One of the Greatest Companies in the World

There is a book I’d like to write about one of the greatest businesses in the world, and I’d like to eventually publish it under Endever’s name. Thing is, it’ll take a few years to write, and the time expense will be big. So I’m throwing the mock-introduction out there to you readers to see if it is a book you would be interested in reading. 

Also, don’t forget to enter our writing contest for a chance to win $200! Choose any famous fictional couple and write their continuing story. Click here for details.

INTRO TO BUSINESS BOOK:

In just over two centuries America has delivered a long line of legendary figures who have contributed mightily to the sustaining growth of creativity and innovation. Out of the collective brainchild of these American leaders, we have been given the telephone, baseball, model-T’s, cardiac pacemakers, and Cocoa Cola, to name a few. Business, imagination, and innovation have been the cornerstones of American greatness stretching as far back as the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

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When viewing American history in terms of industry clusters, there is one enterprise, one empire, that is larger than most of the others and has touched and inspired growth in more industries than any other. One would be hard-pressed to find a single person in America who does not know the name Disney, and probably very few people in the world who have not been touched by his creations in one way or another.

Walt Disney built the first-ever themed amusement park for millions to enjoy, make Walt_Disney_1946memories, get engaged, get married, and reconnect with their families. He invented the nature documentary, spawning a multi-billion dollar industry that is dedicated to documenting and preserving life forms we share planet earth with that we would otherwise not have known about.

More specifically, and most famously, he created the first feature-length animated film. He did this despite a plethora of naysayers and fierce criticism. And one man’s folly became a worldwide phenomenon, which evolved into a cultural obsession. Soon, animated films became the gold standard in entertainment. And so, on the shoulders of seven little men and a gullible princess, an empire was built.

Through vivid storytelling, state of the art technology, and sophisticated artistry, animated movies delighted audience members of all ages and magically touched the world one life at a time. People everywhere discovered that their deformities could propel them to heights above their peers as they marveled at Dumbo’s flight. Peter Pan reminded people that it’s okay to never grow up. Alice taught audiences to never stop exploring. And Walt himself implored everyone, no matter what, to “keep moving forward.”

But after the dark and dismal days following Mr. Disney’s death in 1966, his empire lived on, but only barely so. The men and women left behind to run it were, essentially, left without an emperor. They were lost and leaderless. Their fearless visionary had sailed away to new adventures on his pixie dust-coated pirate ship. The artists and storytellers left to run the kingdom struggled to match their leader’s expectations as they floundered to create one mediocre animated film after another. Slowly, the medium was dying out because of a lack of vision, and brick by brick, the kingdom that Walt had built began to crumble.

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Animated movies, feeling like high-budget lengthier laugh-o-grams by that point, were being cast aside as no longer cinematic marvels for the masses, but as simple-minded childish affairs. This is a class of thinking Walt would have despised. Animation was never meant to be solely for children. It was meant to be experienced and enjoyed by all, despite class, race, gender, and especially age.

Hope was undoubtedly waning for the Disney Company. Artists packed up their bags. Desk lamps were shut off for the last time. Sketchpads were closed, and the dust began to settle. It seemed feature-length animation was now a thing of the past.

tumblr_mdidktSb9G1qfin3mBut somewhere in the distance, a wave began to form and it brought forth a ship that seemed to carry Walt Disney’s very spirit and it set anchor in Burbank, California, which would become the home to a humble grotto under the sea where a little mermaid would dazzle the world with her voice and bravery.

And so, like the prince-kissed maiden, the sleeping spell lifted and Beauty awoke. The dragon of despair was slain, and life and energy prevailed once more in the Walt Disney Studios.

With the release of The Little Mermaid, resurgence was under way. Ariel was Snow White for a new generation. Suddenly, the theater houses were packed with just as many adults as kids, just like in years past. That old forgotten magic filled the air and new songs filled people’s hearts and it wasn’t uncommon to hear someone whistle “Under the Sea” when you passed by them in the grocery store.

