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The Making of Bao: Story, design inspiration, and more!

Bao, Behind The Scenes, Domee Shi, Interview, Short Film, Shorts

Posted by Nia • April 23, 2018

Bao is Pixar’s new theatrical short that will be playing this summer in front of the Incredibles 2. It’s one of my favorite shorts from Pixar and it goes without saying – the film is full of scrumptious designs and a heartwarming story that will have you begging for more. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out our review of the film.

During my most recent trip to Pixar I learned some fantastic things about the making of Bao from director Domee Shi, production designer Rona Liu, and producer Becky Neiman-Cobb.

(Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

(Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

(Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

  1. Bao has two meanings in Chinese: steamed bun and to treasure something precious. Domee thought it would be the perfect title for a story about “a precious little steam bun.”
  2. Domee’s #1 obsession in life, outside of animation, is obviously food (and I don’t blame her – I think about food 24/7). “I love food, not just eating it, but drawing it as well.” Before the days of Bao, Domee was making art about food and posting it online. You might remember some of the food related gags and little food-centric comics from her My Food Fantasies
  3. Domee was also inspired by food folk tales because “they’re so cute and strange – like the little gingerbread man and that one song, there was an old lady who swallowed a fly.” With Bao, she was inspired to do a Chinese version of all those folk takes she loved.
  4. According to Domee, the first ingredient to Bao was obviously food and the second ingredient was what she knew best: growing up as an only child. Domee’s family was a small immigrant family that moved from China and lived in Toronto. Domee’s father worked a lot and because of that she spent a lot of time with her mom growing up. Her mom would hold her close whenever she could and treated her like a “delicate little dumpling.” When Domee started growing up and doing things on her own, it was hard for her mom to let go and she’d tell Domee,“I wish I could put you back in my stomach so I’d know exactly where you were at all times.” Domee even said, “It’s that creepy sweet love of a mom who doesn’t want to let go of her little dumpling that was the spark that became the heart of the story.”

    ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

  5. Domee wasn’t only inspired by her relationship with her mom, but she was inspired by her. She is a “dumpling Queen.” Food was how Domee’s mom showed her love for her and they formed a special bond making dumplings together over the years for numerous holidays and events. “In Chinese culture, food and family go hand in hand. When you want to show that you care about someone and that you love someone, you don’t say ‘I love you’ you say ‘have you eaten yet?'”
  6. Her mom was involved in the research for Bao. She’d come in to do “dumpling making demos” for the animators and effects and simulation artists.

    (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

  7. The third ingredient for this short was Chinatown, specifically Chinatown in Toronto where Domee grew up. She wanted to honor that setting and the equally vibrant Chinatown grannies. “I wanted to celebrate their bold colors, their keen eye when it comes to picking out the freshest produce, and their determination to get the best deals in town.”
  8. The style of Bao was inspired by 2D Japanese animation, especially the visual styles of My Neighbors the Yamatas and One Piece. Domee “loved how squishy the characters looked and how pushed their expressions were.”

    ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

  9. Though translating 2D designs to 3D was the biggest obstacle Domee and her team had to get past. Some poses and expressions didn’t translate as well when it was created with 3D software, since 3D itself is its own medium. Some of the design aspects Domee wanted to pull from My Neighbors the Yamatas or One Piece were going to be an challenge, like the mother’s massive head and exaggerated limbs, but there’s nothing that a little planning can’t solve, especially in animation production. In the end, after trial and error, they were able to combine 2D graphic design and 3D modeling, which gave Domee range to achieve what she wanted.
  10. Production designer Rona Liu “oversaw all the visuals in the film.” Her job was to work with the different departments to make sure the look was cohesive and adhered to Domee’s vision.
  11. According to Rona, Domee wanted the short to look and feel very, very cute. It was also heavily influenced by Japanese folk art. She loved the “simple and graphic designs and the fact that a slice of life was the main subject… she wanted to borrow some of that philosophy with Bao, while keeping focus on the characters as much as possible.”
  12. The patterns on the mother’s clothes supported her emotional journey throughout the film. When the mother is unhappy and lonely, Rona used muted colors. When the mother is happy, the colors were “bold and red and auspicious.”
  13. The environment also played a supporting role to the characters. The background designs used throughout the short are not perfectly straight; if you look closely at some of the sets in the trailer and even when you see the film this summer, you’ll find that none of edges actually meet perfectly together, lines are wibbly wobbly. The mother’s house in particular had to reflect that she was an immigrant, a “blend of East meets West.” Rona had decided all the built-ins in the mother’s kitchen would be Western, while all the things the mother buys would be Chinese. 
  14. According to producer Becky Neiman-Cobb, the pork filling was the hardest thing for the effects artists to figure out. “It took two months for them to master the look and feel of the pork filling for the short.” What made the food effects so challenging was that, “we’re all experts as to what food looks like.” And food is the star in Bao, so “if it didn’t look perfect or believable it would pull the audience out of the story.”

