For the Birds Controversy

The Internet which is always looking for a good controversy is trying to stir one up over a Pixar short. Lineboil.com pointed out a recent survey on Rotten Tomatoes that asks whether Ralph Eggleston’s For the Birds (2001) resembles a CalArts student film from 1993 called Small Fry. The director of Small Fry is Stevie Wermers-Skelton, who co-directed the recent Goofy short How to Hook Up Your Home Theater and Disney holiday special Prep and Landing.

Here are the two films in question:

Small Fry

For the Birds (an edited version with different music and sound)

The basic set-up of the shorts–a bigger bird wants to land on a wire populated by smaller birds–is similar, but hardly unique enough for it to be considered, in legal parlance, “probative similarity.” From that point forward, the films take completely different paths: Wermers’ Small Fry is about how the smaller birds don’t allow the big bird to land on the wire, whereas the small birds in For the Birds move over to make room for the bigger bird to land. None of the gags are similar because of the differences in the situation; in fact, Small Fry doesn’t even have much in the way of gags until the payoff. The shorts are most similar at the end when the smaller birds get their inadvertent comeuppance at the hands (or wings) of the larger bird, though the idea works better in For the Birds because the actions of the smaller birds causes their misfortune.

There’s also another aspect to consider. While For the Birds wasn’t released until 2001, Eggleston came up with the idea much earlier. In my book The Art of Pixar Short Films, I interviewed Ralph about the genesis of For the Birds and he told me that the idea developed while he was attending CalArts, which would be in the early-1980s. Here is an excerpt from the book:

For the Birds began its life in the early 1980s, as a design assignment that Eggleston created for design instructor Bob Winquist’s class at CalArts. Fellow classmate Ken Bruce suggested that Eggleston turn his concept sketch into a film. “I actually boarded some of it at CalArts,” remembered Eggleston, “and I couldn’t finish it because I dreaded the idea of having to draw all those little birds.” Since his idea also lacked an ending, he filed the project away for another day.

If there is a concrete connection between these films, it would be that Ken Bruce is thanked in the credits of both For the Birds and Small Fry. Bruce, as mentioned above, was the classmate of Eggleston who encouraged him to turn the design assignment into a film.

Perhaps the best evidence favoring the innocence of For the Birds is this drawing by Eggleston printed in The Art of Pixar Short Films. In the book, it’s dated 1985, eight years before Small Fry:

For the Birds concept drawing


  • http://tillmyhands.blogspot.com Adam VM

    It’s very interesting to see how the situation is taken in two different directions by two different directors.

    I think the pixar ending is ‘kinder’ in the karmic retribution against the smaller birds in the end, because.. yeah, the ones in Small Fry were behaving like dicks, but to end up roasted like that. Geez.

  • Donald C.

    The plots are different enough for me.

  • greg m.

    Ken Bruce should be sued!!!!

    Relax Ken, just kidding!! ;)

  • http://chippyandloopus.com/ John S

    Question: Did Larry White animate on both films?

  • Kristjan

    I smell something roting.

  • Rufus

    I’d say it’s a completely diferrent story. Both just happen to be told using a big bird and smaller birds on a wire. That’s hardly an original setting.
    Both funny. Diferrent enough to call quits on this.

  • purin

    The initial setup and some of the compositions are similar, but they do go in very different directions.

    When I got a DVD of the 2009 producer’s show I noticed a number of shorts based on being stranded. I wonder if birds on a wire (or at least trying to fit into a rude crowd) is another common theme.

  • http://www.thehungryreader.com Krepta

    What a peculiar edit of For The Birds– was that the German version or something? I can see changing the music for rights issues, but was it necessarily to re-record all the chirping noises and put that peculiarly Pee-Wee-ish voice into the big bird’s mouth?

    Both films are delightful; it’s too bad that Small Fry didn’t have as public a release as For The Birds, even though it is in such a rough state.

  • Tim Hodge

    Why all the public controversy? Surely Ms. Wermers-Skelton has seen For The Birds and would have raised any concerns about its similarity to her own work. The judgement should then be settled in court and not on blogs, right?
    If readers are still all that curious, why not interview Stevie Wermers-Skelton as well?

  • Christian

    “For the Birds” obviously stole the idea from “Small Fry”. Wake up everyone.

