Somewhere Out There

My Animated Life

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.

Buy this Book on

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

1
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 19 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 09 Sep 2022

Talking about this book? Use #SomewhereOutThere #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

After more than five decades in Hollywood, Don Bluth, the man behind some of the most iconic animated films ever made, tells his story.

Don Bluth never felt like a Donald. So people have always called him  Don. A matinee of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs awakened something within him. Despite growing up in rural Texas and Utah, he practiced and worked hard to become an Hollywood animator. And after working alongside his idol Walt Disney, and on films including Sleeping Beauty, The Sword in the Stone, Robin Hood, Winne the Pooh, The Rescuers, and Pete’s Dragon, he realized that the company had changed into something he didn’t necessarily believe in. So made the industry-shocking decision to start his own animation studio. 
 
It was from that studio—Don’s studio—that came such award-winning, generation-defining films as The Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, The Land Before Time, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Anastasia, and the video game Dragon’s Lair
 
Now, after more than half a century in the movie business, Don is ready to tell the story of his life. How his passions for artistry, integrity, and his Mormon faith shaped him into the beloved icon whose creativity, entrepreneurship, and deeply-held beliefs entertained, enthralled, and inspired millions across the globe. 
 
Exclusive original art makes this book perfect for fans, cineasts, and anyone looking “somewhere out there” for inspiration and motivation.   
After more than five decades in Hollywood, Don Bluth, the man behind some of the most iconic animated films ever made, tells his story.

Don Bluth never felt like a Donald. So people have always called...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781637740538
PRICE $21.95 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 18 members


Featured Reviews

"After more than five decades in Hollywood, Don Bluth, the man behind some of the most iconic animated films ever made, tells his story.

Don Bluth never felt like a Donald. So people have always called him Don. A matinee of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs awakened something within him. Despite growing up in rural Texas and Utah, he practiced and worked hard to become an Hollywood animator. And after working alongside his idol Walt Disney, and on films including Sleeping Beauty, The Sword in the Stone, Robin Hood, Winnie the Pooh, The Rescuers, and Pete's Dragon, he realized that the company had changed into something he didn't necessarily believe in. So made the industry-shocking decision to start his own animation studio.

It was from that studio - Don's studio - that came such award-winning, generation-defining films as The Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, The Land Before Time, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Anastasia, and the video game Dragon's Lair.

Now, after more than half a century in the movie business, Don is ready to tell the story of his life. How his passions for artistry, integrity, and his Mormon faith shaped him into the beloved icon whose creativity, entrepreneurship, and deeply-held beliefs entertained, enthralled, and inspired millions across the globe.

Exclusive original art makes this book perfect for fans, cineasts, and anyone looking "somewhere out there" for inspiration and motivation."

Don Bluth more than Disney influenced my emotional sensibilities. Don't get me wrong, he also emotionally scarred me for life, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Though some of the Dragon's Lair 3D levels could have been easier...

Was this review helpful?

My thanks to both NetGalley and Smart Pop BenBella Books for an advanced copy of this biography and animation history book.

A young man with no formal training, a country boy with a love of drawing and a dream approaches the largest animation studio at the time looking for a job. His sketches are examined, comments are mumbled and soon he has a job working in his hero's studio, one that he excels in and moves up quickly in. Until he makes an important decision. Add some songs and a cute mouse and this sounds like a Disney movie. And in many ways for Don Bluth, famed animator and creator of many a person's childhood memories, it was a Disney story. Until it wasn't. Mr. Bluth in his autobiography Somewhere Out There: My Animated Life reminisces about his life, his faith, animation, working for the Mouse, and working for himself and much more.

Don, it was always Don never Donald, was born in Texas and moved to Utah to live the life of a farmer, one that he found he was quite unsuited for, though it did instill a love of animals, and hard work. Watching Snow White for the first time instilled in him a love of drawing and animation, plus a dream of working in Walt Disney Studios, with Walt himself. After moving with his family to California, Don soon had a job at Disney and after some starts and stops was moving his way up in company that was changing in many ways after the death of their founder. Soon Don set off on his own, starting his own company and making films like An American Tail, Land Before Time and others.

