But everyone also said it did not advance the story, the film ground to a stop.”Bush and the other writers, directors and artists had to go back to the drawing board several times and “tear the film apart and throw the parts out that don’t work into the trash.”Which can be disheartening, but that doesn’t stop Bush or the other writers at Disney Animation. When that happens, the notes fly in from everyone, and those notes are not always positive.“We had this great comedy sequence — everyone loved it.
Being a writer for a Disney animated film is a collaborative effort, and that’s just fine with Jared Bush.“It’s not for everybody, but when we sit around a room and try to solve problems together, that’s one of the pluses,” he said.Bush is one of five credited as writers on “Moana,” the latest offering from Disney Animation, and also served as a writer and co-director on the studio’s hit “Zootopia,” released earlier this year.Disney’s animated films can take up to five years to complete, Bush says, but even with that amount of time, the writers have to work fast.
“We try to solve the major story problems before we bring the storyboard artists in, because then we go from a few people to 20 to 30 people working on the film,” he said.In the initial phases, Bush and the other writers are frequently writing dozens of pages a day to get a story like “Moana” into shape.Bush said the film’s idea sprang from the co-directors, Ron Clements and John Musker — the same team that directed “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin” for Disney. They share writing credits with Bush on this film, along with Pamela Ribon and Taika Waititi.
Bush said that as the story and script developed, the team had to find ways to avoid cliches that can frequently spring up when writing as a team.“Sometimes we can write directly at the cliche, then flip it and surprise the audience,” he said.Once the story is written, and the storyboard artists have made their contributions, the team takes the storyboards and puts them on film, creating an animatic of the entire film with a temporary soundtrack, and show it to just about everyone in Disney Animation.