Show 013 – Vault – Milt Kahl, Side Two

Milt Kahl, Side Two

Conclusion of a Milt Kahl lecture at CalArts from 1976, generously donated by John Musker. Milt answers questions from students, including Brad Bird. Side two of two.

Get the MP3 here: Show 13: Vault – Milt Kahl, Side Two
Animation Podcast Show 13 MP3

(16.3MB, 33:01 minutes)

Or get the enhanced version playable only with Quicktime or iTunes
Get the AAC here: Show 13: Vault – Milt Kahl, Side Two
Animation Podcast Show 13 AAC

(15.1MB, 33:01 minutes)

Continue for Show Notes…

  • 0:00:00: The Intro Voice/Vault Access
  • 0:00:13: Intro
  • 0:00:43: Mistakes in Medusa’s dialog
  • 0:01:40: John Pomeroy “up-and-coming” animator
  • 0:03:04: The menace of the aligators
  • 0:05:47: Milt’s rating of “The Rescuers” and recent films
  • 0:07:40: Animating on “Sword in the Stone”
  • 0:08:58: Inspiration in designing characters
  • 0:12:14: Developing characters with the voice
  • 0:15:14: Milt’s voice in Ferdinand
  • 0:16:27: Should the villains be more menacing?
  • 0:18:30: Voice of Shere Kahn
  • 0:19:30: Unconvincing crocodiles
  • 0:21:57: Animating mild, boring characters
  • 0:24:32: One reason for leaving the studio
  • 0:25:34: “The Black Cauldron”
  • 0:27:39: On Walt Disney
  • 0:30:10: “Quota of crap”
  • 0:31:46: Conclusion of Side Two
  • 0:31:57: Feedback info
  • 0:32:19: Please give feedback
  • 0:32:27: Conclusion/Closing the Vault

19 Comments on “Show 013 – Vault – Milt Kahl, Side Two

  1. As always great show, though somewhat sad since Milt Kahl seemed to put really a great deal of hope into the potential of black cauldron. Did he not return to work on it because of the upheaval the studio was going through during it’s production, did he not like the approach to the material or for any other reasons? Personally i liked it but Ron and John said in their interview that it didn’t fulfill its potential.

  2. Yet another really good show there Clay, you really do need to do one on yourself so your listeners can get an idea of the man behind the voice (though I can understand if it remained just the voice for yourself!)

  3. Ah and as followup, if/when next you decide to do a Vault show, can do without the whole SFX stuff. A bit tacky in my opinion but I suppose others will differ, yourself included.

  4. Wow. Such a great podcast. It’s interesting hearing Milt talk about his dissatisfaction with some of the villains portrayals in some of the films, making note of the thumb sucking in Robin Hood. Great animation on it, but not up to what he thought the character should have been portrayed. Interesting that he talked about possibly returning to the studio if things got better, when most people would kill to be at Disney even at it’s worse. Does anyone know what Milt did after he left Disney? Thanks again Clay.

  5. Christian – I think Milt was wanting to work more independently in the last years of his career, and that didn’t completely mesh with the way an animation studio has to work. His extremely high standards became a source of frustration for him, as you can hear in the audio. Plus, he had been doing it for 60 years and maybe he just needed a break.

    Nini – Thanks, but John Musker deserve the credit for donating this one. I just cleaned up the audio a bit and packaged it. Speaking of packaging, what do you mean you don’t like the SFX? That’s top notch entertainment! You have to allow me some room to play. 🙂

    Randeep – I appreciate the comment.

    Joel – As far as I’ve heard, Milt did that small bit of development work on Black Cauldron and then moved to the San Francisco area wth his wife. He really didn’t draw much after retirement, which is somewhat surprising to me, but revealing at the same time. I take it to mean that for him drawing was the means to an end, which was creating performances in animation. He didn’t find much purpose in drawings that didn’t move. I do know that he created wire sculptures during his retirement – amazing, of course – and it’s something that Andreas Deja has taken up, inspired by his visits with Milt.

  6. Great great podcast Clay.. It’s great to hear someone talk soo frankly about the old disney films..In only a way Milt could.. He was definitally a perfectionist.. And wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion when he thought things were heading in the wrong direction.. Something i think all of us could benefit from.. He’s the only guy who could get away with calling some of those Disney Animators “Lazy bastards”… oh man… Milt.. There’ll never be another oen quite like him…

    I’ve seen pictures of some of his.. and Andreas wire sculptures.. truely great.. Keep up these great podcasts.. I’m eagerly anticipating the next one..

  7. Clay,
    Hey man, I was wondering if it was possible to get your guests to do a scene commentary from some of their works. ie. Recording their comments as they watch a scene they did, so we could then pop the DVD in and watch along? I dont know if its very do-able, but it would be cool as h*ll. Doing it to the Milt show was crazy fun.
    Thanks again for AP, and also to your guests for sharing their wisdom..

  8. Clay,

    Wow! It was so strange to hear Milt’s voice again. What a force he was at Disney, and I remember how afraid I was when I first began to work with him. Milt was a no nonsense guy, and you gave him nothing less than your best. He could be a demon — and a saint. I’ll never forget those years working with him on “The Sword in the Stone.”

