Walt deFaria is a producer, writer, and director.He is on the Board of Directors of Dance Kids, Inc.He
writes and produces their spring musicals and produces their annual NUTCRACKER ballet.He
has directed Pacific Repertory Theatre's summer musicals of OLIVER!And THE WIZARD OF OZ and is scheduled to direct THE SOUND OF MUSIC in 1999.For much of his
current work he
writes the book and lyrics and Stephen Tosh writes the music.They are now working on an opera for children, based on the short story "The No-Name Ogre," tentatively planned to be performed by the Santa Cruz Opera Company
was born in Sacramento.He
says that he
started doing theatre in his
home at the age of 7.He
would turn a card table upside-down, hang Christmas tree lights from it, turn on the radio for additional voices and do theatre.In school he
was in plays beginning in grammar school.He went to St. Mary's College in Moraga, majoring in business.
Starting in high school, he
had gotten involved in journalism, so in college his
interests included his
business major, writing, and doing theatre.Before graduating from college, Walt enlisted in the Army.He
was under 18, so first he
was sent to the University of Utah
to take courses until he
turned 18 and could be sent to basic training.After graduating from St. Mary's, he
returned to Sacramento, did banking for a short time and taught drama in a Sacramento high school.He
also did a lot of theatre during this period.Then he
was called back to the Army
in the middle of the Korean War.This time he
got sent to the Pentagon and to New York for the Armed Forces Press Service.He
was writing a show-business column for all the camp newspapers around the world. Walt
left the service when the Korean War ended.His
first job was as a page at CBS
went to KMJ TV in Fresno where he
future wife and got married.Eleanor McClatchy, who owned the station, equipped this hometown TV station with all the basic equipment you would have at a major studio and Walt
began producing original productions for local television.
decided to try "to make it in Hollywood," so he
wife, and first child moved to Los Angeles.He spent his time writing and tried to sell his scripts and was almost broke when he was introduced to Card Walker and began working for the Mickey Mouse Club in the Newsreel Division.
This was a temporary job, and when the assignment was completed, he
was offered and accepted the position of Assistant Development Director at his
alma mater, St. Mary's College
While working at St. Mary's
was offered the position as an account executive at an advertising agency and eventually became advertising manager for Leslie Salt, representing Spice Islands.In the midst of all this he
met Lee Mendelson who wanted to make a film about the Spice Islands Company
.So Walt left Leslie Salt to become the writer, director, and producer in the film about Spice Islands, and stayed with Lee Mendelson, producing much of his live-action material including a whole series of NBC television specials.
After a few years with Lee Mendelson, Walt
formed his own company.
was trying to get into the film business, so they hired Walt
to run their film studio.While with Sanrio
produced another film DON'T CRY, IT'S ONLY THUNDER..Sanrio
was trying to be their own distributor and neither film was successful at the box office, so they closed down Sanrio Productions
.During this period Walt
did some television pilots for Hanna Barbera, while still trying to sell THE BORROWERS as a television series.
In 1988 Walt
moved to Carmel Valley and decided to go into the retail (men's clothing) business.He
had a friend who ran a store on the Monterey Peninsula, and worked for him for two years, trying to learn the business.By the end of the two years he
had decided retail was a bad idea.So he started doing sets for shows at Junipero Serra School.
In doing one of those shows he
met Carol Benton who was doing the choreography.They decided they would do other projects together -- original revues and plays -- all done at the Carmel Ballet Academy
walt.jpg - 6KCarol Benton and Walt deFaria
has been writing a musical comedy based on the book for a number of years.In 1996 he
decided to produce a concert of THE BORROWERS at the Golden Bough.It was more than a concert.The costumed cast read the story and there were some props and music stands.And there was a lot of feedback which Walt
is incorporating into his latest project, including bringing in Stephen Tosh to write a brand-new score.
describes how the movie came about: "I had the rights way back in the 70s.You just keep pitching it.A group called Working Title Television and the BBC put up the money to make the series first.The series was so successful that it was relatively easy to convince Working Title Films, the parent of Working Title Television and owned by Polygram, to look at the series, and they decided they would go for it.We did a lot of pitching and a lot of convincing and they bought the concept.Then they started paying for it, bringing the writers in.At that point they owned it.
describes the somewhat circular pattern to his
life: "The wonderful thing that happened to me here in Carmel is my return to live theatre, that and the opportunity of working with kids.I started out wanting theatre; I veered off into television and motion pictures, and now I'm back in theatre and it's very satisfying.I think the direct response is what makes it special.People either hate or love what you've just done; you know you can hear it.So much of what we do in theatre is over with when the curtain goes down, so the pleasure has to come at the end of each performance. 'Did it work tonight?' If the answer is 'Yes,' there is no greater feeling for someone in theatre."