I attended a media trip courtesy of Disney Film Studios. No compensation was received. All opinions are my own. Photos are my own, unless otherwise noted.
When I was in elementary school, there were two coveted positions to have. One- helping in the cafeteria (you got a cookie!) and two- the trip to Disney Animation. I never got the trip and always imagined what it would be like to be at the place where fairy tales were born. Well, I don’t have to imagine anymore because just a week ago, I lived it.
While on a press trip with Disney, we got an insider’s look at the magic and the making of Disney’s latest animated feature, Frozen. Now color me giddy, we had just seen the movie the night before and my heart was just singing with glee over this gorgeous movie, and now… I got to see how it was created!
Our day began with an intimate round table session with the film’s directors, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, and the producer, Paul Del Vecho. They told us all about the creation of the project and how the characters came to be. Jennifer said that it took roughly 2 1/2 years to make, which is quick in animation standards. The creators actually held a sisters summit to get to know the relationship between sisters, and they got to hear it all- the good and the bad, and that helped them create the relationship between Anna and Elsa. Kinda wish they had called me… I have a few things to say about MY sister (oy!). Oh well!
Frozen was always envisioned as a musical, but when Kristen read for Anna… they were happily surprised by her singing voice (check out our interview with Kristen Bell). There were 20 script revisions before the final version… and Jennifer mentioned that for awhile she had felt stuck, until Josh Gad came on board. He was always their first choice for Olaf, but he had been on another project, and Jennifer felt a bit stuck. Then Josh became free and signed on, and Olaf was born.
Speaking of Olaf…
Do you know what rigging is? Neither did I. Rigging is the computer process which basically gives real life form and movement to the 2D animated objects you see on the screen. After a scene is animated, it is sent to rigging with marks one what needs to be rigged. The team for Frozen had their work cut out for them! They rigged over 200 characters, including several items like hair, and clothing. It was the most done on a film to date. They gave us a quick lesson on how to rig and I got to rig Olaf! Check me out:
We also got to chat with Becky Bresee, the Animation Supervisor for Anna, Wayne Unten, the Animation Supervisor for Elsa, and Lino DiSalvo, Frozen’s Head of Animation. Lino told us he believes in “truth in emotion.” He actually held what he calls “Inside the Actor’s Studio-like sessions” with the talent and have his animation team come and observe them perform or just ask questions to get a real feel for how the actor reacted during some scenes or motions. Wayne told us he actually observed a little mouth thing Idina does when singing a certain lyric in “Let It Go” and he added that in cause he wanted it to be real.
Becky showed us a clip of a video of she made of herself reading and acting out one of Anna’s scenes so that she could create the foundation for animating that scene. Apparently, most animators work exactly like that and often times you will walk by an office at the Disney Animation Studios and hear their animators hard at work… singing, jumping, yelling, and recording themselves…all for the sake of their film. That’s dedication folks!
There is one more things we got to do… but you’re going to have to wait and see what I did. I promise, you won’t want to miss it.
Frozen is out in theaters TODAY, so run as fast as you can to see this amazing film (my review is here)…bring the kids if you must. Don’t tell my daughter, but I’ve seen it twice already…once by myself. Shhh!! Buy your tickets cause this movie will sell out this holiday season.