Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Everthing I know I learnt from Disney

Disclaimer: I love Disney.
Not in an obsessed, thousands of cuddly toy, merchandise way. I love it in an enjoy the story kinda way.

Some of the first films I saw were Disney. I can remember seeing Bambi with my mum on a re-release when I was five! I had a box of sweets, they were nice.

And I was hooked.

Maybe it's the inner child in me? Maybe I'm a sucker for a song? Perhaps it's my love of art and animation breaking to the surface? There's just something about the classic storytelling I enjoy.

Lets face it, those guys and gals know how to tell a story.

Now, admittedly, they have the foundations laid out for them. The rich history of fairy tales like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin.

See, even Disney 'borrow' ideas from other authors!

Their heroines, hero's - even their villains - are fleshed out and fully developed. They have back story, hopes, dreams and, sometimes, even a song telling us what they want.

But the ones who we find out the most about are the princesses. Yup, those feisty doe-eyed beauties with their needs and vulnerabilities.

Ever want to know what a Disney gal wants? Check out her song.

So, if you are ever stuck, maybe you just need an "I'm wishing" song. It doesn't have to be for your character either. Here's my writer wishing song in a Belle style.

"I want want my novels in the great wide somewhere,
I want all my books to sell,
I want to touch my fans,
I want to write the best I can,
I have themes, and scenes and plots and plans."

Go on, you know you want too write one too. :)


  1. I’m going to disagree with this line here, “Their heroines, hero's - even their villains - are fleshed out and fully developed. They have back story, hopes, dreams and, sometimes, even a song telling us what they want.”

    I am a Sleeping Beauty fanatic, and I’ve made several defenses that she is the best princess, even when I know she really isn’t. In reality, I think most of the Disney princesses are weak characters, and the princes are even flatter. Sleeping Beauty meets the love of her life in the woods, yet because of her obligation as the crown princess, she just goes up to her room and sobs when she’s told she has to marry Prince Phillip instead.

    Cinderella is a doormat, being completely subservient to her cruel step mother and step sisters. If it wasn’t for magical intervention and mice sweatshop labor, she’d still be mopping floors. And why did Prince Charming fall in love with her at first sight? Was it because of expensive clothes and taste in transparent footwear, or because he has a short attention span and was distracted by the sparkles on her dress?

    Snow White is a hypocrite. She will throw a fit if someone doesn’t wash their hands before eating, yet she’ll move into their house and sleep in their bed without asking. Where did she learn her manners? (Okay, so the animals invited her in, but do the animals own the house?)

    Belle is the saint, sacrificing her own happiness to take care of her father. And at least she’s not desperate enough to accept the first marriage proposal she gets. But settling for a man that’s not even human? Did she give any thought to what having kids would be like? Maybe she was secretly expressing a hidden fantasy/fetish in her dialogue with Gaston in the house:

    Gaston: This is the day your dreams come true.
    Belle: What do you know about my dreams, Gaston?
    Gaston: Plenty! Here, picture this: A rustic hunting lodge, my latest kill roasting on the fire, and my little wife massaging my feet, while the little ones play on the floor with the dogs. We'll have six or seven.
    Belle: Dogs?
    Gaston: No, Belle! Strapping boys, like me!
    Belle: Imagine that.

    Jasmine is a little more courageous. She’s unhappy with the way things are and so she leaves everything behind to runaway from her problems. But, she does give Prince-Ali the cold shoulder at first, so she deserves points for that.

    Ariel is a girl who knows what she wants and goes to Ursula the sea witch to get it. I think Ariel and Price Eric are the most fleshed out hero and heroine combination.

    I love Disney, but no one’s going to win any beauty pageants claiming any of their characters as their role-models or icons.

  2. I love Disney, too. As a kid, it absolutely inspired me to want to write my own stories. Watching the movies made me happy. Isn't that what good entertainment is (in books or movies) . . . something that affects your emotions?

  3. Ooh, a writer's wishing song. I could get into that. I loved Ariel and Jasmine the most when I was little, but I think it had more to do with them being exotic than anything about their character arc. :-) I agree that Disney does some wonderful things. In fact, they might just do the most book-to-movie adaptations of any other production company. I certainly hear of them buying a lot of film rights.

    Great post, Lindsay! We are all about characterization this week. And I love Jackson Pearce's videos. She's so creative. I still get Writers Blok stuck in my head all the time.

  4. I love Disney as well! No wonder my daughter is such a Diva! Your adaptation of the wishing song is great!

  5. I am partial to Belle. My sisters used to say we were the same person.

    Katrina, great point on the book-to-movie adaptations. Disney is a kidlit (and YA) writer's best hope for those film right sales.

  6. I love Belle! :)

    I think Disney fleshes them out a little more than the originals, but they still leave me unsatisfied. Although, fairy tales aren't meant to be taken literally--Beauty falling in love with a beast. And that's what I love about fairy tales. They have such a wide scope for the imagination. :D

  7. I love Disney and Belle is by far my favorite. And I swear I know all of the songs by heart.

  8. I love all Disney movies!! People can go on and on about the Princesses and subservient behavior and all that, but what I take away most from the Princesses is their kindheartedness. I would MUCH rather my kids watch Snow White, Cinderella and Belle than Sponge Bob.

  9. This is the second time I've seen Snow White mentioned in the past week--I watched it on Sunday...hadn't seen it since I was a kid.

    Coincidence? Hmmm...

  10. I think it means you are supposed to write the next Snow White novel adaptation, lbdiamond!

  11. I love Disney endings :) I also love watching the animation throughout the years. Growing up I wanted to be a Disney cartoonist.


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