‘Restoring’ Disney’s Animated Glory – Dave Bossert

GameStop, Inc.

by R.C. Samo


Dave Bossert PhotoWhen people think of Disney, words such as, “imaginative”, “creative”, “endearing” and “magical” get tossed around. The experiences people have, especially with the animated stories they tell have become time honored traditions and the mystique surrounding them are just as much a part of the storytellers themselves.

Dave Bossert is one of those imaginative, creative, endearing and magical people at Disney Animation Studios who is a part of these time honored traditions. He is the Producer, Creative Director and Head of Special Projects at Walt Disney Animation Studios.

“I was a normal kid. I watched a lot of Warner Bros. and went to the theaters to watch the Disney feature films, UPA animation, Mr. Magoo, Flintstones. I’m a huge fan of the Simpson’s, we (he and his wife, who he also met at CalARTS) watch that on a regular basis,” said Bossert.

If Bossert’s title is not impressive enough, then the body of work of this jovial, extremely humble artist should do the trick. He has been a visual effects animator on such films as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King, Pocahontas, Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, Hercules, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and countless others. He is also the author of Remember Roy E. Disney: Memories and Photos of a Storied Life, which will debut at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California on August, 9th.

“Roy Disney said, ‘You never have to say I, you have to say we, because we are making these great movies.’ Animation is a real team effort. No one makes these fantastic Disney animated films by themselves. When you look at films like Wreck-It-Ralph and Tangled, there are hundreds of artists making these films. Its all these people working together to get it up on the screen. I come from the stand point that I love coming to work every day and working with this great team of people.” said Bossert.

A New York native, Bossert graduated high school and attended Farmingdale State College as an Advertising Art major. He took a Television Graphics course and for the first time, created a piece of animation. After reading about CalARTS in the New York Times, Bossert sent his portfolio out and received the Disney Scholarship, being one of only 30 students accepted in the animation program along with Chris Bailey (Hop, Kim Possible, X2: X-Men United) and Nickelodeon executive, Jeff DeGrandis.


Dave Bossert, Roger Rabbit, Charles Fleische and Don Hahn

Upon graduation, Bossert began working for legendary animator, Don Bluth on Space Ace and the video game Dragon’s Lair. Soon after he was hired on by Disney producer, turned close friend, Don Hahn to work on the special effects for The Black Cauldron at an entry level position. The last one hired and expecting to be the first one fired, Bossert made the final cut, being one of only 12 in receiving a position with Disney.

“My jaw must have hit the floor. I was working all this overtime and saving money. I thought I’d hang out at beach while I looked for something else,” said Bossert, who was residing in Marina Del Rey at the time.

Believing that art is a constant learning process and confesses to learning something new week as technology continues to advance, Bossert decided to give back to his Alma Mater at CalARTS by sitting as the Alumni President for several years before moving on to being a member of the trustee board, allowing the organization to flourish, growing beyond just any one person.

Being the Artistic Supervisor for the Restoration Team at Disney is no easy task. The first restored classic began in 2004 was Bambi; with the help of Franken Holly and Tiris Wong (who is still alive from the original production). “It was very gratifying. We also did a screening of Lady and the Tramp for Ollie Johnson (animator) who said, “That’s the way it should of looked!”

The most recent restoration, had Bossert go back to one of his earlier films, Who Framed Roger Rabbit for its 25th anniversary. This was the era before digital printers and everything had to be done on live actions plates, which has an entirely different set of rules when combining animation with live action.

“There is always something fun to do, there is always the next projects,” said Bossert.

Bossert and Roy P. Disney. will both be signing copies of Remember Roy E. Disney: Memories and Photos of a Storied Life, at the D23 Expo. The book will be to the public on September 17, 2013, Disney Press and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.com


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