Walt Disney knew and understood how to tell a good story.
He told stories that people would remember, talk about, and many of them became classics.
Walt wanted to do whatever it took to tell the story the best he possibly could.
The Davy Crockett production is one that is certainly a Disney classic. The story of Davy Crockett played well on the big screen as well as on television. It became a story that produced a hit song, sold merchandise, and made a sensation of star Fess Parker.
But the production was slow.
At one point the production was running three weeks behind schedule with another week to go. The director, Norman Foster was under tremendous pressure. He was trying to get it done well but at the same time was carrying the weight of costing the studio money and running way behind.
One day the word leaked out that Walt Disney was going to be visiting the set the following day.
Norman knew that the ax was getting ready to fall. He was a director who couldn’t get the project done and the boss was coming to fire him. It happened all the time and
he knew in some ways it was inevitable. The night before Disney’s visit he went around and told the actors and the crew goodbye. He knew that the following day
Walt would be there and introduce the new director to the cast.
As you might imagine the following day was high stress.
A level of anticipation charged every moment of the next morning.
Eventually a long black Cadillac was seen coming down the dusty road leading to the set. The word spread like wildfire that
Disney was here. Norman was busy setting up the last shots they would get in before lunch which were now destined to be the final shots he would be putting on film.
While whispers announced, “Walt’s here…” Norman carried on with his work.
Disney arrived, along with his wife, and a couple they were staying with on their visit. People greeted Walt and the cast and crew made their boss feel at home.
Norman ignored them and stayed busy with his work. Walt then approached and watched from a slight distance as Norman directed the set up of the scene, giving him room to
do what needed to be done.
Finally Walt walked up and stood next to him.
“Hello, Norm…” Walt said.
Norman turned and acted surprised as he smiled, “Oh, hello Walt”
The two men shook hands and Norman continued, “I heard you were coming.”
Walt nodded and looked around.
The lull in the conversation was awkward and uncomfortable so once again Norman spoke up to fill the void.
“How does the stuff look?” He was asking for Walt’s take on the film they had already shot and sent back for approval.
“OK,” said Walt, “Except for one thing.”
Uh-oh…Norman thought. This was it!
This was the moment that Walt was going to fire him. He braced for the moment and listened.
“You know that scene where Fess wrestles with the bear?” Walt paused. “I want you to retake that scene. The bear’s zipper was showing.”
Norman didn’t get fired.
Walt knew the footage looked good and he knew that they were making something very special.
He was willing to give the director time to get the story done and he wanted to actually add some production time to make the story
better (and get footage without the zipper)
It was about telling the story well…very well…and sometimes to do that he understood it would take time.
Your life and my life is a story in the making.
Sometimes we think it is taking too long to develop or we wish we could change direction because it isn’t moving fast
enough. Don’t get in a hurry and allow each moment of each day to be lived to the fullest. In doing so you are making sure that the story others are seeing
in you is a story worth watching…a story about someone who isn’t so busy trying to live life that they have quit living altogether.
You have a story to tell…tell it well.