Floyd E. Norman is an American animator who worked on the Walt Disney animated features Sleeping Beauty, The Sword in the Stone, and The Jungle Book, along with various animated short projects at Disney in the late ’50s and early ’60s. Norman had his start as an assistant to comic book artist Bill Woggon, who lived in the Santa Barbara, California, area that Norman grew up in. After Walt Disney’s death in 1966 Floyd Norman left Disney Studios to co-found the AfroKids animation studio with business partner animator/director Leo Sullivan. Norman and Sullivan worked together on various projects such as the original Hey! Hey! Hey! It’s Fat Albert television special which aired in 1969 on NBC (not to be confused with the later Fat Albert series made by Filmation Associates). Norman returned to Disney at one point in the early 1970s to work on the Disney animated feature Robin Hood. In the 1980s he worked as a writer in the comic strip department at Disney and was the last scripter for the Mickey Mouse comic strip before it was discontinued. More recently he has worked on motion pictures for Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, having contributed creatively as a story artist on films such as Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc. for Pixar and Mulan, Dinosaur and The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Walt Disney Animation, among others. He continues to work for the Walt Disney Co. as a freelance consultant on various projects.
Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a British Indian novelist and essayist. His second novel, Midnight’s Children (1981), won the Booker Prize in 1981. Much of his fiction is set on the Indian subcontinent. He is said to combine magical realism with historical fiction; his work is concerned with the many connections, disruptions and migrations between East and West. His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), was the centre of a major controversy, provoking protests from Muslims in several countries, some violent. Death threats were made against him, including a fatwā issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on February 14, 1989. Rushdie was appointed Commandeur dans Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France in January 1999. In June 2007, Queen Elizabeth II dubbed him Knight Bachelor for his services to literature. In 2008, The Times ranked him thirteenth on its list of the fifty greatest British writers since 1945. Since 2000, Rushdie has “lived mostly near Union Square” in New York City. In 2007 he began a five-year term as Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he has also deposited his archives. In May 2008 he was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Jeph Jacques writes and illustrates the webcomic Questionable Content. He was born in Rockville, Maryland, and graduated from Hampshire College with a degree in music. He lives in Southampton, Massachusetts with his wife (and business manager) Cristi. He also has a younger brother, Justin. Questionable Content (QC) is a comedic slice-of-life webcomic that Jacques started on August 1, 2003. It was initially published two days a week, and then moved up to three updates a week when Jacques published strip #16. On September 4, 2004 Jacques lost his day job, and decided to try publishing QC every weekday and make a living selling QC-related T-Shirts. Jeph is one of the small number of professional web cartoonists, as he and his wife Cristi both make their living through QC.
Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist who has produced works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction. Turtledove has been dubbed “The Master of Alternate History”. Within that genre he is known both for creating original alternate history scenarios such as survival of the Byzantine Empire or an alien invasion in the middle of the Second World War and for giving a fresh and original treatment to themes previously dealt with by many others, such as the victory of the South in the American Civil War and of Nazi Germany in the Second World War. His novels have been credited with bringing alternate history into the mainstream. His style of alternate history has a strong military theme with scenes of combat happening throughout many of his works.
John Sidney Linnell is an American musician, known primarily as one half of Brooklyn, New York alternative rock duo They Might Be Giants. In addition to singing and songwriting, he plays accordion, baritone and bass saxophone, clarinet, and keyboards for the group. Linnell’s lyrics are perhaps most well known for their inclusion of strange subject matter and word play. Persistent themes include aging, delusional behavior, bad relationships, death, and the personification of inanimate objects. Conversely, the accompanying melodies are usually cascading and upbeat. Linnell co-founded They Might Be Giants in 1982 with high school friend John Flansburgh. While the two split singing and songwriting duties roughly in half, Linnell’s songs enjoyed the most commercial success in their early years: singles like “Don’t Let’s Start” and “Ana Ng” introduced the band to college radio, and they made waves on the Billboard charts in 1990 with “Birdhouse in Your Soul”. John Linnell generally writes songs, sings, plays accordion, keyboards, and various woodwind instruments for the band.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. He co-developed the Aqua-Lung, pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie française. In 1950, he founded the French Oceanographic Campaigns (FOC), and leased a ship called Calypso from Thomas Loel Guinness for a symbolic one franc a year. Cousteau refitted the Calypso as a mobile laboratory for field research and as his principal vessel for diving and filming. He also carried out underwater archaeological excavations in the Mediterranean, in particular at Grand-Congloué (1952). With the publication of his first book in 1953, The Silent World, he correctly predicted the existence of the echolocation abilities of porpoises. He reported that his research vessel, the Élie Monier, was heading to the Straits of Gibraltar and noticed a group of porpoises following them. Cousteau changed course a few degrees off the optimal course to the center of the strait, and the porpoises followed for a few minutes, then diverged toward mid-channel again. It was evident that they knew where the optimal course lay, even if the humans did not. Cousteau concluded that the cetaceans had something like sonar, which was a relatively new feature on submarines.
Scott Sanders is an American screenwriter and film director. He is best known for his work with the films Black Dynamite and Thick as Thieves. Sanders began his career as a television writer working on TV shows such as “A Different World”, “Roc”, and “The Wayans Brothers”. Sanders’ directorial debut came on the 1998 HBO film Thick as Thieves. Thick as Thieves is a 1998 film directed by Sanders and starring Alec Baldwin, Michael Jai White, Rebecca De Mornay, and Janeane Garofalo. It was based on the novel “Thick As Thieves” by Patrick Quinn and adapted for the screen by Sanders and Arthur Krystal. The film premiered at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival and was distributed by HBO. Black Dynamite premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was picked up for distribution by Sony Pictures Entertainment for worldwide distribution. Scott Sanders directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay along with Michael Jai White and Byron Minns. Black Dynamite has been in many 2009 film festivals including Sundance, Seattle International, Tribeca, Karlovy Vary International, Munich, Edinburgh International, Copenhagen Film Festival, Melbourne International, and Deauville American. At the 2009 Seattle International Film Festival, Black Dynamite won the 2009 Golden Space Needle Award for “Most Popular Film”. “Black Dynamite” was released by Sony Pictures on October 16, 2009.