“Once Upon a Snowman” previously, “The Untold Stories of Olaf,” tells the early origins of the beloved Frozen character. The animated short premieres October 22, on the Disney Plus streaming service.
The Walt Disney Company invited us to a press conference on the making of Once Upon a Snowman. The Knockturnal gained insight into the process of developing the story of Olaf and the building of the character.
Animators return to the land of Arendelle and follow Olaf’s journey to learning who he is and where he is from. The short makes this the third Frozen project created by the Disney animation team.
Why the return to Arendelle?
“To continue on with this story that’s very special and ties everything together from those first moments of Olaf, it’s a really unique way to revisit the scenes and think about the people who animated the scenes on the movie and then how it all ties in…” -Becky Bresse
When thinking of Frozen, fans might think of the relationship between sisters Elsa and Ana, however, Olaf according to Becky is a reflection of their love. When telling the story of Olaf, animators were able to strengthen the stories of the two sisters. With telling the story of Olaf it becomes clear that his joy and radiant positivity is a product of love.
Olaf’s optimistic nature has remained constant throughout the Frozen franchise and is in part why he is such a beloved character. The nature of Olaf’s spirit is aligned with the actor who voices him: Josh Gad. Olaf is the Disney animation team’s favorite character to animate because of his emotions, fun nature, and the connection to the sisters. Olaf also possesses the innocence of a child
Josh Gad shares the magnetic energy his character Olaf has as well. According to the Disney team he was generous with his time and was able to place his energy into being an actor and also a comedian. When voicing Olaf, Gad improvised lines making the character come to life and feel more authentic.
The creation of this short was equally unique as Olaf is. When joining the Disney team to create Frozen Trent Correy’s first character to animate at Disney was Olaf. In Trent’s own words: “while I was a trainee and Elsa meets Olaf and it’s beautiful and then she just walks away. She creates life and she walks away and I was like, there’s got to be a story there.”
Though the first Frozen film was released in 2013 it was clear that the story of Olaf didn’t necessarily start with the Frozen film and shouldn’t end with the sequel. The Disney short gave the animation team the opportunity to revisit the characters the world has fallen in love with.
Once Upon a Snowman not only tells the story behind who is Olaf, but continues the story of the love between Elsa and Ana.