Let me tell you a story.
This was shortly after “Aladdin” was released, I was very young, and my family went on our annual Thanksgiving holiday to Walt Disney World. One of the trips was to “MGM Studios” (now it is called something different), and out of the many of attractions my parents brought me on, one was very special. It was the newly opened “Disney Animation Studio” in Florida, and visitors were allowed to go through the studio.
The tour started off with a start film starring, Robin Williams. In the short, Robin Williams explained in his own comedic way how animation worked; he even became an animated character in the process, a lost boy, if I remember correctly (“Hook” was already out by then).
Then after the show was over, the group I was in was brought into the animation area, and through display glass, nose pressed up right against it, I saw animators at work. And from that day I wanted to be a Disney Animator. I bought books and taught myself how to draw.
Now, maybe the art bug would have bitten me another way. But, when I think about this point of origin of my art, I always thought of that day as a big influence.
And it might not have been influential if it wasn’t for Robin William’s zany enthusiasm.
Naturally, I am one of many people who grew up watching Robin Williams. Even at that very young, impressionable age, I knew who he was. Christ’s sake, he was “Popeye” to me; he was “Mork,” from Ork. The man just played the most lovable character in the biggest animated movie of all time at that point.
He was a man universally known through many generations. When this man showed up, you felt like he was part of the family, the truly funny uncle you never had.
The way Robin Williams hosted that film help break down the door of something very complicated and through his excitement help made a young boy understand that all you need to do is draw and you can make this happen.
I will miss Robin Williams a lot. The man still had much life to live and many laugh left to give. His legacy will be his films which we will watch countless times and smile.
Though, importantly, I will always remember him as the man who helped usher a little kid into a world he wanted to be a part of.
I still draw because of that short film he hosted.
Thank you, Mr. Williams from helping put a pencil in my hand.
Rest In Peace.