When Your Dream is Dying, Remember Disney

The year is 1938. “Disney’s Folly,” is the newspaper headline. Walt is wanting to make a full color & sound animation. Feature length!? That’s unheard of. His wife and his brother / business partner try to talk him out of it. Industry colleagues criticize him. It would seem for good reason too, as he already ran his previous company into bankruptcy. Then he lost his character concepts to a penny-pinching producer, with most of his animators siding with the producer.

As production is underway for his new film, it begins to rack up over a million dollars debt for something that Disney first estimated would cost $250,000. He mortgages his house to help fund the film.

The time finally arrives to release “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” The critics are raving. People are singing his praises as if they were backing him from the start.

Today, we are still watching and celebrating this classic Disney film. It grossed $7.8m in its first release, and it made over $100m in subsequent film sales aside from merchandise.

It’s easy to be an armchair critic. It’s harder to believe in someone else’s dream when we can’t see it. It’s harder again to push through multiple failures, criticism and indifference when you have a dream. Even today Disney is criticized with a range of curious and generally unfounded attacks. But the proof is in the pudding.

An overnight success is forged through countless setbacks.

Dream. Dream big.

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