Mark Dindal

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Mark L. Dindal
Born 1960 (age 55–56)
Columbus, Ohio[1]
Residence United States
Alma mater CalArts
Occupation Film director, voice acting, effects animator
Years active 1980–present
Notable work

Mark L. Dindal (born in 1960)[1] is an American effects animator and director, who created The Emperor's New Groove[2] and Cats Don't Dance. He worked in many Disney projects as an effects animator, and also led the special effects for several classic movies such as The Little Mermaid and The Rescuers Down Under.


Early Years/Effects Animator at Disney[edit]

Growing up, Dindal was influenced by Disney films and Warner Bros. Saturday cartoons.[3] One of his earliest influence was Disney's The Sword in the Stone, which he saw with his grandmother at the age of three.[3] It also help him to go to a career in animation with help from his dad who took art as a hobby and taught Dindal to draw while growing up in Syracuse, New York.[4] As a high schooler, Dindal went to Jamesville-DeWitt High School, in which he attended most of the art classes that the school had offer. Dindal learned animation at CalArts. He began working at Disney in 1980. He worked on The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, Mickey's Christmas Carol, and The Great Mouse Detective, following a very similar animation style in all movies. This style consisted of similar backgrounds with delicated animation and complex character effects, and was well received.

Leaving and Returning to Disney[edit]

After these projects, Dindal left Disney around 1986 to briefly work on outside projects with Filmation, and worked on projects like Bravestar and The Brave Little Toaster. He returned to the studio in 1987 and got his first head role as an animator for Disney's The Little Mermaid. He later worked as head animator for the movie The Rescuers Down Under. He directed the animated effects for the live-action 1991 film The Rocketeer, and got a job in the 1992 animated film Aladdin.

Dindal as the Director[edit]

Dindal's directorial debut was Cats Don't Dance, which was released in 1997, three years before The Emperor's New Groove was released in 2000. In Cats Don't Dance Dindal voiced a minor character. Although the film wasn't publicly successful, it won the Annie Award for Best Animated Film and Dindal was nominated for directing. The Emperor's New Groove was initially expected to be a classic Disney musical feature called Kingdom of the Sun. However, that idea didn't work out, and Dindal, along with Chris Williams and David Reynolds, drastically changed the script to a comedy. During the six-year production, he started to work on Cats Don't Dance, a Turner Broadcasting (since merged into Warner Bros.) animated musical production.

Chicken Little[edit]

Dindal worked on Chicken Little, another Disney production, which needed a huge animation team. The movie was a moderate financial success, yet received negative reviews, and is currently the worst rated film of the Disney animated canon at Rotten Tomatoes with a score of 36%. Dindal had two small voice roles in the film. The movie was nominated to several Annies, but Dindal was not nominated as a director. During the movie's production, Disney produced Kronk's New Groove as a direct-to-video feature. Dindal was working on Chicken Little, so he didn't get a position on the staff. Later, Dindal created The Emperor's New School.

Recent Years[edit]

In March 2006, a day after the DVD release of Chicken Little, Dindal, and Disney employee Randy Fullmer, left the company due to the fact that he was "tired of dealing with then-WDFA head, David Stainton."[5] In the next few years, he was attached as a director to several live-action films, including Sherlock's Secretary,[6] Kringle,[7] and Housebroken.[8] In December 2010, DreamWorks Animation announced that Dindal was directing Me and My Shadow, a 3D feature film combining both computer and traditional animation.[9] In January 2012, it was reported that he was no longer directing the film, and that he was replaced by Alessandro Carloni.[10] As of January 2014, Dindal was working on a feature film, tentatively titled Tom.[11] In July 2014, he was credited as the illustrator for a documentary called Restrung, which is focused on Randy Fullmer, a collaborator that worked with him at Disney and Filmation, with his career at Wyn Guitars from 2006.


Title Year Role
The Fox and the Hound (uncredited) 1981 Effects animator (inbetweener)
Fun with Mr. Future 1982 Animator
Mickey's Christmas Carol 1983 Effects animator
The Black Cauldron 1985
The Great Mouse Detective 1986
Sport Goofy in Soccermania 1987
The Brave Little Toaster Effects animator consultant
Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night Special effects animator
BraveStarr 1988 Special effects animator (1 episode)
BraveStarr: The Legend Special effects animator
Oliver & Company Effects animator
The Making of The Little Mermaid 1989 Plays himself (first time shown on screen)
The Little Mermaid Visual effects supervisor
The Prince and the Pauper 1990 Storyboard artist
The Rescuers Down Under Head effects animator
The Rocketeer 1991 Director: Nazi Invasion segment
Frozen Assets 1992 Animation sequence producer
Tom and Jerry: The Movie Effects animator
The Little Mermaid (TV series) Effects consultant (1 episode), effects animator (2 episodes), story board artist (1 episode)
Aladdin Effects animator
Happily Ever After 1993 Special effects animator
Cats Don't Dance 1997 Director, writer, character designer, storyboard supervisor, voice of Max
The Emperor's New Groove 2000 Director, screenplay, story, voice of Kitty Yzma
The Sweatbox 2002 Plays himself
Chicken Little 2005 Director, story, character designer, voice of Morkubine Porcupine & Coach
Kronk's New Groove Based on characters (uncredited)
The Emperor's New School 2006-2008 Creator, writer
Hatching Chicken Little: The Making of Chicken Little 2006 Himself
Treasures Unfold: The Making of The Little Mermaid
Storm Warning: The Little Mermaid Special Effects Unit
Restrung 2014 Illustrator