That infectious spirit of Walt Disney had been reborn and almost everyone was accepting of it. And that wasn’t all. In the mermaid’s wake rolled in even bigger box office and critical hits such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King—films that remain embedded in America’s psyche even decades later. People today teach their kids what Hakuna Matata means, just like their grandparents can still recite the significance of wishing on a star.

Parents took their families to see the latest animated movie with nothing less than childlike enthusiasm. The reigning king of animation, it seemed, had reclaimed its rightful place in the movie industry.

All had thought Disney Animation was here to stay, but no on foresaw the slow and michael_eisner_disney_celadorimminent second death the company would suffer for the next ten years. It would slowly decompose from a cancer eating it from the inside out. The magic was squelched once again, but not due to the vanishing of a great man, but this time because of the arrival of a man who was driven by pride and bureaucratic rituals.

Everyone, from the studio to the general public, watched the decline of the twice-great animation studio as year after year it produced films that displayed lesser and lesser artistic quality and lesser depth. It wasn’t noticeable at first. The Hunchback of Notre Dame broke new ground in animation by giving movement to every person in large crowd scenes to provide a sense of realism seen only in The Lion King. Tarzan provided memorable music and displayed beautiful animation by esteemed Disney artists.

But like plucking pedals off a rose, it seemed there was a certain magic, or touch, that was less and less prevalent in each subsequent feature animated film. The characters were becoming less relatable, the stories were no longer connecting with audiences, the tales were no longer as old as time but were just enough to make a quick dent in the weekend box office only to fall away into distant memory. More than ever the animation style was reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons.

What was happening here?

What was the cancer that was destroying this vibrant, lucrative, creative machine? At one point it seemed as though the Disney empire was unstoppable, that it would continue to deliver memorable movies for generations to come. And now it was being pitifully bested by other, less experienced, animation studios.

Just when even the youngest children, it seemed, weren’t too thrilled with Disney’s latest cinematic attempts (does anyone remember a single line from Atlantis: The Lost Empire?), fate stepped in and offered a second revival for the company.

They say everyone deserves a second chance, and now the Walt Disney Animation Studios was being given a third. With fresh new management in place, a complete restructuring of the buildings, and the reimplementation of Walt Disney’s innovative spirit, the animation behemoth transformed from a Beast to a flourishing kingdom once again.

During these changes, Disney’s forty-eighth animated film was underway about a dog who believed he was a super hero. His nemesis was to be a Girl Scout cookie-selling zombie serial killer—quite a jump from the conventional tradition of family-friendly entertainment. But the new management arrived just in time to step in and reroute the project, shaping it into a much more acceptable premise with enduring characters and, ultimately, bringing in a nice sum for the studio (an impressive $310 million, almost doubling the previous film’s intake).

From there, the company’s prospects grew from good to better, and eventually to a greatness never known to the Walt Disney Animation Studios before in its seventy-nine year history. As of the very day of this writing, the media is exploding with exultations over Disney’s newest animated effort, Zootopia. And my social media notifications are about to burst my phone, alerting me that Zootopia has just become the highest-grossing animated Disney release ever—a record not easily broken considering the greatness that emerged from the studio’s previous resurgence.

Los Angeles Premiere Of Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Zootopia"

HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 17: (L-R) Singer Shakira and actors Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman pose with Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps characters during the Los Angeles premiere of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootopia” on February 17, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney)

One has to ask, then, when looking at the long history of Disney animation, why is it back on top after years of muddling in the mire of mediocrity? Usually, as businesses go, they get one chance to pull off something great. One flub, one misstep, is enough to send the company off to file chapter thirteen. Why has Disney Animation been given so many chances to turn itself around? What caused the change? What does the management look like now compared to that of the abysmal late 90’s and early 00’s?

