Saving Mr Banks

Last night peppermint tea was brewed, slippers were donned, and TV fired up for a good old Sunday evening movie. I chose Saving Mr Banks - a touching story behind the making of Disney's Mary Poppins and life of it's author P. L. Travers.

In short - P. L. Travers was approached by Walt Disney and asked if he could make her novel Mary Poppins into a film. For 20 years he tried to persuade Mrs Travers to sign over the rights, but time and time again she batted him away. Eventually she agreed to meet Walt and the team working on the adaptation in California - but only if she signed off the script and treatment would she allow the film to enter production.

We learn throughout the movie that the novel Mary Poppins was derived from events and characters from P. L. Travers' own trouble childhood - and so when a high flying billionaire like Disney comes along looking to add another brick to his candyfloss empire, she understandably feels incredibly protective of her story. Mr Banks, Mrs Banks, Jane, Michael and Mary Poppins were all her family and deeply personal.

There were countless bust ups during the early readings of the script, and many differences in opinion about styling and treatment - but ultimately a trust was formed between Mrs Travers and the Disney team. Only when she knew that the team truly understood the book and her family were in safe hands did she really allow the creative process of bring her idea to life.

We see this kind of situation every day in Advertising. Whether a family run business or CEO of a multinational, when it comes to putting what you love on show for all the world to see - only once an understanding of what both parties bring, and a mutual trust between client and agency is formed - can an idea be realised to it's greatest potential.

Turned out Dick Van Dyke was awesome as Bert.

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