  • Paul N

    There was a similar controversy years ago after “Toy Story” came out. There are several thematic similarities between it and the Jim Henson special “The Christmas Toy” which predated it – toys coming to life when people aren’t around, a long-time favorite toy’s place being usurped by a new, high-tech toy oblivious to it’s toy-ness. There are significant differences as well, but those who wanted to wag a finger at Pixar ignored or dismissed them.

    Of course, there was no merit to those accusations, just as there aren’t here.

  • Josh

    Odd that this story came out on SWS’s birthday.

    Happy Birthday, Stevie!

  • http://www.arielvillaverde.com Ariel

    Regardless of the controversy, over an idea that’s been done many times before, “Small Fry” is beautifully animated, for a student film

    For “any” film!

    Well done Stevie.

  • http://chippyandloopus.com/ John S

    For the record, and I know this to be absolute FACT:
    Ralph did NOT steal the idea from Stevie. The very notion is laughable.
    Look at the evidence ie Ralph’s drawing dated 1985.
    I’ve also spoken with classmates that attended school with Ralph that confirm that he had the basic idea for this story as far back as 1985.

  • Mack T

    The way I know it is that For The Birds was heavily influenced by a Sheridan student film from 1993. Except the big bird made the wire go down all the way to the ground, and then when the other birds got annoyed, it stepped off the wire to send them all flying. Pixar bought the idea, and they changed it a bit so the big bird falls off the wire instead of stepping off it.

  • http://www.hipchickcomics.com Ashanti

    Yeah that stuck out to me right away when I saw For the Birds. I simply thought Stevie worked at Pixar.

    Ah well, this shatters my fantasy about Cal Artians going to Pixar and having their old films re-animated. There are a few beauties I would love to see Pixared up. Steve Fonti’s, “Cleared for Landing” would be great! A Pixar version of Bobby Podesta’s films would be nice too.

  • http://bobrob.blogspot.com Bobby D.

    It’s soooo clear…that it’s not clear. But, what a nice opportunity to see the two shorts which are really great on their own.

  • NoTimeForThat

    The films are nothing alike, aside from a vague similarity.

    And the concept of birds on a wire like this is more common than you might think. I can very easily see two people independently coming up with this situation.

    Move along people, there’s nothing to see here. Another unwarrented “controversy” brought up by bored people with way too much time on their hands.

  • Joe Achorn

    -Mack T
    Hi, I’m the former Sheridan student you’re referring to. You’re right about my film being similar and also made in ’93(weird). Except Pixar didn’t buy the idea, or as far as I know, even new about my film.

    I was working at DW when “For the Birds” came out. One of the Animators I worked with said she went to CalArts with Ralph in the 80s, when he originally came up with the idea. And a French Animator also said there was similar film from Gobelins years before.
    Its a pretty simple gag/idea. I’m pretty satisfied that there was no idea nabbing going on.

  • http://Rottentomatoes.com Robin McDonald

    I’m the one who started the controversy at Rotten Tomatoes {the best movie website forum on the internet. :) }

    I saw the short before Monster’s Inc and it was so clear to me this was Stevie’s story and design. And I knew Pixar producers had attended the Cal Arts producer’s show years before and it took home the big award. You expect an animation story to change when “it reaches commitee.” Especially because people are going to put money and time into it. So I always wondered how this got made and how her name didn’t show up in the credits.

    About four or five years later I contacted Stevie when I spotted her name in an article about Goofy home theater short and being the first credited female director. But I had to ask her about “For the Birds” and what happened. She told me she had to bring the subject up very gingerly because she was a new hire at Disney and didn’t want to make any waves. The told her what was essentially printed here.
    For some reason I remembered it as Chris Buck instead of Eggleston had done some story boards years before.

    For me if there was no Producer’s Show, there would be no controversy. Just a coincidence. But because there was a producers show there to me was the smoking gun. I don’t know who was attending but that would be interesting to know. And the film won first place. I work in the film industry and I know the pressures to come up with winning ideas and keep coming up with them.

    I’ll never be convinced there was no connection because I have never seen another film about little birds on a wire hopping about like that. And a big gawky bird with a long neck that moves like a big pendulous sack of sand. These are the players on the stage. The little birds and the big gawky bird sitting on the pole not on the line hoping for acceptance. The movements an action that make the film entertainging are essentially the same. And the stage is exactly the same. The story ends different but to me its the same film. This is not a story that is a worn out convention. In the seventy five years of animated films I’ve never see any other films about birds on a wire that look anything like this.

