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Title: "Disney is the Tiffany’s and I am the Woolworth's of the business": A critical re-analysis of the business philosophies, production values and studio practices of animator-producer Paul Houlton Terry
Authors: Hamonic, Wynn
Advisors: Ward, P
Keywords: Animation (Cinematography);Terry, Paul, 1887-1971;Motion Pictures (Production and Direction);Animated films;Economics
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Brunel University School of Arts PhD Theses
Abstract: Animator-producer Paul Houlton Terry has been portrayed as having little passion for the animation he produced and being more concerned with making a profit than producing entertaining cartoons with high production values. The purpose of the dissertation is to re-evaluate Terry‘s legacy to animated cartooning by analyzing his business philosophies, production values, and studio practices. Application of four psychodynamic factors to the early life and career of Terry, 1887-1929, found that his economic decision making was characterized by: an external locus of control, risk-averse financial behaviour, extreme saving behaviour through precaution, and shrewd money management practices. Based on Terry‘s historical responses to twelve major economic, technological, or institutional forces of change for the period 1929-1955, the psychodynamic factors were found to provide accurate explanations for his studio practices and production decisions. There was no evidence to support the conclusion that three early career disappointments undermined Terry‘s intrinsic motivation to create animated cartoons. Rather, Terry‘s lack of risk taking, external locus of control, tight studio production schedule, desire to compete with neighbour studio Fleischer, difficulty in separating financial rewards from creative processes in animation, and practice of undertaking surveillance measures on staff may have undermined his and his studio‘s creativity. Archival research found Terry to possess strong passions for and to have made significant creative contributions to the field of animation. Biographical research found that Terry retained a stable nucleus of highly talented artists who dedicated a significant portion of their working careers to the studio. An analysis of the cel aesthetics of a random sample of animated cartoons produced during the years 1930-1955 found that Terry created animated cartoons with above average cel aesthetics when compared to the other studios thereby supporting an inference that Terry was motivated to producing quality crafted animation. Further research is suggested into the role psychodynamic factors and economic decision-making play in the film production process and a clarification of Terry‘s legacy to the field of animated cartoons.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Dept of Arts and Humanities Theses

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