustration created many years ago. (I’m sorry I never got to meet Tim Hildebrandt personally. I had the honor of interviewing his brother, Greg, at his home for my upcoming Richard Amsel documentary.)

P.S.: Back in 2003 I did a writeup in tribute to THE SECRET OF NIMH. You can see it here. It’s from an older incarnation of my website, but still visible. once linked to it on their site, and my page received over 100k hits within just 2 or 3 days.


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