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I am part of the #RalphBreaksTheInternetEvent press tour. This post is a Disney partnered post. All opinions are my own.
It was an honor to be invited to the Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, California for the #RalphBreaksTheInternetEvent. After the success of Snow White in 1937, Walt Disney took his earning and built his very own animation studio in Burbank California. This is where Disney still does most of their animation work. I had chills walking around the lot, thinking to myself, “This is where Walt Disney’s dreams came true.”
We participated in an early press day for Wreck it Ralph 2. I interviewed the directors as well as the story tellers and animators. What treat it was to enter their world and hear about this project. They were eager to share as much as they could with giant smiles across their faces. This whole studio vibe is fun, this movie is fun, they had fun making it. It was such a pleasure to learn all the ingredients of the movie making process! This Wreck it Ralph type of Disney Animation takes ALOT of work! I had no idea how intricate and perfect every little detail has to be.
“Wreck it Ralph 2| Ralph Breaks the Internet contains animation technology that has never been done before! ” – Rich Moore, Film Director
After meeting the 2 directors for Wreck it Ralph 2, we met with the Heads of Story about the production process. It all starts with a basic screen play and a rough script. Afterwards, they take it to the story team of artists. Here they discuss and analysis the characters! This is where the story of the actual movie takes shape. When they have enough ideas, they give it over to the writers and let them “do their thing”.
After they have a rough script it goes back to the story team leaders. They ask the tough analytic questions like: What does this character need? What are some funny gag sequences? What ideas so other people have? Wouldn’t it be funny if…? This really seems like a cohesive environment where everyone shares ideas. An important thing that one of the story team leaders, Jason Hand said was, “Whether it’s early in the process or in the editorial room – we LOVE to make each other laugh. It’s our favorite thing.” I think this is why these movies as so funny.
“This is ground breaking storytelling for Disney Animation” -Josie Trinidad, Co-head of Story.
Editorial then works on soundtrack, voice recording, sound effects. Inside the editorial room is where some more writing and rewriting happens. They played video clips of the directors playing with voices in the editorial room. Each clip ended with the whole room erupting into laugh, both in the clip and the room of bloggers watching.
The storyboard team generously shared an insight into the ideas of Wreck it Ralph 2: Ralph breaks the Internet.
This sequel opens where the old one left off. Ralph is breaking things while Penelope is racing in her own game. The two are best friends and life is good. Until, a kid breaks the steering wheel of Penelope’s game. The arcade owner suggests that because the manufacturer is out of business, it’s time to unplug the game and retire it. Penelope feels like she has lost her game and now she is homeless! Kids at the arcade find a replacement steering wheel part on Ebay! (of course they do. lol!) But it costs more than her game “Sugar Rush” generates in a whole year! The arcade owner declares it too expensive. And this is where the story really begins to take off. Video game bad guy Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman) navigate the vast and dynamic world wide web in search of a replacement part to save Vanellope’s game.
The Story developers played around with ideas and shared with us the ones that didn’t make it into the movie. They wanted Ralph and Venelope to “go viral” on the Internet to earn money for the game part. (How hilarious is this idea!) We were all crying laughing as we saw a video clip of Ralph doing an “unboxing” of a product and then doing a make-up tutorial. I was falling out of my chair laughing, then I thought to myself, “these are the bottom of the barrel ideas that DIDN’T make it into the film. Can you imagine the ones that did?”
The story department is a huge collaboration of 15 story artists that have 10 edit screenings, 7883 version changes, and a whopping 283,839 total story boards. Disney Animation Studios seems like it’s full of perfectionists – but that’s what makes the movies so incredible. It’s why they always achieve that “lightning in a bottle” type film.
After the story is somewhat finalized, they hand it over to the artists and graphic designers. We had the privilege of speaking to 3 of them. Larry Wu is the Head of Environments at Walt Disney Studios. (Doesn’t that title sound cool?) It turns out, in this movie there are 150 master sets of unique environments! That’s insane!
Matthias Lechner is an Art Director for Walt Disney Studios. Matthias told us that the scene he is most proud of is the virus area or “dark web”. He couldn’t reveal too much about it – but he says it’s a virtual masterpiece. (I can’t wait to see this scene!) He also explained to us that there are 5736 unique assets for Ralph Breaks the Internet. This means that each set has variables and angles that are unique to the shot. That’s a lot of scenes to create! Great animation is no easy task!
Listening to the artists that work on the Disney Animation films made me appreciate film even more. I have so much respect for the creators of film because of the dedication to detail. I won’t be able to watch an animated film the same way again!
“The complexity has risen.” – Cory Loftis, visual development artist.
Nothing impressed me more than talking with the visual development artists! Wow, this is a tedious job that they all seem to absolutely love! They develop the character’s visual appearance in the film. It has to match the ideas of the director and heads of story as well as have verisimilitude with the characters personalities. So aside from the sheer work of it all, the pressure is enormous. But you wouldn’t know it. These guys are all smiling and excited to share their hard work with an audience. Many of them worked on the original Wreck it Ralph movie. They did a comparison for us. In the original movie, there were 223 characters and 421 variations of those characters. For this movie, they kicked it up a notch. There are a total of 434 characters in Ralph Breaks the Internet and 6752 variants! Nearly 7000 different looks, emotions, mannerisms that were created by visual development artists for this ONE movie!
Some of the characters that were developed were the Net Users and Netizens. Net users are the avatars of the humans that are using the internet. Netizens are the actual citizens of the Internet. The intricate details of the character design was astounding, wait till you see how the humans perfectly match the avatars that are wandering the huge metropolis of the Internet!
“This movie is a marriage between art and technology.” – Mathias Lechner, Art Director of Environments.
Something that Renato Dos Anjos, Co-head of Animation said, really stuck with me. I asked him, “What do you think Walt Disney himself would say if he could see everything we are capable of in the world of animation?” He took a big sigh, smiled, and held back tears as he answered. He said he has a picture of Walt Disney on his office door. He looks at it everyday and says to himself “I hope I make you proud.” It was a beautiful way to honor the man who started it all. From what I have seen and heard, I am sure Walt would be immensely proud.
Please do not forget to pop on over to THIS POST to read all about my interview with the hilarious directors of Wreck it Ralph 2!
This legendary sequel is coming to your local theater November 21st.
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