Sunday, May 8, 2016

Zootopia Outtakes

Upon returning to Disney, I was asked to jump in and help out on Zootopia. The story process was well underway and the crew was gearing up to make the fifth screening of the entire movie.

 There's always a steep learning curve when joining a new production, especially mid-stream. New characters, new plot, new directors, new story team; I found myself spending the first weeks trying to wrap my head around it all. Not to mention the added challenge of not knowing what ground had already been covered in the previous four screenings. Many of my comments early on were met with, "Yeah, we tried that in screening three already." Altogether, my time on the movie was about 6 months.

Friends, who saw the movie, often ask me what scenes I worked on. I smile and confess to them that nothing I worked on actually made it to the screen. They look at me a little puzzled, not sure if they should pursue the matter any further. I try to explain to them that it's not unusual for most of what we do to be thrown out, wondering in the back of my mind if they think I'm just trying to spin it. But the truth is...


This little snippet is from a scene featuring Nick and Koslov, head of a polar bear syndicate in the Tundra Town district of Zootopia. Here, Nick is paying an installment on a loan he took to open an underground "Preds Only" night club called Wild Times. This section takes place in Koslov's refrigerated stretch limo.

(Koslov was eventually replace by the Godfather shrew character that was in the final movie.)

Note: Koslov's business card was drawn by friend and colleague, Jeremy Spears. I simply lifted it from a sequence he had done. Thanks, Jeremy.


  1. Hi, Toby!

    I absolutely love the way you've done these boards. Your sketching style is so lively, and it just adds that much more to the mood you set out with all the choices you've made within each of these frames.

    It's always such a treat to look at pre-production story work that didn't get to the final cut. Storyboarding is the kind of work in animation I'm aiming to get into in the future, so naturally, work like yours is super appealing to me haha.

    Anyways, just droppin' by to say that your work is lovely, and that I regret not finding out about you much sooner :P

  2. This is a great scene! I would have loved to animate it! Hope you post more! I would have also loved to see your take on some of the character designs :) All the best man~

  3. Your boards are amazing always full of energy and life.I just can't express how much it inspires me.

  4. Thank you for sharing these boards, this is a great scene!

  5. Love it. I guess in early drafts it was ALL Predators were second class citizens, not just foxes or weasels?
    Was there more significance to the candy and Popsicle in the early version? Like they were supposed to be protein based for Predators or something? When I heard the film was mammals-only, I assumed there'd just be lots of fried chicken and sushi stores for Preds, heh.

    While I loved this early version of the Polar Bear gangster (I saw the early clip of the polar cub's birthday, so sad), I did find it interesting that the smallest animals, like shrews, were the richest. Which makes sense: it'd be much easier to save your money as a mouse then an elephant...

  6. Even if the work doesn't make it on screen, it helps build a better story and that's really all that matters. It's also so helpful for students like me to see it, so thanks for sharing it here and letting us learn from it. Thank you!

  7. Nice Toby.....sure was a dark bit of business there wow.....I've been drawing foxes for over 9 months myself....but maybe I should be selling popsicles.....that sure is a lot of green in that box lol.

  8. This just makes me want to cry....

  9. Hello Sir,
    love your work..
    how much time you spend on this board.. or this kind of boards..??

  10. Your boards are amazing and very inspirational! I was wondering if you would be willing to share some of you process (thumbnails to roughs to clean)?