While on my trip to LA I got to meet and interview so many cool and famous people. Two of the coolest kids on the block were the producer, Makul Wigert, and director, Steve Loter, of Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast. So let’s jump right in to learning about their process of making an animated film. First check out the clip of Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast!
And now what the director and producer thought of the entire process from storyboard to end result!
So what is your favorite part of making animation?
Makul: My favorite part is the entire collaborative process. It’s seeing it go from storyboarding with Steve’s original idea 4 1/2 years ago to seeing it made. It’s the artistry involved in the process from beginning to end that brings me joy.
Steve: For me it was the story. You get this sweet spot when you get the script and all the collaborative people in the room. Then they start adding jokes here and they really visualize the script and bring it to life.
What was the original idea for this movie?
Steve: This story was originally proposed about my daughter. I grew up in a home without any pets. Because of this, no cats, no dogs, no nothing I have a fear of large dogs. My daughter, of course, loves nothing but large dogs. We were outside and she went running towards this huge dog and threw her arms around him and gave him a big hug. So then we had to have this discussion about why it’s not a good idea to do that. She didn’t understand why any animal would want to hurt her. But they’re all my friends. The bigger they are the bigger the love they have to give. I thought that’s it. That’s the story. You see it in the animal fairy she encounters a beast that should be scary and she just puts her heart to the test for that animal. This is a great message for Fawn.
What did your daughter think of this movie?
Steve: She loved the movie. She not only was the inspiration for the movie but I looked to her for inspiration for the characters. There was this one time when she was supposed to be cleaning her room. She pushed everything under the bed and got caught. I was so caught up in watching her twisting her hands and the way her shoulders were moving up and down. It was then that I thought she is Fawn. She just became infused into the film. She’s also Calista the bunny who refuses to hop she’s a strutter. And the entire story really is about my family. Nyx the scout fairy is the helicopter parent that I am. When we’re at the park I’m not only worried you’re going to fall off the monkey bars but that you’re going to have all kinds of horrible germs on there as well. Yeah, I’m that parent. I need to relax and let my heart lead more than my head. But you know Nyx isn’t a villian. She’s just trying to save her family and protect them.
How did the story change as you went along? Did it evolve?
Makul: We were incredibly fortunate in that the pitch he did so long ago was the movie we ended up making.
Makul: Now the Gruff character was a bit harder to do. It was hard to mesh the 6 foot character with these tiny 2 inch characters.
Steve: The story remained very consistent through out all the making of the film. We got the emotion down immediately.
How challenging was it?
Steve: Well you know when we were making it and talking about making these fairies my daughter was on the gymnastics team. All these little girls would come up to me and say “Are you making fairies like us?” I said how do you mean? “Well we’re physical, we run and leap and jump and stuff. I was like they’re right and I would go watch them and how they move. That’s how the Scout fairies came to be. The scout fairies are physical.
When you guys were casting the story did you have an idea of who you wanted to cast?
Makul: Well we all loved Ginnifer Goodwin and wanted her for sure. She’s so bubbly and we knew we wanted someone opposite of that. That’s where Rosario came in. Rosario is Nyx. We just had a great cast.
Did they see each other during the movie making process?
Makul: Sometimes they saw each other. They both had very busy schedules and did it as they could.
Bleu referred to you as being musical, are you?
What type of stuff were you listening to when you made the film?
Steve: Music does shape your mood doesn’t it? I’m a huge music nerd. I had heard Bleu and thought I need him he’ll understand the emotion we’re trying to bring to this work. We brought Bleu in and he had all these great ideas. He wrote all these great pop music and then transitioned to working with us. Then we brought in Joel McNeely back in. He’d done all the previous fairy movie scores. It just worked.
Did Gruff change over time?
Steve: We did a painting of Gruff and said this is what we want. Then we had animators who had knowledge of muscles and skeletal systems and they said this is what you need to have this character. It was amazing to watch them and their backgrounds help us sculpt our Gruff. He has the walk of a Hippo or a Rhino. He has these floppy dog ears and an armadillo tail that allows him to hang places. You can tell his mood by his tail.
Are the designs on Gruff intentional or random?
Steve: I looked at a lot of tribal ancient literature to see him. We intended him to be tribal and earthy. We also looked at comic books. I kind of wanted a blend of old and new.
What was the most challenging part of making this film?
Makul: Animating and bringing Gruff to life was challenging. Then we had the problem of fitting a 6 foot creature and a few 5 inch fairies into scenes. We sometimes had this weird fisheyed warped scenes going on until we figured it out. But it was also making the relationship with Gruff and Fawn believable. If you didn’t believe that then we failed.
In the end we had to put our pet down. That’s where the actual things Fawn says to Gruff are actual words my wife said to my dog. I’m capturing a moment in time that actually happened and I want it to feel real. Ginnifer came in and did it in one take. She said, “I’ve been here and I know what you’re going for.” We were all blown away.
Makul: Yeah I’m taking my daughter to Disneyworld.
Both of you worked on the previous Fairy series?
Steve: I didn’t.
Makul: I did I produced that one too. I got grayer with this film.
Be sure to get Tinkerbell And The Legend Of The Neverbeast or you can enter to win one right here on my blog, Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast giveaway. Otherwise own it on Blu-Ray, Digital HD, and Disney Movies Anywhere March 3!