Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bill Melendez and Floyd Norman

I had a wonderful time watching this DVD from ASIFA-Hollywood. In 1996, Tom Sito sat down with Bill Melendez and Floyd Norman and got them both to talk about their experiences in the animation business in front of an audience.

Melendez talks about his time at Disney, Warners and UPA, telling stories about Walt Disney, Leon Schlesinger, Fred Quimby, Rudy Zamora and Charles M. Schulz. Norman talks about Disney, Tom Carter Productions, and Hanna-Barbera, telling stories about Milt Kahl, Vance Gerry, Bill Hanna and Walt Disney.

It's impossible to tell from the DVD how large an audience was present for each talk, but it was an industry audience and everyone was relaxed and having a good time. It has the typical feel of animation folks getting together to talk shop and swap stories. If you're in the business, you know what I mean. If you're not, here's an opportunity to spend some time with animation people letting their hair down, not trying to impress anybody or hype their latest projects.

The production values are not slick. There's some questionable camera work and the sound recording could be better, but so what? You can find slickness on the extras for the typical feature DVD, but you won't get the same honesty or informality. With each of these interviews running more than an hour, you really get a feel for Bill Melendez and Floyd Norman.

I don't know how many other video interviews ASIFA-Hollywood has in its archives, but I hope that they put out more of them on DVD. This series has a lot of potential and should be supported. You can order the DVD ($15 + $5 for shipping to the U.S. and Canada) here, where you can also see a sample clip of Bill Melendez telling a great story about Leon Schlesinger.

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