Sunday, October 14, 2007

Will I Write the Art Babbitt biography?

Ever since my first Animation Magazine article promoting women in the NY animation industry, I had wanted two things: First, to write for AWN.com; and Second, to make steps towards writing a book on the subject of animation.

Nearly a year ago, author John Culhane recommended me highly to Barbara Babbitt, widow of the late great Art Babbitt, when she said she wanted someone to write the biography of her husband. Art Babbitt was many things, but history will remember him mostly by being a master golden-age Disney animator who risked (perhaps sacrificed) his career to lead the infamous Disney strike of 1941. Since last autumn, I've talked and corresponded with Barbara on many occasions, I've interviewed some people, I've garnered input from Jerry Beck and John Canemaker, and I've gathered some research material online. Still, it's one huge undertaking, especially for a young pro trying to make rent in New York City.

Unbeknownst to me, Ron Daimond, a founder of AWN.com is tight with Barbara, and he called me up yesterday. I had contacted him about submitting Stoned Wheat to his "Animation Show of Shows," but he wanted to talk about the Babbitt Bio. He said he sees several big projects coming out of this, not just one book, and that there are several hundred hours needed to interview Barbara and folks like Bill Melendez and other prominent people of Animation History who knew Art and are all situated on the west coast.

There are few people on this side who worked with Art later in life, like Michael Sporn, who had talked to me in-depth about Art when i was interviewing him for "aNYmator." But Ron insisted I hold off on any further work on the Babbitt Bio until we gather a game plan and organize our efforts. After all, while I can only donate spare time to the project with my limited funds, Ron and his team can back it up with tens of thousands of dollars - not to mention their brand new AWN publishing company. At the end of the day: more pro's are jumping on, and I'm going to help however possible but I'm glad I'm not responsible for a solo mission.

Regarding Ron Daimond, he suggested that I might want to start contributing to AWN's new blogspot site. Cool, eh?! I haven't blogged like that since I was a freelancer for toon producer Fred Seibert and his website, Channel Frederator.

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