Wizard World Nashville – Interview with Tom Bancroft

Tom BancroftDuring Wizard World Nashville this weekend, I had the opportunity to sit down with legendary animator Tom Bancroft. We reminisced about his long and storied career at Disney, talked about his love for traditional hand-drawn animation, and discussed what he’s been working on recently.

Outright Geekery: Are you still doing any hand-drawn animation?

Tom Bancroft: I use to do hand-drawn animation, not as much as now.

OG: A big story out now is about Jamie Lopez’s Hullaboola, have you heard about it?

TB: Yes, I know Jamie Lopez and I back Hullaboola.

OG: Really! Awesome.

TB: We just interviewed Jamie Lopez for our podcast. I have a twin brother who also worked at Disney and we have a podcast called The Bancroft Brothers Animation Podcast and just Friday our podcast went up with our interview of Jamie Lopez.

OG: Do you think Hullaboola actually will help revive hand-drawn animation or bring it to a new generation?

TB: I think it’s asking a lot from an animated short from one person. Will it help, yes. It’s certainly not going to hurt anything to get it out there to the public. There are people that are hearing “oh wait, hand- drawn isn’t being done anymore”. There’s a lot of people that don’t know that story. So yeah, him bringing it to the forefront, let’s bring it back and this is one way we’re going to do it is a bold statement. It’s very smart of him to sell it that way. Because is it. There’s no way they’re going to say it isn’t going to help. In a way, he’s doing it.

OG: What projects have you worked on?

Tom Bancroft 2TB: I worked at Disney for 11 years: Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tarzan, Brother Bear to name a few. There’s a couple more like the Rescuers Down Under.

OG: A lot of the good stuff.

TB: Most of the good era, yeah.

OG: Did you work on Lilo and Stitch?

TB: I actually left Disney in 2000 to go follow my heart with Big Idea Productions. They do Veggie Tales. I was there a couple of years working on projects, so I missed Lilo and Stitch. It’s a good movie.

OG: What are you currently working on?

TB: Currently, I’m head of character design for CBN (Christian Broadcast Network). We’re doing a show, a Biblically-based show, called Superbook. I design the characters for that series. We’re currently on our third season. So I design guys with beards. Jewish guys with beards. It has been fun, the challenge is the historic accuracy. It’s very different, it’s stylized. It has a semi-Anime style to it. That’s what fun about it, the drawing sampling. It’s going worldwide.

OG: Are people able to find it online or exclusively on CBN?

TB: It sometimes shows up on Disney Family; they have airtime on Disney Family. During the 7– Club, sometimes they’ll put it on instead of that. The best way to find it is to go to the CBN website, you’ll find Superbook there. You can donate monthly and I think they’ll send it to you streaming.

I, again, want to thank Tom for the interview. It was a pleasure to meet him, his friend, Andrew, and hope they enjoy the rest of their time at the Nashville Comic-Con.

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