A Look at the Behind the Scenes of Moana and 5 Fun Facts + Inner Workings Drawing

I can’t believe I was in LA over a month ago on the trip of a lifetime. By now you have probably read some of the posts, but I also had some other really neat opportunities including getting a behind the scenes look at Moana and testing my own drawing skills with Inner Workings.

Once we arrived in the screening room, the first people we had the opportunity to hear from were Inner Workings’  director, Leo Matsuda, and producer, Sean Lurie.


After a quick introduction we watched a fun  story from Inner Workings which was inspired by the transparent human anatomy pages in the directors childhood encyclopedia set.  It amazing the way this technology works.  I know I’ve said it before, but I just can’t get over how hand drawn images and computer generated images work together so well.  In this short they are combine to tell the story of Paul.

INNER WORKINGS - PAUL layered visual development by Production Designer Paul Felix. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
INNER WORKINGS – PAUL layered visual development by Production Designer Paul Felix. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
INNER WORKINGS - PAUL visual development by Director Leo Matsuda. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
INNER WORKINGS – PAUL visual development by Director Leo Matsuda. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

After getting to learn from Leo Matsuda and Sean Lurie, we also had the opportunity to hear from the amazing talent behind Moana. This great talent included Head of Animation- Amy Smeed, Head of Story- Dave Pimentel, Story Artist- Dave Derrick, “Mini Maui” Animation Supervisor -Eric Goldberg and Development Sr. Creative Exec -Jessica Julius.

14237682_10101184623497381_3872423240150270796_nNext, we got to take a behind the scenes look at Moana, I have an interview with Auli’i Cravalho, the voice of Moana coming soon. 🙂 I was beyond impressed with the movie just by the small sample I got to watch. I can’t wait to see it!!

Moana is set to sail in on November 23rd this year, and the trailers have gotten people both excited and upset for various reasons. Once you see the trailers and screenshots for yourself, it’s hard not to be sold on this fantastic looking movie and Disney’s first Polynesian princess.

If that trailer isn’t enough to entice you, perhaps these little Moana fun facts will:

1. The voice for Moana is brand new to the scene. Native Hawaian Auli’i Cravalho was called in due to the Hawai’I-based casting director remembering her singing performance from a fundraiser video submission. The new girl on the block went through three rounds of auditions before earning the role.


2. The portrayal of Maui is right on the nose. Maui is considered a great hero of Polynesian mythology, and stories of his exploits are told across nearly all Polynesian lands. His bravado in the trailers, displayed powers and attitude are all right out of the history books.

3. Directors Ron Clements and John Musker are not new to the rodeo. They, in fact, got their writing-directing debut with “The Great Mouse Detective”, and went on to bust out some of your no doubt childhood favorites: “Aladdin”, “The Little Mermaid” and, more recently, “The Princess and the Frog”.

4. One main character who went thru some serious transformation was Maui. He has tattoos of a “Mini Maui” in different poses and the idea was made to make “Mini-Maui” interact/react with Maui. Maui is voiced by Dwayne Johnson, aka “The Rock”.


5. One of the characters who almost did not make it was HeiHei.  After watching the quick movie pieces I just couldn’t see the movie without him, but it’s true it almost happened.  At first he wasn’t lending anything to the story so the creative team decided to change up his chracter and drop his IQ to take away some intelligence and add some humor.


4. Some people aren’t all that impressed with the portrayal of Maui. Jenny Salesa, of Tongan heritage, shared a picture on her Facebook account which claimed Maui looked like a “half pig, half hippo” creature. In short, the idea of a husky Polynesian man ruffled some feathers. Personally, we think the demi-god is looking as good as ever.

Moana fun facts
Looks pretty hunky to me!

5. Moana is going to be, no doubt, a princess to end all. From the trailers alone, we can see that she is adventurous, not easily swayed by Maui’s bravado, and willing to travel across the treacherous oceans in order to find not only salvation for her people, but herself as well.


To finish things off we learned how to create a character from Moana.  This is what their looks like and mine is below… 😉



Catch Moana in theaters on November 23rd

Moana Facebook Page | @DisneyMoana on Twitter
@DisneyAnimation on Instagram | @DisneyAnimation on Tumblr

Disclosure: I attended this trip courtesy of Disney. However, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own! 

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