howtomoveit howtomoveit
AnimatorsCartoon Culture

Richard Williams Teaches You How To Move It

UPDATE: March 19, 2015: Happy birthday to the one and only Richard Williams who turns 82 years old today! Let’s dance in his honor!

Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Thief and the Cobbler) is an undeniable animation legend, but if you’ve ever seen his DVD animation lessons, then you know he also has some slick dance moves.

A friend of mine noticed how passionate and exuberant Williams can be when he teaches animation, and edited this video tribute to the master. My pal prefers to remain incognito—something to do with being a working professional—but has allowed me to share the video with Brew readers. So here ya go…the world premiere of the Richard Williams dance video “How to Move It.”

  • Dutchie

    ‘A friend of mine’… did you edit this yourself, Amid? ;)

    • If I’d done this myself, I’d have no qualms about telling people. Also, if I was trying to hide the fact that I made something, I wouldn’t post it on my personal Vimeo account.

      • the Gee

        It makes sense that the person didn’t want to claim that they made it. It isn’t high art either.

        Though, I don’t see anything wrong with the video. The subject of the video could be anyone, to most people’s eyes.

        Seriously, most people who would watch it would just see it as a video that is kind of funny featuring a guy doing over-the-top antics.

        Mr. Mayerson, think of the photo of Einstein with his tongue sticking out. I’d hope that if Mr. Williams saw this (and why wouldn’t he, eventually?) he’d like it for what it is despite him being in the video.

        One last thing, if more animators and cartoonists were willing and able to be as physically demonstrative as he seems to be, we’d have better cartoons all across the board. We’d be rid of those stiff poses and crappy designs that are in a lot of tv productions.

        Alas, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him riverdance!

  • OMG – YEEEES !

  • Richard Williams deserves better than this. For all the work he has done to improve the craft of animation as a studio owner, director, animator and teacher, he should be treated with respect.

    • Mark – There is nothing inherently disrespectful about the video, and it’s obvious there was a lot of care and effort invested in finding the clips and editing them to music. Young people today express themselves differently and honor their heroes in a manner that is relatable to their lives.

      • “Young people today”? Your ageism is showing, Amid. As I spend my days surrounded by twenty-year old students, I don’t think I am out of touch that much.

        In my opinion, the video makes Williams look like a clown and I still say he deserves better.

        • The worst that could be said is that this is a stupid time-waster. But if you’ve got the chutzpah to distribute instructional videos of yourself imitating a dopey cartoon character to help better the artform, you probably have thick enough skin to survive that footage being appropriated for parody.

      • adam

        Am sure he would quite like it.

    • Aymanut

      Seriously? It’s a joke that was quite obviously made with admiration for it’s subject. This is much more respectful than things that are said about much more important individuals. This is the equivalent of your friend giving you a gentle ribbing for your choice of an outfit. (Only milder).

  • Judging from the title, I thought the footage was actually going to be set to “I Like To Move It”. But I guess it got enough exposure in Madagascar. Oh well.

  • I second Mark.

  • A

    I am a young person (in my twenties) who greatly respects and admires Richard Williams and I think this is in bad taste. Mostly bad taste to post it on a website I come to for legitimate news and inspiration. Not necessarily bad taste that it was made. I don’t know in what universe this is appropriate content for Cartoon Brew. I could see it being posted on a personal blog or something…but absolutely not like this. It isn’t really contributing anything to the animation community… when did this become a place to post friends’ silly videos?

    • I’m more bothered by the statement that is no inherent disrespect, it is a common tactic on this site. Calling Mr. Williams an animation legend (which indeed he is) doesn’t make posting this video legitimate. Readers of this website are intelligent enough to know mockery when they see it. The video splices brilliant lectures and cherry picks only the moments that make the legendary Mr. Williams look foolish. I’ll bet he reads this website too, please put the shoe on the other foot.

  • I hope when I am Mr. Williams age, people cut together footage of ridiculous me to post on cartoon websites.

  • AK

    I’m 21. I think it’s a bit disrespectful because it makes him look like a silly old person. My teachers have shown me his book and videos, and sure he’s old. But awesome and old.

    I don’t think the video is wrong. A lot of people young or old nowadays make goofy things in their free time, and how is this a new idea (older people know better than me how rowdy the original group of Disney artists/animators were)? -BUT- (even though this is partially your site, Amid), probably wasn’t a good idea to post on CartoonBrew, where a lot of young people visit to learn more. not. watch…….this.

  • brapley

    Despite being mildly amusing, this post rubs me the wrong way. I do agree with Mark that Richard Williams does deserve much better than this. Especially on a site that I generally hold in high regard.

  • Hey Now

    This is banner-worthy? Slow news day.

  • Jo

    I love it! Can it be considered a YTPMV if it’s on Vimeo?

  • Sarah J


  • Toonio

    God bless Dick Williams. He is the bridge that connects us to the great animators of past past and takes us to the next great big things the future of animation has in store for us.

