Annecy part 2: Thursday and Friday

Day 4: Thursday 10th June

I was at the booth for the opening at 9am: a bit hard after yesterday’s party… But I got to leave it to attend the Walt Disney presentation and a few recruitment sessions.

12:00 Walt Disney presentation and recruitment sessions

They presented their talent development program and showed us the reels that got several of their trainees into the program. This was very interesting as it illustrated the kind of work they were looking for. They also showed us what the interns worked on at Disney and how they improved their skills.
On the announcement front, not much except for the new Tangled trailer which is now out on the internet. They also told us they were working on bringing back Winnie the Pooh in 2D.

In the afternoon I went to a couple more recruitment sessions before returning to the booth for the rest of the afternoon. Two friends from Geneva also came for the day. We tried to go to the Gobelins cocktail party but didn’t have any invitations. So we went for drinks and diner in Annecy’s old town. In the evening Martin Solveig, a famous French DJ was mixing on the Paquier (big lawn in front of the lake and center of the Festival). I’m not a big fan of his but I was amazed by the number of people there! It was totally crazy!

Day 5: Friday 11th June

Last day of the MIFA already. Was at the booth the whole morning but left at 2pm to attend the Walt Disney Princess and the Frog presentation and the first screening of Pixar’s day and Night short and conference.

14:00 : Making of Disney : The Art of Traditional Animation by Ron Clements and John Musker

John Lasseter was especially excited to use New Orleans as  the setting for this movies because it’s one of his favourite cities. During the year of pre-production they organised  several trips to inspire the team. Their first visit was in March 2006 during the Jazz Festival. They couldn’t help but notice that music and food were two themes central to New Orleans.

The visual development process starts pretty early on, even before the script is finished. In this way it can influence the story and vice versa. For example, as the villain is called the Master of Shadows, one of the vis dev artists imagined giving him an army of shadows. They liked the idea and incorporated that into the script.

The next step is storyboarding. It starts pretty early as well. A lot of the rewriting and editing happens then rather than on the script. Once again the visuals are very important and can drive the story. They also like having the different storyboard artist’s input to enhance the script.

Influences and inspiration for the look of the film:

  • Aaron Douglas, a Harlem renaissance artist for Tiana’s soong.
  • Other disney movies:  Bambi for the softness of the rendering, Lady and the Tramp as it was also set in New Orleans
  • The color code they used is the same as Mardi Gras: purple, yellow and green. Purple stands for evil, Yellow for warmth and home, and Green for good with the frogs and the bayou.

Questions:

Was everything hand drawn?
They wanted to stay away from CG as much as possible to celebrate hand-drawn animation. All in-betweens are hand drawn and the clean up was done on paper. Only for FX did they go paperless and therefore some of the in betweens are CG.

Attention: SPOILER!
How did they handle the death of a major character in a child’s movie?
Funerals in New Orleans are very unique and they wanted to show that in their movie. Also they liked the idea of revisiting the whole death and resurrection theme which is often present in Disney movies (Snow White) but with a twist. And even though Ray dies, he is reunited with his love… Love transcends everything…

How has it been working together for 25 years?
They argue a lot but also listen to each other. They like bouncing ideas off one another, especially during the writing of the script, which they do together. As for directing they split the sequences and each one gets his own. But it still feels as a whole probably because their sensibilities are very similar. They have a very similar background as well.

Pixar conference and Saturday screenings coming soon… 🙂

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