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SNEAK PEEK: The New Disney Channel "Mickey Mouse" Shorts

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by Jerry Beck
June 17, 2013 9:00 AM
14 Comments
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You recall back in March, Disney.com sneaked a new Mickey Mouse short, Croissant de Triomphe, a fun, fast-paced 3-and-a-half minute short, which quickly went viral. This was the first in a series of new Mickey shorts done in a contemporary/retro look and feel - clearly an effort to reintroduce Mickey (and the gang) to a new generation, but preserving the personality and charm of the original characters. 

This Friday June 28th, the Disney Channel will begin rolling out the rest of the 19 new shorts in production. The first batch include:  

No Service in which Mickey and Donald try to buy lunch from a beachside snack shack but are unceremoniously turned down because of the classic "No shirt, no shoes, no service" admonition, Friday, June 28 

Yodelberg where Mickey longs to visit Minnie atop her mountaintop chalet but quickly realizes that the threat of avalanche has made the trek up the mountain more challenging than usual, Saturday June 29 

New York Weenie where the hot dog Mickey buys for his beloved and very hungry Minnie ends up taking him on a energetic chase through New York's Central Park, Friday July 5 

Tokyo Go, which finds Mickey fighting Tokyo's crazy commuting crowds aboard the bullet train, Friday July 12 

Stayin' Cool in which Mickey, Donald and Goofy must find creative ways to keep cool on the hottest day of the year, Friday July 19

These shorts are not connected to the Mickey Mouse cartoon Get A Horse! which was produced by the Disney Feature Animation group and will get a theatrical release later this year. 

Emmy Award-winning artist and director Paul Rudish (Star Wars: Clone Wars, Dexter's Laboratory) is the executive producer and director.  Aaron Springer (SpongeBob SquarePants, Gravity Falls) and Clay Morrow (Dexter's Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls) are directors, and Joseph Holt (Sym-Bionic Titan) is the art director. The series is produced under the supervision of senior vice presidents Eric Coleman and Lisa Salamone at Disney Television Animation.

I recently spoke with director Rudish and VP Coleman about this series - how it started and how it's going... 

So tell us how this project came to be.


COLEMAN
: The goal is to introduce Mickey to a new generation of kids and at the same time entertain their parents who have their memories of Mickey Mouse. Our intention is to highlight his personality and show him as the star he has always been.

Making them feel contemporary doesn’t mean give them an iPhone and headphones it’s the execution, the sensibility, the tone, the way they are animated, the music the movement, the timing, the editing. We wanted to make shorts that would play well globally. We have Disney Channels around the world.

Was there a mandate from on high to "make Mickey cool again"?

COLEMAN: There was a desire to create new content, to leverage the success of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. That was pre-school and we wanted to create new content for older audiences. We wanted to do short form to focus on the essence of Mickey Mouse. Mike Moon and I discussed what our goals for it were. Who’s the best person? Maybe Paul Rudish, in the building, working on Tron Uprising at the time, who was deeply passionate about it and chomping at the bit to play in this sandbox?
Paul literally took the wheel and showed us what we could be doing with this. We were so delighted when we saw his first designs. They felt so charming and were Mickey.


Paul, how did you hear about this?


RUDISH: 
Always been a classic Disney fan, grew up with The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday night, grew up in a small town in Missouri and with the legend of Walt Disney - an inspiring story of someone from the Midwest and how you can go out there and do your thing.  I got involved with animation, cartoons and drawing, eventually got pulled in to Disney. I’d been expressing an interest, loudly, in all the classic characters. I wondered if I could trick 'em into letting work on the mouse – but I didn’t have to. Eric came in one day and said, "So I hear you like Mickey Mouse." I said I did, indeed. He said, "Well, guess what? You should try some."
I did a lot of sketching and research. Dug up the old model packs and started doodling. Naturally the rubber hose thing resonated with me. 


The Backgrounds are quite elaborate and done with great style.


RUDISH: With the high contrast of the characters black-and-white faces, your eyeballs go right for them, even when surrounded by colorful Mary Blair, Walt Peregoy inspired backdrops. I wanted to honor that Disney legacy.

What's the technique you are using and how many are on your staff to produce these?  

RUDISH: It's a super-hyper Flash animation program called Harmony. We do all the backgrounds here, in photoshop. Lots of hand drawn posing.  We have about 30 folks in house here (Burbank) and an animation team in Canada. All storyboard driven.

COLEMAN: They are working very, very hard to make it seem effortless. But I can speak to how much work has gone into each one, the writing and re-writing, boarding and re-boarding, and cutting down and building up to make them feel just so. I think Paul and his team accomplish this so well by having great drawings that communicate where we are in the story. Instead of needing a lot of exposition and a lot of dialog to set up the conflict, they establish very quickly what the goal is. And its not just through dialogue. It's done through images.

Did you ever consider putting two of the 3 1/2 minute shorts together to create a traditional 7-minute cartoon?
 
