Monday, November 29, 2010

Disney's Vision A Little Tangled Right Now

Last week Disney announced that Tangled (quote) "will be the last fairy tale produced by Disney's animation group for the foreseeable future."

 In other news, (quote) “Tangled” Becomes Disney’s Biggest Animated Opening EVER!"

  Um, hang on a second.  
(sound of giant record scratching to a halt) 
What was that again?

Yes - you read it right (quotes are linked to sources if you'd like to read more). After announcing Disney is "closing the book on fairy tales" (to quote an LA Times headline) their own latest fairy tale effort, Tangled (a retelling of the Grimm's fairy tale Rapunzel) broke all animation box office records (including Pixar's) with their unexpectedly (obviously) giant pre-Thanksgiving opening. Um, yeah...

Women in Hollywood had their own things to say about Disney's swearing-off on fairy tales, though their concern is more about the lack of female-centric films in animation altogether. If you haven't heard, Pixar's first fairy tale film "Brave" (previously titled "The Bear & the Bow",  created and directed - until very recently anyway - by Brenda Chapman) has had a huge amount of controversy for replacing Ms. Chapman. (Look at the number of comments on that exclusive post, let alone what they have to say.) There are many reasons for the outcry, some of which I agree with, but my biggest regret is that the first female-centric-which-also-happened-to-be-a-fairy-tale film by Pixar that was to shake up the girl-needs-boy-for-happiness formula so prevalent in fairy tale movies, is very likely to lose that precious and unique focus. Now that Tangled is looking at success not only in the box office arena but as a serious contender for this years Oscar (only 3 can run this year), how will that affect a) Pixar's Brave and b) the new 'no more fairy tales' policy by Disney Feature Animation?

Something tells me there are a few knots in the company hair that need to be untangled before we can get a straight and solid answer.

For now:   
Long live the fairy tale!


I've been wanting to do an update for a while and know many people are sad the blog is no longer being updated, wondering what happened and did I really get sucked into an abyss somewhere. The answer to the last question is "sort of".

For any who followed the blog regularly you'll know 2010 has been a rough year for me and my family. We've lost jobs, house, had financial issues, health issues (which turned out to be minor, thank goodness!) and problem after problem with computers and other supposedly-necessary equipment, just to keep the pressure on.

Things are not resolved. We're not quite back on our feet and breathing easy yet but we are all together, safe and healthy. I have been offline almost completely for many months this year and no longer have a computer of my own, which makes it very hard to keep up with anything let alone have some sort of online presence and input (especially daily). I do not know when/if I will be able to 'fix' this and currently rely on borrowing a machine and access to do anything online, so I've tossed and turned over what to do.

Here's my decision:

Daily blogging is out of the question for now and the foreseeable future. I hadn't originally planned to blog every day but it happened that way naturally. The problem is now that the expectation is for a daily (at least!) post (a large part of that pressure is from myself, I know) and I simply can't do that.


I've decided I'm keeping the blog going.

I won't be able to do it daily, or even guarantee something every week at this point, but I will post small snippets when the opportunity allows. I'll try not to worry that I'm missing all the good stuff or that I'm letting everybody down. I'll try to be content with my small offerings because I'd rather be a small part of all this than not at all.

I miss the fairy tale community. I miss sharing. I miss touching base with all the tales I know and discovering new variations. Fairy tales inform my life, my creativity and help me cope in my day-to-day with the truths of the stories.

One thing I have achieved is I have managed to run an online urban fantasy chat for writers and readers on Twitter (known as #UFchat) for the last few months. Even when my computer breathed its last and I could no longer check in with the community there I realized people were hungry for discussing the tales, in all their modern guises, and, prompted by the response, found 'work-arounds', both by borrowing machines and access and by allowing people to pitch in and help. It's been tough to keep up. I've had to cancel at embarrassingly short notice more than once but it's happening. You see, urban fantasy has much in common with fairy tales - in many ways it's the modern equivalent - and working on that has brought home to me again how important the tales are. It's also reminded me that there's a reason Once Upon A Blog is important to continue, if I possibly can, both for me and for others.

So I'm going to start posting again at Once Upon A Blog - just here and there and very randomly. I'm going to take it slow and steady, one post at a time, and enjoy whatever wonders of the wood I glimpse along the way. I have faith that things will get better but I'm not waiting any longer till everything is 'better'. If there's anything this year has taught me, it's what's important - family and health are the big ones. Fairy tales are another.

Thank you to those who have sent emails of encouragement and support - I haven't been able to read many of them until recently and won't be able to reply individually at this time, but please know each one has meant so much to me and my family. I thank you for news of fairy tales and various projects and again regret I'm not able to follow through on them all, though I will when I can from now on.

Thank you for your patience, for your enthusiasm for Once Upon A Blog and for loving fairy tales. You've been a greater gift to me and mine than you can know.


NOTE: The lovely images are by French artist Kris Soft, whose website/blog you can find HERE. While Kris Soft does sculpt paper dolls in some of the usual fairy tale subjects (Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood and more) you'll discover an instant fairy tale sympatico in her many unusual and unique characters. They are both evocative of fairy tales and full of feeling, capturing perfectly many of the sentiments I and my family have had over the past many months. Do go browse her blog! I believe you have to contact her directly if you'd like to order any sculptures or prints.