The Disney Television Animation Studio first launched in November 1984, now 35 years later, the studio is still going strong with new animation. The Glendale offices are filled with nods to The Walt Disney Company’s rich legacy which includes a vintage animator’s desk to a wall filled with images of iconic characters.
The Disney Television Animation studio is comprised of animation veterans and new talent with a creative platform centered around original and heritage characters, and created for a range of platforms, such as YouTube, the DisneyNOW app and the upcoming Disney+ streaming service for new storytelling opportunities. Meredith Roberts, senior vice president/general manager, TVA, Disney Channels, says that these newer platforms frequently inspire the creation of shorter, “snackable” story extensions.
The mission was to create special animation for television with the debut of the Adventures of the Gummi Bears. Now the Disney Television Animation studio creates new favorites, such as Elena of Avalor, Ducktales, and The Lion Guard to name a few of the more than 50 projects in development with the studio that will all be featured on Disney+ launching November 12, 2019.
The Disney Television Animation Studio has enjoyed an incredible relationship with Walt Disney Animation Studios over the years, which continues today with Big Hero 6 The Series and Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure. “If they can think it and dream it within The Walt Disney Company, we can partner with those groups,” Roberts says. “The flexibility to ping pong around the Company with those big brands is fun and exciting and a great attraction for talent to come here. We’re the only ones who can do that.” “We understand the importance of these characters and we don’t want to disrupt anything that is important to our fans and to these worlds,” emphasizes Emily Hart, vice president, Original Programming. “We want to be additive in a positive way.”
The Television Animation Studio takes its position seriously by continuing on with traditions as well, to help with authentication the studios are looking for new and authentic voices to help continue with the heartfelt stories it is portraying. “We always want to hire the best writer but we’re certainly ensuring that the pool from which we’re looking at is well represented with everybody,” Roberts says. “The people that are coming through and gaining traction have a very unique experience that they want to illustrate in an animated series. It’s very personalized.”
Senior Vice President of Production Lisa Salamone adds, “That emerging talent frequently comes from within. The Owl House is a wonderful example of how the studio nurtures talent. The series’ creator and executive producer, Dana Terrace, first came to TVA as a storyboard revisionist on Gravity Falls and has also directed episodes of DuckTales. I love being at a place where you can help people realize their vision and their career goals.”
With emerging technology having an impact on TVA’s stories, the studio continues to work with hand-drawn, 2-D animation—art classes and character development classes are a popular feature of the studio’s vibrant culture—as well as modern CG animation. Salamone details, “For us, it’s about how can the technology push the creative and allow our showrunners and storytellers to find the look that helps them tell those stories.” In fact, earlier this year, a series of shorts created by TVA in collaboration with Unity Technologies, Baymax Dreams, received a Technology and Engineering Emmy® for real-time rendering.
While the studio continues to evolve to keep up with the changing of time, one thing was clear, they will still stay true to its 35-year-old roots while they continue to grow and entertain for another 35 years and more!
Source: The Walt Disney Company
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