Hans Perk has posted the animation draft to Disney’s 1932 film ‘Mickey’s Nightmare’. If you are into animation and haven’t taken a little time to look through Han’s site you are missing out on some great information. ( http://afilmla.blogspot.com )
As a means of studying this classic film, I converted the draft into a spreadsheet and have it shared online for those interested (Note: You can save Google Docs out to pdf files for easy reference): The Draft converted into a Google Docs spreadsheet
Looking through some of the information we see:
9 Primary Animators worked on the film (unknown number of assistants)
10004 frames were drawn/created for the film. That is 625-4 feet of animation at 16 frames per second for a running time of 06:25:04 (6 minutes, 25 seconds and 4 frames). Add approx. 28 seconds for the title cards/intro and 10 seconds for the end of the film and we have about 7 minutes 30 seconds for the whole film.
The draft is dated 20 Apr 1932 and the film was released 13 Aug 1932 for a 115 day turnaround time if the math is to be believed. At a rough guess that works out to about 3 months of production time for the animators.
Let’s see how the math keeps holding up (some checking has already allowed me to correct myself in a few particulars (for instance, I originally thought there were only eight animators assigned to this draft):
(Disclaimer: Hans likes to remind us that just because a draft says a particular animator is listed in the draft does not mean they actually were the one that animated the scene)
1 Ben (Total) 1350 Frames 84.4 Seconds
2 Cannon (Total) 452 Frames 28.3 Seconds
3 Dave (Total) 2536 Frames 158.5 Seconds
4 Fergy (Total) 2366 Frames 147.9 Seconds
5 Frenchy (Total) 352 Frames 22.0 Seconds
6 Hardy (Total) 384 Frames 24.0 Seconds
7 King (Total) 305 Frames 19.1 Seconds
8 Les (Total) 1596 Frames 99.8 Seconds
9 Tom (Total) 663 Frames 41.4 Seconds
According to Hans those animators are: Norm Ferguson, Jack King, Tom Palmer, Johnny Cannon, Gilles Armand “Frenchy” de Trémaudan, Ben Sharpsteen, Les Clark, Hardy Gramatky and Dave Hand.
(Approx.) Total Runnnig Time: 625.25
That validates with our time from before so I’d say we are on the nose. I’ll stretch a little and suggest that the .25 is 25% of 16 frames which will match our previous total of 6 minutes, 25 seconds and 4 frames exactly.
A little reading in between the lines and guesswork:
Now there are some things that I’m still curious about in this draft. Apparently there were 4 scene added and 5 scenes not utilized in the draft. They are:
Scene 2 There are two scene 2s listed in the draft:
2 Fergy 295 18-7 Pluto gets in bed.
2 King 305 19-1 Mickey kisses Minnies’ picture – goes to sleep
I’m going to guess this scene was collaborated on or refined later to show Mickey’s affection for Minnie because without it the film loses an important (romantic) affect.
3 Fergy 64 4- Pluto hears Mickey snore – exits.
3A Fergy 272 17- Pluto sneaks into bed with Mickey.
3A was apparently added to demonstrate affection between Pluto and Mickey and set up the next scene.
4 Fergy 246 15-6 C.U. Pluto licks Mickey’s face – Mickey Dreams
4A Fergy 98 6-2 Wedding bells.
This scene provides the transition into the dream/nightmare in a very economical six additional seconds.
(Scenes 18-21 are not indicated in the draft)
In between pages 2 and 3 of the draft there are four scene missing but they apparently were dropped as the pages themselves are sequential even without them and the story flows from scene to scene.
(Scene 25 is skipped over in the draft)
29 Ben 72 4-8 Kids throw knives
29A Ben 150 9-6 Knives landing around Mickey
By way of speculation I’d say a decision was made regarding how the knives were going to play out in the scene. Pure speculation… they needed to make sure the audience wasn’t left guessing about where the knives ended up that Mickey wasn’t really in danger(!) Sure, why not.
I have some other screen grabs of some artwork etc. from the film and if anyone is interested I can be easily convinced to post them. Just put in a request in the comments.
All in all a very fun study and I’ve just begun to scratch the surface of this film.
Many thanks to Hans Perk for the posting the draft. He is performing a great service for everyone interested in animation. His blog again: http://afilmla.blogspot.com