I was born in Astoria, Queens and raised in Massapequa on the south shore of New York’s Long Island. At Massapequa High School, I focused my attention on art and was fortunate to have a great art teacher who helped to develop my talents. After graduating with a Regents diploma, I enrolled in the Advertising Art program at the State University of New York at Farmingdale. It was there, while taking a T.V. graphics class, that I created my first piece of animation. At about the same time, a friend handed me an article from the New York Times about Disney training the next generation of animators at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Los Angeles. I applied and after being accepted, I headed west to attend the Character Animation program at CalArts.
Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, I began my career in animation eventually being hired by the famed Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, California. Starting in the entry level position of inbetweener in the special effects department on The Black Cauldron and rising quickly to an effects animator on The Great Mouse Detective, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Oliver & Company, Tummy Trouble, The Little Mermaid, Roller Coaster Rabbit, and The Rescuers Down Under. I was promoted to supervising effects animator on Beauty and the Beast and continued doing effects animation on Aladdin, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Runaway Brain, with additional effects supervision on The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules, before being elevated to visual effects supervisor on Fantasia/2000.
Every film had its challenges and was a learning opportunity to expand my skillset and to do research into how the early animated films were crafted. It’s important to understand what was accomplished before so that you can continue to build on achievements of those that came before—pushing the boundaries of art and innovation.
During that time, I was also freelancing as a special effects animator, consultant, and artist, contributing my talents to The Land Before Time, Stay Tuned, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Clerks: The Animated Series, Spider-Man, Bambi II, Brother Bear II, and more than one hundred commercials and several public television history shows. After Fantasia/2000, I continued as a visual effects supervisor and artistic coordinator on the Academy Award © nominated short Lorenzo and The Little Matchgirl; co-directed One by One; and was the associate producer on the Academy Award © nominated short Destino.
I then began doing special projects for various theme park attractions and other partners around The Walt Disney Company. Becoming the producer, creative director, and head of special projects at Walt Disney Animation Studios and leading a team of talented artists and technicians on hundreds of projects throughout the company. We were part of the creative teams for numerous iconic theme park attractions including the World_of_Color at Disney’s California Adventure; the Seven Dwarf Mine Coaster at Walt Disney World and Shanghai Disneyland; Paris Dreams the nighttime spectacular at Paris Disneyland; Animation Magic for the Disney Cruise Ships; Once Upon A Time at Tokyo Disneyland; and many others.
In the late 1990s, I started writing seriously with a monthly column in a local newspaper. Writing mostly on topics that were of concern to our community. As with any new endeavor, I made my share of mistakes. But this is how you learn a new craft—through trial and error. The important aspect is that I stuck with it continuing to hone and develop my writing voice by moving on to a weekly online column.
Then in 2010, a friend of mine suggested that I put a collection of stories about Roy E. Disney into a book. That simple comment resulted in my first book—Remembering Roy E. Disney: Memories and Photos of a Storied Life—and has since sent me down a marvelous path, one that has been a natural extension of my more than three decades association with Disney. It has allowed me to combine my love of film and the animation art form with storytelling to bring an authentic insider’s viewpoint to my subsequent book projects and other writings.
Since then, I have written more books, dozens of articles, essays, program notes, and CD liner notes. Some of that material is on this site for your reading enjoyment, including exclusive content— articles and essays— that you won’t find anywhere else.
In 2015, I enrolled in The Writer’s Program at UCLA and will graduate in June 2018 with a certificate in Creative Non-Fiction. Education and learning have been part of my entire adult life. I have attended classes at night in Los Angeles periodically over the last thirty plus years touching on a variety of subjects. For more than twenty-five years, I have taken one, sometimes two classes at a school in Maine every summer. Each class has been an opportunity to learn something new regardless what it was—one summer I made a pair of full size oars, complete with stitched leather sleeves. When I’m in Maine, I write every day and have written some portion of each of my books there on the craggy coastline where the cerulean blue heavens meet the sparkling emerald seas.
Writing is part of my life. When in town, I wake early, go for a brisk walk, and then sit down at my vintage Kem Weber desk and write early most mornings before my work day begins. I write on planes while traveling and in hotel rooms at my destinations. I write daily in a composition book, which is my journal no matter where I am on the planet. And when I’m done with my day, I enjoy reading in the evenings.
I enjoy plenty of mischief and hijinks—laughter is good for the soul—and my wife tolerates my inquisitive boyish behavior, most of the time. We have two beautiful daughters, Sydney and Marlee, both of whom are talented in their own right. It is a joy to watch them grow into young women, reaching for new heights with their individual interests and passions. Life continues to be a wonderful adventure!
David A. Bossert
Los Angeles, California