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11 Fascinating Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Incredibles 2

Brad Bird, Events, Incredibles 2, Interview, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Nia • June 13, 2018

Last Thursday I had the honor of attending the Global Press Conference for the Incredibles 2 at the London in West Hollywood. In attendance was writer/director Brad Bird, producers Nicole Grindle and John Walker, and the rest of the cast which included Craig T. Nelson (Bob), Holly Hunter (Helen), Sam L. Jackson (Frozone), Bob Odenkirk (Winston Deavor), Catherine Keener (Evelyn Deavor), Sophia Bush (Voyd), Sarah Vowell (Violet), and Huck Milner (Dash). The junket was also moderated by film critic and producer Scott Mantz.

(Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Disney)

(Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Disney)

Here’s everything I learned from the junket about the making of the Incredibles 2, from what went on behind the scenes during production to Brad Bird’s initial story inspiration.

  1. Brad Bird decided to start the sequel right where the first one left off, despite it being almost 14 years, because “I thought it was bold and weird; people take the time that passes very literally and they think linearly that the characters should have aged. But if they age, their super powers don’t reflect that part of life they’re in and their role in the family.” Bird also went on to mention that if it worked for the Simpsons, which has been on the air since 1989, that it could work for the Parr family. And if you see the film in cinemas on Friday, it obviously did.
  2. There have been huge leaps in technology since the Incredibles was released in 2004. The new technology that Pixar uses and pushes with each film, which is super evident in all the minute details from the hair on Dash’s head to the fibers on Helen’s pants, allowed them to make the film “look more like how Brad intended it to look like the first time.” Nicole Grindle went on to mention “the characters are more nuanced and developed, and we were able to build a lot more sets more quickly, we’ve populated the world with more characters, who have lots of hair and clothing – this is all stuff that most of you guys don’t even notice. Actually that all makes the world feel richer and more alive, not to mention all the other visual effects. We also have lots of artists who’ve had 14 years to get better at their craft, and a lot of artists who were kids when the first one came out and it’s a dream come true for them to work on this film.
  3. Believe it or not, the actors aren’t given full scripts when they come in to record, they’re only given their lines and direction from Brad. So most of the actors don’t even know the full story until they see it with everyone else at the premiere, when everything has finally come together. Holly Hunter didn’t even know about the role reversal until about halfway through her recording session with Brad, “I didn’t read a screenplay, because there wasn’t a full script. Brad was the screenplay, he was my walking encyclopedia; he was my instruction manual. It was a while before I truly realized what I was really going to get to do in the movie and I was thrilled.

    (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Disney)

  4. There are many layers to being an ~incredible~ director in animation; there’s dealing with the initial story, figuring out what to do with design, and even directing and shepherding the actors during their voice sessions. The actors come in solo and have to act as if their other co-stars are in the room, which itself can seem like a huge challenge. Sophia Bush mentioned that “I know I’m technically talking to Holly but she’s not there, its just me and Brad and I’m yelling into a void. It’s really so much fun, Brad knows what Holly’s done in the room and he knows how our voices are going to sound together, so you just trust your captain when he tells you that you’ve gotten it right. That the tone, volume, is all right – it’s very cool.
  5. Another challenge for the actors, since there is no screenplay, is figuring out just where they are in a scene. That thought alone can change how an actor delivers their lines, Sarah Vowell went on to discuss: “Are we talking to someone a few inches away or at the back of the room? Because that changes what you’re doing vocally. Like is this scene going to be in a car? How loud do I need to be?  You’re trying to get a sense of the literal architecture of where the characters are. Everything has to be drawn from scratch in animation, whereas with live action the actor is actually in the car; so trying to gauge where we are is really important. It’s not that we’re sitting at a kitchen table, its everything that being a family at a kitchen table implies.
  6. Helen being chosen to take the helm and save the day as opposed to Bob seems to have come at the right moment. Others have speculated that Brad and the team at Pixar released this movie now because of the rising tides against sexual harassment and assault, but in reality, Brad always had this idea brewing in the back of his mind. “The idea of the role switch, that the assignment would go to Helen rather than Bob, I had when we were promoting the first film.” Even Holly said, “it’s purely luck of the draw that this happens to be duck tailing with Me Too and Times Up; I feel that way personally and it happens to be serendipitously reflected in this movie and at the same time, it’s character revelation period. Everyone is having revelations, including Jack-Jack; all the characters are revelations to the audience and to themselves.

