When I had the opportunity to learn about Zootopia, Disney’s new movie, with Directors Byron Howard & Rich Moore and Producer Clark Spencer I was ecstatic. I wouldn’t have imagined how much I loved this question and answer with these three masterminds. We were able to watch parts of Zootopia, learn about Zootopia and how they came up with the idea, how they researched, the technology they used to create it, and more! I literally walked out of this presentation with over 10 pages of notes, quotes and more! So I wanted to share some of the most interesting facts that I learned:
Byron Howard (director of Zootopia) shared with us that he kept drawing different animals for movie ideas. He would draw them over and over again and when they finally came up with the idea with the world that they animals live in–John Lassiter hugged him because he was so excited. They shared with us the about John Lassiter’s “Story Trust” he created. These are the 4 ingredients that help push an animated story to excellence. These are the 4 things that Disney Animation Studios need to strive for each day:
The Story Trust
1. Timeless Stories
3. Great Humor and Deep Emotion
4. High Standard from Walt Disney
Zootopia is “like nothing you’ve seen be-fur.” Imagine a world where the following criteria existed:
- Humans never happened
- Animals walk on two feet
- They wear clothes
- Animals use technology
- and Not everyone gets along.
Byron and Rich walked us through the story taking turns as we watched clips and pictures. Let me share a bit of what I learned:
The story about about a bunny cop who gets tricked by a fox. She takes her job very seriously but is embarrassed because she gets parking duty for her job. They then stumble across a bigger case and they have to learn to work together. There are tons of jokes and puns in this story that you won’t want to miss. You will get all the jokes and some will go over your kids heads. They will be laughing at the silliness while you understand what the focus of the joke really is.
There was lots of research around making Zootopia. All films begin with research and this time around they started at Animal Kingdom in Disney World. They went to to Africa–Kenya. They researched the “FUR” in animals to make the fur move realistically on each animal. They learned stuff like polar bears actually have clear fur. Each animal in the movie is animated uniquely based on lots of research and the scale in size for each animal. We learned that a Giraffe is 95 mice tall! They had to study the movement of each animals and ask themselves questions like “How does a Tiger Dance”, “How would their animal clothes look?”, and “How will each animal look if they were walking on two legs?”
Clark Spencer about Byron: “Byron started at Disney as a Tour Guide at Walt Disney World. Uh, he always dreamed that one day being part of Disney Animation. And he finally got his chance on the Film “Pocahantas” where he was a clean up Artist. He was an Animator on “Lilo & Stitch.” He went into the, um, Story Artist ranks and then eventually made his Directorial debut — debut, sorry, on the Oscar Nominated Film “Bolt” and on the worldwide Hit “Tangled.”
Clark Spender on Rich Moore: “We also have Richie Morton. Rich came to Disney in 2008. And Rich has an incredible and long Story past, TV Animation, creating some of the best and most iconic episodes of “The Simpsons” and “Futurama” and his Directorial debut here at Disney Animation was on the Film and the Oscar nominated Film “Wreck It Ralph.” So two amazing individuals we get to work with. But before I tell you the story of “Zootopia” and show you some footage, some of which has never been seen outside of the walls of Disney Animation. All of it is still a little bit work in progress, so you can see those parts of our — of our naked part of our process.”
Be sure to check out Zootopia in theaters March 4, 2016!