The Translator by RiskPro

Episode 6: Connecting Dots with a Veteran Disney Imagineeeeeer!

March 24, 2021 Julie Mochan Season 1 Episode 6
Episode 6: Connecting Dots with a Veteran Disney Imagineeeeeer!
The Translator by RiskPro
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The Translator by RiskPro
Episode 6: Connecting Dots with a Veteran Disney Imagineeeeeer!
Mar 24, 2021 Season 1 Episode 6
Julie Mochan

Julie Mochan, host of The Translator by RiskPro talks to Doug Griffith,  Founder of Anthrobot Creative and 35 year veteran of Walt Disney Imagineering.

About RiskPro

RiskPro® is a revolutionary technology platform that provides risk profiling, portfolio construction, and automated account surveillance. Serving as the World’s First Virtual Portfolio Strategist, RiskPro evaluates and communicates risk for investors, advisors, and home offices, utilizing a common language that is simple to understand. RiskPro was developed by ProTools, LLC., a RegTech innovator headquartered in Newport Beach, CA.
To learn more about how RiskPro enables financial institutions to achieve Perpetual Suitability. visit Follow us on LinkedIn

About Anthrobot Creative, LLC

Founder, Doug Griffith, spent 35 years at Walt Disney Imagineering seeking answers to the question, “What does it take to bring a machine to life?” 
During the span of his Disney career he animated  hundreds of AUDIO-ANIMATRONICS figures and created numerous original characters, designed to perform both in real and digital realms. He was the creative lead for a number of successful development projects and directed the character  design and animation on numerous attractions; always in search of new tools and techniques to deliver a more authentic performance.   Contact Doug to learn more.

Get ready for the Brood X!  17-Year Cicada Swarm
Music By:  Araelia Lopatic

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Julie Mochan, host of The Translator by RiskPro talks to Doug Griffith,  Founder of Anthrobot Creative and 35 year veteran of Walt Disney Imagineering.

About RiskPro

RiskPro® is a revolutionary technology platform that provides risk profiling, portfolio construction, and automated account surveillance. Serving as the World’s First Virtual Portfolio Strategist, RiskPro evaluates and communicates risk for investors, advisors, and home offices, utilizing a common language that is simple to understand. RiskPro was developed by ProTools, LLC., a RegTech innovator headquartered in Newport Beach, CA.
To learn more about how RiskPro enables financial institutions to achieve Perpetual Suitability. visit Follow us on LinkedIn

About Anthrobot Creative, LLC

Founder, Doug Griffith, spent 35 years at Walt Disney Imagineering seeking answers to the question, “What does it take to bring a machine to life?” 
During the span of his Disney career he animated  hundreds of AUDIO-ANIMATRONICS figures and created numerous original characters, designed to perform both in real and digital realms. He was the creative lead for a number of successful development projects and directed the character  design and animation on numerous attractions; always in search of new tools and techniques to deliver a more authentic performance.   Contact Doug to learn more.

Get ready for the Brood X!  17-Year Cicada Swarm
Music By:  Araelia Lopatic

Episode 6:  The Translator
Host - Julie Mochan:  

Hello everyone. And welcome to The Translator by RiskPro. This is a podcast in, and about the many wonders of the financial industry and more specifically about the people and the innovation transforming it. My name is Julie Mochan and my effort expanding curiosity over the past 20 years while working in this industry has led me to some very interesting conversations with some even more interesting people My goal for this podcast is to share short interviews with you. With technology. And financial disruptors being a big part of every conversation. Your goal in the short listen may be to find something, to make your business better and ultimately your better. So it is March. It's allergy season North East. And it's raining and getting green here. It's going to be beautiful very soon. I'm super stoked. To, have winter over. Today, I want to talk to you about perception. I want to talk to you about expectations and, I have a really great guest who is not from the financial industry at all. He is from the art world. And he is the founder of Anthrobot Creative he has spent 35 years with Disney as an audio. Animatronic animator. And, You might be thinking to yourself, You know, how does this guest relate to me? Well, you're going to be pleasantly surprised at how many parallels you will find in the conversation that I have with Doug Griffith today. About his industry. the 35 years that he spent at Disney. His new found company Anthrobot Creative. And know, in the art world, things are perceived in a certain way, very differently by different people. And one of his goals in life daily is too. Have people perceive things the way that he would like them to be perceived. This will make more sense as the podcast goes on, as you listen to it and talk. and the reason I'm saying this is because at RiskPro, our goal is to have everyone understand risk versus reward in the same exact way. So it doesn't matter if you are a client and advisor. A custodian, a back office, compliance officer. A regulator, what have you, our goal at RiskPro is that everyone understands and perceives things. as similarly as possible so that, An advisor and client can have. success. We are the Universal Translator of risk. So without further ado, I want to really get into. This, interview.