Make sure you save lots of room for dessert because Bao is coming to theaters June 15th!

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Pixar Launches New Experimental Shorts Department

30 Years of Pixar, Behind The Scenes, Luxo, Jr., Short Film, SIGGRAPH, Smash and Grab, The Adventures of Andre and Wally B

Posted by Nia • May 28, 2017

It was recently revealed that in August, Pixar will be hosting a panel at SIGGRAPH titled, “Smash and Grab: Off-The-Rails Filmmaking at Pixar.” The summary of the panel gave us some insight into what some of the talented folks have been up to in between projects at the studio:

“Pixar launched an internal, experimental storytelling initiative to create short films without executive oversight, to explore new creative visions and increase studio opportunities. This talk shares Pixar’s six-month journey of creating seven-minute shorts, with limited resources, amidst the backdrop of a busy studio, juggling multiple feature productions.”

Cartoon Brew reported the first film produced through this new division is aptly titled Smash and Grab, and will be directed by Brian Larsen. Larsen himself has plenty of experience at Pixar in the story trenches – serving as Story Supervisor on Brave and Head of Story on Piper, just to name a few.

Pixar’s first few short films, The Adventures of André and Wally B and Luxo JR., initially put the studio on the map and showcased what was to come with technology driving animation. The fact that the studio is continuing to push the boundaries of storytelling with their famed short films, and finding time to make new projects with an already grueling film schedule is quite impressive and inspiring.

We can’t wait to find out more about Smash and Grab, and their new shorts unit.

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You Can Now Take A Pixar Storytelling Course Online For Free!

Behind The Scenes, Khan Academy, Mark Andrews, Pete Docter, Pixar in a box, The Art of Storytelling

Posted by Nia • February 24, 2017

Have you ever dreamed about being able to learn from some of the greatest storytellers in the industry? Or what about gaining specific insight in animation from some of your heroes like Pete Docter and Mark Andrews? With Pixar’s new online course, you will be able to do just that.

This month Pixar launched the first course of their 6-part online curriculum on “The Art of Storytelling.” The program will be helmed by Docter, Andrews, and a plethora of other top notch animation talent from the studio. The course is aimed to guide anyone who is interested in learning more about the Pixar storytelling process – the segments will give tips on how to create original stories, captivating characters, and diverse worlds. The courses will also offer a variety of techniques other than your typical video and reading assignments; there will be firsthand exercises that will even teach some newcomers the ABC’s of taking an original idea and seeing it through to the story boarding phase. Pixar’s online class will disperse their different lessons throughout the year, so stay-tuned for more production wisdom from the studio!

Pete Docter’s own statement on the course should give you enough motivation to give it a try: “We hope that by sharing how we tell stories, we’ll inspire students all over the world to tell their own stories.”

“The Art of Storytelling” can be accessed through the online-education website Khan Academy.

Have you already taken the course or are thinking about trying it out? Let us know on Twitter and in the comments below.

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The Incredibles 2 Sequel Happily Moves Through Production

Behind The Scenes, Brad Bird, Interview, sequels, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Nia • September 12, 2016

incredibles-2-update-main

It’s insane thinking about how its been 12 years since The Incredibles first premiered in cinemas. For some of us old folk, it only feels like yesterday when we sat in the dark, jaws agape, and inspired as we traveled through dangerous territories following the Parr family. With that being said, fantastic news, as always, regarding one of the most anticipated sequels from Pixar to date! Happy to report, straight from Brad Bird himself, that The Incredibles 2 continues to move smoothly through the production pipeline. From our friends over at Entertainment Weekly, we’ve found that Brad Bird dished some small insights into the upcoming film, careful not to give away any key plot points:

“I don’t like unwrapping presents before Christmas… It’s very actively moving, and we’re excited about it. We’re trying to take it in some new directions. Hopefully it’s the same characters and feel, but going in a new direction. I mean, that’s the trick with a sequel. It’s repeating yourself, without repeating yourself.”

