Sunday, May 11, 2014

Making Walt Cry

Although current theories lack harmony regarding the purpose and function of crying, they agree that it comes in response to strong emotions. Scientists have even discovered that tears produced during emotional crying have a different chemical composition from other types of tears. I think you can tell a lot about a person based on what can make them cry.

Throughout his life, Walt had an expressive nature and great empathy for children. He had an attraction to the theater at an early age and developed vivid storytelling as a key element of both his personality and his craft.  Although very little has been written about what could move him to tears, what has been written is revealing;

Disney assigned bothers Richard and Robert Sherman to develop the songs for Mary Poppins. Over the course of two weeks they sketched out five pieces, but the one Walt liked the most was "Feed the Birds".  He said it would replace Brahm's Lullaby and cried every time he heard it. Another soft spot were his daughters. He cried at both of their weddings.

Coming from the generation that he did, it's significant that Walt Disney was so comfortable with emotions. He clearly understood the importance of emotional content in everything he did.

Explaining what made Disney's works different from everyone else's Walt said:

"The thing that makes us different is... Giving it "heart"...  We developed a psychological approach to everything we do here. We seem to know how to "tap the heart." Others have hit the intellect. We can hit them in an emotional way. Those who appeal to the intellect only appeal to a very limited group."

It's Mother's Day.  Give your mom a hug.

There were two other things which could bring Walt to tears; Fear of Failure and America, Abraham Lincoln in particular.

During the difficult period which led up to his first breakdown, unexpected setbacks could trigger crying spells. Clearly,  the pressures of operating with limited support and the possibility of failure were a source of deep distress.

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