Disclosure- I went on an all expense paid trip on behalf of Disney to cover the Blu-ray release of Tomorrowland and Aladdin as well as Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary. All opinions are my own.
There is so much I want to say about the time 24 other bloggers and I got to spend with the talented Disney Animator, Eric Goldberg, who was the chief animator of the Genie from the classic Disney movie, Aladdin. Aladdin is one of my favorite Disney movies so I am so excited that it will be out of the Disney vault on a special Diamond Edition on October 13th. Listening to Eric tell us about working with the late Robin Williams on the Genie character was like having Robin Williams right in the room with us. The world lost an amazing talent when Robin Williams passed away so it was an honor to have the chance to listen to Eric Goldberg tell us all about his experiences working with Robin on Aladdin.
These are the top 10 things I learned from Eric Goldberg:
1. GOOD characters in Aladdin are colored in shades of blue, BAD characters are in shades of red and other dark colors.
2. Eric Goldberg took influence from Al Hershfeld when drawing the Genie. He used lots of curvy lines. Eric asked Al Hershfeld to come in and was originally turned down. Months later Al Hershfeld came to a screening of Aladdin and he loved it. He even commented that it “All looks like it was drawn by one hand”. It was so exciting for Eric for his idol to like his work so much.
4. When Eric found out he’d be drawing the Genie for Aladdin he was so excited that he locked himself out of his rental car.
5. Robin Williams gave lots of material for the artist to work with- OVER 16 HOURS! He did lots of improvisation. On the Diamond Edition you can see some of these improv sessions as “The Genie’s Outtakes”.
6. Robin Williams cracked himself up between takes…..and everyone else. Eric sat in on the beginning of one of the sessions with Robin and his sides hurt from holding in the laughter. When Robin finally took a break Eric had to go behind the glass so he could watch and laugh out loud without being heard on the recordings.
7. Robin Williams was also the voice of the narrator in the beginning of the movie. He used a prop box to use during the beginning scene and improved a lot.
8. Eric Goldberg’s advice to anyone wanting to be a narrator is to learn to observe. See how people move. Figure out unique ways to present characters.
9. Eric Goldberg said he never stops learning. If he ever did he’d hang up his pencil. He always challenges himself for each character.
10. Eric said he is connected to all the characters he has worked on but the Genie has a special place in his heart because Aladdin was his first Disney film. His favorite scene is the Genie dancing in top hat and tails.
BONUS- Eric can see a little of himself in the Genie and like Robin Williams he also likes to do voices. He does some voice over work in addition to animation. His brother taught him how to draw Woody Woodpecker as a child and that started his love of drawing. He got is start animating by making flip books as a child. He wrote a book that includes 200 drawings of every Disney character. You can purchase Eric’s book, An Animator’s Gallery: Eric Goldberg Draws the Disney Characters (Disney Editions Deluxe). He also wrote Character Animation Crash Course!
Photo credit- Character Animation Crash Course!
We had the honor of being taught how to draw the Genie by Eric. I think I did pretty good. The drawing on top is his and mine is the one on the bottom.
I was just given the ok to share some of my video from meeting with Eric Goldberg. I will be adding the video clips this weekend. Bookmark this post and check back. YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS THIS!!!!