Before making a movie, there needs to be a story to tell. Finding Dory is no different. During the recent press event I went to (which was hosted by Disney/Pixar), Co-Director Angus MacLane and Story Supervisor Max Brace explained some of the processes that went into bringing Dory’s story to the big screen.
It was no easy task taking words on the page (from the script) and translating them into a feature-length film. Story creators had to keep in mind Dory’s goal and temper that with just the right amount of emotion. How? It mostly boils down to the fundamental storyboard process.
What is a Storyboard?
A storyboard is basically a group rough sketches on paper used to demonstrate the tone of each scene. The compiled storyboards then become an overall blueprint for the final film. Since the blank drawing spaces are fairly small, not much detail is included. However, animators and actors are able to get an idea of the desired filming composition, setting, acting, and lighting from these. 103,639 storyboards made up the framework of Finding Dory.
The next step is generating a scene to show the rest of the studio. A storyboard is animated and sent to the director. The director then makes notes on the drawing, changes are sent to the editorial team, and the artist finishes up the scene. Scratch voices (temporary dialogue by staff) are recorded and music is added in. The story reels, as the finished shorts are called, are reviewed by production heads and the studio every 4 months.
Touch Pool Scene w/ Angus MacLane & Max Brace
Angus MacLane and Max Brace did a quick re-enactment of creating the “touch pool” scene. The idea for this came during one of the team’s research trips. One person noticed there was a basket of Starfish in the back and, after asking about it, he was told that sometimes Starfish need a break from being touched, poked, and handled.
The humor and horror of being in an aquarium touch pool were just too good to ignore. The animator and director worked hand in hand to make, improve, and polish a scene for the movie. At first Hank (who I’ll tell you about later) drove the story but, when the focus was brought back to Dory, everything worked so much better. 240 sequences later (during the real process, not the abbreviated version we witnessed) a truly hilarious scene was devised. You’re going to love it 🙂
After storyboarding is completed, film production continues with camera and staging, animation, lighting, and finally finishing the movie. The entire process is quite involved and time-consuming. All-in-all Finding Dory took over 3-1/2 years to create. See the end result of all this hard work in June when this new release from Disney/Pixar hits theaters nationwide!
Finding Dory will be in theaters June 17, 2016!
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I was invited on an all-expense paid media trip as a guest of Disney and PIXAR in honor of the Finding Dory movie. All opinions are my own.