When the coronavirus pandemic broke out last year, it had a major impact on the entertainment industry. Film and television productions were forced to close, delaying projects for health and safety reasons. But for Disney’s next animated film, Raya and the Last Dragon, Pandemic didn’t stop production, it just went from studio work to over 450 houses. According to producer Osnat Shurer, while this transition has brought its own challenges, there are also surprising positives to making a film from home – and even life has imitated art.
Shurer explained how the need to complete the film remotely improved the work habits of those involved and increased trust between team members.
It felt to me like a social study, which I thought a lot about because all the production came from over 450 households, and, you know, we talked about the technological challenges, the breakthroughs we had to have and things like that, Schurer said. And I think we’ve discovered some very interesting things, like B. that you can sit in front of this thing effectively and intelligently and function in a useful way. So we have to detach from our days in a different way. We ended the day at 6:30 p.m., the directors and I don’t go out to dinner with the family after 6:30 p.m. in our last year of production, for example, but we did it because we knew we had to do it in this format. And a decent lunch and break in any part of the day. We’re all in love with it. It turns out that you can create a better work-life balance even when you’re directing or producing a great animated film, and that’s something we want to continue.
She went on to say that there were situations where, on the one hand, we couldn’t be in the same room together, which is very important to us; On the other hand, we’re in each other’s house, you know, kids are running, and cats are on the shelf, and the dogs at least want to jump first, or if someone’s dog and the other 50 cans start barking, they start barking, and all the dogs in all of Los Angeles start barking, but there’s a certain intimacy and familiarity that that brings.
She also explained that by working separately, the team must learn to trust and delegate like never before, which in a way mimics the story of Raya and the Last Dragon, where trust is a central theme of the film.
And the other thing that’s really interesting is that this format has forced us to delegate a lot more than any of us have done in the past. This means we trust each other far more than we should, she explained. Life imitates the art of bringing our A game, our A+ game to the table, even though we can’t go to the theater to see that wonderful little thing they did in the corner because we go on the iPad, everybody brought it in and made it go higher, and then when they’re done, people will talk about how they felt confident and it made them go even higher in their game. And we took out some of the ratings that we normally have and just trusted the artists to work with it. It was our duty as leaders to give a very clear note to tell them exactly what we wanted. But people have risen, and we want to keep it that way.
Raya and the last dragon comes out on the 5th. Mars in theaters and Disney+ Premier Accesses.