Have you ever wondered what kind of research goes into making a Disney Animated Movie? I have to admit, I was a little blown away by how far the filmmakers went to research all the aspects of the new Planes movie, Planes: Fire and Rescue. The crew visited with numerous fire-fighters, visited several National Parks, and even went on an arial helicopter ride that would blow your socks off! I was fortunate to sit down with Jeff Howard (co-writer) and Paul Gerard (Director of Creative Development) and Bobs Gannaway (Director) last month while I was in LA for the press junket. Here is a little behind the scenes of the filmmakers research.
A lot of research began with talking to firefighters themselves. Disney partnered with the California Department of Forestry and Fire to learn more about the process of fighting a forest fire. They talked with LA County Fire Department workers to ensure that the crew in the movie would fight a fire the same way a firefighter crew would in real life. In fact, they brought in some firefighters to watch scenes to make sure that the fire looked right and that it burned the way a real fire would burn. If they thought something should change, they looked at it again and revised it.
There are a lot of parts of their research that made it into the movie itself. When Dusty first gets to his training camp, the crew is alerted to a forest fire. They say this happens all the time, and they are correct. Forrest fires happen every single day in fact there are 5,600 fires every year in California alone. We just hear about the big ones that cause a lot of destruction.
The teams studied the planes and helicopters to make sure that their characters portrayed the correct equipment needed to fight fires. This film is dedicated to our nation’s firefighters so they wanted to be sure they got everything just right.
Get this… they even worked with Chuck Aaron ( the only licensed aerobatic pilot in the US) and learned about helicopter aerobatics. They wanted to be sure that Blades and Windlifter weren’t doing things in the movie that was impossible. Their work with Chuck Aaron included a ride in his customized helicopter. To say they are brave is an understatement.
The research didn’t stop there. The team went to Yellowstone and Yosemite parks to study and design their own National Park for the film. A lot of the characteristics of Yosemite and Yellowstone can be seen in the film. Including this beautiful waterfall!
In the movie there is the unveiling of The Grand Fusel Lodge. The lodge was inspired by The Old Faithful lodge in Yellowstone and displayed a lot of the same characteristics.
I can’t wait for you to see how all the research the filmmakers did paid off. The story is a real tribute to our heroes, the ones who keep us safe from fires! To keep the fun going, here are some fun Planes: Fire and Rescue activities that you can do with your family:
Be sure to follow Disney’s PLANES FIRE AND RESCUE on Facebook and Twitter as well as the website: www.disney.com/Planes and if you want to learn more about how the characters came to life, read my last post: The Art of the Story.
Disney’s PLANES FIRE AND RESCUE flies into theatres everywhere on July 18th!