Look Behind the Scenes at Disney’s Planes – Director & Producer

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Previously on Look Behind the Scenes, we looked (and listened) to what goes into voice acting on an animated feature such as Disney’s Planes. In this installment, lets delve into the chief positions — director and producer.

I had a chance to talk with both Planes director Klay Hall and producer Traci Balthazor-Flynn. I got feeling when talking with them both that this was a real journey that they went on together — I never felt that one was “above” the other in rank or decision making.

Director Klay Hall
Director Klay Hall

I thought it was really interesting that the original concept to join the World of Cars was going to be about trains instead of planes. Klay Hall is a huge fan of trains and signed on to head that up. Soon they realized that it would be a limited storyline when dealing with characters that needed rails. There is one vehicle that Hall loves more that trains and that is planes. Hall is from an illustrious line of flyers and began drawing airplanes at an early age. He told us stories at meeting about how his father, who was a pilot, would take him to the airport as a kid and he would draw airplanes. His father and grandfather were actually both aviators, the former serving as a pilot in the Navy. Hall has flown in dozens of aircraft from World War II bombers to Vietnam-era Huey helicopters. If there was any animation specialist who could do Planes right, I would say Klay Hall is that person.

Traci Balthazor-Flynn was part of the team that helped launch the hit Disney Fairies film franchise as director of production. She, like Klay Hall, was tapped by John Lasseter to take on a leadership role for Planes. As the movie’s producer, she saw the film that would probably be headed for direct-to-video release go to a major theatrical blockbuster.

Producer Traci Balthazar-Flynn
Producer Traci Balthazor-Flynn

Many of the stories that she recalled on the four years of production that went into Disney’s Planes have to do with the research that went into making sure that everything was perfect for the movie. They consulted with experts in all fields of aviation, including Navy generals and a visit to an aircraft carrier. I can’t go into too much detail about how these things are relevant to the movie without giving anything away.

To say the least, this crew did an amazing job on Planesand you will be able to see for yourself in theaters on August 9th.

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