    (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Disney)

  7. One of my favorite facts from the junket was that the villain kept changing throughout development. It was left unclear who the initial villain was or what changed about them, but Brad discussed why the finished film is different: The superhero part, the villain part, always seemed to change. When I came to Pixar and said I think I have the other part of the story figured out, that old version got green-lit. Then John and Nicole came on, we got a crew and started spending money, and got a release date and then the release date got moved up a year and suddenly the pressure’s HUGE and that plot doesn’t work and now I’m screwed because I have a release date. The villain plot kept changing, everyone else had to adjust to it constantly, which only gave us more anxiety. But I think we wound up with the right version of the story.” 
  8. Another important element that changed included the Parr’s gorgeous mid-century modern home. Ralph Eggleston, production designer on both Incredibles films, played a huge part in designing the iconic new home. “One day Eggleston came in and we’d already put a lot of effort into that old house and we were under tremendous pressure. He said, ‘OK so I have this idea for this new type of house and you know it’s really going to screw things up for everyone, including me.‘” Eggleston then went on to tell Brad Bird that, “the house should not work for the Parr family; it should initially be impressive, but then you get in there and everything is wrong for the family, these things that are beautiful originally soon become this problem. The house has to be impressive but wrong for the family; they’re not in a comfortable place yet, they have to find their way there.” All these things Eggleston said was right but that also meant it would ruin months of hard work and everyone on the team would have to start over from scratch, but Brad Bird agreed to it anyways, “it totally screwed up the script and everything was a giant problem, but it felt right and what needed to change to help the story and characters.”
  9. Even Winston Deavor, the tycoon and superhero enthusiast who seeks out the help of Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone in the sequel, was completely different when Bob Odenkirk signed on to voice the character. Deavor wasn’t always Mr. Nice Guy, “when we first started working with Bob, his character wasn’t so nice. It changed over the course of working on the film and he responded so well.” Odenkirk was just happy to be a part of a Pixar film, he “loved that Winston became more genuine; when he starts out he’s more exuberant, more excited, and as he goes you start to see an innocence to him which is more of a twist and even surprising. Where he ends up, I won’t say…

    (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Disney)

  10. There’s a scene in the sequel where Jack-Jack takes on a raccoon, and it’s probably the highlight of the film. Watching it back at Pixar in April and then again last week, I can tell that it’s already an iconic scene, one that will be talked about for decades. The scene and overall inspiration for the iconic battle actually came from the first film: “Teddy Newton had this idea back on the original film – he had a gang of raccoons that Jack-Jack confronts. In his original drawings the raccoons came up and shoved Jack-Jack and it went a lot darker; they fought and went to the bottom of the pool, but the idea always killed me because raccoons vaguely looked like robbers. Teddy did a drawing where he’s watching an old movie like in the Incredibles 2 and he sees a classic robber with a mask and looks out in the yard and something is stealing from him, a ‘robber’ is stealing from his family. It doesn’t matter that its garbage, Jack-Jack doesn’t know that, he knows that he’s being robbed and he must do something about it. So I loved that and it was so visual and clear and it was such an off the wall idea that it was one of the things I couldn’t wait to do if we got another Incredibles going.”
  11. As Brad Bird mentioned, there was a lot of pressure going into the sequel; the tight deadlines and story issues weren’t the only thing that bothered him, he was also worried about how audiences would perceive the Parr family amidst all the Marvel superhero films being released. Brad’s darkest moment came two years ago when he feared if people would be sick of the Incredibles 2 by the time it was released. But Brad started thinking about what truly inspired him about the Parr family and why he made this film in the first place. “What excited me wasn’t the superheroes, it was the family dynamic and everyone’s roles in different parts of their life. Superhero’s are a just twist of lemon you squeeze on top of it all. Families are a continent of fresh opportunities because it’s so universal.

The Incredibles 2 comes to theaters this Friday! Be sure to let us know what you think of the film below and on Twitter! We can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

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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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27 Explosive Facts About The Incredibles 2 That Will Get You Pumped For The Film

Brad Bird, Incredibles 2, Interview, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Nia • April 16, 2018

On April 4th and 5th I visited Pixar Animation Studios for an amazing two days that were solely dedicated to the Incredibles 2. While I was there, basking in the magic of the studio, I attended presentation after presentation on the making of the sequel, got to see the first 30 minutes of the film, was one of the first audiences to see Bao (the new short that will be playing in front of the film come summertime), and I even got to do arts and crafts as I created my own superhero (a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life).

(Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

Here are some of my favorite things I learned about the making of the Incredibles 2 from all of the filmmaker presentations that will definitely have you dusting off your super-suit, anxiously tapping your toes, and eyeing the calendar as you count down the days until June 15th.

  1. Despite it being 14 years since The Incredibles, Brad Bird set the Incredibles 2 right after the first film because he “wasn’t interested in a college aged Jack-Jack.” He thought the Parr family would stay more iconic if everyone situated themselves and stayed the same. If it worked for the Simpsons, it would work for the Parr family.
  2. In the sequel Bird wanted to explore the roles of men and women, especially the importance of fathers participating, allowing women to express themselves through work and that they’re just as vital as men, and he even wanted to shine a light on how we’re constantly being controlled by screens. Bird was also keen on depicting the difficulties of parenthood and how parenting can be seen as a heroic act.