    But that’s me. Stevie wasn’t complaining about this. Its me that kept the fire burning for nine years. I haven’t seen Stevie since Dave Pimental got married. Stevie was one of my class homies who I felt got a bum deal. She was classy and kept it fairly on the down low. I am not as classy. I have always wanted to put it out there for people to decide for themselves and I finally did when digital tech finally made it possible. Ive mentioned it two or three times since I started writing on Rotten Tomatoes but was never able to bring the visual home until last week.

    Pixar has the golden halo and my just telling the story is easy to shrug off. But it was also what made it worthy to present. People are eager to eat up and believe stories about Disney borrowing ideas. But Pixar is the saint of all animation. People are very quick to dismiss even the question. And I kind of expected that. Still I am convinced in spite of Eggleston’s sketch, because that is the only part which is significantly different from Small Fry to me…the ending.
    If it were the same ending obviously there would have been a law suit years ago.

    I don’t see any real bad guys in this other than me for making trouble for some nice people. Chewing over this story there has been the one unknown which I thought might let Pixar off the hook for me. And that is if Larry White or possibly Ken Bruce having been friends with or seen Ralph Eggleston could have said something that sparked the birds on a wire story.

    The two bright spots in the waste of money that was my Cal Arts experience (teacher wise) were Ken Bruce and Larry White. I don’t have a lot of enthusiasm for the some of the rest of the staff for our year. Ken Bruce was the best story teacher anyone could want. He was hilarious and really prepared great lessons like a true professional. He gave us all wise story advice and told biting tales that have stuck with me this day. Larry White was the Hawkeye Pierce of Cal Arts. He cared about the students more than anyone. He worked tirelessly after hours. The only working teacher who would regularly stay hours after his class was over. He brought in the best guests and taught us the most about how to animate successfully. He worked as hard as any of the students did. Alex Topete who wasn’t even on staff also was a huge help and a great friend to everyone. It was the friendships that made the Cal Arts experience worthwhile. No one should dare say anything bad about Larry White. Larry and Stevie were dating for a few months near the end and nobody actually seemed to mind because they were both cool people. We loved Larry. It wasn’t until after the show that some resentments were stirred up.
    I wouldn’t be stunned to find she got extra help but I definitley don’t believe the jealous accusations of Larry doing Stevies animation. He didnt’ have the time because he was working with the other students. Everyone was getting special treatment from Larry. Students great and small and especially the struggling ones. Except for my 6th grade teacher, I have never seen a teacher that was as good to all the students as Larry. Probably one of those guys that still wishes he could have done more.

    For my part, you can decide for yourselves and you already have.
    Stevie is a great talent and I apologize if my zeal in wanting to bring this to light has brought her any discomfort. I don’t have many great stories about little student versus the big corporation to tell. This was my best one. And I am sort of glad it got some attention.

    I only now with Chris Moeller would release his student film the hilarious “The Bunny Must Die” on his website or You Tube or something. Its a shame that film is hiding on a VHS someday never to be seen again.

  • http://Rottentomatoes.com Robin McDonald

    Funny I posted a rather long post but it didn’t show.
    I am the one who started this micro controversy with my thread at Rottentomatoes.com (the best movie forum on the net)

    It was the Cal Arts Producer’s show that was the smoking gun for me knowing Pixar producers were there. And in spite of the evidence I’ll probably always be convinced there was at least some borrowing going on. This won the show out of a large number of entries so to me it was obviously noticed and applauded by Pixar peeps. Especially amazing being a first year film. Were it not for the Producer’s show I would have chalked it up to coincidence.

    I want to comment mostly that this was my little crusade and not Stevie’s. I havent’ seen Stevie since Dave Pimental’s wedding which was many years ago. I contacted her when I spotted her name in an article about directing the Goofy short on home theater. I wanted to congratulate her and I had to ask the question.

    When I saw Monster’s Inc and was watching the short I was thinking how happy I was for Stevie that her short was being made into a film. The differences in story were the sort I would have expected to see when people were assigned to come up with business for the birds to do but to flesh it out. Everyone wants their finger in the pie and to make a contribution. But the the stage was the same and the players on the stage were the same. Little birds hopping about making for the recognizable and enchanting action. And a big gawky pendulous bird looking for acceptance from the little birds on the line and wanting to sit with them. To me the differences were more superficial and only the end was substantially changed.

