Last fall, Craig Kausen, chairman of the Center and Chuck's grandson, was honored to be asked to deliver the commencement address at the Art Institute of California--Orange County to their graduating class in December. Working from the merest framework and extemporaneously, Craig touched on the following points that both encouraged the graduates and exemplified the life they could lead as they headed out into the world.
Key points were:
"What I learned with Chuck Jones as my grandfather."
Keep on learning
Learn to survive and thrive
He relayed the story of when Chuck was producing and directing "The White Seal" he realized that seals and humans have remarkable similar skeletal structures. So Chuck, one afternoon, tied Craig's and his brother Todd's arms to their sides, along with tieing their legs together and tossed them in the pool so he could draw them as if they were seals. You can watch a recreation of that moment on YouTube by clicking here.
"Sometimes you may be intimidated by those around you." Craig offered that you can potentially reframe your perspective and overcome this internal adversity.
"How to be successful."
I learned a different view of success from Chuck. Although one of most acclaimed animation film directors in history, he saw success as part of the jouney. Chuck said, "I can receive an Academy Award and I say 'Thank you,' but then I put it back on the shelf and think, "what's next?"
"Life is a contact sport."
The journey is not always easy, but how you see it is the key to moving forward.
And if ever there is a choice in two paths that seem equally likely to get you to where you want to be . . . take the one that is more fun.
Craig closed out his address with two words to live by every day of their lives: "ENJOY IT!" Because if you do, no matter the outcome, you'll always, always, always be a success.