Who’s Floyd Norman, you may ask? Well, watch this and learn about a man that has probably touched your life way more often than you know. He was also a trailblazer (though he didn’t even think about it), breaking the race barrier at Disney.
There is a lot of great history in this documentary, full of tidbits and context from within Disney and the industry. But this isn’t about a man struggling mightily against the system or to find himself. Norman has led a fairly charmed life, not one without effort, but a life he has always envisioned and followed. He did this to the point that when he was forcefully retired from Disney at age 65, he continued to show up and work because animation and creation are his life. What is clear is that Norman’s attitude is almost unflaggingly positive, which made even the challenging times just part of the tale, not walls to success or happiness.
The documentary actually has a sense of early Disney about it. It suggests it was all fairly simple and pleasant. But as the story continues, and particularly into the last third of the story, you can hear the bite and suggestion of issues. The subtlety of that direction won me over and Norman, his colleagues, and his family are all full of stories and bits of animation to help layout the tale.
As a complete side note, there is a wonderful moment where Steven R. Boyett finally gets the credit he’s due for Toy Story 2. Explaining that would take a longer blog and one that would diverge markedly from the purpose here, so I will leave that for your own research or others to explain. But a cheer was heard in my house during the freeze frame.