    My motivation for posting the controversy on Rotten Tomatoes is I had told the story a couple times but never had the substance of the images to back it up. And I was dented slightly be a close friend at Warner who doubted my perceptions. Really this is a great student versus the big corporation story so its always fired me up especially since Stevie was one of my homies from school. And while everyone is willing to believe stories about Disney stealing ideas, no one wants to believe there could be a ding in the Pixar halo.

    I was doing some printing for Warner in Valencia so I stopped by Cal Arts in hopes of picking up a copy of my work from that year and also hoping to see my friend’s early work who have gone on to success. So this has been an eight year project for me to finally tell the story with visuals. I had to wait for tech to catch up and you tube to exist. So that’s why this has cropped up nine years later.

    I’d like it known that this was my little crusade and not Stevie’s.
    She was new at Disney and felt she could only gingerly bring it up and not make waves. But its understandable she also thought For the Birds was lifted from her film for the same reasons I did. The saw it and made a very similar (IMO) film. Its interesting to read about Mack making a similar film. One of my arguing points is that in seventy years of animation I have never seen another bird on a wire film where the funny action little birds hopping and a big long necked bird swinging about like a sack of sand. Ive seen single birds on a wire or three or four crows. But not sparrowy birds and a gawky bird who’s trying to buddy up. There are plenty of Bird on a Wire films produced since 2001 though.

    Even Egglestons presented drawing doesn’t totally convince me entirely because the ending is the one part I find obviously different.
    And you can’t end it with toasted birds or there would have been an immediate lawsuit. Mack sounds like he has a better case though.

    I regret any discomfort throwing this up might have caused Stevie. As I said this was my crusade. Not hers. I also regret some people on another animation website were spreading vindictive rumours about great people like Ken Bruce and especially Larry White who we all loved and were one of the few bright spots of true greatness and caring for students in the general waste of $22,000.00 that was Cal Arts in 1993/1994.

    But I am glad Small Fry had two thousand views with a five star rating on You Tube. People are enjoying it. If anything good comes of this I’d like it if some friend of Chris Moeller would get that big chinned bastard to finally get “The Bunny Must Die” off VHS and post on the Dark Bunny website or someplace else where it will finally be seen again.

  • maguilla

    Pixar lives by the motto of it’s parent company (Stevo’s Apple) “Bad artists copy. Great artists steal”.

    Sorry Pixar lovers out there, but the character from the movie Cars and the characters from One Cab’s family weren’t just coincidence.

    One Cab’s Family video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rnjXdj9-LI

  • Matt Sullivan

    Yes, Larry White animated portions of “Small Fry”. According to many rumors, he and Stevie were an “item” back in the day. You can tell the difference between his close up near the start of the film and the rest of her animation. I had his class and I’d recognize his style anywhere.

  • Gerard de Souza

    How many animated shorts are there about construction sites or bullfights or cat & mouse? Ideas are a dime a dozen; it’s how the story points are hung on the idea. Perhaps the CalArts connection had something to do with the influence of the idea but the resolution is different not to mention the respective animations are different. I think it’s also fair to revisit ideas even others may have had. Ideas are fair game. When someone copies a film shot by shot frame by frame, that’s real scandal.

    We heard the same things about Avatar. Similar or even same themes or premises do not make a swipe.

    But thanks for showing. I see a stron similarity but something that is revisited with a fresh eye. I think it is different enough despite whatever connections and influences.

    I wish to add: First year film?! Damn!

  • Gerard de Souza

    Maguilla,
    Pixar I’m sure has cited Disney’s Suzy, the Little Blue coupe as an influence. Personifying inanimate objects is as old as cartooning itself.

  • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ mick

    bollocks
    Plus you can’t be electrocuted without being grounded (he added pedantically)

  • Paul N

    “And in spite of the evidence I’ll probably always be convinced there was at least some borrowing going on.”

    In other words: “My mind’s made up; don’t confuse me with the facts.”

  • http://chippyandloopus.com/ John S

    So basically, Robin, you took up a crusade that no one asked you based on a with scant evidence based purely upon the notion that “corporations are evil”

    Then, when faced with evidence that this was just a coincidence ie Ralph’s 1985 concept art, you wave it away because, after all “corporations are evil, so even in light of this evidence, they are still GUILTY”.
    Robin, are you aware that since 1993, Stevie has had a pretty remarkable career, first as a Story person, then as a Director.

