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Twenty Years Later

Apr 8, 2013

in Industry

So in a bit of a nostalgic moment I went through some of my earlier artwork and drawings while I was young and pursuing my addiction of feature animation. I came across a letter that I had almost forgot about. When I was in the 8th grade I wrote a short and poorly composed letter to one so called famous animator by the name of Glen Keane. This was right after Beauty and the Beast had came out, and at the time Disney did a really good job of getting the name of some of their animators out there. Mr. Keane’s was one of the most known at the time (and still is today!) and I was very curious about any information I could get about becoming an animator (this was before the invention of that new fangled thing called world wide web).

I took the time to type a letter, mailed it in and a few months later received a three page letter from Glen Keane on March 8, 1993. This month marks 20 years since that letter. It’s odd to look back on how things played out and the fact that I was able to achieve my lifelong childhood dream. I was lucky enough to meet Glen Keane on two separate occasions and I admit that after all these years I am still amazed every time I see the guy draw.

As a student Mr. Keane thought:

My drawings were rough and scribbly but Disney Animation was so refined, the lines so clean, so intimidating!

till he learned the truth about the industry and himself

…Their animation was rough and scribbly, yet it had weight and volume. The characters moved powerfully and convincingly across the screen. The drawing is loose yet solid and beautiful.

To this day I’m super thankful that Mr. Keane took the time to write back (or so I hope he did, at least he signed it). This is one of the main reasons I always make a point of responding to emails and work review requests if I have the time on Pay it Forward.

Every once in a while I catch myself smiling when I’m in a meeting with animators that I have known by name for years and I think to myself I made it. The dream came true, – now back to work! I would love to hear your stories and share your letters if you got them!

Thanks again, Glen Keane!

Matt Roe Apr 9, 2013 at 4:33 am

Wonderful post! It brought back memories for myself, when I was younger I sent a letter to Nick Park at Aardman asking about how he created his animation. I remember being overjoyed when I received a reply with a signed photo of wallace and gromit. Great stuff!

Animation Addict Apr 10, 2013 at 8:51 pm

that’s amazing! any chance I you sending an image of the photo?

Matt Roe Apr 18, 2013 at 2:49 am

I wish I could upload a photo, I’ll have to try and track it down, After all these years Iv put it some where so safe I can’t remember where! 🙁

Jasmine Rossetto Apr 10, 2013 at 12:17 am

I hope that you have this framed and up on your wall for the world to see! It is amazing that you got a response from him! I love your website also!

Animation Addict Apr 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Thanks for the kind word on the site. I have the letters in a safe place now 🙂 Hope to one day show them to him. He might get a kick out of it.

Aloke Sarkar Apr 10, 2013 at 12:49 am

wow man Glen keane has always been an Inspiration for me, i am so hapy to read his letters he sent you it feels like he sent it to me hehe. Thanks a ton for sharing this with us,

Animation Addict Apr 10, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Happy to share!

Luciano Munoz May 6, 2013 at 10:23 pm

felt the same way while reading it.. as if he were talking to me… wanna cry out of emotion

Megan Tewalt Jun 4, 2013 at 12:01 pm

This post was amazing. It made me feel better about the sketches and drawings i have now. I have always loved animation and i hope to pursue it one day. The letter you got back has made my love of animation even stronger and has made me even more hopeful. Thanks for the post.

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