I am going to have lots of links in the notes for the podcast today. So look for those. If you're interested, look at the chapters. If you want to listen to something special or listen to something twice. We actually get into. setting expectations. We get into The Uncanny Valley. We start off right off the bat with how, how do you become an Imagineer for Walt Disney? We talk about effective team building, hot teams. We talk about The Wicked Witch of the West. If anyone remembers the Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World. We talk about a process for success that everyone needs, right? No matter what business you're in. Uh, integration matrix. We get into just vocabulary. Having people understand what you're saying. We talk about projects And how Doug uses, his experience. Of 35 years as. an animatronic animator. And, we really talk about technology obviously is the biggest, disruptor for everyone and in a good way. But you know, If you buy technology to build something around it. Versus, using technology. to move forward. It can get a little sticky. So let's get into this.

Julie: 4:14

It doesn't matter what industry you are in, you are going to love to listen I'm so happy to have Doug with me today. Here we go. welcome Doug Griffith. To The Translator Full disclosure here. When I started the conversation with Doug, I actually thanked him for having me. Then I started laughing and, It's so great that I can entertain myself but the fact that I was actually. Wanting him to thank me. it's dyslexic. that's why he says what he says right now.

Guest Doug Griffith: 4:46

Thanks for showing up in my world to interview me.

Julie: 4:49

Yeah, that's perfect. Hey, my first question for you, Doug. And I'm sure everyone, everyone should want to know this. If you're not an artist or you have no clue what an Imagineer is, I'm sure people want to understand how do you become a Walt Disney Imagineer. And then in your case, be one for 35 plus years.

Doug Griffith: 5:09

That's a question that's asked a lot, especially by the younger generation that are going through college. There's a lot more programs showing up in colleges now on themed entertainment that you can get master's degrees and the whole thing of themed entertainment. And the truth of it is that there are so many disciplines. And to be an Imagineer, you could work in any one of them. It doesn't take. really specialty things in the field that I was in was very special because of the Audio Animatronics. And that was a Disney trademark and Disney technology, but there's project managers, there's accountants, just like in any other company. And that's, what's in Imagineer,

Julie Mochan: 5:47

but I don't know if anyone wants to know how to become an accountant in Imagineering, as much as they want to know how a creative person ends up. At Disney as an "Imagineer", it's a

Doug Griffith: 6:01

job as an offer out of college, I went to the California Institute of the Arts, which was a college started by Disney. It was an art school and it brought together various other schools in the Los Angeles area, the Chouinard Art Institute, the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music they had theater music, fine art school and more of a graphic school. They had a film school, which is the program I was in, but I was in a subset of the film school, which at the time the studio was looking to replenish a lot of the older generation that was leaving.

Julie Mochan: 6:33

do you mean the animators? At the studio, just

Doug Griffith: 6:37

the animators at the studio retiring some of the ones that were still there. Ollie Johnson and Frank Thomas, they were just phasing out. I think they were working on their book of at, about that time, The Illusion of Life, that's kind of like the "animation bible" for traditional animation. It was almost a time of a changing of the guard. And the school was, was put in place to teach classical animation, classical film animation, which was the best school in the country at the time to do that. Because a lot of the faculty were a lot of the old Disney guys and we had professors that worked on Fantasia T. Hee who is, uh, an amazing caricature artist and Ken O'Connor, who was a background layout artist, Jack Hannah, who was a director. He did a lot of the, I think the DonaldDuck shorts. I think he did Lambert The Lion too,, which won an Academy award for short. And I know that T. Hee and Ken O'Connor also. I think worked on Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom which was a little kind of abstract piece set, also won an Academy award. It was very abstract. Very cool. I really loved that film and you could see a lot of their influence in it, but to be able to go to class and have these guys with all this legacy, tell stories, and teach you. The fundamentals of the art was just a really great experience.

