When the coronavirus pandemic began last year it had a major impact on the entertainment industry. Film and television productions were forced to shut down, delaying work on the projects due to health and safety concerns. But for Disney's upcoming animated feature Raya and The Last Dragon, the pandemic didn't halt production just shifted it with work moving from the studio to over 450 homes. While the shift is one that came with its own unique challenges, according to producer Osnat Shurer, there were surprising positives about making the film from home -- and even saw life imitate art.
Speaking with ComicBook.com, Shurer broke down how having to complete the film remotely prompted better work habits for those involved and also allowed the whole team to learn to trust one another more.
"I felt. for me, it's like a bit of a social study that I've been thinking a lot about because the entire production was done from over 450 homes and you know, we talked about the technological issues and breakthroughs we had to have and things like that," Shurer said. "And I think there were some really interesting things that we discovered, for example, there's only so long you can effectively and intelligently sit in front of this thing and function usefully. So, we have to break up our days differently. We finished the day bay 6:30, for example, the directors and I on a move in the last year of production, don't go over 6:30 and eat with the family, but we did it because we knew that's what we needed to do in this format. And a decent lunch break and a break in each section of the day. That's something we all are kind of in love with. Hey, it turns out you can create a better work-life balance even if you're directing or producing a major animated film and it's something we want to carry forward."
She continued, "There were situations that you know, on the one hand, we don't get to be together in the room which is very important to us; on the other hand, we're in each other's homes, you know, kids walking around and cats on the board and dogs were at least at first wanting to jump up or when anybody else's dog and the other 50 boxes start barking, they'd start barking and all the dogs, all over LA, start barking, but there was an intimacy that comes with that and a certain familiarity that came with that."
She also explained that by working separately, the team had to learn to trust and delegate in a way they never had before, something that imitated the story of Raya and The Last Dragon in a sense because trust is a major theme of the film.
"And another thing that's really been interesting is that this formate has forced us to delegate a lot more than any of us did in the past. And that means that what is happening is we're trusting each other a whole lot more to bring to the table," she explained. "Life imitating art, to bring to the table our A-game, our A+ game even if we're not able to go to the theater to see that wonderful little thing they did in the corner because we're moving on iPads, everybody brought that and brought it higher and then as they were wrapping people will talk about how they felt trusted and that made them rise even more in their game. And we eliminated some of the reviews we usually have and just trusted the artists to run with it. The onus was on us, as leaders, to give a very clear brief to tell them exactly what we wanted. But people rose up and that we want to keep as well."