What is your name and your current occupation?
Screenwriter Author Producer Actor Michael Chase Walker, I’m just finishing 2 children’s books with my collaborator UK artist illustrator Jason James and currently producing, writing, and/ or developing three feature films for a major animation studio.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I studied Eastern philosophy and Sanskrit literature’s for 6 years in India and abroad. I also lived, studied and traveled with Dr. Timothy Leary for 3 years.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
The Last Unicorn, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Galaxy High School ( movies and television) Teen Wolf, After Man, The Court Jester. 003 1/2 The Adventures of James Bond Jr. and CBS Entertainment.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Manhattan born and raised. I got into the animation business after a chance meeting with George Harrison and Ravi Shankar at a screening of The Ramayana in downtown Bombay in 1974.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I answer my emails, read the news, scan the trades and Studio Systems report and then write, write and write until I break for jogging, dinner and play in the evening.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Getting paid. It’s a great way to pay for food.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I love pin-pointing specific cultural trends and acquiring literary properties, negotiating for the film rights, developing the story, selling the project and writing the screenplay or supervising the writing with a screenwriter I really like.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis, how has technology changed in the last few years in your field and how has that impacted you in your job?
Mainly, the internet — it accelerates the whole process i.e. isolating and identifying graphics and literary trends. Contacting the author and agent and jump into development. Now, if we could only hasten the lawyers and the contracts we’d be in heaven.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Dealing with wannabes and corporate-sanctioned safe-players and second guessers. Folks who think they know the film business because they watched TV in the 90’s.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Many, I’ve met them all: Jack Zander, Frank Price, Preston Blair at Disney, Lou Scheimer, Ralph Bakshi, Jon Kricfalucci, Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, Friz Freleng, Joe Ruby, Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr. Martin Starger, Lord Lew Grade, Jim Henson, Paul Reubens, Maurice Sendak, and many many more.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
A life in animation is a perpetual tough situation. Paying the equivalent of $200,000 to acquire the motion picture rights to The Last Unicorn when even Disney was getting out of the animation business.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I am a lifetime aficionad of Comparative religion, world mythology Eastern philosophy and Western Mystery School traditions, I am a Certified Instructor/Education of Tantra Yoga.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Start at the top: Don’t wait to be discovered. Take the risk, make your mark and bring Hollywood to your doorstop and not wait for them to discover you.