Julie Mochan: 7:52

I love hearing this because a lot of people don't understand that Disney started in short films, movement animation in the fifties. This is the fifties and the gentleman you were just referring to, who were your professors are no longer. With us. How did you get from the school though to the actual job? Did they just automatically take everybody? Or how did

Doug Griffith: 8:17

that work? The school was set up that every year you had to do a film besides all the classes that you took your freshman year. You usually like a one minute, one and a half minutes, silent film. And you hadn't learned audio yet. After your sophomore year, you had learned how to do a sound film. Which seems really crazy today with all the technology we have. But back then it was 16 millimeter film. And then at the end of every year in may, they had a thing called the Disney show. And a lot of the studio people would come up and that year Walt Disney Imagineering came up, although it wasn't called Walt Disney Imagineering, it was still WED, Walter Elias Disney as what WED stood for WED Enterprises which I really hadn't heard anything about before that they were building EPCOT and they were building Tokyo Disneyland and they needed animators. So they came to the Disney show also along with all the rests from the film studio and what they would do, they would look at our films or final films for the year and depending on the need that they had that year and what they saw, if they thought you were a fit your sophomore year, you'd get a job offer. We were a really tight group. Everybody was very focused that was there and kind of knew what they wanted to do. And they were there because they wanted to work for Disney. For the most part, if you didn't get called to the studio, a lot of the kids would go out and work in cartoon animation the Saturday morning stuff at the time that industry which paid really well, it wasn't. Quote unquote classic animation, but like the features, but it was a pretty decent living, but I know a couple that when they went to Disney, they took the job, but they didn't stay.

Julie Mochan: 9:45

Yeah. You'd mentioned this in the pre pod with me where animators would come in out of Cal arts and you had to sort of pay

Doug Griffith: 9:52

your dues. We were going there and usually started out as an in-betweener. Or a cleanup person, which basically you drew the in-between drawings from the animators keys and in between her and a cleanup artist did all the fine lines. They would clean up the rough drawings at the animator would make which you want them rough when you're animating, because that keeps the fluidity and the looseness in. And quite frankly, sometimes when they're cleaned up, they don't have as much life in them. It's gotta be cleaned though, go through production. But some of the pencil test stuff is just beautiful with all the extra lines. And the flow is just the rhythm that's in those drawings. That the

Julie Mochan: 10:27

cleanup person

Doug Griffith: 10:28

erases, no, you don't erase it. You draw another drawing over the top. And at that time, I think everything was being done. Xerox the drawings to the cells, which would then be painted in the old days, they used to hand paint the line work. There was a little bit of finesse that you would use effect and lines, thicker lines stored, where there would be shadow. Usually on the undersides of. All arms and legs and things like that, but it was pretty much just doing that all day long. There were a couple that were animating right away or pretty close to right away. But the vast majority, you had to come up through the ranks that wasn't appealing to everybody. Although it was transitional, it really was, it was pre Eisner coming in.

Julie Mochan: 11:06

And you said is that laughter was what it senior. When you were a sophomore or freshmen when he had

Doug Griffith: 11:11

just left, he had just graduated. Yeah.

Julie Mochan: 11:14

But same program came up through the same ranks that, you know, as far as the same professors.

Doug Griffith: 11:19

Yeah. And a lot of, a lot of the directors came out of that program. Gary Trousdale, Mark Dindal, Tim Burton came out of the CalArts Program and Glen Keane was there before they had the character animation program. He was in, I think the experimental graphics.

Julie Mochan: 11:33

Okay. So Glen Keane, I literally just saw yesterday, maybe that he has he's up for an Academy award this year, that Glen Keane. Over the Moon is what it

Doug Griffith: 11:42

is. Glen is like a, kind of a legend in film animation. He was mentored, I believe by Ollie Johnson, who was one of The Original Nine Old Men, but Glen, a tremendously talented, he has his own studio. He had his hands in a lot of the films, but Mermaid and Tarzan are the two that stand out in my mind. Tarzan. Just the anatomy to get a human, to move around like that. And with such fluidity, Glen drew really roughly I'd heard him talk actually a couple of years ago about the feeling of the hand going from the heart to the hand. And it was almost an extension of his heart that he's putting that much into his drawings. And then it shows, talk about rough drawings. His drawings are really raw, but they're super, they're just really beautiful because they capture the essence of movement. And that's what they look for for character animators. But it's interesting again, how technology changes things and how you move on. And they actually did some things in Tarzana. I think it was something called deep paint and how they were starting to paint backgrounds digitally. And they use a lot of digital tools in that. And in some of the other films also, and you can see how the digital stuff came in and. Pretty much took over. And now it's interesting in a lot of the short films, especially that you're seeing they're doing it digitally, but they're using techniques that make it look like it's hand done. It's

