Disney invited me to an all expense paid trip to Los Angeles in exchange for sharing it with you. As always, all opinions 100% my own. Shorts of Walt Disney Animation Studios Costumes
This week I was lucky enough to meet and interview some of the amazing film makers behind the Shorts of Walt Disney Animation Studios: from Paperman to Prep & Landing, Feast to Frozen Fever.
I was lucky enough to meet Peter Del Vecho, the Producer of Frozen Fever, Mark Hen, the Director of John Henry, Dorothy McKim, Producer of Get A Horse!, The Ballad Of Nessie, Tick Tock Tale, Prep and Landing, and Operation Secret Santa, and Mike Gabriel, the Director of Lorenzo (he also directed Pocahontas and an art directors of Wreck It Ralph).
Get a Horse!
Dorothy McKim made a ton of the films in the new collection, but she told us that “Get a Horse!” is her favorite.
“I love each of them for a little different reason. I lean a little bit towards Get A Horse! It just to be able to bring a continued Walt’s legacy and his dream of doing shorts and using his voice in that short. Everything authentically was Walt in that short. We screened it for John Lasseter, the short, and he said, “Everything is Walt, great. I’m so excited.” We screened it, we finished, and John said, “No there’s one word in there. The word red is not Walt.” I’m like, “How did he pick that out?” Of everything he picked that out and he was right. We could not find the word red anywhere in the library. So, we worked about 3 months with our Sound Designer and he found an ER-EH-DE from Walt. 3 syllables and we put ‘em together. So it’s 100% Walt.” – Dorothy McKim
Sound Effects for Get A Horse!
For “Get A Horse!” Kim wanted everything to be so authentic to the original short that she had Jim McDonald create all the sound effects using the original props.
“We went over to that library, and we used those. We had the guy who runs [the library] demonstrate everything for us. We actually used them in a short so we can stay authentic to it.” – Kim
She told us a story about one of the sound effects used for “Get a Horse!”
“Donald’s wife bought him a wallet for Christmas. And she had his name engraved– it’s a little leather wallet. They didn’t engrave his initials just right.” It was not exactly what he wanted, but as he was holding it, he started feeling and moving it. “He love[d] the sound of it. When you take it, and you move it back and forth, it’s actually the sound of the dwarves walking in the mine shaft. So it was this uh– [OVERLAP] it’s the squeak. We were holding that same wallet. It’s just amazing that they had kept everything.” – Kim
Frozen Fever is a short film that shows us a glimpse of life for Elsa & Anna after Frozen. Peter is the producer of both Frozen and Frozen Fever.
“I think for us coming off of Frozen, the movie, the idea that we get to explore a different side of Elsa and find certain comedy in her really appealed to us. We started the short not that long after the movie. About six months after the movie, but we had just released in some of the foreign territories. So the movie was very fresh in our minds, but it was really the idea of exploring in a different part of Elsa.”
Frozen Fever Research
“For Frozen Fever, we really built on the research that was done for Frozen. We went out to the Ice Hotel in Canada to spend the day. We didn’t actually stay overnight. It was freezing. We did interviews all day long. The way that research trip uh influenced the short was we set the short in springtime.”
Mark Henn, Director of John Henry, talked to us a little about John Henry Research and Disney Short in general.
“There’s a lot less risk involved with a short. You’re free. You have a much more freedom to explore and experiment without putting a full feature out there and the commitment and the money behind a full feature. There’s something that maybe artistically turns the audiences off, but in the short, it’s a short.”
“We did a research trip to a little town of Talcott, West Virginia, which is the where the Big Ben tunnel. John Henry supposedly had dug that. We spent a couple of days there at the John Henry Festival. It’s just like a big church social, which was a blast. You could actually see the real tunnel. We also spent time in Washington, D.C. at the National Gallery, and they pulled out some artwork that they had related to John Henry that most people don’t get to see.”
Mike Gabriel, Director of Lorenzo, was hilarious! He talked to us about the styling of the short film and the sound clip from the beginning of the movie.
“To make it look like it was the pencil drawing, [the artist] devised a way to actually move the paint strokes around, and it’s a really cool look. And the Executive at the time said, “I wanna’ make this short ‘cause look how cool that looks when the paint strokes are moving in space like that.””
Mike told us a story about the music timing when the Disney Logo comes up in the short. When the old castle is neon, “you’re hearing the orchestra begin to tune up and the orchestra leader is saying, “Concentration 1, 2, 3.”” “We didn’t know what to put under the opening logo. We were in this final mix with Roy Disney, the Executive Producer and Don Hahn and Baker Bloodworth and it was just dead air and we didn’t start the music until, I have had an exceptional you know the beginning note is pretty big. BOM BA-DA!” There could not be anything ahead of it.
“Musically we had nowhere to go. But I said, “when we were in London recording the orchestra with this track. I actually kept it going at the beginning. I was on the floor once I was actually recording on my home video recorder. I recorded it so I ran home, half hour drive home, half hour back and we pulled the tape out and they said, “It’s clean enough. We’ll use it.” They cleaned it up off of my video tape. I love that moment because it’s still authentic you know. It’s really dynamic.”
Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection includes:
- Frozen Fever (2015)
- Feast (2014)
- Get A Horse! (2013)
- Paperman (2012)
- Tangled Ever After (2012)
- The Ballad of Nessie (2011)
- Tick Tock Tale (2010)
- Prep & Landing: Operation Secret Santa (2010)
- How to Hook Up Your Home Theater (2007)
- The Little Matchgirl (2006)
- Lorenzo (2004)
- John Henry (2000)
Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection is available August 18 on Blu-Ray and DVD.
Here are some costumes inspired by the Short Films