So often we find ourselves working incredibly hard to “fit” into a mold we believe might position us better for success. This mold has more often than not been formed for us by someone else, be it a predecessor in our life (whether professional or personal), or an “expert” who apparently knows us better than we know ourselves. It takes one or two (or more) turns around the carousel of one’s career to realize one has been riding the wrong horse, and it takes a good degree of humility, introspection, and courage to reconnect with that confluence of what we do well, what we enjoy doing, and what might remunerate us to the level we aspire.

Sometimes people spend their whole careers doing what they think they were “meant” to do, only to realize upon retirement that they have been unwittingly untrue to their inner potential. As adults, we grow all too easily afraid of pursuing those dreams we so readily embraced as children; conditioned by our teachers, peers, and others to toss aside those childish fantasies as the fragile baubles of youth, insufficient to withstand the rigors and challenges of “the real world”. But it is those visions we construct in our hearts and minds when young that we eventually come to discover were far more robust than we were led to believe, and far more in tune with our true potential.

The form which the realization of our dream takes is not as important as the fact that the vision has been honestly expressed. Nobody will convince me that a ballet dancer is a “better” aspiration than a dance teacher, aerobics instructor, or occupational therapist: they each share their passion, in their own special way, for the power of the human body and how it operates. An intelligent and aggressively pursued related career strategy is just as apt to be financially rewarding as any quest for a leading contract with a premier ballet company. In fact, probably more so (with apologies to any readers currently applying to ABT, Paris Opera, or the Royal Ballet!).

I can’t recall who sent me the link to this video, so am sorry not to fairly tip my hat to them. That said, I think this is a fascinating piece, demonstrative not only of the impressive artistry of animators whose work we might otherwise blithely take for granted, but celebrating the unique and extraordinary talents and expression that lie within every artist, every creator…every person. These are but four people who have found a way to retain their individual vision, express it with unique eloquence, and meanwhile also apply that talent and commitment, sometimes with small compromises, to a larger whole that proves greater than the sum of each part they contribute.

If we could each pursue that goal within ourselves, we and the world we live in might be that much happier and fulfilled. To listen to and act upon the truth that lies within us, express it with integrity, and then find a place to marry it with other admirable and complementary talents…to balance our own personal integrity with the needs of a community …to recognize that the best collective result is ALWAYS attained when each individual voice is given the room to be fully heard…to find a way to celebrate and elevate the individual and the collective, at one and the same time…the best companies and communities achieve this union, and they do so by hiring and nurturing the best people.

 

I’ve never been a great Salvador Dali fan, although I do appreciate his value as an artist. However, I saw something very compelling today that – while not altering my impression of his paintings – has changed my mind as to his work. I was privileged to attend a presentation by Roy Disney, introducing a short animated feature film, begun in 1946 as a collaboration between Messrs. Dali and Walt Disney. The collaboration never bore fruit until a few months ago, when the completed piece, 57 years in the making, was presented at select Film Festivals (just recently winning best animated Short at the Melbourne International Film Festival). It was shown tonight to members of the Producers Guild, who had been invited to attend a screening of Disney’s new Feature, Brother Bear (but more on that later).

The Dali/Disney Short was presented twice, with some comments in between by Mr. Disney. I’m glad for the second viewing, as I was able to really explore some of the more obscure “morphing” sections of the piece.

Fragments of the original unfinished film “Destino” along with story boards, sketches and an original score were painstakingly put together by a team assembled by Disney’s nephew Roy Disney after they were discovered in the studio’s vaults. The result was beautiful.

For more info, click on any of the following links:

This one…

…and this one even has video clips!

As to the “Main Event”, namely “Brother Bear”, it was another Disney home run. A beautifully told story, with lovingly textured traditional animation, and content that will be sure to make a parent proud to take their kid to the movies. It’s a story filled with ancient lore, Spirits, Shamans, Totem, animals that talk, and even a healthy tribute to Strange Brew, that cult fave Canadian export. I wonder if all that non-Christian content will get as roundly criticized as the Harry Potter books…

[update 11/26/2009: The final version of Destino can be found on YouTube, by entering the word “Destino” (strangely enough!) in the search box. I cannot embed the video here, however, as I believe it is an unauthorized posting]