Julie Mochan: 13:03

like vinyl coming

Doug Griffith: 13:04

back, right? Yeah. Yeah. It doesn't look exactly the same, but if it's done well, there's even a beauty in that simplicity, a style, the way things are rendered, just because with the computing power, it enables you to do stuff like that, where. It would take forever to do a film, especially a feature film that had, it was rendered. Like every frame was looked like it was done in chalk or something. Like you could do that now just with the algorithms

Julie Mochan: 13:30

that there, we like algorithms here at RiskPro one, especially, you know, Doug, you probably should just write a book.

Doug Griffith: 13:39

I thought about

Julie Mochan: 13:40



You could just keep doing podcasts and then put all of those together and then it'll be a, a

Doug Griffith: 13:46

And then have an audio book,

Julie Mochan: 13:47

right? Yeah. So much easier to skip a lot of steps. So we're talking about technology and how things changed as far as animation goes. I need to understand how you did audio animatronic engineering.

Doug Griffith: 14:01

Audio animatronic animation,

Julie Mochan: 14:03

right? Audio animatronic Animation. That's what you did for years and years. And you were obviously a pioneer, right? If you're working on the hall of presidents or the Tiki Lounge, or what, what was the one with the Pirates of the Caribbean? Tell us a little bit about that.

Doug Griffith: 14:18

The Pirates of the Caribbean. Like I did a lot of work in that through the years when I was at Disney, we would go in and do refreshes where they would try to bring the show back to the original intent because mechanical things wear out over time. And a lot of times we would re animate. But one of the times that we went in to do a refresh was in 2006, when we put the Jack Sparrow figure and Abrossa figure in the attraction. So when some of the movie IP end to the traditional attraction, we'd always try to upscale. We're good at that time, starting in 1988, 89, when the wicked witch of the West. And the great movie ride at the park at the time was called Disney MGM studios. It's now Disney's Hollywood studios and that attraction isn't there anymore. But the reason that we had tried to upscale things was the new technology. And ideally what you wanted was you wanted to get as fast as you could as tight of a response as you could. Without it going into oscillation with audio animatronic animation. There's so many disciplines involved. There's engineers show programmers, there's animators designers. There are figure finishing people that take care of all the paint and a face and do all the finish there's costumers. So. If you don't have everybody working together, the same goal things don't go very well. And there's definitely no room for any one person being the hero of anything. The tolerance for error is so nice. We have a good show it's because, but he was all the disciplines were hitting their Mark. They were all hitting all cylinders because just one discipline, not doing their best. And the thing for the thing doesn't move that

Julie Mochan: 15:59

transcends all types of business and life in general, if you have anything that you're doing, that you want to be the best at, you have to work as an actual team. Every individual brings the best that they have, but in order to get what you need to get done, you have to leave your ego at

Doug Griffith: 16:17

the door. We're always trying to pause things and if you couldn't get the whole package, At least sometimes you can hybrid to figures. Yeah. Duct tape. Yeah. Yeah. That's happened before.

Julie Mochan: 16:30

Hey, beg, listen to what Tammy from The Tiara Talk Show, I'll put the notes in the show notes for this podcast. And I found actually in her notes, a couple of videos of you from, I think it was in the late eighties, but one of the things you were working on at the time was the wicked witch of the West. And. I guess what I wanted to ask you is throughout the 30 plus years at Disney, Um, what are your memorable pieces that you worked on and what makes them that way?

Doug Griffith: 17:01

No, I've done figures in probably somewhere between 102 hundred. I'm guessing throughout my career, as far as animating them, there's probably 10 or 12 that I can look back at my career and say, yeah, those were special.

Julie Mochan: 17:13

The wicked, which would have to be one of those 10 or 12. Um, even though I think you had said to me, she only had 17 moves. She was really. Scary.

