Creativity 50

Creativity 50 2014: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

Composers, 'Frozen'

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Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez
Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez

If you have a young child (and perhaps even if you don't), you likely know all the words to "Frozen's" breakout song, "Let It Go."

For that you can thank Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, the husband-and-wife songwriting team behind the movie phenomenon. Both have impressive credits that include other Disney flicks like "Winnie the Pooh" and the stage version of "Finding Nemo." Mr. Lopez also worked on Broadway's "The Book of Mormon" and "Avenue Q."

More than a year after the movie premiered in theaters, "Let It Go" is still being hummed by millions of children, and the movie continues to resonate in the cultural zeitgeist. "Let It Go" won the Oscar for Best Original Song, and a clip of the song featuring Idina Menzel has garnered more than 380 million views on YouTube.

Next up for the duo: a musical romantic comedy, "Up There."

What was the biggest challenge of working on "Frozen?"

Ms. Anderson-Lopez: The biggest challenge on working on any animated musical is as you are writing songs the story can change drastically. For all of the work and heart we put into "Let it Go" and "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" we put the same work and heart into 17 other songs the world would never see. You have to do that in order for the story to evolve.

What is your creative process?

Ms. Anderson-Lopez: Our creative process is constantly going on. We will take the kids skating and something pops up or we will be watching TV at 11 p.m. and we get an idea for a character. But we keep a schedule much like a business schedule, working 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. With two kids we have to have ourselves on a schedule. Before the kids were around we could have a moment of creativity at 2 p.m.

Mr. Lopez: The role I play in the creative process is stopping us from writing before we are ready. There's a lot of discussion that needs to happen before you write. If the moment isn't right we could hover over it for a week and decide we aren't ready to write that song.

Did you have any idea of the phenomenon "Let It Go" and "Frozen" would be?

Mr. Lopez: Never in a million years did we think it would be like this. We were hoping it would be a good movie and entertain people and relay a good message for kids about fear and shame. We just didn't want it to be terrible.

Ms. Anderson-Lopez: Midway through, around June 2013, we realized it could be strong. It was a testing in Phoenix and when we saw how people were responding it was the first moment we breathed out since fall 2012.

Any advice for getting out of a creative rut?

Mr. Lopez: We take walks, which is a great way to step away from a project. There's no need to bang your head against a wall. You can always stop and come back to it.

How do you handle feedback and criticism?

Ms. Anderson-Lopez: From a female perspective, and lots of women writers I know feel the same way, when it comes to feedback it is easy to compromise and give in. So I try to be mindful and be selective in the feedback I incorporate. I try to trust my own gut and create something I want to see. When I get into pleasing mode I need to step back and create for myself.

Click here to see more of the 2014 Creativity 50
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