A couple of months ago I was in beautiful Monterey for the Finding Dory Event. There we got some amazing inside scoop from the artists and Directors of the film. Today I wanted to share with you the story process for Finding Dory. Co-Director Angus MacLane and Story Supervisor Max Brace shared with us how a sequence of the story goes from the inception of an idea to screen using storyboards.
Angus and Max took us through the story process telling us about a scene in the film where Dory is in a Touch Pool at the Green Life Institute. First, they start brainstorming ideas.
Director Andrew Stanton knew he wanted part of the film to be set in the Green Life Institute so the story team started brainstorming ideas about what it would be like inside of the Institute. What would the set pieces look like? What are some of the places they would have Dory go inside of the Institute that would be fun and entertaining?
A fun idea came about when Max was at an aquarium with his kids and they were at the touch pool. Max noticed the kids poking and prodding the sea life and thought that it would be a fun and exciting set for Dory. What would it be like for Dory to be inside of a Touch Pool?
They then began researching Touch Pools for inspiration and even visited several Touch Pools at various aquariums. They took photographs to see how they were created and to see how people interacted with them. After their research they got back together with the team and brainstormed some more.
They worked together to decide what other fish and sea life would be in the touch pool. What shape would the touch pool be? What funny things would happen? What would the interaction be like between the sea life and the kids?
Armed with all of that information they get the scene into shape and the writer goes off and writes the script for the scene.
Next an artists gets assigned the scene and talks with a director about their vision of the scene. The artist then creates a thumbnail template. Thumbnails are small sketches that are not very detailed and are used to get a sense of the shot and ideas for the scene. The artist takes the words that are on the page given to them by the writer, and turn them into the visual story telling language of the film.
After they sketch of the scene they sit down with the Directors and pitch it. They work together to improve and make any changes needed in the scene, and then move to the next step.
Armed with information and tips from the Director, the artist creates a storyboard. The drawings are larger and more detailed. Dialogue is also added to some of the images.
The artists then pitches the scene to the rest of the studio, including the Director, to weigh in and give notes. The artist then goes back to their desk using the notes to finish the scene and then ships it off to editorial.
When a scene is ready for editorial, they also record temporary voices that will then be replaced with the production dialogue. They use people at Pixar to be the voices to get the feel of the scene. The story team delivered over 3,000 storyboards to editorial for Finding Dory. This process took over 3 1/2 years.
I am so excited to see how everything comes together, especially the Touch Pool scene!