Doug Griffith: 17:26

I think she did. I think she had about 17 functions, which isn't a high function count for. That was, but it was a testament though to that's one of the figures we're like, we really hit it on those hitting their mark. And just to talk about the, which a bit, a couple of years ago, I was on a project team that had a task of repurposing, a lot of old figures. And just like anything else with technology is a technology gets better than the older stuff. Doesn't look as good. So I was trying to figure out ways with the limited budget to actually make this stuff look good. So. I started to read white papers on the uncanny Valley. Some of the current research that's out there, and a lot of it is in neuroscience and psychology, but the, which is a good case study in the Uncanny Valley thing. Cause one of the biggest things that, that stuck out to me and some of the theories that are about three or four theories I thought were applicable to what we did. One of them was called a violation of expectation. And that I believe came out of an article called Your Brain on Androids. I think it was done in 2011 at the University of San Diego.

Julie Mochan: 18:31

Yeah. You mentioned that I'll put it in

Doug Griffith: 18:33

the notes. They've done more research since then, but basically the theory is that what they found by doing FMRI. Brain scans on subjects that they were showing a real person on Android that looked like the real person and not a robot, which was basically the Android scan and what they found the most disturbance in the brain waves was happening. One though, they were looking at the Android, right?

Julie Mochan: 18:55

So let me get this straight to the uncanny Valley or the disturbing one was the Android that was supposed to really look like the person. Not the Android without skin. So

Doug Griffith: 19:06

they were looking at the one with the skin on, and that was supposed to look like the real person, but the movement wasn't very sophisticated. So it wasn't moving like the real person. And the conclusion at the time was that they thought that the brain didn't really care. How a thing moved or how a thing looks in particular. What they, what the brain cares about is whether it moves, like what it looks like,

Julie Mochan: 19:27

what it looks like and how it moves. If they sync up. That's what your brain

Doug Griffith: 19:31

cares about. Yes. So it's really managing expectations. I did a lot of the internal curriculum for AA for the company, a lot of cross disciplines with engineering. And one of the things that I put in bar procedures, it looked, it's a very simple thing that when you're planning to put a figure in a scene, ask yourself, am I putting this figure in a position or in a pose that the guests could expect it to do something that it can't do? Because you're, if you are, then you're setting yourself up for failure right away.

Julie Mochan: 20:01

Right. So it doesn't matter, if you're a landscaper or a real estate agent or you're in the financial industry or your, a parent, you need to set expectations. Right. It comes back to that every time. If you want to have a good relationship with someone set the expectations. if you want to keep a client set their expectations, You  you know, be realistic, right. And if you are trying to be realistic and you're not. You do what Doug does.

Doug Griffith: 20:34

So with the itch, you know how that pulls back into the witch, it was one of those things where just so happened. Everybody hit the right mark, all the disciplines hit the right ,mark. But the thing that made the, a couple of the things that made the witch really effective is there was an expectation set up in that ride that it could possibly be a real person on the set, because as you went through the ride, operators would get on and off the hit and go up on the stage with the AA figures and be part of the show. So by the time you got to that scene and the Wizard of Oz, one of the last scenes in the ride that was AA, You were expecting that there is a possibility that there could be a real person on the set. So here, the witch comes up. She's the first, A-100 figure, this new technology that anybody has ever seen, she's moving faster than anything, any figure that anybody has ever seen move. With more precision. She is doing a very specific thing. Her attitude isn't changing. She has one emotion, she's mad and she's talking to the right operator and they're talking back. So it's an expectation that was set up earlier that. You can possibly believe she could have been real. And she looked much more real than any of the other figures in there at time. The other thing that helped she had green skin, anytime you like very off what people were normally seeing and can compare to day to day, then that gives you a plus because it makes her chest a little less human. Right. You're not as, you're not as particular.

Julie Mochan: 22:09

Yeah, I get it. You're not as critical because you can't compare something with green skin to yourself or your family, which is why I keep my avatar purple. So no one can compare me to a regular person either.

Doug Griffith: 22:22

Yeah. Good idea. Or blue works too. Right. Then found that to be very successful. So that's how I was trying to work some of this stuff and look at, go back and deconstruct some of the things that, that we did. And we did well. And say, okay, how can we put that into the principles? Moving forward that at the very front end of designing, that you're engaging the writer very early, you're engaging the engineer very early and you iterate. And I found that iteration is really key to success because what you can do, if you know the right questions to ask. In the design and development process early on before things go practical and things are steel and rubber and expensive. If you can work the things out early than it saves you in the end, a lot of expense, and it also gives you a better product and a better performance, because you've really wrung things out right in the beginning. So I found that what I put together after doing that study. And working with this team and that project never saw the light of day, but it was 18 months of practically working with a team and applying these principles. And I put together a thing called an integration matrix. Where from start to finish. It's the questions to ask and how to go back and forth. If the writer's trying to communicate something and you have a question about it, you can take it to the engineer and say, I want this figure to do this. It's got to move this fast. The engineer might run some quick analytics might just know off the top of his head. No, that figure can't move that fast. Say it in a different way, right? Presented in a different way that can be more successful. It doesn't have to be fancy. It can be direct. There's a lot of tools available.

