I met with the filmmakers and the masterminds of Disney’s Zootopia when I was recently in LA! I had the opportunity to visit their temporary office since the actual Disney Animation Studios is under construction. The new place is pretty cool, industrial, and still has all the creative outlets you would expect to see at Disney Animation Studios. When you get an amazing opportunity to: 1. Visit the newest location of Disney Animation Studios and 2. Meet with the masterminds behind Zootopia, Disney’s latest animated movie …the excitement never goes away!
I wanted to share with you two different interviews I had while I was there: one was about the story and the other was about the animation! Although we visited the studio a couple of months ago the excitement hasn’t gone away.
Zootopia: The Storytelling
I had the opportunity to meet with several of the filmmakers during our first round table:
–– Jared Bush: Writer and Co-Director
— Phil Johnston: Writer
— Josie Trinidad: Co-Head
— Fabienne Rawley: Head of Editorial
In this roundtable session we learned that there were over 1,100 drafts of the movie saved somewhere on Jared’s computer before they got the same one.
During this group interview we were able to go through an entire scene that had been out on storyboard and all of the stages that they had to follow…to learn that the scene that they did had got “thrown in the garbage”. The scene was originally a scene of Hopps feeling homesick but they ended up cutting out a lot of the fat in the scene.
Jared mentioned this being “a nice scene, but didn’t tell the right story.”
While making the movie they screened it at least 20 times and sometimes it felt like completely different movies. Phil described creating the movie “like dating”. He has to be “open into falling in love.”
After meeting with that team we got to meet with a new group of filmmakers:
— Head of Animation: Renato dos Anjos
—Animation Supervisors Nathan Engelhardt and Chad Sellers
These three guys were a lot of fun! We learned a lot about the research that went into creating the film. I found out that when they watched the animals in Kenya it really changed what the filmmakers were doing. After the trip they felt like they were “only scratching the surface”. They learned some interesting things that had to be considered in their animations:
A moose brings lips and tongue down to eat.
Wilderbeasts aren’t really bright. We watched of a video of them trying to cross the river.
Zebras are brighter and they stick together.
A cheetah has a still face.
Bunnies have a behavior called “binking”.
These Animators really had to study the different districts that all the animals came from. They went and listed off all of them for us!
Be sure to check out Zootopia in theaters on March 4th!
While hanging out at Animation Studios, we were able to check out their amazing and artistic workspace, take lots of pictures, and have lunch together! It was so much fun! Zootopia looks absolutely adorable! If you are in Kansas City, be sure to check back with me SOON because I will have some free passes to our local screening!
Check out the trailer below: