There was a greater variety in "Music Room" procedure than in any other area, with Walt's leadership being the only constant factor. Walt worked best when he was uncluttered with details and able to let his imagination run free, so the director's job began with the process of picking up the pieces and trying to make them all fit together. Many different men were tried in this position, some coming from the ranks of the storymen who had a special sense of the whole picture, and others from the animators who had a knack of working with younger artists. Layout men were tried, assistant directors, and even people who seemed to float between departments without any real cate-
gory to call their home. Many of these choices survived for only one picture.
Walt never wanted to be told that he could not do something, especially if the reason was a technicality or restriction of production. Still, he was realistic enough to know these annoyances had to be considered. so he put key men in the unenviable position of having to say, "No," when the ideas were becoming too impractical. He could not tolerate a "yes man" at any time, but he bristled when he received any negative response—it brought his creative drive to an immediate halt.
At times the directors felt like little more than clerks, trying to put Walt's ideas on the screen, while at other times they were expected to make sweeping decisions that affected the whole studio. It depended upon where
Walt's interest lay. If something excited him. he would be deeply involved, telling everyone what to do; while if he were more interested in some other area, he left surprisingly big decisions to his directors, often by default.
The most successful arrangement was the Production Unit, where responsibility was shared. The director made the decisions but was aided by his layout man. a couple of supervising animators, and possibly a story sketch man on loan to draw up the new changes. Just because the story boards had been moved down to the Music Room did not mean that they had been approved entirely. Hopefully, the storyman still could be persuaded to join this crew in the process of refining and developing without feeling that all his careful work was being thrown out.
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