AGM 6

Gregory Perler: It cuts from Max and Goofy very high up at the top of the waterfall where the little rescue has happened, and a map flies in, and the map transitions you to the concert. So then you have that music start, you have a couple of establishing shots of a stadium, and people arriving. Then these roadies throw these cases in, the cases open up, and Max and Goofy come out. And you just go with it. It may have been one of the later sequences that was boarded, so there wasn’t a lot of time. Early on in the process, a sequence can be overthought. And I’m sure if we had done this one very early on, someone would have said, “Well, how did they even get in the cases?” (laughs) But we didn’t, and it’s such a treat to watch it and you just buy it.

Kevin Lima: I was always fascinated with David Bowie, and the way that he became characters. He put on a theatrical version of himself as he performed. I thought, “How can we do this with Powerline? Is there a way to give him a visual identity that makes him ultimately super theatricalized?” That’s where it all came from. That’s where the atom came from, the electricity. It was really about creating this identity that could live within the world of Goofy and Max.

Bill Farmer (Voice of Goofy): When you do a take and they say, “OK, be electrocuted,” then you just let your mind go with it. What’s it like to be electrocuted? Sometimes you go, “Whoa!” or grab your throat and kind of shake it, like, “Whoa-oh-oh!” High ones, big yells, all that. Then they pick the best ones and put them in. But when you do those yells and things that are rough on the vocal cords, they always save those for the end of the day, because if you strain your throat you don’t have anything else to do after that.

Bambi Moé: Up until this pandemic, I think going to see live music was – there’s nothing like it on the planet. I think what Kevin and his team did was to visually animate something that we could all relate to. The experience of it. The way it was communicated. It wasn’t just seeing the character performing. I think what really makes it so special is that it felt to me that there was an intimacy. You were a fly on the wall in the middle of this unbelievable concert. You were seeing it through the eyes of the lead characters – in this case, Goofy and Max. It was less about Powerline and more about them.

Gregory Perler: You’ve got to be on certain things on certain times within the song. All the backstage stuff that involves Goofy getting separated from Max, Max being chased by a guy – they’re cut within an inch of their lives. Because you’ve gotta be back on stage when you’ve gotta be back on stage. I do a lot of movies that have songs that have performance stuff but also story stuff, and this was a great first one to do because it really works.

AGM 1

Kevin Lima: Because we were all separated – we were all in different parts of the world – I would do videotapes in which I acted out all the scenes. I may have gone through that scene with them. I didn’t dance it, but I did do the acting that the characters would have done. So all of the surprises, the double-takes, Goofy holding his face when he sees Trini in her dressing room, all of that stuff are things that I actually was doing on my videotapes to help the animators understand what I wanted from the scene.

Bill Farmer: The heavyset woman who sings with Powerline in that scene was a character who was in the “Open Road” scene, traveling along with a little nebbish kind of a character. She had a lot more in the movie that got cut out, except for her in the scene of “Open Road” and then as one of the backup singers that Goofy sees in the dressing room and has the most weird look on his face. (laughs) He’s all embarrassed. She’s the one that’s vocalizing with Powerline on “I2I.”

Steve Moore: It was pretty tight. We had it down to what it needed to be, and there was no time to waste on anything. The only thing that still had to be worked out when I got to Australia was how the lighting was going to work. Because there was so much concert lighting to figure out…one of the concert scenes had so many different light things going on that we had like 32 levels of animation. Because we were shooting it all in a camera back then. They had given up their conference room for me to have an office, and the entire conference room floor was covered in layers of this scene while we were checking it before it went to camera…In CG, you would just set the lights. But we had to figure it out. We had one thing where it was flashing overhead, and another thing going around the sides of them when they were dancing. So the source of light’s coming from here, and we had to draw a rim matte kind of thing, and they would paint that. It was a lot of stuff to figure out like that.

Gregory Perler: It was one of the first scenes I ever edited on the Avid, digitally. Prior to that, we were editing on film. When we started the movie, we were on 35mm film that was shot and edited on an editing table, and then after about a year, Disney said, “Hey, we’re thinking of switching to these digital editing platforms. Are you interested?” And I said no, because we were already halfway through. Then I realized it wasn’t really a question. (laughs) It was, “OK, you’re going to get an Avid and you’re going to learn how to use one.” Even though I was reluctant, I admit that “I2I” was the perfect sequence to cut on the Avid because A) you were integrating another source medium, which was 30 frame per second video of the [reference footage of the dancers], and B) you have to be able to react so quickly and extend a drawing, take away from a drawing, or repeat a drawing so much more nimbly than you could if you were working on film.

