Frank Lloyd Wright’s Advice To Walt Disney

This is one of the most sage pieces of filmmaking advice I’ve ever run across:

“Don’t let this idea ‘Box Office’ and this idea of what pleases people bother you. Concern yourself with the best and finest thing, by God, that you know and do it to the top and give it to them to the hilt and you’ll go places and you’ll never lose.”

Who said it?

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

He offered this golden nugget to Disney artists during his visit to the studio in the 1939. Historian Wade Sampson has written a nice article–“Why Frank Lloyd Wright Disliked Fantasia–which appears at MousePlanet.com. And here is the link to the transcript of Wright’s entire Disney talk.


  • http://www.ivandixon.com Ivan Dixon

    Fascinating article. It must have been strange to receive advice on animation from a man that comes from an architectural/design background. And yet, he was so old, wise and experienced by this stage that it would be impossible to dismiss his advice on that ground alone.

    Is there still a relationship between animation, design, architecture and philosophical thinking these days?

  • http://www.directorama.net Peet Gelderblom

    This is great! Thanks, Amid.

  • http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/ Nina Paley

    “You shouldn’t take Clair de Lune’and these things which are not good music anyway.”

    Them’s fightin’ words, Ghost of Frank! But I still love you.

    “If you drive a modern car in front of a Colonial house, you insult either the car of the house every time you do it.”

    Frank is surely rolling in his grave in the age of the Mash-Up and the Remix.

  • John A

    Frank had a point about Fantasia-The music IS the weakest element in the film. Not just the 1980′s redo,(which Kimball said “lacked b*lls”) but the original Fantasound recording. It’s biggest problem is that it’s simply “functional”, it’s a nice recording of a concert, but it doesn’t do the images justice.

    It would have been interesting if Carl Stallings had stayed at Disney and tackled this project and had the music really compliment the action, like he did with pre-existing scores at Warners. I’m sure a lot fewer people would have fallen asleep during the “Pastoral” segment.

  • http://www.cartoonretro.com Shane Glines

    Great article.

    “People are very much, as people, like sheep. If you begin to temporize and pat them on the back and cater to their idiosyncrasies, you’ll never get anywhere. This commercialization of things, commercialization of everything, I think that’s what the matter with the country.”

  • http://dailygrail.com/blog/8389 red pill junkie

    “There will always be those people [who like old fashioned music]. They are dead people. They live in the past, not in the present or the future. They are gone. We should treat them tenderly and with consideration, and have the caskets ready.”

    Wright was one of the greatest Architects of the XXth century —although I’ve never cared much for his furniture design; sorry Frank, just keeping it honest :)

    And as most of the greatest, he was very strong-opinionated. He would take great lengths to defend his point of view.

    There’s a story about a gas station project he designed, that the client later modified much to the dissatisfaction of Wright; so what did he do? why, he dinamited the gas station of course! Later in trial Wright proved to the judge that his contract explicitly prohibited any kind of modification to the original project… so he walked free ;-)

    I wonder what he would think of the way Disney developed over the years.

  • Tristan

    I think I’m in love.

  • http://rwentworth.blogspot.com Richard Wentworth

    Fantastic. Links like this one are why I love CB!