Considering how Hollywood seems to be pushing out superhero films in an assembly line fashion these days, we’re curious to see what new spin on the genre Bird and team will create this time around. We’re also eager to see how the Parr family has been faring all of these years since we’ve last seen them on screen. It’s great to know that despite it being a sequel, Bird is conscious of that aspect and is trying to create a film that will stand alone from the first installment. Back when The Incredibles was released in 2004, Bird helped shape a new form of storytelling both in animation and in the superhero universe; delving into the familial side of superheroes, getting into their psyches, while straying from the cliches that have been notorious with Hollywood’s representation of anyone who wears a cape. Thank God Edna banished those fashion statements long ago. Perhaps this even inspired the darker side of superheros seen in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy? Regardless, 2019 can’t come soon enough.

The Incredibles 2 is scheduled for release on June 21, 2019.

 

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Finding Dory Press Junket Exclusive

Andrew Stanton, Angus Maclane, Behind The Scenes, Finding Dory, Finding Nemo, Interview

Posted by Nia • June 17, 2016

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Last week Upcoming Pixar was invited to a Finding Dory press junket in Beverly Hills. There we got to see the fantastic cast of the film discuss their experiences while working on the project. The room was buzzing with excitement as the cast walked on stage. After watching a screening the night before at the Walt Disney Studios, we were excited to have a few hours set aside to hear about the making of the film and find out more about the new worlds depicted. It was certainly thrilling to get an opportunity to be in the same room as some of the talented folks apart of this film, ask them questions, and hear first hand about their time channelling their characters. The cast in attendance consisted of Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence, Eugene Levy, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Ed O’Neill, and of course, Ellen DeGeneres.

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Every cast member on stage contributed something wonderful and added to the story of Dory trying to find her parents. The junket was structured in a way where the audience members were able to ask questions to anyone on stage, which opened up some insightful inquiries. The cast was also very playful during the questions and were quick to bounce back for any comedic opportunities.

Some of our favorite moments: 

  • Ed O’Neill offered some light on his beloved new character Hank, the octopus. One of his major character quirks in Finding Dory was that he’s missing a tentacle and he’s desperately trying to find a way out of the aquarium. He refuses to go back in the ocean and O’Neill offered that reason is because “he had a bad experience in the ocean. We’re guessing that something bit off one of his tentacles.”
  • When asked how the cast prepared for their roles, Ty Burrell mentioned how he had created a distinct voice that he thought would match the character perfectly. He wanted to channel the character like “a whale with a cold” since Bailey looked rather congested. After pitching the idea and voicing a few lines, Andrew Stanton politely insisted on Burrell doing “the whole film in his voice” rather than the fun little voice he had created. Albert Brooks pitched in that he kept his co-star Hayden Rolence, who voiced Nemo, “in a small tank for six months” as inspiration.
  • Ellen discussed that if she were to have any trait from Dory, she’d want to have all of them. “I try to have as many traits as she has: optimism, perseverance, non-judgement, not having any resentment, or holding on to anger, not feeling like a victim; I think that’s why she’s such a lovable character because she really thinks everything is possible. She never for a second thinks that anything is wrong with anybody else or herself. She just keeps swimming.”
  • Albert Brooks’ new philosophy to life was revealed, after he was asked if he solves problems more analytically like Marlin or spontaneously like Dory: “Thank God my memory is great. As you get older, you do forget little things. I’ve come up now with a new philosophy of life: if something is bothering me, I ask myself to check back in 30 minutes. If it’s still bothering me, I deal with it; but a lot of it I don’t remember.”
  • Eugene Levy’s secret to being a great movie dad is “acting.”
  • Destiny and Bailey’s relationship in Finding Dory is more focused on them being like siblings rather than best friends or a married couple. “They’re really very close, but they annoy the heck out of each other. I feel there’s a theme in this film where Destiny can’t see very well, Bailey’s radar is all messed up, and Dory can’t remember but somehow friendship can make you complete. Their relationship in the institute was sort of about that, them trying to take care of each other. It’s creating your own kind of family.”
  • And finally, we even got to ask Ellen a question! “You’ve helped shape Dory’s personality from the very beginning in Finding Nemo, did you have a particular connection with Dory’s desire for belonging and finding her family?” And Ellen’s response: “Well I think everybody is searching for their home, whatever that is, I think home is different for everybody. I understand what a sense of belonging is, I understand when you want to say ‘why am I who I am?’, ‘where did I come from’, and ‘how did I end up where I am?’ Yeah, I can relate to that. I think everybody can.”

