WAMG Takes A Look At FROZEN : Part 1

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To promote their new full length animated feature FROZEN, Disney invited members of the press to Disney Animation Studios to check out how the film was made, and show us selected parts of the film before its November 27th release. Also, they made us this pretty cool animated video of our name!

In “Frozen,” fearless optimist Anna (voice of Kristen Bell) teams up with rugged mountain man Kristoff (voice of Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf (voice of Josh Gad)in a race to find Anna’s sister Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. 

Our day started at the incredible Disney Animation Studios, in Burbank, Ca.


While there, we met with directors Chris Buck (TARZAN) and Jennifer Lee (co-writer WRECK-IT RALPH), as well as producer Peter Del Vecho (THE PRINCESS & THE FROG, WINNIE THE POOH) in a small roundtable Q&A to learn just how they created this epic animated feature. We also met some the artists to discuss the design if Arendelle, where FROZEN takes place, got a lesson on how the animators rig each character, the importance of getting the snow just right, and just how they brought these characters to life.

First we went to The Rigging Lab, where we spoke with Frank Hanner, Keith Wilson, and Gregory Smith about bringing life to otherwise immobile digital models.


Frank Hanner explained:

So, without rigging we only have sculpted characters.  They’re purely a digital model.  They do not move.  It’s like it may as well be carved in granite. So, as an illustration of the character comes into the rigging department, we build the skeleton; we attach the muscles and make sure the skin moves properly; and we build a set of controls that the animators can use to push and pull the body around.” 

After they explained a bit about what they do, it was our turn to play. We actually got to sit down at their computers and move the character of Olaf around via the skeletal system that they built for him. It was a ton of fun!


Next, we went to The Art Of Arendelle, where we met with Mike Giaimo, Lisa Keene, and Britney Lee about designing the land of Arendelle. They showed us slides from their trip to Norway, and told us how they pulled inspiration from the fjords,which are long canals of sea between high cliffs, as well as the stave churches,which are built upright, and many triangular roofs stacked up. The third thing that really stuck with them was the amount of rosemaling they found while on their trip.


Mike Giaimo stated:

Now, rosemaling means rustic painting in Norwegian, which really translates to basically folk art.  And it can be found on anything.  It, uh, certainly clothing, embroidery, um, architecturally it can be found on ceilings, walls, columns, wood trim, uh, furniture, um, anything you can imagine, they decorate with, uh, rosemaling.


We then met with Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, and Peter Del Vecho to discuss bringing this tale to life, as well as casting the film. You can find our roundtable Q&A in Part 2 of our FROZEN quest, which you can find at the end of the month. (We’ve gotta leave something to the imagination!)

Acting Through Animation was our next stop. Lino DiSalvo, Becky Bresee, and Wayne Unten showed us how they brought the characters to life. This was done by dissecting everything that the character does, and figuring out exactly how they are supposed to move.


Breathing patterns of the actors also needed to translate to the characters. Lino DiSalvo explained why it was important to bring Idina Menzel, who plays Elsa, in to witness her singing.

We very, very much approach this film with the sensitivity of what the character’s breath was like.  So, having Idina come in to talk about her singing technique, was something that was very important to us, ’cause obviously the Elsa character sings an amazing song. And, her costume that she wore, you could see her breath and her diaphragm and the breathing and all that echoing and that tension stuff.

The last stop of the day was The Character of Snow, where Evan Goldberg, Dale Mayeda, Marlon West, and Andy Selle showed us how they created the spectacular snow effect for the movie.


Disney is known for doing their homework, so it was no surprise when Dale Mayeda told us that they brought in an expert to explain the science of snow to them.

We had a professor that came out from Caltech whose name is Dr. Ken Liebricht.  He’s also known as Dr. Snow ’cause he has studied all of this information about how snow — snowflakes actually form from like, a really small ice crystal, and that’s really fascinating.  One really interesting tidbit is that basically a snowflake actually forms with, like, an ice crystal that is in the air, and because of humidity and temperature, they start branching and plating.  And branching and plating.  And that’s basically why snowflakes always looks different.  Every snowflake always looks very unique.  And so we ended up creating our own snowflake generator to be able to generate snowflakes.

As the day wrapped, we were treated to custom milkshakes next to an Olaf ice sculpture. You can’t top a day better than with a milkshake! Be sure to check out Part 2 of our Frozen experience at the end of the month!


Walt Disney Animation Studios, the studio behind “Tangled” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” presents “Frozen,” a stunning big-screen comedy adventure. Fearless optimist Anna (voice of Kristen Bell) sets off on an epic journey—teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff (voice of Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven—to find her sister Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf (voice of Josh Gad), Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.

The film is directed by Chris Buck (“Tarzan,” “Surf’s Up”) and Jennifer Lee (screenwriter, “Wreck-It Ralph”), who also wrote the screenplay.

It is produced by Peter Del Vecho (“Winnie the Pooh,” “The Princess and the Frog”).

Features original songs from Tony® winner Robert Lopez (“The Book of Mormon,” “Avenue Q”) and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“In Transit,” “Winnie the Pooh”), and an original score by Christophe Beck (“The Muppets,” Oscar®-winning short “Paperman”).


“Like” FROZEN on Facebook:

Follow FROZEN on Twitter:

Visit the official website:  

FROZEN opens in theatres everywhere
on November 27


Nerdy, snarky horror lover with a campy undertone. Goonies never say die.


  1. Diana Klaus-Howland

    October 15, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Just very proud of you Surprize

    • Melissa Howland

      November 1, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      HEY EVERYONE! THIS IS MY MOM! Thank you. That means a lot. Love you!

  2. Pingback: WAMG Takes A Look At Disney's FROZEN : Part 2 | We Are Movie Geeks

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  4. Em

    January 12, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Hi, I would like to know who acted out the movements of the character Kristoff? I understand his voice was done by Jonathan Groff. But I am wondering who acted out his movements? Who were they inspired and acted out by? Who brought his characters movements to life?

    – Em

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