Visiting Disney Animation Studios was a once in a lifetime experience for me. We had a behind the scenes look at the movie FROZEN for our press day where we were able to interact with the producers, directors, animators, and voice talent. Plus, we even got to take our own stab at animating. Too cool!
Check out the building decked out for the movie Frozen.
Walking inside the halls where the Disney Magic is made was an incredible experience. As soon as I stepped inside the Disney Animation Building, I was struck by how the atmosphere of the place just oozes full of creativity and imagination.
Portions of the building feature past art from earlier animated features, but whenever a new movie is coming out, the hall prominently feature both concept and final art for the latest feature. I loved looking at all the concept art and sketches for the characters in Disney’s Frozen.
Simply beautiful! Seeing all the expressions, styles and browsing through the halls to see the various looks for all the characters that came to be in Frozen was a spectacular experience. I felt like I was walking through the halls of a Disney Frozen museum!
Video Inside the Disney Animation Building
Here’s a video showing some of the concept art and character artwork hanging in the halls, along with a few more photos.
Each of the 25 Bloggers attending the Frozen press day also got to test our own animation talents. With a visit to the computer lab to test out animation programs in the ” Rigging Lab” we received a REAL appreciation for just how difficult it is to animate every facial expression and more.
We kept things simply, but were able to animate Olaf to move his facial features – jaws , eyes, smiles and more. It was so much fun! Although it seemed difficult, those working in the lab explained that many of the keystrokes become totally natural once you know what you are doing – it was just a bit tricky for me learning it all in a few minutes. Truly, the art of animation is incredible. Disney definitely has a VERY talented team of animators.
Disney Frozen Filmmakers Interview
We also were able join in-depth interviews and conversations with the Animators behind FROZEN to understand the development of the story line, characterization, and animation process. Fascinating! Disney does their homework with serious research to make the animation as believable as possible.
We chatted with the below Frozen Filmmakers, Directors Jennifer Lee, Director Chris Buck and Producer Peter Del Vecho during our press day. This team has an impressive bio with Director Chris Buck (“Tarzan”) and first-time Director Jennifer Lee (co-writer, “Wreck-It Ralph”) and longtime Disney Producer Peter Del Vecho (“The Princess & the Frog”, “Winnie the Pooh”).
The filmmakers couldn’t have been more nice and engaging during our interview. I loved their willingness to share their knowledge about Disney Animation and how FROZEN came to be created.
I love all the tidbits they shared. I’m sharing a few favorite thoughts they all shared with us during our interview. This team is brilliant! I loved their insights!
When asked about how they make the animation look so GOOD, this is what they had to share. I love these cool facts and tidbits!
- “The idea is to get believability – not realism,” says Jennifer Lee
- A trip to Norway inspired costumes, architecture, and landscapes
- The Disney animation crew went to Wyoming to walk in deep snow in dresses to learn how to animate characters in the snow
- A real reindeer brought in to study & research physicality so they could animate it – then they caricature from that point onwards
- The team visited an ICE HOTEL in Quebec City to see the imperfections in ice and learn more about how to make it “believable” in the movie
How did the Frozen Filmmakers develop the storyline?
- Filmmakers didn’t want story to be good vs evil …. It was more complex with story of sisters & act of true love
- The act of true love was not romance.Filmmakers wanted to flip it & have it be different – it’s about FAMILY
- Idea was to make the story about REAL LOVE which is gritty. It’s about those people who go through everything with you & you meet their crazy family, and you still love them.
What inspired FROZEN’s character names?
The team researched the top Norwegian baby names as jumping off point. Genius idea I think!
During my visit I was reminded just what a small world we live in too. I was able to meet up with the lead animator on Olaf – who happens to be the husband of my friend Becky who randomly co-starred with me in my Walmart commercial earlier this year. Too funny! Becky became my instant friend when we met for the first time the day of our commercial shoot. Sharing such a special experience totally connected us.
When I met her husband Hyrum Osmond at the studio we of course had to get our photo together next to Olaf – his character! When you see FROZEN, you’ll see just how special Olaf is to the film. I think this snowman sidekick is soon to be the favorite character in the movie for many children. My kids ADORE Olaf as he brings lots of comedy and silliness to the movie.
At the end of the day, my last animation test involved the art of voice-overs! Yes, we really went into the studio and were able to voice Olaf’s lines in the scene where Olaf first meets Anna and Kristoff. So much fun!
Note: Thanks to Disney for paying our travel expenses to attend the Frozen premiere and press event. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.