Kevin Lima: With film, you have to pull it out of the gate, cut it, splice it, and put it back into the flatbed. With Avid, you could do it seamlessly without physically having to handle anything. I remember when they told us they wanted us to do this, and we may have been the very first to do Avid work at the studio. I remember us looking at each other and saying, “Oh man, we’re in for it now, because we’re going to be working out all the bugs as we go along.” But really, it was kind of seamless.

Carole Holliday (Character Designer, Roxanne and Stacey): It wasn’t until maybe about ten years ago that I found out that people your age love A Goofy Movie. Because it was the movie of their childhood. I had a girl that I went to church with who was like, “Can you draw Roxanne and Max on my Keds?” She bought brand new Keds so I could draw them on her shoes. I was like, “OK!” (laughs)

AGM 7

Gregory Perler: I don’t even know how long the song is. It might only be three minutes, but there’s so much jammed in there. You’ve gotta see the kids watching them on TV.

Kevin Lima: I don’t recall when we actually pulled in the idea that they were going to be on television. The concert being on television gave us the ability to cut around the country, or cut to the different players within the movie. We knew that we wanted Roxanne to see what had happened, we didn’t just want her to hear that it happened. So that’s where this idea of being on television came into play. We knew that was really the crux of it: Roxanne seeing Max and recognizing that he wasn’t just pulling one over on her, that he wasn’t lying to her because he was afraid – he was actually there.

Carole Holliday: I was always drawing Roxanne because I [joined the production in] France hopefully to animate the character that I designed. I didn’t realize until I got there that she was popular. At one point, I had done a doodle of Roxanne with an Eiffel Tower hat on. I drew another picture over it, so I took the rough, crumpled it up, and threw it in the trash can. The next day, I came back to my desk and my desk mate had pulled it out of the trash can and put it on his wall. I was like, “What?” It was very touching…I went there, and all of the French guys were like, “I want to draw Roxanne!” I think that’s the thing: she’s innocent. She was just this schoolgirl. People like innocence. They’re drawn to innocence. Even though in her biography, her favorite song was The Police song “Roxanne,” a story about a girl who’s not innocent. But Roxanne was. At the time, I was working with teenagers through my church, and I just treated her like the kids that I knew, and I think people saw that in the character.

Gregory Perler: If I remember correctly, it’s Bobby who sees him first. It’s treated as, not a joke, because it has real importance for [Roxanne]. And it sets up the fact that [Max] has to go back and tell her the truth, even though he actually completed his whole deception.

Carole Holliday: The ending doesn’t work unless the director and his head of story and the story crew have set up from the beginning what the character’s emotional want is. The fact that Max thought he wanted one thing and was fighting the very thing that Goofy wanted through the whole thing, and at the end, gets the relationship with his father. It’s like, “I’ve missed out on everything else, but I got this one thing I wasn’t expecting.” Then the Powerline concert at the end becomes the cherry on top. It’s like, “Oh my goodness, you get your dad and you get this! You were a bad kid, but you won because you actually acknowledged your foolishness!” I think that’s why it pays off, is because he repents. He gets what’s important, and then he gets given this other gift on top of that.

Kevin Lima: I was really wanting to make a John Hughes movie in animation. That was really my goal. Can we tell a more contemporary story with contemporary characters than had been told in animation up to that point? So at every turn, I was trying to make it feel like it was happening today. Well, 1995 “today.”

AGM 8

Gregory Perler: I don’t remember how the whole thing with Bobby and Stacey came about, but I think the music is vamping a little bit there, so there was time to play that out. Kevin and Brian came up with that, and we made it fit as best we could.

Kevin Lima: We felt like we should wrap up all the other stories that we’ve been telling. Pete, especially, being just flabbergasted and spitting out his beer on the television screen. I think maybe we’re the only Disney movie to have a character drink a beer. But he spits it all over the television because he is just amazed that what Goofy said was going to go down, went down. The concert really gave us a way to tie everybody’s story together. It’s amazing for me how, in animation especially, you can use music or a song to tell so much of your story in a really economic way.

Gregory Perler: It really does feel like the climax to a movie. You’re putting this thing together sequence by sequence, not always in order. Everybody loved “Stand Out” at the beginning of the movie, but by God, [“I2I”] is a climactic musical number, and it has real scope and scale that maybe the rest of the movie didn’t. You’ve got wide shots with crowds and things we take for granted today.

