Show 027 – Ken Duncan, Part Two

Ken Duncan

“To me it’s not about moving stuff around. It’s about thinking about a personality within a story.”

The conversation with Ken Duncan continues. In this second part of the interview, Ken talks about some of the his earlier films at Disney. Then the conversation focuses on his personal approaches to acting and his general workflow for animating productively.


Continue for Show Notes, audio file download links, and comments…

Get the MP3 here: Show 27: Ken Duncan, Part Two
Animation Podcast Show 27 MP3(25MB, 54:20 minutes)

Or get the enhanced version playable only with Quicktime, iTunes, or iPods.
(Includes chapter breaks, pictures and links in addition to the audio.)
Get the enhanced podcast here: Show 27: Ken Duncan, Part Two
Animation Podcast Show 27 Enhanced(26.4MB, 54:20 minutes)


  • 00:00 The Intro Voice
  • 00:05 Sponsored by –
  • 00:21 Introduction – Duncan Studio
  • 01:03 Coming to Disney from Bluth
  • 03:35 The experience of working at Disney
  • 05:09 Rescuers Down Under and meeting his wife
  • 06:14 Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin
  • 08:33 Pocahontas and supervising Thomas
  • 10:04 Dialog recording sessions
  • 11:06 Figuring out acting
  • 17:02 Boleslavsky – Acting: The First Six Lessons
  • 21:06 Choreography of characters – The Odd Couple
  • 24:02 Finding meaning in performances
  • 30:10 Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold LLoyd
  • 35:31 Animating in red for clean-up pt. 1
  • 36:58 What is a breakdown?
  • 37:57 Animating in red for clean-up pt. 2
  • 39:55 A process to animate a large piece of the film
  • 41:41 Discipline to rely on knowledge and not technology
  • 44:12 Animation: a commercial art with finite schedules
  • 47:07 Inspired by other actors’ approaches
  • 48:57 Animators who lead the artform
  • 49:59 Animation is a crazy idea
  • 50:40 Conclusion
  • 50:51 Question about show length
  • 51:09 Feedback info/Voicemails – Email ClayLink to VoicemailLink to Michael’s blog
  • 53:55 Sponsored by –
  • 54:06 Closing

18 Comments on “Show 027 – Ken Duncan, Part Two

  1. Hey Clay, great show…….in response to your question about the show length, for me personally i like the longer version’s.
    Cheers :o)

  2. Clay,
    Man, your pod cast kicks the proverbial butt!
    Thanks again for giving me something to listen to while I push frames.

  3. As everyone else… I’m laying down my key poses while listening. I think I’ve listened to every single one atleast twice by now. Just wanna say thanks again! I don’t know where else I would turn for a constant stream of inspiration to animate to. You the man :~D

  4. Hey Clay!
    Thanx for another great podcast. This has become one of my favourites (if not The favourite) because of the theme of the conversation- performance. Thanx a lot for bringing to us, the knowledge of the greats.
    And I also prefer the longer versions 🙂

  5. Looooooooooooooooooong, play it long!
    Keep ’em coming! – loving the monthly format. Cheers!

  6. Hey clay, glad to see you are doing more episodes i sorta lost interest after there was sort of a drought on episodes back around December i think. glad i checked back to see if there were more episodes, these new episodes are so good keep up the great job and best wishes.

  7. Hey there Clay!

    I too am enjoying the new format. It’s great to hear how Ken Duncan mentioned the part in Toy Story, where Buzz realizes he’s not a flying toy. That scene is probably one of my favorites!!! Keep up the fantastic work Clay, and I look forward to the next one!

  8. Hey Clay,

    It was awesome hearing myself on your podcast (Duncan, part ONE). Currently I do not have a web page, but I will post it once I do.

    Regarding the length of shows, I personally like the longer ones. It’s much better to have a couple of shows in my library than several per interview.

    Two questions:
    1. You talk about how someone animates a certain amount of “feet” of animation. What does that mean?
    2. (I don’t know how to spell this) What does zerox/xerox/zerocs mean?

    Thank you Clay.

    Kindest regards,

  9. Thomas, 35 millimeter film passes through a projector at 90 feet a minute, so 90 feet equals 60 seconds. In this interview, Ken mentions that he was animating 15 feet/week at the end of Tarzan, which means that he was animating 10 seconds a week. Just multiply the number of feet by 2/3 to figure out the number of seconds.

  10. Whoops, I left my comment on length on part 1 instead of 2. you can read that one for what I had to say. In short, I prefer them longer.

  11. Mark Mayerson, thank you. Dale Baer also talked about it in his interview and it all makes total sence to me now. Thanks.

  12. How could more info be a problem? Yep, chalk up another thumbs-up for the longer format.

  13. thanks for another great show. no problem with longer shows here. I listen to the Hollywood Saloon regularly and they’ve talked about how initially the podcasting community were adament about not crossing the half hour barrier and they’ve certainly proved that wrong with epic shows reaching up to 4 hours in length. Smodcast is another podcast that often goes beyond the hour mark, ditto with filmspotting. As long as there’s the material to fill a show I’m all for it. Thanks again, I really appreciate these (I’ve listened to the whole library nearly a dozen times).

  14. I was able to listen to the interview on my iphone while flying to Pittsburgh last week. Great stuff as always, Clay. Sure makes the time fly past. More! More!

  15. Thomas, to xerox means simply to photocopy a peace of paper. Xerox is American company which started producing photocopy machines. AFAIK they were the only ones for some time, so the expression “to xerox something” stuck in the common language. I believe this expression is not used outside of English speaking countries.

  16. I was able to listen to the interview on my iphone while flying to Pittsburgh last week. Great stuff as always, Clay. Sure makes the time fly past. More! More!