These are questions we will explore in the following pages. In hindsight, some answers may be obvious, but keep in mind, every business decision seems rational at the time. After all, the Walt Disney Animation Studios is more than a business. It’s one of the most trusted brands in the entertainment industry, and a beloved hallmark to millions across the world. In this book we’ll speak with Disney executives and employees and get their firsthand accounts of the changes the studio underwent that caused such a rollercoaster of highs and lows. We’ll examine the things that worked and the things that didn’t, and we’ll attempt to draw the conclusion of whether it was dumb luck that keeps getting them out of trouble or if it’s due to specific, proactive decisions and changes made on behalf of the management and cooperation of the employees.

This is more than just a business book or an interesting inside look at one of the most successful companies in the world. This is the story about an empire which was poisoned by an apple but then miraculously awoke. Then it lost its glass slipper, but in the eleventh hour, it was found. Through it all, it continues to reclaim its happy ending. This is the story of hope, courage, and reformation. This story is our story—America’s story. A story which Walt himself wanted to be infectious to millions across the globe: “…with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”

Writers: Win $200!

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Homer and Marge, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Ross and Rachel, Shrek and Fiona…

These are all iconic fictional couples whom we are familiar with. We adore them, we love them. But what happens after their “Happily ever after?” Do they stay in love? Do they have an unfortunate fallout? Does conflict disrupt their lives? Perhaps the threat of a third world war challenges their devotion to one another?

You tell us!

For a chance to win $200, writers are encouraged to pick any iconic fictional couple made popular by a book, movie, or TV show and enlighten us on what happens after their “Happily ever after.”

Are you not a writer? No problem, we’re sure you know plenty of writers in your life, so please pass this contest along to them so they have a chance at winning $200. Who knows, they might even take you out to dinner…

Contestants must be over 13 years of age to enter. Do not exceed 1,000 words. Deadline is April 18.

CLICK HERE to submit

And please feel free to contact us at Endeverpublishing@gmail.com for any questions you may have or leave you comments in the section below.

Winner and Writing Contest #2 Announced!

coverA huge congratulations to Jared Johnson for winning Endever’s first writing contest with his short story, “Sunstalker of the Badlands.” As the winner, he has won $150 as well as an opportunity to write a short story to be featured in the front of one of Endever’s books.

Again, thank you so much to everyone who submitted. You will be hearing from us shortly in regards to your story with tips and advice to help elevate your writing to the next level.

At Endever, we are young and very new to the game, thus we don’t have everything perfected yet. So we are open to changes and suggestions you may have in regards to future writing contests. We would love it if you submitted your feedback to us at Endeverpublishing@gmail.com for ways we can improve future contests.

And now we’d like to announce Endever’s next writing contest. This time for a chance to win $200. 

The-Flip-Side-of-LoveWe are hard at work on our first book production at Endever Publishing Studios, a YA novel about a girl who falls in love with a boy after he dies. The book opens up with our protagonist, Adelle, believing that love is spelled with a “D” on the end. According to her, all love stories eventually end up as loved stories, as in, “He loved me but no longer does.”

She is convinced that if most love stories continued on past the last page or after the credit roll, they would all end up as loved stories. Unless it’s that rare story where the couple dies together in the end.

So we want to know if you agree with Adelle. Here are the rules for our next writing contest:

Contestants are to choose a love story, be it a popular fairy tale or a contemporary story (book or movie), and write what happens to that couple after that story ends. Do they stay together? Do they separate? Is there conflict that is introduced into their lives that challenges their relationship? Contestants are to write about the couple utilizing up to 1,000 words. 

The deadline is April 18, and the fee is $12. This fee will go toward the $200 prize as well as helping to fund Endever Publishing Studios to get a foot into the publishing world.

CLICK HERE to submit

And please feel free to contact us at Endeverpublishing@gmail.com for any questions you may have or leave you comments in the section below.