Steve Moore: We’d hear that song every day. It was like, “Here it goes again.” But for me, it never got to a point where I didn’t like the song anymore or couldn’t stand to hear it anymore.

David Z.: It’s funny, but those songs really lasted. Actually, the whole movie has taken on a second and third generation. My kids loved it when we did it, but then all these other people, I guess it was just the time where a lot of people had kids. But it was for grown-ups, too, because we didn’t make the song as a kid’s song. We made the songs as a sophisticated, radio-friendly groove.

Gregory Perler: It’s the culmination of this little movie that people have really grown to love and become invested in. It feels like this is the most satisfying way the movie can end. It feels inevitable in the best possible way for a movie. When it takes two, two and a half years to do a movie like that, and you don’t necessarily work in order and we have other songs that we didn’t use and stuff, you just never know.

Kevin Lima: I think the scene resonates because it’s backed with a powerful emotional through line. I think you get to see the culmination of a very difficult journey for Max and his dad come to a very rewarding end. Max fulfills a dream in some ways. Not only does he get to go on stage with Powerline, but he gets the girl at the end of the day. I think those are all very powerful themes wrapped up in one big song that echoes those themes. The song truly echoes what is happening in the plot. I think that’s what makes it truly stick in a real way.

David Z.: That was one of the hippest movies to come out, musically. There hasn’t been anything as cool since maybe an old Betty Boop cartoon where they used Cab Calloway. That was some great music. But cartoons didn’t have great music until then – not that I can remember. It was sort of a brave statement for me to make because it hadn’t been done.

AGM 9

Patrick DeRemer: My kids, who are adults now, they still have this song in their playlists. As do their friends. This generation of millennials – late twenties to mid-thirties – love this song. It makes me very proud as a writer to be proud of, first of all, the Disney movie catalogue. But then to be a part of such a popular song that’s touched so many people, it’s really exciting to me. It’s one of my favorite moments in my career, being able to touch that many people so deeply. It’s an emotional thing. It’s that magic relationship when lyric, music, emotion, and film all comes together, and it fits. It’s kind of hard to describe exactly why or how it happens, but when it does, you know it.

David Z.: It expanded so far, and had such a big audience. And still has a big audience. I didn’t realize people were so dedicated to it. We went to a screening, a 20-year celebration, and it was packed to the gills. I couldn’t believe it. People were running on that memory for a long time. The popularity of it has exploded.

Steve Moore: For people today, they grew up with it. This was the age of the VCR, and kids watched this over and over and over again, and now they’re in their thirties, and you mention A Goofy Movie and they get gooey about it. It’s in their hearts from their childhood, and they can watch it today as adults and still enjoy it. It still holds up, and I think that has to do with the emotional quality of the film, how it draws you in, how the song was part of the story, it’s the climax of the movie, and the father and son are dancing together. It’s just a nice sentiment and a nice way to end the movie.

Roy Freeland: I’ve been watching the TikTok dance challenge. I’m OK [at it] now. I tried it. I decided not to post my attempt. (laughs) But it’s so much fun to see people get up and do it. There was a high school principal, there was a doctor in New York wearing his scrubs with an inspiring message on top of that about good news of how the curve is flattening. It’s a contemporary message, of the moment right now – that hopefulness and connection between people.

Bill Farmer: I have tried to get that [dance] down as close as I can. I’ve tried to remember how it is, and I actually found my old script. “Ten o’clock, two o’clock…” I’ll attempt it, but it’s not really a video-worthy thing. (laughs)

Patrick DeRemer: If you know Bruno Mars and any of the people at Disney live action, they should put a live stage version of this together with Bruno as Powerline. That would be great! Can’t you hear him singing this?

Bill Farmer: Over the years, many fans have come up to me – probably more than any other project I’ve ever worked on, and I’ve done close to 4,000 projects for Disney – and A Goofy Movie stands out among all of them with the fans. They always come up and say, “I couldn’t talk to my dad, but we saw this movie, and it became our movie.” They’d watch it every year or listen to the soundtrack together, and “I2I,” it encapsulates the whole theory of the movie. They can see eye to eye without seeing eye to eye on everything. A father and a son can find common ground and be buddies, even though they’re separated by one being Goofy and one being embarrassed of his dad. And everybody’s been embarrassed of their parents, so it really strikes a note that you can relate to.

***

A Goofy Movie is currently streaming on Disney+. All screengrabs are either from that presentation or from this “Making Of” documentary about the movie found on YouTube. Tevin Campbell’s representatives did not respond to our requests for an interview, but if you’d like to read his reflections on his contribution to the film, you can do so here.

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