In a previous conference that same day, director Andrew Stanton and producer Lindsey Collins shared some fabulous insight on how they were able to successfully revisit the world of Finding Nemo and also some of the obstacles they faced in production.

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Some of our favorite moments:

  • It was in 2011, when Andrew Stanton was watching the 3D release of Finding Nemo, that he left “very worried about Dory and couldn’t stop thinking about how she needed closure”, thus sparking the idea to delve into a sequel. Andrew and Lindsay Collins kept that idea to themselves for a while, until they were 100% sure they wanted to re-visit the world and Dory, and perfect the story. “Once you say ‘Finding Anything’ they’re going to want to make it.”
  • Andrew Stanton’s song choices (Beyond The Sea and Unforgettable) in both Finding Nemo and Finding Dory were thematic. It was Robbie Williams singing a version of Beyond The Sea that inspired him to go the route of choosing a classic song but with a twist for the end of his films.
  • Andrew’s new favorite character is Hank because he’s spent the most time with him, in terms of working with O’Neill during the records and dealing with all the technicalities with the character in production. Lindsay Collins loves Bailey and Destiny.
  • A normal character in a Pixar film takes six months, but it took two years to make Hank. “It took six months just to animate the first shot with him. We would still be making the movie right now had we not learned how to do that a little faster.”
  • Stanton’s goal for Dory was to be universal with Dory’s disability, “I was using her disability to represent everybody. It works for anybody, because nobody is perfect. Everybody has a flaw that they maybe mislabel as such. It’s a reflection of my age. I’ve reached middle-age and you start to recognize that I’m not really going to change. I am who I am, and I got to own that. I’ve got to learn to start enjoying that fact; the good and the bad.”
  • The environment in both films have different meanings. In Finding Nemo, the vast ocean that Marlin and Dory traveled through was more like a desert. In the sequel, Andrew decided to have it set near the aquarium because he wanted more of a forest setting he couldn’t explore in the first film. “It’s more like a forest, a fairy tale. In fairy tales things are hidden, secrets are hidden there, and things are discovered in the forest.”

It’s always inspiring listening to the filmmakers and cast talk firsthand about how they were able to collaborate and create such a fantastic film. Many thanks to the cast and crew for their time during the junket, and Disney/Pixar for letting us have the opportunity to be there.

It’s highly recommended that you check out Finding Dory, which is finally released in cinemas today. We hope you’re as excited as we were to check out the film. And always remember… just keep swimming!

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Pixar President Jim Morris Gives Insight Into The Studio’s Creative Process

2D Animation, 30 Years of Pixar, Animation, Behind The Scenes, Ed Catmull, Interview, Jim Morris, The Good Dinosaur

Posted by Nia • February 9, 2016

Courtesy of Time Out: Hong Kong and Disney/Pixar.

Jim Morris has been president of Pixar Animation Studios since 2005. He came to Pixar after working for a lengthy period at Lucas Digital. While at LucasFilm, he helped make a slew of films including Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and Star Wars; just to name a few. During a recent interview with Time Out: Hong Kong, Morris gave readers a little glimpse behind the scenes of Pixar and what it takes to create the animated films the studio is most famous for.

One of the main discussion points during the interview was the fact that Pixar, for the first time in the studio’s history, was able to release two feature length films in 2015. According to Morris, Pixar’s original plan was to have at least one original film every other year, followed by a sequel every other year.

“It’s been a bit of a challenge this year. We’re actually finishing films every eight months. We have enough production capability, but unfortunately that is not the issue! The issue is having the stories developed to the right point so we have enough content to make the films. That is the tricky part. It’s worked out fine so far. It does make a crunch with publicity; everyone gets spread a bit thin. But we’re feeling okay, we’re not at the point of regret, yet!”

The most important aspect behind every Pixar film is undoubtedly the story. Each Pixar film has been able to stand alone because of the unique characters that come along with the blend of animation and technology. In the scheme of storytelling at Pixar, the first step to launching a thousand feels is the emotional core behind each story.