The book is very comprehensive about the life of Mr. Bluth, his faith, successes and failures. Mr. Bluth is very honest about mistakes, and paths not taken, but if very proud of his work. Which he should be. The writing is interesting discussing and sharing behind the scenes information about working for Disney, which seems very swim with the sharks and not even close to the happiest place on Earth. However Mr. Bluth seems to have no grudges, and at his age still is excited about plans for more entertainment and other projects. There is a lot of humor, but a bit of sadness too, as the commerce side of entertainment seems to crush the creative side, and one thinks of all the things that might have been animated or brought to screens.

A very interesting telling biography about a very creative man, who went through quite a bit and came out happy and still creating. Don Bluth is responsible for a lot of things that made my childhood great Robin Hood, The Rescuers and a lot of lost quarters on Dragon's Lair. Recommended for animation fans of course and readers of Chuck Amuck by Chuck Jones, and Wild Minds by Reid Mitenbuler. Also for creative people who deal with a inner voice that makes creating anything even harder than it should be. Mr. Bluth refers a lot to the man in the mirror that second guessed everything he did. His ability to use that inner voice to soar is inspirational to us all.

Was this review helpful?

An absolutely wonderful look at the life of animation stalwart Don Bluth in his own words. His use of the character of the "man in the mirror" throughout the book works so well. While some of the conversations with real people at Disney and other jobs throughout his life might be exaggerated, those conversations with the person you see in the mirror every day are genuine. Well done Mr. Bluth and thank you for the wonderful characters you have given us over the years.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you NetGalley and Smart Pop BenBella Books for letting me read this book. I am grateful but my thoughts are my own.

I am sure everyone at least ever watched Disney's classic animation Sleeping Beauty, The Sword in the Stone, Robin Hood, Winne the Pooh, The Rescuers, and Pete’s Dragon. Never? Let try this The Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, The Land Before Time, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Anastasia, and the video game Dragon’s Lair. Now I am sure it sound the ring. An animator artist is one kind of proffesion that recognizes more by result but rare by individual name. And this biography makes me so happy because at least I will knew one of the greatest of them.

Don shared his art journey since young age as a farm boy to become one of the famous Disney illustrator and build his own company. His narration is smart, humble and funny. It shared genuine about his experience, his life lesson, his personal motivation and his dedication. I personally love how he remembered all of quotes from his teachers/mentors and give credits to them. His biography is easy to read even for reader who not familiar with this type of nonfiction book.
I will happily recommend this book for friends who love art and information insight the animation movies.

Was this review helpful?

Thinking back to the movies I loved as a kid, Don Bluth sticks out. He created some of my favorite animated movies such as An American Tail, The Land Before Time and The Secret of NIMH and has had a major impact on film and animation.

When I found out he was writing an autobiography, I was extremely excited to read about his life and what went in to create some of these movies I loved. The book, Somewhere Out There, is a fantastic journey through Don’s life from growing up on a farm to working for Disney and creating movies such as Anastasia.

Throughout the book we get great insight into Don’s experiences as well as his love for Snow White which helped push him towards animation.

Overall Somewhere Out There is a must read for animation lovers!

Was this review helpful?

Don Bluth is almost as much as a part of my childhood as Disney is, I grew up on Anastasia, Land Before Time, and the All Dogs Go to Heaven movies so I appreciated being able to read Mr. Bluth's memoir. I finished the book within two hours of reading it, I thoroughly enjoyed going through this read. Mr. Bluth has a great writing style and can tell a great story. I loved seeing the drawings in the book, and it brought a lot of joy when reading this.

Was this review helpful?

Very thoughtful autobiography by a man whose name you might not know, but whose work you’ve undoubtedly seen plenty of times.

I was impressed with Mr. Bluth’s tale and his insight, living long doesn’t always guarantee that one looks with such reflection at their own lives, Bluth has.

I like how he goes into his own issues with self-doubt; I think reading this would help a lot of creative people suffering from the same (I’ve already planned on getting a copy for my own house, for my creative teens).