    Thanks again for another great podcast.

  9. This is a bit disconnected from the podcast but, Clay what if you put the animation points of interest as a permanent link on the menu? I didn’t see it :O

  10. So completely & utterly flippin’ awesome. Can’t get enough of this stuff, keep up the good work Clay!!

  11. Hi Clay

    Thanks for putting all these shows together they are wonderful ( all of them so far) Ive got everyone on my pc . They are not only very interesting in there content but a great source of inspiration ,as at the moment im using Mo-cap (AHHH!)on our current project and the days can drag some what. When such a day occurs i put on the head phones listen to my favourte pod casts which so far are the Andreas Dejar and Nick Ranairi.
    This leads me on to a question. In the Dejar casts he talked about coming back to talk about the animation the Nine old men did in depth and all the animation theory he picked up from them is ths going to happen soon? That really would be something!
    All the very best and i better get back to that twitchy leg in the Mo_cap.

    Thanks a Million.


  12. Wooow Clay,

    first off all, again great many thanks for putting this up. I´m constantly listening to your shows at work over and over. Drives my co-workers crazy hehe


  13. Wow, I’m a little backed up on the comments. At least I’ve been working on bringing more interviews to you guys and gals. More on that soon.

    Jason – I’m glad you liked hearing Milt. Even Andreas told me that he hadn’t actually heard this one, but he had read a transcript of it before (not surprising).

    Andy – Thanks for the idea. I’ll file that in the good suggestion box.

    Floyd – That’s cool to hear. We’ll have to talk – soon.

    David – Great idea, I added the Animation Points of Interest map to the sidebar on the main page.

    Corey – That’s what I like to hear!

    Zane – I’m happy to provide the distraction. I will get back together with Andreas, and maybe some other guys too to talk about the Nine. Check out Mark Kennedy’s blog where he posted about a lecture we had at work this month about that very topic.

    Michael – Let’s drive them ALL crazy! Thanks for listening.

    Thanks to everyone for the feedback. Even though the site might not change that often, I’m still working behind the scenes.


  14. Hey, Clay

    I’ve been meaning to post a comment or at least call. This was indeed a gem… not only hearing Milt Kahl teach, but also hearing the very young Brad Bird ask questions. I have always been very interested in Milt (I consider him to be the finest animator who ever lived) and am pretty well-acquainted with his dissatisfaction with Disney. Notable is his comment that he thought Disney, even in its heyday, made mediorcre pictures as far as story went. He would have liked, I think, the later stories of Mulan, Emperor’s New Groove and Lilo and Stitch because the characters were very consistant and the stories made sense.
    What I took most from this excellent show was a deep impression of the need for consistancy. Milt’s animation was incredibly consistant, and he wanted the characters, the writing, the acting, etc, to be equally so. When he says that “villians can be funny, but they need also to be scary,” I was immediately reminded of the hilarious and yet terrifying Syndrome on one hand and the inept yet terrifying Kent Mansley on the other. Clearly, Brad Bird took that class to heart. I’ve been thinking a great deal about what Milt said, and am very grateful to you and John Musker for that chance. Any more vault shows with Milt or Woolie or the other seven oldsters will be great.

  15. Thanks for this Clay. I love how through blogs and podcasting, the old legacies get preserved and carried on. It’s great that these ideas and traditions get passed on to a massive amount of people instead of a select few. It can only make the future of animated filmmaking better. Great work Clay.

  16. Hi Clay,

    A little late to the game on this podcast but I just recently discovered your podcasts. They’re all fantastic and like Zane above, I think they’re a great help for those of us sometimes stuck with the not-fun aspects of animation (I’m an animator in games and sometimes have to work with mocap).

    I thought it was particularly great how candid Milt was about his own studio and their shortcomings when in this day and age everyone seems so afraid to admit (publicly anyway) that their studio isn’t perfect.

    Also, hearing Brad Bird bring up the issue of dating movies with “modern” content (“groovy” in Aristrocats and prison suits in Robin Hood) in 1976 shows how sharp he really is, even back then as a student. Seeing all the pop culture jokes in many of today’s CGI flicks, you have to wonder if he had a crystal ball! Likewise, it’s nice to know how guys like Milt stood on this subject.

    Please keep up the great work. Hearing these veterans and masters reminds me of everything I love about animation.


  17. Hi, I was wondering if you could fix the link to the files, I can’t seem to download them. I really do want to listen to the Milt Kahl shows. Also, I found out that show #29 is down too.

  18. Thank you so very much for posting that. I have done a lot of research on Milt Kahl and realized that he was one of the greatest animators of all time.

    This Podcast really help me see how good he was with the story. I agree with pretty much everything he said about how the Villains aren’t scary anymore and how the films in the 60’s and 70’s were carried away with too much silly stuff.

    I really enjoyed what he had to say about Walt Disney. The only way that Disney or any other company is going to succeed, is if they are able to put the movies in the hands of artist and not businessmen.

    Milt Kahl was considered to be a EXTREMELY critical man. You need to be willing to except criticism if you are interested in making the story be the best it could be.

    It is amazing how much you can learn from people you haven’t even seen in real life before.