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CMA Live: Join the Conversation with John Musker

September 27, 2018 @ 6:30 pm PDT

Children’s Media Association is excited to announce the second episode of CMA Live: a series of online talks with industry leaders available to all CMA members! CMA Live events are streamed on YouTube, and our host will answer your questions on air. Come with questions and learn from our community!

Our second CMA Live event is a conversation with John Musker, a 40 year Disney veteran whose credits include co-directing Disney’s Moana and The Little Mermaid.  John will be talking with our host, Dan Garza, writer, actor, producer, puppeteer and illustrator, and will answer your questions live on YouTube.

Date & Time: Thursday, September 27th, 2018 @ 6:30pm PDT / 9:30pm EDT 

Register to Watch the Livestream NOW!

About our Speaker and Host

John Musker is a 40 year veteran of the Walt Disney Animation Studio where he was an animator, storyboard artist, writer, director, and producer.  

John grew up in Chicago, Illinois as part of a large Irish Catholic family. He followed up his English Literature studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, with two years at CalArts as part of the new Character Animation Program in the mid-Seventies, where he learned not only from Disney and Chouinard veterans like Elmer Plummer, Bill Moore, and Ken O’Connor, but also his fellow classmates there, many who have gone on to direct distinguished films: folks like Brad Bird, Henry Selick, John Lasseter, Tim Burton, and Chris Buck. At Disney he was mentored by Eric Larson, the veteran animator and one of Disney’s fabled “Nine Old Men,” who brought Figaro the cat to life in Pinocchio, among many other characters in his distinguished career. 

John became an animator on The Fox and the Hound (1981), and later joined Ron Clements to direct The Great Mouse Detective (1986) alongside Disney veterans Burny Mattinson and Dave Michener.  Ron and John paired up to write and direct The Little Mermaid (1989) which John coproduced with Howard Ashman.  Ron and John also wrote and directed a number of subsequent animated features including Aladdin (1992) Hercules (1997) Treasure Planet ( 2002) and The Princess and the Frog ( 2009.)   John’s most recent project was Moana ( 2016) which he once again directed with Ron Clements, along with co-directors Don Hall and Chris Williams.

John retired from Disney Feature Animation in the spring of 2018, and is currently animating by hand his own short film, as well as chasing around his nineteen-month-old granddaughter Lucy.

John resides in La Cañada, California, with his wife Gale, a former researcher at Disney,  not far from his three grown children Patrick, Jackson, and Julia. 


Dan Garza is a writer, actor, producer, puppeteer and illustrator who thrives at bringing creatives together and collaborating on projects that bring the inanimate to life.

Over the years, Dan has worked as a puppeteer for The Jim Henson Company, Sony, among other production companies. While at The Walt Disney Company he assisted in the creation and curation of content for distribution on digital platforms and social media. At Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Dan bridged the gap between artists and producers in the character, asset and set building in a CG world. As well as having a full career as a writer, director and actor creating original children’s shows for the stage, Dan loves creatively giving back to the community through assisting in benefits and mentorship.

Most recently, Dan has worked on Jim Carrey’s Showtime series Kidding, Brian Henson’s The Happytime Murders (with Melissa McCarthy) and Jim Henson’s Splash and Bubbles on PBS Kids where he performs and voices 11 characters on the daily digital puppetry series. As a puppet builder, he has created many different styles of puppet for varying uses. Kind and thoughtful collaboration in work makes all of the difference and allows the holistic and organic development of characters and story.

Dan’s creative philosophy is that the imagination of childhood should be remembered, unleashed and allowed to thrive with the mindset of mentorship, kindness, love and laughter!


September 27, 2018
6:30 pm PDT
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