“Usually the first thing that comes is an idea that engages the director. I would say there is some emotional core that motivates them to want to tell a story, and later we can infer a theme from that. Inside Out is an easy one to talk about – [director] Pete Docter was wondering why his daughter had changed. It started out as that core idea, but it evolved. It went through so many iterations. After we have that starting point, the characters get forged from that, and then more about the setting and the world gets forged from that.”

Storytelling aside, actually getting the film up on it’s feet after the initial concept is approved is tough enough. Most of the hours put into a film at Pixar exceed Walt Disney’s standards for his classic, 2-D animated films.

“Something most people don’t realize about our films actually is that, even though the computers are doing the animation, our average film takes 20,000 person-weeks to make. And that is probably a little bit more than most traditional, hand-drawn Disney films took. The amount of labour it takes to make a film like this is huge – the textures and scenes are painted by hand. Our joke used to be that we are where high-tech and low-life collide.”

There has been some criticism towards Pixar for it’s lack of women directors. Brenda Chapman has been the only female director to take the helm of a feature film for 2012’s Brave, but due to creative differences she was replaced by Mark Andrews halfway through production. Morris brought up that Pixar is indeed trying to fix this problem and make the company more diverse in regards to more opportunities for female storytellers.

“One thing we’re trying to do is to expand the roster of directors. We’re trying to build the next generation and make the company more diverse, to get a breadth of voices to tell a range of stories. We’re 37 percent female at the moment, and we’d like to be 50 percent. We don’t have a lot of turnover at Pixar though, which makes that somewhat challenging!”

Before concluding the interview, Morris was able to dish that there is some NEW original content in the works for a series of films on top of the already scheduled (and very anticipated) studio line-up.

“We have a bunch of confirmed titles. There’s Finding Dory later this year. We’re working on The Incredibles 2Cars 3 and Toy Story 4. Dan Scanlon, who did Monsters University is working on an original film. Mark Andrews, who directed Brave, is working on one, too. We have a new director called Brian Phee, who is working on a new movie, and we have a few shorts that are in the works. I can’t say much more than that or I’ll get in trouble!”

It’s certainly strange thinking that far into the future about films at Pixar, but exciting to know there is some awesome content brewing at the studio and a new director in the loop. Be sure to check out the rest of the interview with Jim Morris over at Time Out!

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The Science of Pixar

Art, Behind The Scenes, Pixar, Science Behind Pixar

Posted by Simoa • August 9, 2015

Buzz1Back in June, Boston’s Museum of Science opened The Science Behind Pixar, an interactive exhibit that gives guests the chance to learn about the math and science in Pixar films. I was lucky enough to attend this weekend, and it was quite an enriching experience!

The exhibit was set up to focus on each aspect of Pixar’s production and animation process. There are sections devoted to modeling, rigging, animation, lighting, surfaces, simulation, and more. It’s all presented in a unique, eye catching way. Visitors not only get to see how the films are created firsthand, but it’s also hands on. Since the Science Behind Pixar deals with STEM concepts (science, technology, engineering, math), it was all informative and educational, but like Pixar films, it was also a lot of fun. Those who may not be interested in math or science could find their opinions changed when visiting. The same was true for Colin Thompson, a Pixarian who is responsible for painting surfaces. He was never a fan of math in school, but changed his mind when he saw how it could be applied in a fun, useful way at Pixar.

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Thompson is just one of many Pixarians sharing their experiences of working at Pixar and what their jobs entail. Video of Pixarians are stationed throughout the exhibit, and these can be played alongside the actual sets. One familiar face is Jerome Ranft, a sculptor at Pixar.

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Early Finding Nemo color scripts, by Pixar veteran Ralph Eggleston.

The artwork is impressive as ever. Seeing Eggleston’s work above, as well as others, stays true to that famous John Lasseter quote: “Art challenges technology. Technology inspires the art.” The Science Behind Pixar is the perfect blend of both. It not only seeks to educate, but also to inspire wonder.

This exhibit will remain in Boston until January of 2016 and other cities will soon be added to its five year tour.