Meet Contestant 3: Eric Dill

Now it’s time to meet Contestant 3, Eric Dill. After reading his short bio, head over to Endever’s Facebook page to vote for your favorite contestant. Remember, please vote only once, or else your votes will be disqualified and not counted. 

12038194_10153704291739668_8168426515496197139_nEric Dill is a busy husband, father, and student who retreats from the craziness of life by losing himself in worlds of words—whether his own, or those created by master world-builders whom he admires. It doesn’t matter if the world is contained in 500 words or 500,000, if it is compelling he is sure to want to experience it. His genres of choice are fantasy and science-fiction (in that order). He lives with his wife of five years, daughter of three, and crazy German Shepherd in Western North Carolina.

Eric’s personal blog can be found at wispsofsmokeblog.wordpress.com, and is an eclectic mix of short fiction, poetry, and art. Although begun on a whim, it has quickly became a place for him to release ideas into the wild and to express pent-up emotions. It is both exciting and cathartic to express himself in words for others to read.

The development of “The Depression in the Woods” actually happened fairly spontaneously. There is, in fact, a large depression in the woods behind his parent’s home. As a child, that place possessed an air of mystery and magic. So the “geographic” element of it is based, however loosely, in real life. The “emotional” element is likewise based in his own struggles. It wasn’t until he was about halfway through the story that he realized both elements were in play. The word-play was a “happy accident” one might say, and helped to give the story its depth.

Click here to read and vote for Eric’s story and vote for him simply by clicking the “Like” button.

Also, don’t forget to check out our other two finalists, Megan Griffiths and Jared Johnson.

The winner will be announced on Sunday, March 13!

Meet Contestant 2: Jared Johnson

We’ve got our three finalists chosen and posted for Endever’s first writing contest. Please take a moment now to meet Contestant 2, Jared Johnson and then head over to Endever’s Facebook page to vote for your favorite contestant. Remember, please vote only once, or else your votes will be disqualified and not counted. 

coverI’m a psychology student at VCU in Richmond, Virginia. Originally from Virginia Beach, I enjoy surfing and life by the ocean. I aspire to work in creative writing, either as a freelancer or with a production company (screenplays are as good as short stories), but I want to have a stable degree given the job climate. 
Growing up, I’ve always been obsessed with reading Lovecraft, William Burroughs, and James Joyce. I also watched an unhealthy amount of horror films, among my favorites are Alien, Eraserhead, and The Thing. I think the ability to tell a suspenseful but extremely immersive narrative is the mark of genius because it has to be inviting enough for the audience to care but treacherous enough to cause us to worry and dread.
My inspiration for the story came from work I did in Managua’s former municipal dump (La Chureca). While I was there, I heard a story about a scavenger who had gone to use the restroom in an open sewer and fell twenty feet, nearly drowning in the filth but was saved by other members of the community. He was permanently disabled by the fall and sat crippled in a wheelchair when I met him. I was sixteen and I still think about it today. It leaves you feeling very disturbed and confused about the whole event. In the same sense, I want my stories to be easy to understand but hard to interpret – to be confusing and not very clear about why things unfold the way they do. Life will throw you a curveball and it’s up to you to make sense of it and give it meaning.
Click here to vote for Jared’s story and vote for him simply by clicking the “Like” button.
Also, don’t forget to check out our other two finalists, Megan Griffiths and Eric Dill.
The winner will be announced on Sunday, March 13!

Meet Contestant 1: Megan Griffiths

We’ve got our three finalists chosen and posted for Endever’s first writing contest. Please take a moment to meet Contestant 1, Megan Griffiths and then head over to Endever’s Facebook page to vote for your favorite contestant. Remember, please vote only once, or else your votes will be disqualified and not counted. 

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Megan Griffiths is a creative individual. She balances fantasy and reality fairly well in her life, and for her it is valuable to remind herself as much as possible that imagination is just as important as being practical. She is a freelance writer and blogger.

