If you’ve been following my trip to California for the Disney Planes Event, then you’ve seen my Animation Experience, the Story Artist Experience, and my Recording Studio Experience. One of the great things we got to do was sit down with Disney PLANES director, Klay Hall and producer, Traci Balthazor-Flynn.
Disney Planes Director
Klay Hall began drawing airplanes at the age of 8 and has been a lifelong aviation enthusiast. He is from an illustrious line of flyers. His father and grandfather were 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.
Disney Planes Producer
Traci Balthazor-Flynn rose through the executive ranks to support production for Disneytoon Studios, a part of Walt Disney Animation Studios under the creative leadership of John Lasseter. As director of production, Balthazor-Flynn was part of the team who helped launch the hit Disney Fairies film franchise. (My kids love those films!)
I knew that there was a lot of research that was needed for a movie, but didn’t actually realize HOW MUCH research goes into making an animated film. In addition to interviewing and working with all forms of pilots, they also worked with the Department of Defense during the research process. Even more fun is the fact that they got to spend 2 days on an aircraft carrier! How much fun would that be?
During our interview, we asked Klay what it was like to work with stand up comedians and his reaction was that he enjoyed working with stand up comics. He said that stand up comics ad lib a lot and once they have a practice read and he goes over what needs to be done he just lets them go. It gives them more room for discovery and they have a little more fun. You will notice in this film there are quite a few stand up actors, such as Dane Cook, Brad Garrett, Carlos Alazraqui, Sinbad, Gabriel Iglesias and Cedric the Entertainer.
There is a war scene in the film that involves the back story for Skipper. When asked how this scene fits with the Disney PLANES theme, Klay stated that the back story was needed for Skipper’s character and how it was emotionally crushing. He hopes that it comes through as a sentiment and helps the viewers understand Skipper as opposed to violence.
I loved the military aspect of Disney Planes. I’m a huge military supporter and seeing that in the movie felt good and right.
Meeting with both Klay and Traci was so amazing. I so appreciated the time they took out of their day to chat with us. I couldn’t help but think of my kids and their future careers. I know what my kids’ interests are at this point in their life so I could see where each of my kids might love to do step into careers like these. Granted their interests might change but if not, I know that my kids would love to step into a role like Klay or Traci have.