Official website

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Inside Out All Access event

Andrew Stanton, Behind The Scenes, Events, Inside Out, John Lasseter, Jonas Rivera, Pete Docter, Pete Sohn, Pixar, Pixar Employees, Toy Story 4

Posted by Simoa • June 17, 2015

It’s Inside Out week! The highly anticipated flick opens nationwide this Friday, June 19th. This writer has seen it all accesstwice, and to echo much of the praise it has received, it’s a masterpiece. An all access screening was held yesterday three days ahead of the film’s release in theaters all over the country. We hope our incredible readers were also in the audience! This all access screening included a behind-the-scenes visit at Pixar as well as a Twitter Q&A session with Pete Docter and Amy Poehler (Joy), who are currently in Australia as part of the film’s press tour. Those in attendance received a free poster as well as a lanyard and Inside Out badge which grants access to more goodies online at Disney Movie Rewards!

 

The tour of Pixar, with Pete and producer Jonas Rivera as hosts, was awesome. There was lots of Inside Out artwork and storyboards, as well as Docter and Rivera sharing their labor of love and all the time and research that went into it. The two of them always bring warmth and camaraderie, and the same was true here. I can’t think of any other people who would be more qualified to give a tour of Pixar! (Besides John Lasseter of course).

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In the Story Corner, which is a wall papered with numerous story sketches from various Pixar films, is a tribute to the late, great story artist, Joe Ranft. Regarded as the soul of Pixar, and a hero to many in the animation world, his influence is still deeply felt at Pixar. His sketches of what happens in a story meeting is framed on the wall, and it was such an enjoyable and sweet addition to the tour.

Highlights from the video included “running” into some favorite Pixarians, such as Ronnie del Carmen, Inside Out‘s co-director, who Pete praised. He let the audience know how great del Carmen’s contributions were, and that if we loved the movie it was thanks to him, and if we hated it, it was thanks to him! (Definitely only the former).

We also got to drop in on Andrew Stanton and his Finding Dory team in editorial, which included co-director Angus McLane, and producer Lindsey Collins. While the visit was brief and there was no footage of the upcoming film, Andrew did joke a little bit about the grueling process in cutting down the story until you get it right. “You know what that feels like,” he said to Pete. “We don’t!”

Afterwards we dropped in on Pete Sohn and The Good Dinosaur team! He informed us that 1/8 of the crew was present, and we got to see one shot of animation being finaled. Sohn gestured to the animators in the room, listing the beloved Pixar characters they’ve animated and brought to life. There will be so much more to see of this movie ahead of its November release and we can’t wait. The Good Dinosaur‘s original director Bob Peterson even made a cameo, informing Pete that his Roz voice was his regular voice. The audience loved it, as well as his Dug impression. It was especially wonderful to see Peterson and we can only hope he’ll be sitting in the director’s chair again soon. (You can even spot his name in the credits to Inside Out).

We got to see John Lasseter’s famous office, a toy collector’s dream. The big man himself wasn’t in his office, but Jonas and Pete found him in the story room for Toy Story 4, with some help from that movie’s co-director, Josh Cooley. John very funnily hid the room from the camera, and did his best to “shoo” us away. The development on this film is highly secretive, but John promised we would know more in time. He also got to show off his Inside Out Hawaiian shirt!

This video, which ran just under twenty minutes, was an excellent preview before seeing Inside Out. Heading into Pixar via cameras is often the only way to get inside, and all that positivity, humor, and cheerfulness never disappoint. We also get to see just how collaborative things are over there. It’s always a team effort when making a Pixar film, and the whole team is lauded for their contributions.

Following the film was the Q&A with Pete Docter and Amy Poehler via satellite. They were both exuberant and definitely not short on praises for the other. Amy mentioned the collaborative spirit at Pixar and got a lot of laughs at our screening. When asked which emotions guided her as a young girl, she said that she was carefree and joyful like Riley, but with some anger as well, owing to her Boston roots. That inspired some cheers from us fellow Bostonians! It’s obvious why she was chosen to play Joy, but Pete explained that Joy was a tough character to write. At preview screenings, audiences loved the movie but hated Joy or found her annoying. Luckily, Amy’s performance saved the day; Joy is flawed but still lovable. She took cues from Tom Hanks’ performance as Woody to help her with the character, and it pays off. For those who have seen the film, the parallels between Joy and Woody are certainly there.

Check back here for our review of Inside Out, as well as the short film, “Lava”!