Awards and nominations[edit]


  • Best Individual Achievement: Directing in a Feature Production for Cats Don't Dance (Annie) (1997)
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production for The Emperor's New Groove (Annie) (2001)
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production for The Emperor's New Groove (Annie) (2001)
  • Best Animated Feature for The Emperor's New Groove (Annie) (2001)
  • Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature for The Emperor's New Groove & Chicken Little (Satellite Award) (2000; 2005)
  • Best Animated Feature for Chicken Little (Critics' Choice Movie Awards) (2005)


  • Best Animated Feature for Cats Don't Dance (Annie) (1997)


Cats Don't Dance The Emperor's New Groove The Sweatbox Chicken Little The Emperor's New School Restrung
Don Knotts
David Spade
Patrick Warburton
John Goodman
Eartha Kitt
Wendie Malick
Frank Welker
Randy Fullmer
David Reynolds (screenwriter)
Don Hall
John Debney
The Walt Disney Company

What They Did[edit]

  • Don Knotts: Cats Don't Dance (T.W. Turtle), Chicken Little (Turkey Lurkey)
  • David Spade: The Emperor's New Groove (Kuzco), The Sweatbox (himself)
  • Patrick Warburton: The Emperor's New Groove (Kronk), The Sweatbox (himself), Chicken Little (Alien Cop), The Emperor's New School (Kronk)
  • John Goodman: The Emperor's New Groove (Patcha), The Sweatbox (himself), The Emperor's New School (Patcha; season 2 only)
  • Eartha Kitt: The Emperor's New Groove (Yzma), The Sweatbox (herself), The Emperor's New School (Yzma)
  • Wendie Malick: The Emperor's New Groove (Chicha), The Emperor's New School (Chicha)
  • Frank Welker: Cats Don't Dance (Farley Wink), The Emperor's New Groove (Dragonfly, Black Panther), The Emperor's New School (Creepy Old Man, Skeleton Anteater, Homework, additional voices)
  • Randy Fullmer: The Emperor's New Groove (producer), The Sweatbox (himself), Chicken Little (producer), Restrung (himself)
  • David Reynolds: The Emperor's New Groove (writer), The Sweatbox (himself), Chicken Little (additional writer)
  • Don Hall: The Emperor's New Groove (additional story), Chicken Little (character design, story)
  • John Debney: The Emperor's New Groove, Chicken Little (composer), The Sweatbox (himself)
  • The Walt Disney Company: The Emperor's New Groove, The Sweatbox, Chicken Little, The Emperor's New School (made)


  1. ^ a b Hulett, Steve (June 13, 2011). "The Mark Dindal Interview -- Part I". TAG Blog. Retrieved November 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ Lanpher, Dorse A. (2010-10-19). Flyin' Chunks and Other Things to Duck: Memoirs of a Life Spent Doodling for Dollars. iUniverse. pp. 176–. ISBN 978-1-4502-6099-2. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Strike, Joe (November 1, 2000). "Mark Dindal's Place in the Sun". Animation World Network. Archived from the original on December 27, 2014. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Hill, Jim (October 5, 2006). "A special "No nudes is good news" edition of Why For". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Mark Dindal to Direct 'Sherlock's Secretary'". MovieWeb. August 11, 2006. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  7. ^ LaPorte, Nicole (February 27, 2007). "Paramount gets tough with Santa myth". Variety. Retrieved May 17, 2015. 
  8. ^ McNary, Dave (October 12, 2009). "Dindal draws ‘Housebroken’". Variety. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  9. ^ DreamWorks Animation (December 10, 2010). "DreamWorks Animation Pioneers Grou Animation ndbreaking Combination of CG and Hand-Drawn Animation Techniques in Me and My Shadow for March 2013" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  10. ^ Kit, Borys (January 31, 2012). "DreamWorks Animation Sets Voice Cast for 'Me & My Shadow' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 1, 2012. 
  11. ^ Wielink, Nataschia (January 7, 2014). "‘restrung’ by mike enns". Nataschia Wielink Photo + Cinema. Retrieved June 7, 2015. 

External links[edit]