Guess Who’s Here?
by Samantha

graphic by Kathryn

Guess who’s here? You’re going to need some clues to figure it out, so I guess I’ll just tell you- Mickey Mouse and friends. Well, they are not actually here, but someone this reporter interviewed works at Disney. His name is Robert Kanner. Also, this person who works at Disney is Mrs. Mayer's cousin. Isn’t that cool? He lives in California and I e-mailed him questions and he e-mailed me back the answers and here they are:

Q: Do you enjoy working at Disney?
A: Yes, I love what I do but sometimes it’s hard working in a very big company.
Q: How long have you been working at Disney?
A: Almost 6 years now.
Q: Do you like the people you work with?
A: I’m lucky that I like most of the people I work with. However, as in most businesses, you can’t like everyone, but as long as you are professional you try to keep your likes and dislikes to yourself.
Q: When did you first start wanting to work at Disney?
A: Working at Disney was not my goal in life. I was an actor for some years, then wrote and produced a few projects, and then after working at a number of studios like MGM, Columbia-Tristar, and Warners, I kind of fell into this line of work.
Q: What do you do at Disney?
A: I am in film and home video acquisitions. Acquisitions is an exciting department to work in because I actually get paid to watch the movies! My area of focus is family films and children’s properties. I go to various international markets, film festivals, and local film screenings and try to find movies and/or children’s shows that can fit with Disney’s business. We are what you call a Distributor of Entertainment. That means we market films and TV (both live action movies and animation) all over the world. Sometimes we buy a movie for just the United States,sometimes we “acquire the rights” for the entire world or sometimes just for a few countries.
Q: Are you working on a movie now?
A: I just bought a wonderful film called, Summer Of The Monkeys. It is based on a book written by Wilson Rawls. He also wrote Where The Red Fern Grows. Have you read that book? We bought the film for the United States and it will be a direct to video movie and will be released in December of this year. Also, we bought the movie for Australia, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. I am very excited to bring it to an audience so that everyone can see it.
Q: Are you excited that Anastasia is on video?
A: It’s interesting that you asked this question. Anastasia is not a Disney movie!! It was made by 20th Century Fox. It looks and sounds like a Disney movie and has all the elements that make a great animated movie. The reason is that now many big Hollywood studios are making animated movies like Disney does. Anastasia made $50 million dollars in the movie theaters. That’s a lot of money for a studio other than Disney. It’s also interesting because many people around the country just assumed it was Disney because it “felt” like Disney movie. But, alas, it was not. It is a good thing that another studio has produced a quality animated feature film...it revitalizes the animation business and lets the public know that there are other production studios that can make these films as well.
Q: What was your favorite Disney movie since you’ve been working at Disney?
A: I loved the Lion King.
Q: What was your favorite Disney movie when you were a child?
A: Funny, but I was more of a Loony Toons fan (from Warner Bros. Studios) than Disney, but I think it was Bambi.
Q: What movies have you worked on so far?
A: Actually, much of what I do is the early stages of movie making....I usually read the scripts and follow or track the movie until it is made...any movie that’s called Disney or Touchstone Pictures or Hollywood Pictures, (these are various names that mean the picture is coming out of the Walt Disney Studios) I work on in one form or another).
Q: Are you planing on making another video game like when Disney made the Lion King and Aladdin?
A: Yes, that department is called Disney Interactive and they will be producing more video games based on upcoming animated feature films like Mulan and Tarzan. But I do not work with this department.
Q: Do you like watching Disney movies?
A: Sometimes, but not always
Q: Where is your office?
A: My office is in Burbank, California and it is on the Disney studio lot. When I look out my window I can see the mountains.
Q: Are there any other Disney offices in other countries?
A: We have Disney offices in about 70 countries...all over the world. Most of these offices handle distribution, or in other words, take films or projects made here and make sure that they get into the the theaters or on home video.
Q: Do you usually get up early in the morning to go to work?
A: I usually get to work at 8 a.m. and work till 6 p.m.
Q: What is a typical day like for you?
A: My day varies greatly. Some days I arrive at work and have to watch a movie. Sometimes I have to go screenings (this is another word for watching a film that is not in the theater yet). We have our own big screen movie theaters in our building and you get to tell the projectionist when to start the film and if you don’t like it you can even tell him to stop it or just watch the last 15 minutes of the movie to see how it ends! The hardest part of my job is convincing people in the company that they can make money from the movie. If you have an opinion you have to stick with it...sometimes people don’t like what I like...and that is the risk and the hard part.
Q: What type of movies do you work with?
A: Family films, both live-action and animated.
Q: Do you collect Disney products?
A: Not really, although I get a lot of promotional stuff and usually give it away to people who like to collect it. I do have a whole wall in my home with framed Disney cells from all the animated movies. It’s pretty cool.
Q: Have you ever been to Disney World or Disneyland?
A: Yes, I even get a pass (called a Silver Pass) that lets me and three guests into Disneyland and Disney World, Disney Paris or even the one in Tokyo for FREE any day of the year!
Q: Do you go to Disneyland a lot because Disney Land is in California?
A: No, not very often. Sometimes when people visit me I take them, but maybe I go once a year.
Q: How’s Hannah, your dog?
A: This is the best question...she is so much fun. Hannah, a golden retriever, is seven months old now. Golden retrievers are very happy, excitable puppies and take a lot of patience to train. She is very loving and loves to run and play ball. As much as I love my job, the best part of my day is going home to see Hannah!!

Well, those were all the questions and all the answers. Maybe one day you might want to work at Disney like Mr. Kanner, after hearing about all the fun things you can do!

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