  • Scott Roberts

    Thank god Richard Williams doesn’t take himself as seriously as those commenting on this post, or his lectures wouldn’t be nearly as inspiring and fun to watch. He’s an animator after all, and he didn’t put himself in all those ridiculous poses by accident. It’s an amusing video, especially if you’ve spent hours and hours watching the source material and developed love for the guy.

  • Kevin H.

    First animator memes, now this? There are more relevant “hip things” to report on surely…

  • Paul N

    Y’now, this video wouldn’t be possible if Dick hadn’t preserved those moves on videos of his own. I don’t see what’s so offensive about this remix, and I doubt he would either.

  • Mapache

    Well, Richard Williams is clearly a great mime slash physical comedian. I’m guessing his a great dancer in real life too.

  • alok

    I’m a student of animation and I have immense respect for Mr.Williams and his body of work. If I I may say so,I did find it rather distressing when I saw his thumbnail and the caption of the clip. I watched it too and felt the same about it. Now I know I am nobody to criticize the actions of the web admin but I just wanted to share what a lot of my friends and myself felt about the video. It wasn’t something we would expect to see on Cartoon Brew,but then again it could be that we just have a different sense of humor. Its kinda like seeing a video mash-up of your grandpa’s funny moments uploaded and being liked on you tube by someone you don’t even know.weird feeling.

  • Oh come on. It’s like the animators’s memes tumblr. Healthy non-Family Guy fun. I’m in my 20’s and the only message I receive here is that it’s impossible for you to get old unless you think you are. He sure shows energy there plus the pressureized-up music.
    I’d say this is gazillions much safe than last John Lasseter’s “fan art” posted.

  • I guess it just hit me as along the same lines as a good-natured roast, among friends and admirers. But it’s true that I don’t even know him. I’ve just gotten used to photos of all the old masters mugging into a mirror – or of Walt, say, doing a silly little dance in a story meeting.

  • One thing we don’t see anymore in this business is the poking fun at each other that artists did back when people in general had class!

  • I can’t see why people are getting so upset about this – loosen up guys! Williams is a great mover and he is fantastic to watch. This video is clearly just a bit of fun and a bit of a laugh at what we do really. He’s an entertainer for god’s sakes!

    It just inspires me and makes me love our craft more and people like Williams. I think it’s totally relevant, if you can’t have a wee chuckle at this then what’s the point?

    • You’re right ! We need to be funny in our mind if we want to animate cartoon characters !

  • Spencer

    Oh Amid posted this? Then we should take this video way too seriously.

    Great job, dude. That was funny. I laughed.

  • cartoonists and animators without a sense of humor = snoozefest … we are, at heart, FINGER pointers all – i’m ok with that and know that RW is too… he’d LAUGH FIRST!

  • dbenson

    I don’t see any disrespect here. What I see is a master animator reminding us that animation is performing, not just drawing. It’s also clear he’s not merely clowning about but demonstrating movement and attitudes.

    If your animation meetings DON’T look like this, it’s a time to worry.

  • I’m glad to see more posts about how to not take this very seriously. Ironically, there are too many artist, cartoonist, illustrators, and animators out there without a sense of humor. They typically like to criticize anything if it doesn’t make their favorite artist look like a saint. Take Fuck Yeah Animation Bosses. Perfect example and actually quite funny.

  • mike

    Animation is such an incredible art form. Having only been lucky enough to sit in on a few classes taught by Richard in the late 90’s, I could see, while he was an aesthetician of movement with an incredible sense of dedication and focus, he loved and encouraged rule-breaking wacky off-the-wall stuff, and showed us with his body what that might look like. this made me laugh and appreciate him all the more.

  • Benjamin Arcand

    Seriously, I don’t understand how someone can be shocked by this video… or find it disrespectful for the man himself. It’s just a “best of” of his funny moves while acting/teaching animation (plus some silly music).

  • TheBandSnapsBack

    This is hilarious. Lighten up.

  • Forgot to mention this the day I actually saw it, but this video made my day! :) It’s both cleverly respectful and wonderfully silly at the same time. Did anybody e-mail it to Richard Williams himself yet?

  • Some of you people tare taking this way too seriously, no wonder the person didn’t want to put their name down. Some of you guys have no taste when it comes with the ability to laugh. This was fun and silly and in my opinion reelected Mr.Williams bright and outgoing personality but in a different direction. I commend this person for doing what they did, it shows at least they had the balls to push entertainment in a direction none of you obviously would or ever could. I had a good laugh and now its back to my daily animator life, seriously you people are more bland than children. Get over it.

  • Margaret Williams

    I first met Dick at a party at Chuck Jones’ house. Most of the lead animators from Fantasia were there and as I walked in, T. Hee was hilariously demonstrating the rear-end choreography of the hippos in that film. Animators have to know how to move themselves or they can’t move their characters. I think this is a delightful and entertaining video which I think our grandchildren (Dick’s and mine) will love and I can’t wait to show it to them.