Friday, March 12, 2010


I am honored to have worked with every character in this image
At the behest and downright good natured pushing of some close friends who I know mean well, I am embarking down this road know as blogging. I'm going to be posting personal photos from my time at Disney Studios along with stories of those wonderful days that although now gone will fondly be remembered by those of us who were there and possibly by the curious who are looking for a peek inside yesteryear when the pixie dust was created by hand and heart. I will also include memories of my stints with Warner Brothers, Don Bluth and MGM Studios.

As Isaac Newton once remarked,"If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." That phrase more than any other comes to mind when realizing how fortunate we are to have worked with talented veterans of the animation business. I will always owe what career I may have to enjoy to the generosity of so many kind and wildly talented artists. Those "Giants" were the foundation or "shoulders" for so many of us that gained opportunities in the 1960's through the 1970's. I hope I can help some new faces out there get to know those people just a little better and maybe hoist them up on those very same shoulders as they traverse their own path. I have been invited to join the Disney Fine Arts program and part of my proceeds from sales will go towards Epilepsy research.

I invite old colleagues and new acquaintances to come aboard and share artwork, photos and tales of a time gone by.

Disney Fine Art announces latest works from Disney Art Director Mike Peraza


  1. When you were working on the climax for Bazil, was "The castle of cagliostro" required viewing for you??

    Also, how did you guys become aware of Miyazaki movies in the 80's? film festivals, i'm assuming?

  2. Hi AJ,

    Actually the script stopped with Basil fighting Ratigan on the face of Big Ben. They were never supposed to go inside. I got the idea to have the confrontation take place inside with the gears after seeing Miyazaki's Castle of Cagliostro. A good friend of mind, Paro Hazumi, had been a key background painter for Miyazaki and gave me copies of his films and storyboards. I put together a concept that was to use the emerging new medium of computer graphics to do it but it was turned down, "not something that would fit in a Disney Animated film." When Roy DIsney came into my room one day for a visit with Micahel Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg, he saw my color sketches and models for that sequence and remarked, "Glad to see we're putting some computer images into the mix." After he left, the producer gave me the go ahead to put it into production.

    My wife and I traveled to London to gather visual reference for the film. The studio contacted Eva Redfern at our London office and she went to the Resident Engineer at the House of Parliament to get us the permission to go up into Big Ben to take pictures and video. It was the first time in many years that they allowed "civilians" into the tower.

  3. ooooooooooooooooooooh, so YOUR the reason, the why there's a cagliostro influence in the film!

    More than likely, you probably made John Musker and everybody on staff aware of Miyazaki.

    I was at the Miyazaki panel in Beverly hills last July, and if I heard John Lassater right, he said that he visited the studio in 1985. I'm not sure if that was the year, but he was probably aware of Miyazaki sence the early 80's.

    But would I be too far off in guessing your the reason why alot of the production team after that film was aware of miyazaki?

    WOw! so you went inside Big Ben? Your so lucky. YEah, the only glimps that most of the kids from my generation know about the inside of Big Ben was from a scooby doo episode, where he had to solve "the mystery of the crown jewels" and at the same time dodge the night goul inside of Big Ben. Alot of hilarity ensured because of all the gears :(

    Speaking of influence, but perhaps your idea was also the reason why there was clock tower fight scene at the end of Dick Tracy and And Shanghai nights. Then again, I think the Dick Tracy ending took place in a gear room.

  4. Actually I can't take credit for influencing anybody about Miyazaki at the studio outside of a few close friends but there were definitely some fans of his work before John Lasseter had his film showing and I was one. A small group of us were really into comics and anime and were amassing a collection of his books and tapes. We used to hit American Comics, Forbidden Planet and Books Nippon in those days about once a week at lunch. I had never seen his work on a big screen until the Lasseter screening which was mind blowing. John did bring a HUGE awareness to many in the studio that weren't familiar with Hayao's incredible work and to John's further credit he has continued to do that on a worldwide scale with the Disney distribution of his films.

    I did make John Musker aware of the idea of going THROUGH the face of Big Ben and into the gears and he was 100% supportive from the beginning. He and Ron are the kind of directors that will push you to think outside the box and then still support you when you come up with something unusual as long as it is furthering the storyline. I actually had two sections with computer graphics planned, one was the clock tower and the other was in the toyshop.

  5. Hi, Mike,

    Glad to see you are blogging . This should be fascinating. Putting you in my Bookmarks .


  6. Hi David, thanks for coming aboard. Hope you enjoy the ride.