Megan is a single mother of two; teen and preteen. She can be quite a Momster (what happens to Mom after she counts to 3) but thankfully her sense of humor helps to get her through. She hails from the East Coast of South Africa – a ‘little’ city with pristine beaches and a laid-back feel to it. Little being the operative word.

Megan has a passion for reading and writing, as well as giving her fingers a good work out in various other forms of crafty-artiness. She is a self-confessed coffee addict, with a soft spot for cheesecake and rainy afternoons. When the sun is out, she rather enjoys tending the weeds in her garden – a green thumb is not something she was gifted with.

Her personal blog can be found at nopassingfancy.wordpress.com, and is a mixture of the mishaps and motivations of everyday life. She also tweets regularly @MegG78.

Megan was asked about the inspiration behind the story that she wrote entitled “Shoebox Sanity” for the Endever Publishing Studios writing contest. A lot of her writing is inspired by personal life experiences and then woven into a variety of genres, but this particular piece was not. It was, in fact, just the result of sitting down and trying to think of a story with a murderous twist. It was the result of a mind that is fascinated and intrigued by mystery, human psychology, and puzzles. Many years spent watching and reading crime/murder mystery was also a great contributor to the story.

Click here to read Megan’s story and vote for her by simply clicking the “Like” button.

Also, don’t forget to check out our other two finalists, Eric Dill and Jared Johnson

Silly Rabbit, Animated Movies Aren’t (Just) for Kids

 

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Zootopia is Disney’s 55th animated feature film, and it broke records as being the highest grossing Disney animated opening of all time.

Why is that? Personally, I think it’s because Disney has been delivering better and better films after their decade of mediocrity (1995-2004). The animation powerhouse, with the help from Pixar geniuses, has worked hard over the past twelve years to regain the world’s trust. Each film, from Bolt to Big Hero 6, has steadily gotten better and better, and diving deeper and deeper with substance and superior quality.

After seeing it with my son today, I can see why it’s garnered a near 100% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes by both critics and audiences alike (many even claiming it’s the best Disney film ever), and why it’s broken the record as the studio’s highest grossing opening.

Zootopia is not your typical animated film. Sure, it’s anthropomorphic, which is not uncommon in the medium, it pulls as many quips as it can, and… well, that’s pretty much where the similarities stop. Outside of that, it’s a seriously fun and entertaining crime drama.

In fact, it’s so reminiscent of my favorite buddy-cop movies, Lethal Weapon, that I no lethal_weapon_3longer feel a need for Riggs and Murtaugh to team up for a fifth installment because a sly fox and a “dumb bunny” beat them to it.

If you’re one of those closed-minded weirdos who write animated films off as being “kid movies,” you need to rethink your approach. If this movie doesn’t convince you that select animated films can be way better than your typical live-action release, then you’ve got some rewiring to do. (There’s a scene where a main character cries and it’s better than any crying I’ve seen any real actor pull off…yeah, I watered.)

Most of the jokes are subtle. Many of them I won’t notice until future viewings (and there will be many…by choice), but I caught enough to know that they’re there. And yes, it’s got that warmth and heart Disney is known for, but it never, ever feels cheesy.

Judy-Hopps-disneys-zootopia-38966363-777-777I can foresee myself choosing Judy Hopps as my favorite Disney character after a more timely analysis of her character. I want her to be my daughter’s role-model. She is strong, humble, and determined to be the best she can be doing what she wants to do. And no bull-headed water buffalo is going to get in her way.

Is Zootopia my all-time favorite Disney movie? I don’t know, but it’s way up there. But then again, A Goofy Movie isn’t technically considered part of the Disney animated movie lineup. So… of the official 55 releases… I guess I’ll just have to watch it a few more times to decide. And I can’t wait!

Disney does not make kid movies anymore, and this is just one more proof of that. If Hollywood didn’t segregate animated films in their award ceremonies, Zootopia would easily be in the running for best film categories just as Inside Out would have been earlier this year.

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite short story to cap off Endever’s first writing contest!

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