Today I’m going behind the scenes of Disney Zootopia and the people that brought this movie to life. Check out the new Disney Animation headquarters and details about the story, the animation and more! Post sponsored by Disney. All “wild” opinions are my own
Behind the Scenes of Disney Zootopia #Zootopia
Following our amazing Zootopia interviews and presentation in the cozy confines of a beautiful Disney auditorium, I was fully prepared to walk across the way to the Disney Animation building for our insider’s scoop of the latest Disney film. However, the iconic building with the Mickey Hat? Sealed off for renovation.
So where did all of the amazing animators and creators go? How did they find the inspiration to create Zootopia? I’m going behind the scenes of Disney Zootopia and the people that are going WILD for this Spring’s newest animated film.
We’re Not in Kansas
So we took a drive to the other side of the tracks…literally. Lovingly called the Tujunga, this transformed warehouse (next to railroad tracks) is now the home of the creativity behind some of Disney’s biggest blockbusters. Transitioning all of the employees from the Roy E. Disney Building to this place in the middle of film production has definitely brought on it’s challenges, but certainly did not stop their creativity.
Massively transformed on the inside, the creative drive and excitement of Disney’s Zootopia can be seen throughout the building now. The Tujunga Campus is complete with Foosball table, ping-pong and giant sized painted murals. This is the place where animators and storytellers find their inspiration everyday. It was incredible to visit the Tujunga campus for myself, especially knowing that I probably will never be able to step foot in this building again.
The most fascinating part of the Zootopia movie process? It has to be the detail in making these animals come to life. Combining the best of the animal world and the human world together is a creative challenge that the animators have spent hours and hours studying, researching and developing new techniques.
Delving deeper in the Anim(al)ation of Zootopia, Head of Animation Renato dos Anjos and Animation Supervisors Nathan Engelhardt and Chad Sellers sat with us for the most unique presentation of the day. Clip after clip of animals walking, running, dancing, I was immersed into the Zootopia animation process. The attention to detail from scaling to fur to “Keep Alive” was amazing to watch, even in raw file form.
The Story – It’s Like Dating
190,000 story boards. 1,172 drafts. And still counting. That’s Zootopia. “You have to be willing to kill your darlings.” When it comes to the everlasting story of a Disney animated film, you can’t become attached to one story line. You have to be able to let go and cut ties, even if you poured your heart and soul into them for days/weeks/months! And for Zootopia, the story centers around the characters and making them relatable to us. It was about making Judy Hopps more than just a little bunny, but an empowering woman of this film. And that only comes with the incredible story telling from Disney animators.
Sitting with Writer and Co-Director Jared Bush, Writer Phil Johnston, Co-Head of Story Josie Trinidad and Head of Editorial Fabienne Rawley, you realize just how difficult it is to create, edit and weave the story together. The music, the words, the facial expressions and every little aspect are in constant scrutiny and can be scrapped at any point in the process, even when in full animated product.
“How is this serving the movie?”
It’s the constant question the movie makers are asking. Taking a look at the Homesick Hopps clip with them, we saw one of the many story sequences that ultimately got cut and redone into the final clip today. Small, subtle changes were made to ensure that Judy Hopps, while vulnerable in the moment, needed to still remain that empowering woman. I couldn’t imagine junking a part of the film you worked so hard on!
But thinking about families watching, the pride and passion that went into the many hours of film production, and even the foundation of Walt Disney himself, the story of Zootopia is so important to the lasting legacy of the film.
But what’s the bigger story here? It’s the people behind Zootopia. From September 2011 (yes, that very same time in history), these folks have worked tirelessly with research, new animation, and a heartfelt story….all while enduring never ending changes. An estimated 550 people have had their hands into this movie for the 4+ years of development, and the excitement, motivation and love for Zootopia continues to grow. Hopefully just that small glimpse behind the scenes of Zootopia gives you and your family a better understanding of just how much work, passion and love for family goes into this film.
190,000 scratched story boards? No problem. A complete job relocation and overhaul? Been there. A never-before-seen Disney Animation movie? Priceless.
What do you love about the creative animation behind Zootopia?
I was invited to attend an all-inclusive Disney press trip in exchange for this posting. All opinions are my own. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for more of my celebrity interviews, entertainment news, movie updates and more!