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Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson Hardcover – October 6, 2006
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"Sito's connections allowed him access to data and illustrations hard to come by, and he enriches the book with numerous anecdotes gleaned from conversations with top animators and his own 30-year animation experience. Recommended. All readers; all levels."―Choice
"[Sito's] marvelous book... provides a witty, passionate, radical insider's view of the American film industry that is indispensable reading for anyone interested in the cinema."―International Socialism
"The stories he tells are alternately heartbreaking and hilarious, infused with the irreverence that's always characterized this field. Anyone with more than a passing interest in the world of animation should consider this book a must-read."―Leonard Maltin
"Here is a unique perspective on the history of American animation, written by an artist and director who's also played a key role in his industry's labor movement. The stories he tells are alternately heartbreaking and hilarious... Anyone with more than a passing interest in the world of animation should consider this book a must-read."―LeonardMaltin.com
"Drawing the Line contains the best account yet of the 1941 Walt Disney strike, with documentation of the union side."―London Review of Books
"Contains the best account yet of the 1941 Walt Disney strike, with documentation of the union side."―London Review of Books
"Sito . . . crafts an appealing analysis of the heretofore undocumented tensions resulting from the production process of one of America's most enduring cultural media. Drawing the Line is a fine analysis of an intriguing aspect of the labour history made all the more so by the author's obvious passion for the subject and its actors. Thanks to the nature of the subject matter, the reader is treated to a plethora of rare and humorous cartoons and photos which give the narrative a real human dimension. Drawing the Line provides an invaluable point of entry for professional scholars who wish to further investigate the intriguing field of artistic unionism."―Paul Lawrie, University of Toronto
""Sito is at his best sorting through the issues arising from [the arrival of computers] given that in a sense all cinema is animation, the demarcation and jurisdictional lines between special effects, digital artists (no more inkers and painters), various managers and supervisors became very complex indeed.""―Rick Thompson, Screening the Past
"Drawing the Line provides an invaluable point of entry for professional scholars who wish to further investigate the intriguing field of artistic unionism."―Paul Lawrie, Labour/Le Travail
"Sito describes the history and fiery personalities behind the formation of the Screen Cartoonists Union, the strikes and walk-outs, the effects of Hollywood blacklisting, and the battles at the bargaining tables."―Man vs. Art
About the Author
Tom Sito is an animator, director, and adjunct professor in the television and cinema departments at the University of Southern California and at the University of California at Los Angeles. His screen credits include Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, and The Lion King. In 1998, Animation Magazine named him as one of the most important people in animation.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is not your typical film or animation history book.
Tom Sito's DRAWING THE LINE is essential reading for historians of the 20th century, for labor historians, for filmmakers, for animators, and for anyone who wants to read an outstanding piece of writing.
It has a cast of thousands: Mafiosi, musicians, politicians, inventors, movie stars, producers, and animated cartoonists who were also labor activists.
If you are in the animation or film business, or a labor union, this book will raise your eyebrows more than once. If you are none of the above but want to learn about these things from the artist/worker's perspective, this book will educate you while entertaining you. (Remember when animated films did that?)
DRAWING THE LINE fills a huge gap in the history of the American labor movement. It is valuable history and it is also a lot of fun to read.
I'm so glad that he has written his first. It's such a great read, I couldn't put it down. My wife had to take it away from me or I would have stayed up all night reading and been zonked at work.
I can't wait for the next one.
Sito has written an important story with panache, wit, and a unique insider's perspective, and has created a book that everyone interested in classic Hollywood and the Golden Age of animation must have.
Diane C. Donovan
Ah, but Tom Sito's book is a fantastically interesting read for anyone--
full of anecdotal stories that are at once informative and entertaining. Where else can you read about the day Walt Disney almost got into a fistfight with actor John Garfield?
Sito is a storyteller, and much of the book is don't in a storytelling style-- for example, in speaking of animation mogul Dave Fleischer, Sito says "At the Fleisher studio, when Dave Fleisher put his red light on outside his office,it meant he did not want to be disturbed. That meant either he was working, or, more likely, he was having sex with his secretary or listening to the racetrack calls on his big radio."
There's a serious side as well. Sito details the terrible working conditions in the early days-- strict dress codes, cramped working conditions, low pay. Yet there's also balance in the book. Sito is not trying to tear down anyone's reputation. People like Walt Disney were human, nothing more, nothing less-- and they are also products of their time. Disney was sometimes generous and caring to employees, but he also was a perfectionist who demanded-- and usually got-- 1000 per cent from his workers. A driven individual, he was also a hard-headed businessman who feared unionism would disrupt profits. Sito's book makes it clear that Disney was not the affable Uncle Walt of legend, nor was he a cold-blooded studio tyrant. He was simply a gifted producer with human faults, just like the rest of us.
What makes the book so good? First, Sito is a writer with a passion for history, and as an animator he has an insider's feel for the subject. Sito himself has an impressive resume, including work on picures like Disney's Beauty and the Beast--he was heavily involved in the "Gaston tavern" sequence, for example.
Though union membership is in decline, in the 30s unions did make the workers' lives better. Sito certainly shows this as he details the struggles of the animation unions. The book is great on so many levels-- history, perod detail, entertaining stories. HIGHLY recommended.