Original art makes this a must for fans and those looking for an inspiring voice in animation.

* I must note that Bluth’s strong faith has obviously shaped who he is as a person and that this does feature prominently in his book. I didn’t find this to be preachy but I think it’s something to consider based on your feelings for the LDS church and/or organized religion.



eARC kindly provided by SmartPop / BenBella Books and NetGalley. Opinions shared are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This was a brilliant autobiography/memoir. It was such a fascinating book. Don's life was so interesting and the book quickly became a page turning book that I was determined to stay up to finish but I feel asleep and had to wake up early to finish reading it. Don's life was fascinating especially his lucky break working for Walt Disney so soon. It was quite a shock that at one point he left to start his own company to keep those beautiful details in the animated film that we all love. If like me you have always wanted to know what life is like working within Disney films or as a famous animator then you really need to read this book its both exciting and shocking. I really can't recommend this book enough. I am so glad I found this book as I learnt so much and was taken on a roller coaster ride through the life , successes and failures in the animating world. I couldn't get over how much goes into making them plus the costs are rather eye watering. 

So much praise goes out to the author and publishers for bringing us this wonderful story that I couldn't put down. 

The above review has already been placed on goodreads, waterstones, Google books, Barnes&noble, kobo, amazon UK where found and my blog today https://ladyreading365.wixsite.com/website/post/somewhere-out-there-by-marvin-bluth-benbella-books-4-stars either under my name or ladyreading365

Was this review helpful?

This is your typical autobiography in that it provides a lot of great moments/insight into the person and their life but also inevitably glosses over more difficult periods and conflicts. Don Bluth is a deeply religious man (Mormon-LDS) and it is no surprise that this church Sunday school teacher and retired animator/director will infuse much of this book with his faith. At times, I felt like I was listening to an autobiography of Mister Rogers: a genial and kind man who made working in the children's entertainment medium his life's work. But there are some great insights into animation (especial thoughts on hand drawn vs. automated/computer) as well as the industry and the Walt Disney Studios. I listened to the audio version and fully appreciate that it was narrated by Don Bluth himself; as such, I highly recommend the audio version.

The book is told chronologically - from humble origins on farms and small towns in Texas and Utah to the big move to Southern California during the era of the aerospace industry growth. Animation was always his passion and a personal dream to work for Walt Disney came true when the family found themselves in Los Angeles.

Many will likely want to read about his time at Walt Disney Studios. Walt doesn't figure much into the story; Bluth was there right before Disney succumbed to lung cancer. It is a time that isn't documented all that much so it was interesting to see an inside perspective of that transitive period in Disney history. Bluth was there when the studios was in freefall, with shortcuts overtaking quality, computers replacing hand drawn/inked work, and no one was quite sure where to take the animation. In succinct terms, it was the time of The Black Cauldron, Frank Miller, and the loss of so many of the original "9 old men" animators.

As with most autobiographies, the author is never sure why certain individuals work against him or dislike him. With Bluth, who was hard championing a return to more expensive yet higher quality methods for the studios, it is easy to read between the lines that he both alienated himself as well as was too high-handed/authoritative. It is easy to see that there was no future for him at Disney and that he had burned too many bridges.

The golden period of his animation soon happened afterwards, when other studios leapt at the chance to fill the void that the Disney Studios fall had created. Bluth was the perfect person to lead the charge of non-Disney animated feature films and found success first with Steven Spielberg and then more on his own, with the last big hit being Anastasia with 20th Century Fox Animation. But as we know, the movie industry in the 1970s/1980s/1990s was highly volatile and Bluth experienced many ups and downs. The down period and failed films are glossed over here sadly.

The reminiscences of doing non-traditional animation were especial interesting - from working in the early computer game industry with a very controversial figure to make Dragon's Lair to the disappointment of follow up Space Age and countless failed later attempts to revive the franchise by fans. Those who have ever been involved in a fandom know the ups and downs experienced by Bluth in this regard. I also found the time spent in Ireland trying to create an animation studio through Irish funding interesting.