 

 

 

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Woody’s News Round-Up! (4/5/14)

Behind The Scenes, Disney Parks, Ratatouille, Round-Ups, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Brkyo614 • April 5, 2014

Not much could possibly top last month’s exciting sequel news, but enjoy a summary of the latest Pixar stories, including a small Incredibles 2 update, below:

Samuel L. Jackson Talks Incredibles 2:
Samuel L. Jackson’s Frozone quickly became a fan-favorite upon the release of The Incredibles, so it’s no surprise to hear that Brad Bird is looking to bring him back in the recently-announced sequel. Speaking with Digital Spy (via Pixar Times), Samuel L. Jackson hinted that we haven’t seen the last of his ice-powered hero:

“Every time I run into Brad [Bird, director] he always tells me Frozone is part of what’s going on, so I have to believe that […] I guess they could be the Incredibles without Frozone, but I think Frozone would be a wonderful addition to what’s already there.”

Ratatouille 3D Blu-ray Coming Soon?: When Pixar’s Josh Hollander shared news on Incredibles 3D and Ratatouille 3D last month, many assumed that the studio was prepping these conversions for theatrical re-releases. However, a report from Disney Next claims that Ratatouille 3D will be released on Blu-ray in Europe this July, accompanying Disneyland Paris’ new Ratatouille attraction. No official announcement has been made.

Ratatouille Ride Update: Meanwhile, construction on the aforementioned Ratatouille ride continues to move along. Disney and More has some great photos of the work-in-progress area, which may open up for annual passholders as soon as late June. Check out the image gallery here.

Pixar Demos Its Latest Animation Software: Since its earliest years, Pixar has mostly relied on in-house software to animate their films. The studio recently rewrote their animation system from the ground up, replacing their original Marionette software with the far more optimized Presto. At this year’s GPU Technology Conference, Pixar’s Dirk Van Gelder and Danny Nahmias shared a detailed look at this new system, which aims to give animators a clearer idea of how their work will appear in fully-rendered frames. Take a look at the fascinating demo below, and for more, watch the full presentation on Ustream.

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Ed Catmull Details ‘Inside Out’ Story Meeting in ‘Creativity, Inc.’ Preview

Andrew Stanton, Behind The Scenes, Brad Bird, Ed Catmull, Inside Out, Pete Docter

Posted by Brkyo614 • March 12, 2014

Late last year, Pixar head Ed Catmull announced plans to publish Creativity, Inc., a business-oriented look at his leadership strategies at the studio. With its release soon approaching, Catmull has published an excerpt from the book at Fast Company with some surprising insight into the creative process behind the studio’s next film.

The full article is a must-read, but a key section examines a Brain Trust meeting during the early stages of Inside Out‘s development. Early reactions were enthusiastic, but the group was concerned with the execution of one key scene: "an argument between two characters about why certain memories fade while others burn bright forever." Brad Bird was the first to chime in:

"I understand that you want to keep this simple and relatable," he told [director Pete Docter], "but I think we need something that your audience can get a little more invested in."


Andrew Stanton followed, as Catmull explains:

"I think you need to spend more time settling on the rules of your imagined world," [Stanton] said. […] In Pete’s film, one of the rules—at least at this point—was that memories (depicted as glowing glass globes) were stored in the brain by traveling through a maze of chutes into a kind of archive. When retrieved or remembered, they’d roll back down another tangle of chutes, like bowling balls being returned to bowlers at the alley.

That construct was elegant and effective, but Andrew suggested that another rule needed to be clarified: how memories and emotions change over time, as the brain gets older. This was the moment in the film, Andrew said, to establish some key themes. Listening to this, I remembered how in Toy Story 2, the addition of Wheezy helped establish the idea that damaged toys could be discarded, left to sit, unloved, on the shelf. Andrew felt there was a similar opportunity here. "Pete, this movie is about the inevitability of change," he said. "And of growing up."

This set Brad off. "A lot of us in this room have not grown up—and I mean that in the best way," he said. "The conundrum is how to become mature and become reliable while at the same time preserving your childlike wonder. People have come up to me many times, as I’m sure has happened to many people in this room, and said, ‘Gee, I wish I could be creative like you. That would be something, to be able to draw.’ But I believe that everyone begins with the ability to draw. Kids are instinctively there. But a lot of them unlearn it. Or people tell them they can’t or it’s impractical. So yes, kids have to grow up, but maybe there’s a way to suggest that they could be better off if they held on to some of their childish ideas."


To see how the Brain Trust debate continues, be sure to read the full article at Fast Company. There’s no doubt that the full version of Creativity, Inc., out on April 8, will feature plenty more fascinating behind-the-scenes stories. You can preorder it now on Amazon.

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