    She co-directed The new Goofy short, and the truly charming “Prep and Landing”. She did both of these projects for Disney Feature animation.

    Now, in case you don’t know where I’m heading with this, let me connect the dots: Her boss is John Lasseter. PRESIDENT of Pixar.

    You remember? That evil corporation you have accused of ripping off her little film?

    Are you aware that with your meddlesome crusade, you may have jeopardized her working relationship with her boss?

    Did it EVER occur to you that you may be doing more harm than good?
    Next time, before you go tilting at windmills, you might want to do a little fact checking, and talk to ALL of the people involved.

    Give Ralph a call and ask him directly. He’s a nice guy. Ask some folks that worked on the film with him.
    And last but certainly NOT least, give Stevie Wermers-Skelton, a jingle. After all she is the plaintiff in your little crusade. A plaintiff who may not have wanted this whole thing brought up in the first place.
    By the way. I’ll mention the Bunny thing to Moeller. He’s a good pal, and I’m sure he’d be thrilled to throw it up on youtube.

  • http://rottentomatoes.com Robin McDonald

    I don’t need a daddy lecture thanks John.
    It wasn’t based at all on any notion I have that corporations are evil.
    I said that is what made it a compelling David and Goliath story. What you probably fail to appreciate is this is just a forum post, not a news article until it reached Cartoon Brew.

    I’m quite a decent guy and I’d regret hurting anyone. But I empathise with your feelings because there are people making comments they can’t substantiate either about other players in this micro-tempest.

    I’ve been writing on Rottentomatoes for seven years and this is the first time anything I’ve written has spread to another website. That’s 33,000 posts now. So I had little reason to think this would go beyond my friends there. My crusade was for my little kingdom of dirt. I had recently told the story and said I’d try to get the video. Which I finally did. I gave them the evidence I had which included the comment that she was told about a storyboard that predated her production.

    When I was in sixth grade me and my friend Mike made a UFO out of tin foil and tempera paint and a glue top. We took some photos and developed them in the school dark room. We didn’t know little Andy White would take one home to his dad and we would be besieged by reporters and it would end up on the front pages of the San Francisco Chronicle either. Nature has a way.

    As I said I have only told this story two or three times in seven years. Its never spread anywhere. One could more readily be nasty with Cartoon Brew for making it a big deal in the animation community. I even tried to keep it a private video limited to 25 views but everyone complained the link didn’t work.

    I think knowing Pixar was at the Cal Arts Producers Show its good enough evidence to ask the question. Warner legal has been tagged for a lot scanter evidence of similarity. I said what I thought but left it for others to decide. I think the films and the action look alike in ways Egglestons little drawing doesn’t. I don’t know how she feels now but Stevie also felt the same at the time. And she told me she had brought it up to her “boss” but felt stuck about pressing furthur. Like I said, Stevie was a class homie and I felt protective.

    In my first post here which didn’t post I said I didn’t think there were any real bad guys here. I’ve defended Disney on the Lion King thing many times because even if there was borrowing its a different enough story. Sometimes I think Disney made Aladdin just to
    tweak Richard Williams nose by finishing a better Arabian Nights film in two years. But I am entitled to my zany thoughts even if they are unable to be substantiated.

    I don’t know Ralph Eggleston so I coudn’t have asked. If I were to have asked someone about it, it would have been Chris Buck because for some reason that’s who I thought was associated with the storyboard. In all this I have never accused Ralph of anything. It wasn’t the director I thought might have borrowed the idea.
    My post here also mentions my reason for contacting Stevie was to congratulate her on being first director of the Goofy Film. And for Disney purchasing her second year student film ‘Nessie”. I narrated her second film. Badly, I might add. But Disney has turned it into “The Ballad of Nessie” I am looking forward to seeing it as the poem used to be stuck in my head for years. I know all about her successful career.

    I hope you can get Chris to post the Bunny film because I asked him repeatedly on his website and even offered to transfer it from video tape for him if for no other reason than that I could have a copy. His other student films and the original Tripping the Rift was great. But The Bunny Must Die is still my fave.

