When I was little I used to spend a lot of time drawing. I had a Disney light up drawing desk and I would draw all of the characters over and over. I still have that Disney light up drawing desk and have since passed it on to my children. Lauren is my mini me and spends hours drawing everyday. I wanted to be the person that brought the characters to life. For a moment last week, I was that person for a little bit!
We took a wonderful trip to the Disney Animation building. I was here on a past trip for Winnie the Pooh and was given a sketch from the actual movie and it was the best thing ever. This time we had more time to look around and actually learn how things are done to make that magic happen on the screen. First though, we interviewed the filmmakers for Frozen. Directors Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee and Producer Peter Del Vecho were kind enough to take some time to talk with us.
We really wanted to know how many years they had been working on Frozen. I mean something like that can not just be thrown together in a matter of months. Christ Buck had this to say…
I pitched it five years ago and but really, um, when it came down to production production probably about two and a half years, um, all together…and usually for a movie like this two and a half years is actually a very short time for me.
Jennifer Lee had this to add…
It’s usually three to four years, uh, and, you know, combination of developing the story but also, you know, every single piece of what we do has to be built from scratch.
According to Jennifer Lee…
Yeah it was really interesting, because the original story she is a villain, she’s just pure evil. And you don’t know anything about her. Um, and that was really hard for us but I think that’s what’s made that such a challenging story to tell. Um, it has a great theme, the original story, uh, by Hans Christian Andersen about love versus negativity or fear, that we love- we really liked. But The Snow Queen herself was like an enigma. And we kept her a villain for a long time and it wasn’t- it wasn’t resonating with us, it wasn’t the story we wanted to tell. We didn’t want to tell a good versus evil story.
…she wasn’t a straight forward villain.
When asked about what it took to make the ice look so realistic…
We went to an ice hotel in Quebec City…we saw how the sunlight would come through the ice and how beautiful the different rooms were. And also we were there at different times of day.
There was a ton of research put into the appearance of the ice. The animation of the ice took longer than anything else in the film. One scene where the ice palace was formed took several months, four maybe four or five months working on it. It took approximately 30 hours to render just ONE frame! There are 24 frames per second!
To help them design Sven (the Reindeer), they had a reindeer named Sage brought in.
Sage came in, it was I don’t know, molting season, whatever, or mulching. Sage came in with one antler off. And we’re like, well this is not quite the photo op that we thought it would be and in the course of being there, the animators are drawing, we’re taking pictures, and then of course being there only a few hours, Sage lost her other antler.
Fun Fact…Hans, Kristoff, Anna, Sven sounds like Hans Christian Anderson. That was not on purpose!
There was so much more talked about, but some of it would be a spoiler and I don’t want to spoil the secrets of the movie!!! Remember, Frozen opens in theaters November 27th!
Next up was RIGGING!! Wow! This was my favorite part of the whole event! We headed to the rigging room…There is a lot that goes on to prepare these characters for animation. They actually have to be built ! Think of it like a digital skeleton. Then that skeleton is bound with 3D mesh. It has to be built with joints that cause realistic movement! These joints work as handles so that movement can happen. This is what a rigger does and it is fascinating to me! Here is a video of me messing with the rigging set up of Olaf…
It was so much fun for me. I wish I could have stayed there, in that room, all day. Just learning all of this magic!
No compensation was received for this post and all opinions are my own. All photos are my own unless otherwise credited. My travel accommodations for this trip were covered by Disney.
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