Julie Mochan: 24:01

Hold up, hold up. So you just said something that's so important to everybody who has a project and they try to get it from point a to point B, right between point a and point B. It's really tough to get a process in place, and there are so many tools out there. And please, if you listen to my podcasts, let's talk tools because we need. Things to make us better, every company does. 

Doug Griffith: 26:20

It keeps going back to the same thing. I know I'm repeating myself, but it's all about collaboration and iteration to be successful. And it's about using vocabulary. That's constant across all disciplines so that they understand the terms being used. You understand what is meant by those terms. All

Julie Mochan: 26:39

right. RiskPro moment. You just said it's all about vocabulary. 

Doug Griffith: 26:49

track to them. And it seems so simple. Today's world phrases and words are being made up and given different definitions. It seems like on a weekly basis. So it's really in whatever business that you're in. I think it is worthy of your time. To lay foundations. And in the case of Disney keep foundations.

Julie Mochan: 27:10

So earlier I watched a video with, I can't remember who was interviewing Walt Disney, but he was sitting in the Tiki Lounge actually. And he was being interviewed and they were talking about technology and it was. Super cool. I don't know what year it was. Like, I'll just put it into the nodes, but he was talking about technology and I think sometimes people love it, but they think that it's going to replace them in this case. Maybe he was, you know, referring to art versus technology in the financial services industry. Um, it's advisors, technology, or compliance technology or. Anybody technology, um, touch on that

Doug Griffith: 27:57

if you don't mind. And he said from that same interview, the interviewer is trying to get him. And he kept talking about technology because everybody loves technology. It's like this really cool thing. Right. But he said, tell us about the technology. And they had the multiplane camera at the time and they were always pushing on all fronts, but what kept going back? He kept referring back. He says, we have we're doing that, but it's not about that. It's about our artists. We invested in them. We invested in teaching them art. And getting them better. And that's what sets us apart. And he said about the AA in that interview, they're setting their end to table and they have a Tiki bird. And he's describing this. He said, it's a new door that we're about to step through. But he also said this, he said, it's just another dimension in the animation we've been doing or a lot.

Julie Mochan: 28:48

Whoa. So insightful.

Doug Griffith: 28:51

Wow. So he truly saw that is just an extension of what they had done in film animation. And then they were very successful at that point. At the point of that interview. Really revolutionizing the feature film industry with animation, really? They were, yeah. For future Disney doing it at the level and the quality that they were doing it kind of the golden age of animation in some way. So Doug,

Julie Mochan: 29:12

if you're talking to a young entrepreneur, At this point in any business because this conversation, I really feel transcends all space and time. No, it transcends all industries, right? I mean, we're just kind of talking common sense and process. But what would you say to, to a younger person or an older person who might be, this might actually, as I'm thinking about this, this might apply more to an older person and I'm saying older 35 and older, I don't know. That is sort of afraid of keeping up with technology. You know, and, and because of technology, maybe they are second guessing themselves. I think it's happening out there,

Doug Griffith: 29:59

but he kept going back to the art. And I think that is what I've tried to do in my career and all the internal stuff that I've done. And just my day to day, whenever I was designing or animating or whatever I was doing. This, yeah, this is the machine. This is what we use. And these are the tools we use with the computer technology or whatever else we're using. They're just tools. But I have to be able to use that tool to make art. And I have to have a direction for that art. I have to have a purpose. And when you were talking about the story, it really helps. If you can build fences. I used an illustration in one of my lectures of the empty canvas. So that's something that's used a lot for kind of an illustration of, Hey, it's intimidating because you starting fresh with an idea. It's like, where do I start? You start by making fences. And I illustrate the fence around when you're doing something and in a lot of different areas, but in AA, since that's what we're talking about, you have to set up limits. The budgets are limits. There's the way that it's presented are limits. There's a lot of things that will limit you, but you have to identify them. And set that up, but it all has to work within the story that has to be you're the outside sense, right? That's the furthest one out. That's like, all right, we're telling this story and we have other limits and fences that we have to work within, but. If this has to be successful, we have to be successful at communicating this story. So within that fence, you'd go in one more. You have to vote another fence and that's the context. That's the placemaking you have to make believable places presented in interesting ways for anybody to listen to your story.


