On the occasion of the broadcast on Disney + of “In another world: behind the scenes of Frozen 2”, we asked questions to Marc Smith, director of the story on the animated film. He explains how this long-awaited sequel was created.
Broadcast on Disney ++, the documentary series in six episodes “In another world: Behind the scenes of Frozen 2” aims to share with us the creative process that allowed the Disney animation studio to bring Frozen to life 2. We follow in particular the directors, the songwriters but also the artists and actors of the film in this making-of in six pieces which allows to realize how an animated blockbuster is put together. . We follow in particular the recording of the songs by the actors, the discussions with broken stick about the key scenes of the film or the various presentations organized in-house to know if the film is on the right tracks or if it needs to be modified. .
Among the major players in the creation of Frozen 2, Marc Smith is Director of the story, that is to say he leads the team in charge of the storyboard of the film, in other words the visual framework. film from which animators can work to bring the directors’ vision to life. Marc Smith has worked at the Disney Animation Studio for over 25 years. He most recently worked on Zootopia, Rapunzel and Frozen 1 and 2. In a telephone interview, Marc Smith answered our questions about the creation of Frozen 2, which was not of any rest as you will be able to read it in this interview but also to see it in the documentary series on Disney +.
You worked on the storyboard for Frozen 1. For Frozen 2, you were promoted to Director of History. What has it changed for you?
As a storyboard artist for Frozen 1, I wasn’t leading the team and got on the project later than for Frozen 2. For the second movie, I had the chance to start the project very early and participate in the research trip. It’s something that we do a lot for our films. For this one, we went to Iceland, Finland and Norway. This trip had a very important role in the creation of the film. I hadn’t had the chance to be part of it for the first one.
What is your job as Director of History on Frozen 2?
At the start of the creation process, it’s a lot of talking with the directors about the characters and the plot. I’m trying to find out more about their vision and how to bring it to the screen. Once writing for the film begins, my team and I start drawing storyboards for the film. We draw the characters and the scenes by hand. We try to create the whole film as a storyboard. Usually, temporary voices dubbed by directors or crew members are added. Once we have everything composed, we see what this version of the film would look like. We offer between six and twelve versions of the film, sometimes very different from what the film looks like in the end.
Frozen being a musical film, we also have to find a way to integrate them into the plot. It must be quite a challenge!
Kristen Anderon-Lopez and Robert Lopez [auteurs-compositeurs des chansons de La Reine des Neiges 1 et 2, ndlr] contributed greatly to the film. We had meetings with them every morning, them in New York and us in Los Angeles. They would show us what they were experimenting with and we would show them what the movie was going to look like. In these kinds of films, you really have to combine your strengths to find the right songs at the right time. There has been a lot of discussion between songwriters and directors. Working on a musical film is a unique challenge. On the other hand, the songs also allow us to present the story for us. So a big part of our job is to make the logic of the film allow these songs to shine in these precise places.
As we can see in the documentary, “I’m looking for you” was a particularly difficult sequence to create. Can you tell us why?
“I’m looking for you” is a difficult sequence because it is the culmination of Elsa’s narrative arc not only for Frozen 2 but also Frozen 1. From the first film, we were wondering about where did Elsa’s powers come from ….