Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on March 25th, 2014

Michael Sporn: How childhood heartbreak led to a wonderful career.

Every childhood has pain and heartache but some people as adults can harness that pain and heartache to find meaning and joy in their lives, as film maker Michael Sporn did.

In January, 2014 Michael passed away at the age of 67.

But when Michael was just a toddler, his father abandoned the family, a shock Michael never got over.

Eventually his mother remarried.

"His stepfather wanted to adopt him when he was about 12," his wife Heidi Stallings told The Los Angeles Times. "Michael told his stepfather he loved him, but he said, 'If my father ever tries to find me, I have to make sure my name is still Sporn.'

"I think that's why a lot of his films were about family."

Michael Sporn
Michael Sporn

Michael's many films were shown on HBO, PBS (including Sesame Street), CBS, Show Time and elsewhere.

They were often lighthearted such as "Lyle, Lyle Crocodile" from Bernard Waber's book, or "The Hunting of the Snark, adapted from the Lewis Carroll poem and narrated by James Earl Jones.

But his films could be serious as well.

Among Michael's most notable films was "Whitewash," shown on HBO. It was from the true story of a black girl, whose face was spray-painted white by white thugs. Scripted by Ntozake Shange, it won an Emmy Award.

And "Champagne," based on a true story of a girl neglected by her drug-addicted mother.

As for Michael's own life, he graduated from the New York Institute of Technology in 1967, and then enlisted in the U.S. Navy for five years.

While in the Navy, during his spare time he studied animation from mail-order books, and after his 1972 discharge, was hired by well-known animation feature makers, John and Faith Hubley.

Many film animators head for Hollywood to work for Disney, DreamWorks and other major studios, but not Michael.

In 1980, he began Michael Sporn Animation, a small independent studio in New York and began producing films that captured his heart, and eventually the hearts of millions of viewers.

And as a point of interest, although many of his movies were meant for children and their parents, Michael never had children of his own.

As a child, there was nothing Michael could do about his father abandoning the family, but as an adult, Michael could use animation to uplift many a life, while bringing some fulfillment to his own.

Success Tip of the Week: Harness your childhood issues as Michael did for they could make you even more successful than you are today.

Editor's Note: To learn more, please visit michaelspornanimation.com/ , imdb.com, wikipedia.org latimes.com, nytimes.com

To see a 4 minute test snippet of Michael's storytelling, Click Here.

In the next KazanToday: How one simple act of kindness led to a man's success.

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