Friday, March 12, 2010

What writers can learn from Disney

Yesterday, the company I work for sent me to a training seminar presented by the Disney Institute. The instructors spoke about how Disney does business and how to apply their concepts of leadership and customer service to your own organization. I found that some of the lessons could be applied to my life as a writer.

* Details matter. Disney is all about the details. Their movies are full of tiny references to other Disney movies that most people will never notice. They showed a clip from Wall-E and pointed out some of these hidden references. Not only does it create a buzz from those who have noticed or heard about some of these things, but it adds a lot of depth to every scene. As a writer, this reinforces the importance of research. Every reader won't notice a lot of details that your research adds to the story, but some will and it will enhance the experience for them. Also, it reminds me to always strive to keep my characters, setting and plot from being one dimensional.

* Surround yourself with good people. Corporate culture is a big deal at Disney. When hiring, they focus less on a specific skill set and more on whether or not a person will fit into their corporate culture. I think it's also important what kind of support system we create for ourselves as writers. Do we have mentors, critique partners, agents or editors who support our dreams and goals of writing? Organizations like ACFW give us an opportunity to network with others with a shared passion and vision.

And, of course, Disney is all about storytelling that connects to people's emotions. What is your favorite Disney movie?


  1. I'm old, so I prefer the older Disney movies to the newer ones. My favorite is "Sleeping Beauty" I love the medieval stylized animations. It was also the first feature that used painting on glass panels to create depth.

  2. Has to be Beauty and the Beast. It came out when I was in college and went to it several times at the $1.50 theater

  3. Those are great ones! I agree that the older movies are the best. I love Cinderella.