The tone throughout the autobiography is easy-going and reflective. The underlying theme is Bluth's frustration with having to enter the animation industry when it was about cost saving rather than the quality that inspired Bluth in the first place. Bluth's greatest antagonist throughout the book is money/funding, though he rarely calls it out by name.

There are a lot of spiritual observations and at times it can feel preachy. It's not obnoxiously so and this is clearly an autobiography and not an attempt to convert. Bluth believes his talent was God-given, that he was looked over by a guardian angel, and that he can remember times from before he was born. These are all aspects of the man that I do feel need to be there to gain an understanding of his thought processes and to explore the person behind the animation.

In all, I am very glad I had a chance to listen to the audio version. As noted earlier, at times I thought I was listening to Mister Rogers rather than a famous animator/director; perhaps not surprising since Bluth is currently a Sunday school teacher at his church. Bluth never married but donated much of his work to the Savannah College of Art and Design. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

Was this review helpful?

Don Bluth lifts the lid on his life and his works of art that includes his time at Disney, the computer game Dragon’s Lair and the masterpieces that is the Secret of Nimth.

This is an interesting story on how a man who works for Disney and against all odds was able to strike out on his own to start his own animation studio and fight against the grain. Bluth gives us a story that gives us so much more information on the man behind the classics and how a dream can spark a career in the love of what he does.

Bluth has given us Thumbelina, Anastasia, Land Before Time, An American Tale and of course my own personal favourite Secret of Nimth. You watch his films and you can see the passion that he has for his projects and this comes through in the narrative of his story. He is a testament that if you dream it and never take no as an answer you can live your dream and conquer against all odds.

Interestingly enough, he had no formal training and this gives his story even more pathos. He is a truly remarkable man who has left behind a great legacy. He also gives a story that it will not be easy but if you fight and work hard, you can accomplish anything your heart desires.

Inspirational, awe inspiring and a truly great book especially if you are a fan. A man who hides his light under a bushel and it is great to see this light shine even brighter than before. A true master in his field.

Was this review helpful?

The book starts as a fairy tale and then the autobiography unfolds. An odd approach for such a book, but this may also indicate the mind set of Don Bluth. He comes across a gentle bloke and the book is certainly set at that speed.

Bluth lays out his story in a well written approach that has as much fantasy sprinkled throughout as experiences. Lots of talking to his reflection int he mirror and viewed magical experiences. The approach is an excellent one. Especially in that Bluth is writing of his animating fantasies. the tenor is perfect. As one that has read of writers and creators of fiction and fantasies, I have to wonder if others have such layout. haven't read one, myself. If this is an original approach, bravo to Bluth.

Something else I like of the book layout are the chapter breaks. There is a terrific balance of chapter content. Not sure how Bluth did that. Either an outstanding editor (A rarity these days) or Bluth should be writing much, much more.

The clear approach to the writing is also outstanding. There's no guesswork, yet not as stupid-simple as many celebrity biographies are written these days. There's a clear-eye view by Bluth to how to get his tale across and it works very well.

There are illustrations, but my access was through NetGalley.som and the illustrations are very small. Knowing well as an illustrator myself, don't know how the printed version will have the illustrations appear. I think the book would have benefited from more than I saw in the digital version.

Noting, as I have as I have been taking advantage of NetGalley.com, that I don't write these as other reviewers do: 5 stars and all praise. I'm writing these as I each volume comes across to me. This is one of the few I found very well done. That and i believe Bluth needs to write more. He mentions 'Dragon's Lair' as animated. Why not write a fictionalized version? He's really already done it. Just edit it to an entire novel.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 10 out of ten points.

Was this review helpful?

Exceptionally incredible, whimsical, and as entertaining as you'd hope it would be.

Clearly a man led by his Christian faith, Bluth describes how he's used his relationship with the man upstairs to inspire him, to absorb the proverbial punches of life, and to focus on positive aspects. That the great animator has evidently been witness to myriad events that seemed nothing less than providential definitely serves up some good food for thought.

