Did you know that Olaf, the lovable snowman from Frozen was originally supposed to be a jerk?
Seriously, it’s true.
In the early versions of the movie’s script, Elsa was the villain and Olaf was her obnoxious sidekick. Elsa wasn’t even related to Anna in the first few drafts. Elsa was just an evil snow queen who terrorized Anna, a peasant, and destroyed the town with a army of snowmen.
Sounds crazy, right? For those of us who have seen the film, this version is hard to imagine.
Frozen underwent numerous overhauls and changed shapes many times throughout the writing process. Drafts were torn apart and characters were changed. One version called for a troll with a Brooklyn accent to act as a narrator. Another suggested the sisters would reunite thanks to a shared love a reindeer.
The classic story that later won two Academy Awards and grossed over $1 billion didn’t come easily.
And I am happy to hear that.
I don’t know about you, but I just sort of assumed the story, along with all Disney movies, was created in about a week by a group of smiling pixies who sang Disney songs the entire time.
Turns out that isn’t the case. Disney is no different from the rest of us writers.
Sure the end result is different. Our work may never become the highest-grossing animated film of all time. Our characters may never be found on lunch boxes or Halloween costumes. But our struggle is no different than Disney’s struggle.
We all have poor first drafts that need revision. And if the mighty mouse corporation is able to get over their pride and rework a story until it is great, we should be able to too.
If we don’t, we may just end up making Olaf a jerk. And nobody wants that.