  • http://chippyandloopus.com/ John S

    See, this is the thing, Robin, and this is why the “lecture ” is necessary.
    You DON’T know Ralph. At Pixar, all the ideas are generated by the artists. Ralph pitched this idea, and John Lasseter approved it.
    When you accuse the maker of “For the Birds” of plagiarism, you are not accusing Pixar, you are accusing Ralph.
    Again, you come up short because you did not check your facts. You obviously have no idea how Pixar develops it’s ideas or greenlights it’s films.
    Here, I’ll clue you in: The artist pitches it to John, and then John decides yay or nay.
    It’s that simple.
    I’m glad you know all about Stevie’s successful career, but I still wonder why you would risk that career by digging up all of this nonsense, as it appeared from the outset that STEVIE was the one kicking up the fuss over this thing.
    It is good that you came forward as the instigator of this whole thing.
    Let’s hope it wasn’t too late.

  • http://rottentomatoes.com Robin McDonald

    Hey there Mister Pedantic pants,
    What part of 7 years/30,000 posts and never had another thread become a news story” was unclear to you. I’ve been gracious but now you are being histrionic and idiotic.

    As for “being on time to save poor Stevie” I originally posted within an hour of finding out this was on Cartoon Brew. Turn over of threads on Rottentomatoes is fast. And this thread had a half life of 12 hours and was already a day buried under piles of threads and would have been a dead issue.
    And I did try to limit accessibility to the film but it was unworkable.

    So let me be clear to you if I haven’t been. I am accusing Ralph of nothing. Unless you somehow know Ralph Eggleston was at the Cal Art’s producer’s show in May of 94, that’s where I thought the smoking gun was.

    In the film and television world the story and production often comes first and the director gets assigned to the project. And my experience is people in the art department are under a lot of constant pressure to come up with new material. They struggle and struggle to come up with something completely original but under pressure look to and borrow from other great existing things. They get changed up to be different enough to get past legal.

    Its my opinion For the Birds looks too much like my classmate’s project to be pure coincidence. But that is just my opinion. And about a third of the people in the poll I took seem to think it looks suspiciously the same. I am open to the possibility of being totally wrong. And even presented one scenario where I pondered where I could be wrong. The picture posted here lends of credibility to the innocence and coincidental nature of the project. It persuades me some but the picture alone for me doesn’t totally put it to rest.

    No one needs to try to persuade me. People should be content to leave me with my still lingering questions. I am sure I am not the only one of my classmates who made the connection between For the Birds and Small Fry and at least wondered.

    Other than using a sexy title to grab people’s attention so they will want to look in the thread I am not an antagonist. I’m a reasonable person. Paul N. came back humorously and bitingly that I “don’t want to be confused with the facts.” Touche. But actually I’m very friendly about this and am happy in venting my long held suspicions other facts can come to light from the other side. I’d love to see the storyboards just because I love looking at early work from talented artists.

    I’d love to see Joe Achorn’s film. That too would lend weight to little birdies on a wire being done before. I have never seen a film dated prior to 93 that looked like these two films. But there are a ton of them made after 2001.

    But on the principle of sunshine being the best disinfectant, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be fun to totally humiliate me with piles of evidence. I was saying yesterday in the Rottentomatoes forum is there is nothing I love more than when someone totally blows apart one of my unassailable positions.

  • http://rottentomatoes.com Robin McDonald

    <>

    Hi Matt,
    You probably don’t remember me but I do remember you. I rewatched “Roo” and “A Royal Pain”. Last I recall talking to you at the end of the year was you were going off to be an art teacher some where. Along with Tom Gately, Ron Cohee, Stevie and Scott you were probably one of the top animation draghtsmen in the class. I think the clique may have given you a rough time mostly because you kept to your animation wheel a lot and seemed to know you were good. If I am not mistaken I recall were also really annoyed one day that you kept being approached by “Furries” to do drawings for them. You seemed really disgusted. : )

    I may not have your eye but whatever suspicions people had whether substantiated or not, I think Stevies talent and ability to do her own work is vindicated with her second year film Nessie done during the year the school was destroyed during the earthquake. I certainly got tons of invaluable help with my animation from Larry. Larry White for me was the single most dedicated and effective teacher the first year students had. He spent untold hours helping all the students with their films long after he could have gone home and just collected his paycheck. I will forever be grateful to Larry as one of the best teachers I ever had. I don’t think students or myself can complain they got short shrifted on time or support for their projects. I loved Larry and I think most everyone did. I didn’t mind at all they were going out. I always thought it was very sad there was resentment starting when the results of the show were pending. I noticed you put him at the top of your Thank You credits.