Like many autobiographies, it's laid out by section/chapter to represent key events/projects; what's unique about this book is that Bluth imbues it with a colorful quality that gives it the hue of a fantastical, dreamy story (e.g. the inclusion of a "man in the mirror"). Bluth discussing his inner-most thoughts with his reflection is a neat device for revealing to the reader what was going through his mind during the ups and downs, especially when he parted ways with Disney. To cap it all off, it'd not really be a Don Bluth book if there weren't great drawings on certain pages.

His behind-the-scenes recollections are every bit of the interesting experience that you'd hope for. No "spilling of the tea"--just some anecdotes and key memories, but splendid ones all the same.

I've already seen some that were taken aback on social media by Bluth's faith taking practically center-stage in this book, but he never stops to prosthelytize, instead just letting his own life moments speak for themselves. It's what you should expect if you go into a book wherein an artist is revealing what drove them through what's undoubtedly one of the most storied careers in animated film history.

I must mention that I'm bummed about the absolute loss of the "too scary for kids" T-Rex moments from THE LAND BEFORE TIME, and would also be interested in hearing the flip-side of many of the cataclysmic events he recounts (for the sake of getting the whole portion of a great story)

Bluth's movies are much of what I grew up on, and thumbing through this was a delight in every way.

Many thanks to NetGalley, BenBella Books, and Smart Pop for the advance read.

Was this review helpful?

Just like the Disney Animated movies, my childhood was also marked by the animated movies made by Don Bluth, such as An American Tale, Anastasia, The Land Before Time, Thumbelina, The Secret of Nimh, and All Dogs Go to Heaven. I also really love the game Dragon's Lair, which I have a version of on my Nintendo Switch. Those movies meant so much to me, so I was very excited when I saw the ARC of Somewhere Out There on NetGalley. Then, I found the audiobook on Audible and decided to listen to it while reading my ARC copy. I'm glad that I did.

It was absolutely wonderful hearing about Don Bluth's life and career in his own words. He did an incredible job reading the book, and I loved the personality that he gave it. There were times that he would laugh at his decisions or about what he was saying, which made it feel so genuine. Don made it feel like he was just sitting down and telling you a story about his life like he was an old friend. The illustrations in the book were another great addition to his story. I love the one at the very end of the book. It's wonderful!

This book is not only for the fans of Don Bluth or animation but also for creators themselves. It tells of Don's dream and how he works to become an animator. I enjoyed this journey and seeing the elements of his life that went into his movies. His love for the early movies from Disney animation, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, greatly impacted his later life and dreams. I loved seeing how Walt was one of his heroes since he was a child and getting to see when he started to work for the Disney company.

Also, every time I read the cover; I think of the song ''Somewhere Out There'' from An American Tale. That song will always be a favorite of mine.

I am so glad that I picked up a copy of this book, and I will definitely be buying a physical copy for my collection.

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my ARC of the ebook all opinions are my own. *

Was this review helpful?

When I was 10 years old, I remember going to the theater to see the movie An American Tale. I fell in love with the story! The Land Before Time and Anastasia are two other Don Bluth films that I adored. So, of course I had to read his memoir!

It was fun reading about Mr. Bluth's animation career and how he became started in the business of animation. I had no idea that he was employed with Disney for a number of years and that he worked on some of my favorite childhood Disney films as well. The process of animation is fascinating! I learned so much from reading this book about all of the people and steps involved in making an animated film.

There were fun easter eggs throughout the book for those who are familiar with his work - quotes from films written into the storyline (never say never). Illustrations by Mr. Bluth accompanied the text to add some fun and humor.

If you love Don Bluth films or are interested in learning about animation, this is a must read.

Thank you to #NetGally for the privilege of reading an ARC of #SomewhereOutThere by #DonBluth - 4 stars

Was this review helpful?

I grew up--like so many others of a certain generation--on the films of Don Bluth. Those films had so much more heart and emotional impact than anything coming from the Mouse House. This was a wonderful (self) examination of the man behind the studio and those unforgettable stories told in only the way Bluth himself could.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: