Important Lessons From Douglas Adams’ Letter To A Disney Executive

On Tuesday, Letters of Note featured a letter from Douglas Adams to Disney executive David Vogel concerning Adams’ attempt to get his book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy onto celluloid. While it isn’t related to animation, the letter does bring up some important points regarding communication between parties involved in a project.

Writes Adams:

….I don’t know if I’m right in thinking this, but I only have silence to go on, which is always a poor source of information. It seems to me that we can either slip into the traditional stereotypes — you’re the studio executive who has a million real-world problems to worry about, and I’m the writer who only cares about seeing his vision realised and hang the cost and consequences — or we can recognise that we both share the same goal, which is to make the most successful movie we possibly can.

How are your communication skills? Mine can always use a tune-up and it’s likely that yours do too. Collaborating on a project with a large number of people can result in problems and delays that might well be caused by poor communication.

Just something to ponder as you go about your work today 🙂


Have A Free Minute Today? Go read Letters Of Note.

If you have some free time today (and it’s Friday so no excuses) you should head on over to Letters Of Note. It’s a fascinating site that posts letters sent in reply from famous people. The letter above comes from Richard Williams (who wrote The Animator’s Survival Kit) and mentions how important it was during the production of Who Framed Roger Rabbit that the animated characters eyes were looking directly at the human at all times.

Amongst all the letters is the animation category, which features letters from Walt Disney, John K, Ward Kimabll and so on. Some of the them are from kids asking questions, others such as the famous one from John K. deal with animating skills. Yet others are office memos sent around the studio.

They are all well worth the small amount of time you spend reading them, if not for the advice or historical aspect if for the sheer joy alone of reading them.

On a related note is the Letterheady Tumblelog, which features famous letterheads. There are only a few based on a search for “animation” although that does not preclude more being included under different categories. It’s another great site which I recommend you check out as well.

Below is the letterhead for Chuck Jones.