    I still look for classmates names at the end of every animated film I see.

  • http://rottentomatoes.com Robin McDonald

    Thanks to Amid for posting the article and presenting the other side.

  • http://chippyandloopus.com/ John S

    My God, Robin, but your comments are ponderous. Ponderous and wearying.
    “Mr. Pedantic-Pants”. Wow, no wonder RottonTomatos hired you to write! With witty repartee like that, you could be another Perez Hilton!!! Consider me chastised!!!
    Then you say I’m engaging in histrionics and idiocy.
    Son, I’m not the one who started this, and I’m not the one who writes whiny diatribe after diatribe defending his position on 3 different websites.
    Well, lets’s cut through the crap and get to the heart of the issue.
    Let’s see,in your posts, under all the whining about the quality and cost of the education you recieved at Cal Arts, some more effusive praise for Stevie, and uh…more whining.. you state that you are not accusing Ralph of anything.
    Then you go on to say you still think that there are too many coincicences, and then you site a poll that supports your opinion and you state your right to your opinion.
    Yeah.
    I love it when people who are desperate to maintain their position, no matter how wrong, state their right to their opinion.
    Heh.
    You have a right to your opinion in matters where opinions count.
    We aren’t dealing with opinions here. We are dealing with facts.
    FACT: Ralph concieved his story in 1985. There is insurmountable evidence supporting this fact, including but not limited to the drawing posted above.
    Stevie concieved her story in 1993.
    Case closed. Any similarities are coincidence.
    In this case, your opinion is wrong. I guess you have a right to hold steadfastly to a wrong opinion. Hey, go ahead. Stick to your wrongness!
    Just don’t go posting about it willy nilly, hither and yon, and then wonder why people argue with you.
    Back to the bit where you claim you aren’t accusing Ralph of anything, and yet you stick steadfastly to your claim that it is too much of a coincidence and there must have been borrowing involved.
    Well, Ralph is the creator, and the director. He boarded the story himself. So, you are accusing Ralph of this heinous crime.
    I don’t care how other studios develop material. Pixar is different. Everyone in this business knows that.
    Look kid, plagiarism is a pretty nasty brush to paint anyone with, especially some one as talented and as kind as Ralph.
    In the future, watch where you point that thing.
    Check your facts before you go blathering about some percieved injustice on message board upon message board.
    Then you won’t have to be humiliated by piles of evidence.
    I return you to your cartoony news.

  • Matt Sullivan

    Robin, I agree. Larry White WAS one of the best teachers I ever had. At no point did i intend to say that larry or Stevie bugged me. I’m happy for their success. I can see how that might have been misinterpreted. But no, honestly i wanted everyone from our class to be recognized for their hard work. And let’s face it, if Larry DID do any work on her film it’s not like he animated the thing. He most likely would helped with extreme poses ( and not many by the look of it )

  • Robin McDonald

    Dear John S.
    I’m rubber, you’re glue.

    As for what I wrote here I am sorry I started off on the wrong foot with you. My introductory post was closer to my sentiments on the other animation site. Maybe you should go by that. It wasn’t inflamatory.
    For what its worth I am not a hired gun for RT. Just a long time forum member. Its probably better if you take an ounce off my hide in that forum than here. Its more wild west saloon in there than the nice smoking lounge this place is.

    Amid wrote a responsible article. That’s not what we do in the Rotten Tomatoes forum. Its a free for all. Punching people in the nose is permitted in our forum. My nose is available 24/7 at http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/forumdisplay.php?f=2
    Just be sure to watch your own.

  • Robin McDonald

    Dear Matt,
    I fudged up a few things here but I also had in mind a couple other posts from elsewhere when responding to you. I saw your first credit went to Larry and so I’d regret leaving an impression I thought you were beefing. And I think you nailed it with your summary.

    I just wanted to say a lot of nice things about Larry White for obvious reasons. Not just a good teacher but a good guy. And he laughed at my random quips a lot which always made me happy.

    I think if there is one thing everyone her seems to have a shared interest in is we don’t want people thinking crummy thoughts about cool people we know personally.

    Its nice spotting a familiar name.