mickey mouse operation

The other day when I was watching the new Disney+ special on the history of Mickey mouse, I had a strange realization.


I'm sure I knew this at some point, but I'd forgotten...


Steamboat Willie was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon that had any success -- and it had major success.


There were two other Mickey cartoons that came before it, but they were silent and they didn't really land.


What made Steamboat Willie different -- and extremely special -- was the audio.


Sound had only recently started being used for film, and Walt Disney saw this as his big opportunity to change the entire animation game.


So he borrowed against his car, and he and his business partner both mortgaged their houses...


And they used that money to hire the best orchestra money could hire...


I think they said the New York City Orchestra but I could be remembering it wrong.




Disney went all in on this idea -- the idea that sound would make his animations successful.


Steamboat Willie wasn't the first cartoon to have an audio track -- there were a couple more that came out that same year before it -- but it was the first one to get the sound and the animation fully synced.


And Walt was right.


Audiences freaking loved it.


And the rest, as they say, is history.


The special also briefly explored the role that Mickey Mouse played in World War II globally and at home.


Really interesting stuff -- things I had never thought about or realized before.


This is why I watch these specials.


There's something about animation -- a creative, innovative endeavor that's one part eyes and one part hands -- that helps me recover from long days writing copy and wading in data and optimization and strategy.


Through anecdotal observation, this seems to be a trend.


Some of the best copywriters I know -- recognized A-listers and basement-dwelling curmudgeons alike -- are strong in a creative hobby.


Most are musicians -- and I was a musician too, for a long time.


(Had to drop the hobby because of time pressure, but I'm now on the hunt for a piano to bring music back into the house.)


Some are painters.


A few are runners -- I guess there's also something transcendent about being in nature and doing the whole extreme physical exertion bit when you spend so much time in your head.


Many are into documentaries about "neat stuff," too.


And gardening.


Do you see the trend here?


I can't make any sweeping declarations, but I think I'm onto something here.


If you want to be a great copywriter, simultaneously pursue something that gets you out of your thinker and into your looker or your listener or your feeler.


But also if you want to be a great copywriter, you need to beef up on your copywriting skills.


And my favorite place to do that right now is at Copy Chief.


You can read all about it (and get started for about $150) at my affiliate link here:




And if you come hang out at Copy Chief Live in October, I'll buy you dinner. Consider it my affiliate bonus, haha.

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Ashley (24) (1)

After working with dozens of brilliant, hard-working entrepreneurs as a freelance writer, I learned a thing or two about great content. Now I bring my years of experience, practice, and self-study to bloggers and businesses that want to nail it in the content game.


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