RiskPro moment. at this point I was scribbling everything down that Doug was saying, because the parallel Is a very unique parallel that I did not expect hear today, which if you're in the financial services industry, And you're looking at a client or your entire book of business, you have to set fences, right? You have to, um, have a purpose, a story. The story would be your client's life. And, um, I love the parallel between the art world and the investment services world. It's there. Hey all right. Back to the.

Doug Griffith: 32:18

And then the next step in is what populates those spaces and that's the character. And that's when you get to character development. And when you're choosing what movement to do, a lot of things play into that and then a budget and a lot of other things. But those are the things that you take into account and you have to manage, but you cannot step outside and go rogue and do something just because it's really cool. And you can do it. It's like, how does that advance the story? If it doesn't advance the story don't care how cool or novel, and it was get rid of it. All Not to help you on the end. And that's the huge temptation with technology. It's the shiny object in the room, right? I would always say that you never want the audience to say. How did they do that? You don't care. You want the audience to be so enthralled in the story and the characters. So emotionally enthralled and engaged. They don't even, they don't really notice. The other side of that is if you don't do it right, you don't understand your limitations and you don't understand the things that you can exploit. Then you have anomalies that show up. You have the, the non concurrence, right. Of how something looks and how something moves. And the audience may not be able to look at that and say that, or is not moving right. What they'll get is a feeling that there's something weird about that. Yeah. It may not be totally uncanny, but it's kind of going down the Valley, you're going over the edge. And then whenever you have things like, like that, you're digging a hole for yourself that you're not being able to communicate. Approaching things simply always look for the simplest way to do something. I think the

Julie Mochan: 33:54

part of what you said, what about the collaboration iterations? One of the, even before you get there, you need communication, which is throughout the entire process of anything you're doing with the team or a lot of other people communication. How would you say was Disney good at. That or did you have to create your own sort of web of communication or what did you use back then? Because there's a lot of different software out there right now, just to be able to communicate with a team, especially since everyone's remote, if you recall, like when you were working on something that. That just everything was everyone's firing on all cylinders. What was the communication

Doug Griffith: 34:35

early management? They were so key your coordinators, your project managers, especially during production and in the field. One in particular that I love to work with her name was Kathy Rogers. And you just knew that she knew the right things to ask, right? So you would have people managing, bringing people together, and that's a lot of how it gets done. In that sense, as far as my effort in it, I was trying to make people understand it when we're in the meeting. And if we say a word that everybody knows that it's the same word up until this is something that was funny, that happened. One of our shows that these designers and the last project that I was working on before they restructured the engineer and I were putting out when we're using, it was a project that we were using older figures and we were restructuring them. And we have all this lingo that we use. It's we repurpose the figure. It's using a figure that's already there, right? We're going to move it and repurpose it. And we might reconfigure it. You might switch the arms or maybe the one arm has more emotion than the other, and it works better for where it's at or you hybrid the figure. And you put on a newer technology on an old frame without having the expense of all new technology. But there were, we were throwing these things around in the matrix as the project was going on. So. Somebody actually raised their hand and I gave her credit. Lisa sun was her name. She says, could you guys explain what you're telling me?

Julie Mochan: 35:57

But that happens in my industry all the time. Everybody talks in a certain lingo and they don't realize that people outside of our little space, aren't aware of what the heck we're talking about.

Doug Griffith: 36:11

You live in it, you're in it every day. It's like being in water. You don't know any different and you don't know. That others may not know

Julie Mochan: 36:19

before we, we run out of time. let's talk about, you obviously have a commitment to being creative and to, I love all of this, the integration matrix, the collaboration, the iteration. I love all of that process stuff too, that you talked about. That's helpful for a lot of people in all types of business, but tell us about your commitment with your new endeavor and what it is. And how does somebody use your company? I don't know what an anthrobot is, but how do, how does someone use you and how do they, what are they to expect that you're talking about expectations?