COLEMAN: Since you asked the clever question, then you can do the detective work when we say we will deliver nineteen shorts. Originally it was an order for 20 shorts, now two of them will be one seven-minute short.

I love the opening titles done against burlap like the old shorts.

COLEMAN: Paul has added a lot of little "Easter Eggs" like that for Disney fans and people like you who will appreciate them. Casey Jr. appears in the Tokyo short, Cinderella in the Paris short... 


RUDISH: It's just fun Disney fandom on my own part, which I throw in just because I'm here and I can. 


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More: Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney

14 Comments

  • Misterfan2000 | August 25, 2013 11:10 AMReply

    The style is similar to Rayman Origins.

  • Theodore Jones | August 10, 2013 8:53 PMReply

    @Tony McCarson
    I think that it is very unlikely that Mr. Rudish will comply with your request.

  • Tony McCarson | August 18, 2013 6:37 PM

    Jerry Beck knows about this subject because I contacted him via email. I already told Jerry to talk to Paul Rudish about this subject when he sees him.

  • Tony McCarson | June 30, 2013 1:27 PMReply

    Dear Paul Rudish,

    I already watched "Croissant de Triomphe" & "Yodelberg", & I think they are great cartoons,

    But there is just one difference about "No Service",
    after I watched "No Service", I think that Goofy, as the diner chef, was sometimes being rough on Mickey & Donald for not wearing shoes & shirts, & for the wrong I.D. card that Donald is holding by mistake. I think that Goofy is sometimes acting out-of-character in this cartoon.

    At the comments in the article of OMD (Oh My Disney) titled "5 Problem-Solving Lessons from the New Mickey Mouse Short",
    Matt Norcross has said "One flaw of this short is that Goofy was out of character.".

    & the people at the dvdizzy forums also said that Goofy was sometimes out of character.

    I think we loved Goofy better as a kind, gentle, clumsy, very friendly, & "goofy" character.

    I think you should do something about changing this cartoon ("No Service") a little.

    My idea was, only in "No Service", to replace chef Goofy with a tall & skinny chef cat that didn't wear pants (tall & skinny & pants-less like chef Goofy), voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, who is innocent but can be rough to someone who breaks the rules.

    I hope you understand.


    Signed,
    Tony McCarson

  • Mr. Walters | August 24, 2013 11:45 AM

    ...I'm guessing, he didn't get it.
    I don't see why you bothered, the cartoon was already made.

  • Roberto González | June 18, 2013 6:32 AMReply

    I don't know much about Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone's background but I think other cartoons produced by them were awesome, especially Duck Dodgers. And while Tom and Jerry Tales is very hit and miss the episodes and movies directed by Brandt and Cervone are excellent. So even if TLTS didn't turn out so great I'm not sure Brandt and Cervone are the ones to blame. It seems they don't have very good writers, while Duck Dodgers had Paul Dini and Tom Minton.

    These Mickey Mouse shorts are looking more and more cool with every new frame. Also, people are already criticizing the scripts? I don't know, maybe you have seen them on private screenings or something, but I only watched one of them and I thought it was pretty funny.

  • Roberto Severino | June 18, 2013 8:39 AM

    I tried watching the new Looney Tunes show and just couldn't get into it. It was like the Looney Tunes characters became zombies in some suburban world reading directly whatever lines some scriptwriter fed them. Duck Dodgers I remember being much better from what I can remember from it growing up, but even that got criticized by a lot of the hardcore LT fans out there. Paul Dini and Tom Minton are excellent, BTW, so that seems to be what happened mostly.

    I really liked the Mickey Mouse short I watched too! I think it would be cool if the crew could animate some Floyd Gottfredson stories while they are at it.

  • Roberto Severino | June 17, 2013 6:29 PMReply

    Next time some sad sack, animation snob or bitter curmudgeon,wants to attack these cartoons and the people working on them, at least realize that Paul Rudish and company are fans of the original cartoons themselves. They've got a really difficult job to do trying to introduce these classic characters to a new audience. I don't think they really had to change the designs, but I can really empathize and feel the passion that a guy like Rudish has for cartoons. The greatest thing that could possibly happen from this is Disney rereleasing and creating new DVDs for the classic shorts. Keep your fingers crossed.

    Nic Kramer is also correct. Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone are not good people to have trying to create new Looney Tunes at all.

  • Teodor Ajduk | June 18, 2013 1:54 PM

    and... what are worshipers?
    This is just hiding behind fashion.

  • Tom | June 17, 2013 5:09 PMReply

    I just wish these had better scripts. They're not interesting or funny at all.

  • Anonymous | June 24, 2013 9:55 PM

    WRONG! They ARE funny and interesting!

  • Nic Kramer | June 17, 2013 6:14 PM

    At least they're better than "The Looney Tune Show". I don't know what Warners was thinking of hireing "The Groundlings" to writie the show. I don't think any of them studied the source material very well.

  • DarylT | June 17, 2013 9:52 AMReply

    Looking forward to these

  • Anthony D. | June 17, 2013 11:53 AM

    Ditto to that! ^_^

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