Started By A Mouse

Michael Gaddie’s 16-minute student film, Started By a Mouse, is an attempt to dramatize Walt Disney’s rise to fame. It plays a little loose with the facts, but I give it points for sincerity.


  • http://www.ronimation.com Ron

    Very good student film. What school did this guy go to? I agree the best thing about it is the sincerity. I think Walt would appreciate that. I was always hoping someone would make a Walt Disney biopic. Maybe with some real funding and production value behind it, this could could make a proper biopic of Walt’s rise to fame. I can see it now: ‘The Walt Disney Story’ starring Skeet Ulrich as young Walt- Kevin Kline as middle aged Walt, That kid from Superbad as young Ub and Dustin Hoffman as Roy. :) Happy Holidays everybody!

  • EHH

    Beautiful.

  • Gerard de Souza

    I enjoyed that as much as The Aviator. SOmeone give Mr. Gaddie 30 million. What’s a good biopic that doesn’t play a little loose with the facts? Would love to see a feature Biopic as long as they are not afraid to explore Disney the man’s frailities too.

  • http://Mr.FunsBlog Floyd Norman

    Congratulations to the film makers. Nice work. Somewhere, Walt is smiling.

  • Professor Widebottom

    I understand and respect this to be a nascent work but, honestly, I still thought this short was rather silly. Too much overwrought drama just pulls this down into self-parody. You’d think that this is a story about Walt the Messiah. The music at the end made me want to slit my wrists.

    Is the Disney company really OK with the use of footage here?

    I agree that there could be a biopic to render out the arc of Walt’s career and wind up being a *very* worthy project. It could have passion and emotion but not the displaced maudlin kind. I’m a big Walt Disney fan and that’s why I’d hate to see a film about him wind up being so one-dimensional.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Not bad as a student project. I’d love to see this expanded upon if the opportunity happens. I do admit, the dramatic approach might seem a tad thick, but I didn’t mind it at all, quite moody and effective. Again, love to see more!

  • Uli Meyer

    This just made me cringe.

  • Rodrigo

    Ouch. Way too many moments that made me cringe. And I would have had Walt be much more belligerent (which would make for a more compelling watch).

    I do think Walt’s story in the hands of a proficient filmmaker would be an absolutely stellar idea though.

  • http://checkeredgeekcartoons.blogspot.com Zach Cole

    Nice story. My inner animation nerd is saying “WELL, actually, what happened was…” but it is still a nice story… visibly a student film… but a nice story.

  • Dave O.

    This was the most hilarious thing I’ve seen all day. Thanks!

  • Ange

    I couldn’t get over the fact that the guy sounds nothing like Walt. Granted, I’m sure younger Walt did sound just a tiny bit different then the older Walt I have seen through clips over the years (because the clips I had seen years later, his voice is changed slightly because he had been smoking for years now)…

    Otherwise, it was nice. I didn’t recall Walt having to sell his car for this production? I don’t think its believable that Walt/Lillian would have acted like Mickey and Minnie, but maybe I’m wrong.

    Man, I sure am nitpicky.

  • Scarabim

    Walt sold his car to finance a second recording session for Steamboat Willie. The car was a Moon, as I recall; his pride and joy. Later in life, he would mortgage himself to the hilt and sell his vacation house to finance Disneyland. He put his OWN money where his mouth was. Would any of the fatcat CEOs who run Disney now do the same?

    HAHAHAHAHAAHAAA!!!!!

  • http://eyeopeningexp.blogspot.com Michael Gaddie

    Hello everyone. I was surprised, yet thrilled, to see my film on this website. Thank you all for the for your nice comments and even the ones that didn’t comment so nice. You have the right to your opinion and I appreciate that. As for the flaws yes I know his voice doesn’t sound like Walt and yes it’s a little silly and at time overly dramatic but thats what i went for to give it that early movies/Disney cheese feel. I want so bad to make a full length story about Walt and would show a more serious movie and a more flawed Walt Disney. Thanks for watching something that I put so much hard work into and am proud of.

  • http://eyeopeningexp.blogspot.com Michael Gaddie

    Also I have plans to do an audio commentary with Clifford Parks the film’s star.

  • Paul N

    By all accounts Walt was a driven young man who believed in his vision, not an angst-ridden milquetoast as he comes off here. That said, I’ve always thought that a project about Walt’s early days (pre-Mickey) would make a compelling watch. Kudos to the filmmaker for his attempt.

  • http://www.myspace.com/pilsnerspicks Pilsner Panther

    Worth watching, but the character of young Walt here is too low-key, which has been mentioned even by Mr. Gaddie himself. As a 1920′s “go-getter” Midwestern American, he could use a bit more of that Sinclair Lewis quality of ruthless ambition. The avuncular Disney seems to have been characteristic of, mainly, his later years. Depicting more of the rough-and-tumble, cutthroat nature of the early theatrical cartoon world would make for a better script. If one is forthcoming (along with the financing for a first-rate Disney bio), I’ll be the first to buy a ticket.

    My only other suggestion is to use authentic period music for the score— or at least music that’s written by someone who can authoritatively recreate the sounds of the 20′s, like Vince Giordano or Rick Benjamin. That treacly, anachronistic stuff at the end is… not good, not at all. As a music historian, it just about soured me on the whole film.

  • Tedzey

    I enjoyed watching the credits! As the years were passing, I knew that it would go in the order of band concert ending with sorcerer’s apprentice! I would love to see the Walt Disney Biopic like everybody else who commented bout a possible feature lenght picture!

  • Jake

    The actors are earnest but something tells me the young Walt Disney would not have been mistaken for a modern emo. There is some interesting stuff on Pat Powers in the recent “Joseph P. Kennedy Presents” biography.

  • http://theAMIGOunit.com Nelson

    Yipes.

  • David

    Michael Gaddie, you did a fine job. Don’t sweat the negative comments above; they can’t can’t do what you did and they’re just jealous of your your youth and precociousness.

    Some of the acting was a bit flat, as if acting for stage rather than camera.

    However the cinematography was lovely, and I can also give praise for the logistics of getting all those settings and actors together. And then there’s writing the screenplay.

    So, altogether a smashing good job.

  • Scarabim

    I have to agree that Walt comes off way too simpering here. I can’t imagine him practically begging for more money, as in the first scene. He had more backbone and self-regard than that. And if the creator of this is trying for a “Disney cheese” feel, then he’s lost me as a viewer. That’s the kind of condescension/disregard history vibe we already get from Seth McFarlane, and NO THANK YOU.

  • Bugsmer

    Michael, I finally got around to seeing your film. While it does have flaws, and some of the drama is misplaced, it was an entertaining little short. At times, I almost found myself believing that the characters were living in the late 20s. You managed to successfully make do with what you had to work with. Like the films of Walt Disney, yours is very story-driven, and filmed in such a way that people care about the outcome of the characters’ problems. Good job!

  • http://www.warnerart.com Eric

    Quite obvious * A LOT * of work went into this short film. It has some nice shots, nice sets, nice sound. Michael, if you had the proper acting talent for this short and all the facts double and triple checked, this could have been your Steamboat Willie. Hope you get your shot at making a much expanded film on Walt with all the proper resources. There are LOTS of great stories from the Golden Age of Animation just waiting to be told.

  • http://eyeopeningexp.blogspot.com Michael Gaddie

    Watching this as many times as I have, I’ve forgotten which were facts and which were “hyperbole”. Could you guys point out what is true and what is false?

  • http://None Jonathan Mitchell

    The bartender kicked ass!!!! But no, this was really fun to make. A great learning experiance.