Doug Griffith: 36:56

Anthrobot is the play on words from, I know it's an, it's a term that's been used out there in the technical world. And I think it means different things to, depending on your context, my context is the Disney made a lot of films the years and they used anthropomorphism. You know, attributing human characteristics to non-human things. And in their case it was mostly animals. So Bambi ,Thumper, all that just about in every film. They're using anthropomorphism to really get to, to really get the audience, to engage emotionally, to connect on a human level. And that's what my goal is with my new company Anthrobot it's from my background with having to try to put life in to machines, try to make people believe that machine is living for my whole career. That was my career taking that experience and knowledge. And now being able to consult and help others in the, not only the themed entertainment industry, but I'm really interested also too, with the proliferation of robots in our society. And they're coming more and more that the ones that interface with human beings, that if you can make them a little bit more comfortable by putting anthropomorphic attitudes in these machines Anthrobot is all about, it's really about. Really getting back to the art. It's like adapting any technology that you want. And I am tremendously curious. I'm endlessly curious about technologies and how to use them and how to apply them and develop things. Of course, sometimes you need more money and I don't want a million dollars for a robot to work with right now, but. I can build them. 

Julie Mochan: 38:32

Hey, listen. The, the name of this episode is called connecting the dots. So I hear that in your explanation of what you're doing, right? What you say, you're blurring the lines between art and technology. You're doing that, but you're also connecting dots between a lot of things that w what your skill set. Which is pretty broad I feel can do for other people. And they just need to reach out to you and say, Hey, there was a contact thing on your website, right? Yeah, there

Doug Griffith: 39:04


Julie Mochan: 39:05

Oh, I love that picture by the way, with the red or the old red phone and the,

Doug Griffith: 39:09

in the inside the robot. Yeah. That, that robot actually was from, a three day intensive workshop with a Z brush artist. I think he's from Australia, young guy. Tremendously talented. That robot was the one we used in the workshop and I just used the middle of them.

Julie Mochan: 39:25

I'm going to test this out and see if you'll get

Doug Griffith: 39:28

back to me.

Julie Mochan: 39:32

Yeah. So thanks for being with us, Doug. We really appreciate your time. Or how did I say it in the beginning?

Doug Griffith: 39:39

I don't even know if you even did a beginning, you did right into it. Well, that's

Julie Mochan: 39:44

because I have a mom I'll have a monologue at the beginning that it will be

Doug Griffith: 39:47

edited in. Yeah. It was like welcome to my world or something. Yeah.

Julie Mochan: 39:57

Anyway, all you got to say so I can edit it in is thanks for having me.

Doug Griffith: 40:01

Well, thanks for having me, Julie.

Julie Mochan: 40:03

You're welcome. All right, I'm going to stop recording.

Julie: 40:06

Wow. What a great interview. Um, if you want to get in touch with Doug. You can do so by, and I'll have this in the show notes, going to And, reach out to him. he's ex Disney now, so he's got a little time on his hands. Maybe you can, have him come and see your company, do some consulting speak. I think he does all kinds of things. Plus he made. and I have this in the show notes. a Cicada sort of. Security. Anthro bot and it was very foretelling of what's coming up here this year with the Brood X. 17-year cicadas. Attack in the Northeast. So I, um, I want to make sure you take a look at that. It's it's really cool. And of course, we would love to talk to you about RiskPro for your enterprise. So go to our website call Jeff, call Brooks, call Corey. Looking forward to hearing from you All right See you on the next. Oh. Hey, by the way in my next podcast, I have, uh, I'm finally getting my millennial. To interview. So that's going to be exciting. That'll be coming out real soon. So. Keep your ears perked.

And I shall now turn myself over to myself, reading the disclosures for the podcast. See you next time. People, this recording has been prepared and made available by RiskPro to be used for information purposes only. RiskPro is an investment risk. Profiling and portfolio construction software as a service platform developed by pro tools, LLC. The information contained here in including any expression of opinion has been obtained from, or is based on sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy or completeness is not guaranteed and is subject to change without notice any expressions of opinions reflect the views of the speakers and are not necessarily those. Of pro tools LLC or its affiliates pro tools does not provide investment tax or legal advice. Investors should consult their financial tax or legal professionals before investing.


The Goal of RiskPro
Welcome Doug Griffith!
How to be an Imagineer!
The Wicked Witch of the West
Uncanny Valley
Managing Expectations
The Key to Success
Get a Process in Place
Understanding each other
Innovative Technology
Start by Building A Fence
Effective Communicating
Anthrobot Creative