The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.
My brother always tells me that I have some sort of dumb luck. I don’t believe it. I just so happen to be in the right place at the right time. Like when Hot Topic was selling Beauty and the Beast T-shirts? Coincidence. Or that time when I got two holographic Machamps in my starter Pokemon deck? And those two holographic Chansey cards in some other Pokemon deck? It could’ve happened to anyone. Honestly. And there was also that time when I kept passing by this huge mythology book that I’ve been wanting for research. When I went to the bookstore to purchase it, it was gone and I later learned it was like some hard to find book that only gets printed every so often and like a month later I ended up purchasing the last copy the bookstore somehow conjured up out of the woodwork. These things happen all the time. Really.
So naturally this story starts out on any other freakishly warm Saturday in October. I was out and about with my family and someone brought up Barnes and Noble (it wasn’t me this time, I swear) and we ended up there. I had little cash on hand so I was trying very hard to be diplomatic with myself. No, I did not need Maureen Johnson’s new book right now, however the last volume of Fullmetal Alchemist was a necessity. No, I did not need the latest Vampire Knight volume, but darn it, Sailor Moon was taunting me! On and on this battle went as I methodically went through section by section.
My first glimpse of the coveted Disney book in question was when I was walking to the graphic novel/manga section. I caught a glimpse of Pinocchio (when I mean glimpse, I mean I saw his leg). I stopped, walked backwards, and decided that the book in question needed to be further investigated. The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation was glistening in pretty golden letters and the tome is huge. What’s more: it’s written by two of the nine old men. I think I nearly fainted on the spot. And then a memory conjured up to the front — someone in a forum I had been participating in had mentioned that this book was fantastic for characterization lessons. Of course it hadn’t been a surprise to me at the time. When I create characters, I try to create them so that Disney/Pixar/Studio Ghibli could use them with no problems. I want my characters to be engaging and different and make you so invested in them you’ll cry in a theater full of children if something tragic were to happen to them. And darn it, you’ll cry with your head held high. But I digress.
I was literally torn about what to do. I didn’t want to leave the bookstore without the book, but I reminded myself I had limited funds and one must be responsible with said funds in a bookstore. I understand this isn’t a major problem for most people, but it’s a major problem for me. So, I set the huge book back on the shelf and walked around. I made note of every single book that I wanted and came back to that shelf with those books in my hand. I told myself that I could buy the many books in my arms or I could walk out with one book. I was tempted to purchase the books in my hands, but then a thought entered my head: How could any avid Disney fan walk out without a book written by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston? Simple: one couldn’t.
It tore me a bit inside, but I put all the books back, grabbed the magnificent Disney book, and paid for it. It wasn’t until I got home and flipped through the contents that I realized I got a bonus: In the corners of the book, they have little animation frames, so if you flip the pages really fast you can see a bunch of various characters moving around. It’s fantastic to play with and, I must admit, the book does go nicely with my small Disney collection.
I, for one, can’t wait to gobble up all the advice and stories these two legendary animators have to say. And as a side note: I’m working on the final draft of the sequel to The Chosen which will be titled The Number. I’m pretty excited about it guys. It might be better than the first book and if it isn’t, it at least reads better in my opinion.