Both have had great careers, which they credit in no small part
to the support of their parents, as well as some key members of
their extended family.
Lima began, talking about his early years and his interest in
puppetry. He noted that it was his grandmother who supported his
interest and helped him as he created his own puppets and performed
shows on his own.
Chapman noted that her parents supported her dreams, and it was an
aunt who gave her particular encouragement. Early in her youth,
drawing and art were key components of her life. She showed slides
of her childhood drawings including her entries in Logan County 4-H
Both came from working class families, with not a great deal to
offer the youngsters financially when it came to education. Lima
noted that at an early age his parents separated and divorced. He
would later learn that his father had a drug addiction that led to
the dissolution of the marriage. Therefore, at the age of twelve, he
began doing puppet shows for money so that he could help out his
Chapman grew up in Beason and attended Lincoln High School. It was
then that she met and befriended David Lanterman, and they became
lifetime friends. She noted that she was drawing all of the time,
and she enjoyed animated films. She said that she would attend
movies at the Lincoln Theater with Lanterman and other friends. It
was at one such animated film that she had an epiphany. The group of
young people had attended a movie and had sat through the credits.
She said as she looked at the credits, she came to realize the
number of people who were involved in the making of the film. She
said before that it had not really dawned on her that there were
people who made a career of making animated art. It was then that
she knew, this was to be her future.
Chapman also noted that in high school, her art teacher was a great
supporter and influencer of her career. She said Mrs. Martha Wyneken
took an interest in Chapman because Chapman had a great interest in
art, and Wyneken realized Chapman had a talent.
Lima grew up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and began his college
career at Emerson College. He would later earn a full scholarship to
CalArts, The California Institute of the Arts.
Chapman did not earn a scholarship, and couldn’t afford to go to
CalArts right away. Instead, she attended Lincoln College in
Lincoln, where she said she took every art and art related class
offered. She also worked in Lincoln at the Kmart. She would later
take a job as an envelope stuffer for a new insurance company in
town, and leave college for a time. She continued to take night
courses at LC.
As time progressed, her father passed away, and there was a sum of
money left to her mother, who in turn, gave the money to Chapman so
that she could apply for CalArts.
Chapman and Lima talked about their training at CalArts and
explained that as students there, they were expected to make a short
animated film. In 1984, Lima produced his film “Let’s Misbehave.”
The film featured a bird and worm and was set to the music of Cole
Chapman created her film in 1987. Entitled “A Birthday,” her film
was dark and kind of sad, as it depicted an elderly grandmother
anxiously awaiting family to come and acknowledge her birthday. It
didn’t happen. As she lit the single candle on her own cake, her
mind traveled back to her childhood when she had young friends who
came for a birthday party.
Chapman went on to explain that this was the film that ultimately
started her on her professional career. She had applied for a job
with a motion picture company as a “cleaner” but had included her
story boards from this film in her portfolio with a note that her
ultimate goal was to work in “story.” In the end, she did get a job
in story, which was very satisfying until she found out that she had
only been hired because she was a female, and the filmmaker had been
taking heat for not having women in prominent roles in the film
Chapman's first job was working on a cartoon feature called “Hulk
Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling.” She noted that she was not at CalArts
on a scholarship, so she worked her way through school, with Hulk
Hogan being one means of supporting herself.
Chapman and Lima met at CalArts and were married in 1988. Lima
laughed and said that their first collaboration was their daughter
Emma, who is now 17.
Lima has a long list of films he has worked on including his first
full-length movie, “The Chipmunk Adventure.” Chapman worked on a
number of projects for DIC Productions, with her first full-length
movie being “The Little Mermaid.”
Lima said throughout their careers they have been more fortunate
than a lot of others who work to get into this industry. He learned
to ask for what he wanted and keep asking until someone hears. He
said that in the industry, no one sees you until they are looking
for someone. If you are there telling them what you want, eventually
they see you, and when they see you, they will then hear you.
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Lima said there was also a point when he veered away from his
original track and moved to theater and some acting. He said it was
a great experience that would later serve him when he was asked to
work on the production “102 Dalmatians,” his first film that mixed
live actors with animation. He also worked on the movie “Eloise at
the Plaza.” Lima said the movie was a great experience that led him
to meet and form a working relationship with Julie Andrews. He said
that was a big moment in his life as he greatly admired “Mary
Lima also talked about the production of “Enchanted,” another film mixing live
actors with animation. He said when he took on the project, the movie was a bit
raunchier than when it was finished. He said he worked to clean up the story
line and was very well pleased with how it turned out in the end.
Chapman talked about her experiences with the Lion King. She shared a scene from
the movie that she had written. She said as she was drafting the dialogue, she
intended to refer back to an earlier scene where Simba and his father had a
conversation about Simba’s heritage. As she wrote, she made the note “remember,”
and intended to go back to the original scene to grab words, but in the end that
didn’t happen. She showed the clip, where Simba was on his own and dejected, his
father came to him in a vision in a pool of water, and urged him to “remember”
who he was and his intended role in life.
Mufasa: You have forgotten who
you are and so forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what
you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of Life.
Simba: How can I go back? I'm not who I used to be.
Mufasa: Remember who you are. You are my son and the one true king.
Chapman also shared her story about “Brave,” the movie she wrote and directed,
based on her struggles with a strong willed daughter who tested her daily. She
said the movie took years to complete as it was an on again, off again
production. She also shared that 18 months from completion she was taken off the
movie as its director because the film makers wanted to make the story less
about the mother-daughter relationship and more about a father-daughter
relationship. However, in the end, the changes didn’t work, and Chapman was very
pleased to find that when the movie came out the message was still true to the
Lima explained that while much of what had been disused on Saturday morning was
about success, there were plenty of failures. He said he worked on a total of 18
films across a seven year period, and not one of them ever made it to the
As they began to wind down their presentation, Lima shared that currently he and
Chapman are collaborating in writing a new film, something they really haven’t
done a lot of until now.
When they were finished, the couple took questions from the audience. One
question was how they escape from their careers. The two agreed that the best
escape was to get away from all things film related, trips, or adventures like
hiking. Lima said it was a little difficult, because his escape usually involves
activity, while Chapman was content to do something quieter.
One young guest asked about education, and could the couple recommend good
starting schools that would boost her opportunities. The Chapman told the young
woman that she and Lima would talk with her personally after the presentation,
and try to give her some insight to moving forward with her career goals.
The couple was asked about their daughter, was she interested in going into the
same line of work. Lima said that she would surely be involved in the film
industry but not in this area. She has a keen interest in theater and music.
Chapman added that she has an incredible voice, and is working toward the
Questions were asked about surviving financially as they struggled to build
their careers. The two responded that they have indeed been more fortunate than
most, because, at any given time, there was always at least one of them working.
They also talked about planning ahead and laying money aside for the future.
Lima said it was one of their goals to have enough money that they could both
spend time on their collaboration. Chapman said they were able to stop working
so they could work on the collaboration without distraction for a bit, but she
has now returned to work.
For the pair, the best advice they had to give was to do what you have to do to
keep working toward your goals. They said it was not an easy job, not an easy
field to get into, especially for women, which offered a great segway into the
next speaker of the day. Esther Pearl, would talk about Camp Reel Stories, and
introduce a new program that will be available in Logan County, hopefully, the
summer of 2017.