Have you ever imagined what it's like to be a fly on the wall in a Disney Animation story meeting? If you're like me, then you sure have. Now is you're chance! Check out Fusion's full hour-long Imagining Zootopia film documentary after the break!
Although there is a lot to dissect out of this documentary, there is really one specific aspect of this story that I feel best encompasses all that I want to highlight: transparency.
Walt Disney Animation Studios is riding a very exciting wave of critical and financial acclaim. Zootopia, the studio's 55th feature film, has just passed the $800 Million mark at the international box office, becoming the third highest grossing film in the studio's history, just behind The Lion King and Frozen. Zootopia also sits at a very comfortable 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, along with carrying the studio's record for the highest grossing opening weekend: over $75 Million in it's first 3 days of release. These numbers compete with the studio's long-time sibling/rival studio, Pixar.
Needless to say, Disney Animation doesn't need to be telling worldwide audiences the significant story issues that went through during Zootopia's 5-year production. But they are. This form of corporate transparency in the production process is the key to understanding why the studio is doing so well. The new leadership, particularly from Pixar's John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, is truly penetrating all aspects of the studio's new business model- story is king; films are driven by creative leadership, production team ownership of the final product, ect.. This documentary does an incredible job of showing audiences, rather than telling audiences, how these new changes have benefited the overall filmmaking process at the studio. We get to see these changes in action.
As an animation fan, and even as an aspiring producer, this is the kind of transparency that truly reaffirms why I love the studio so much. Disney Animation cares about the open filmmaking process. Disney Animation cares about their employees wellbeing. And, finally, Disney Animation cares about us.