    (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

  3. The reason it took 14 years for the team at Pixar to create a sequel to the The Incredibles was because Brad Bird finally had a story he wanted to tell. Although most sequels in Hollywood are obviously cash grabs, Bird wasn’t interested in the film being produced for the sole purpose of making more money for the studio. He wanted to “make a film that audiences would enjoy 100 years from now.”
  4. According to Ralph Eggleston, who was the production designer on the sequel, the look of the Incredibles 2 was inspired by mid-century mundane architecture, which is basically “not the coolest looking buildings, but the stuff that was in between the cool buildings.”
  5. In order to build this new world from the ground up, Ralph Eggleston and his brilliant team of designers had to think about details that wouldn’t even be featured in the film, such as a mosaic that was included on the side of a hotel or another fancy mosaic that was in Bob’s new office. If it was featured in the film, only a brief glimpse would make it on screen.
  6. Brad Bird wanted the designs in the film to be “the best and most everything… to be set in places that were real and to cheat only when they absolutely had to.”
  7. Compared to the Parr’s gorgeous new mid-century modern home that you saw in the recent trailer, the house was originally much smaller based off the needs of the story. But after Brad Bird had to combine different elements of the story, they needed a much bigger house and in a shorter amount of time. Of course this came way after the first home had basically been developed. It had taken the team of artists 8 months to design that first house, and they only had about 2 1/2 weeks to re-design everything again. It’s mind-blowing to think they created that gorgeous home in that amount of time but according to Bird, “everyone rises to occasion when crunches are really made in the schedule.”

    ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

    ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

  8. Like every film at Pixar, the Incredibles 2 began in the story department. The story artists essentially create a story reel, which is a drawn version of the film. Their main job is to communicate what the film would ultimately be on screen, AKA Brad Bird’s final version of the film. The boards consist of relatively quick drawings edited together with temp music, sound, scratch, etc.
  9. A lot changes between what’s seen in the boards and what makes it on screen. In fact, some of the hardest parts to board in the Incredibles 2 were the action scenes. In the script they were pretty nonspecific, which Ted Mathot, Story Supervisor on the sequel, pointed out “they usually said something like ‘amazing action sequence ensues’ so it was up to the board artists to bring that to life.”
  10. The board artists approached the action scenes through the character standpoints. How does a character specific to that world and film, such as Elastigirl, approach the situations? How can she make that action unique from what’s seen in copious amounts of other films in Hollywood? By making it more specific to Helen and her powers, it made the action scenes better.

    ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

  11. Collaboration is key in Pixar’s filmmaking process and it’s important that everyone’s on the same page about what they’re looking at, especially with all of Ralph Eggleston’s designs. Once things are taken into the storyboard phase it can get super tricky. That’s where pre-vis comes into play. Pre-vis builds simple models and prototypes everything quickly into a computer so that everyone at the studio who’s working on the film can have it as reference. That way, all the of the background, character designs, props, etc., all remain consistent and no one is creating new designs. Pre-vis creates maps (mapping out the action in the scene, where characters need to be at certain times), floor plans of the new locations, and even compiles all of Eggleston‘s work so that it could be used by everyone in all of the different departments throughout production.
  12. It’s also important for Brad Bird to see those sets created by Eggleston in the storyboards. The reason why this is so crucial is because things can be tested in the board stage before it’s sent to the other departments. You don’t want to be making changes to the backgrounds or character designs once it gets to animation.

    (Photo by Marc Flores)

  13. The sets department at Pixar is responsible for a plethora of different elements in each film – they’re the reason why each Pixar film looks so unique and stands out from some of the other animated films released by other studios. They make all the props the characters interact with, the interior and exterior sets, the vehicles, the skies, and even the set extensions. The department is so big it has be to be separated into five sub departments: modeling, set dressing, shading, set extensions/skies, and sets tech.
  14. The modeling department are the sculptures and upholsters – they make the world feel more natural and more real in a computer, which means they basically have to touch literally all the props in the film (disrupting all the straight lines that are normally made in computers and making them look more natural).
  15. The set dressing department arranges everything, taking all the props made by the modeling department and filling in the empty spaces in each scene. They fill up places with furniture and handle essential story point objects (a sink full of dirty dishes, a table full of breakfast in the morning, etc).

    ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

  16. The shading department takes all the props and sets and gives it the color, texture, reflections, and the qualities it needs based off how each objects reacts to light; their biggest challenge is trying to replicate how it would look like in real life. “They take marble and make it shiny and they make the cabinets in the kitchen semi-glossed. They deal with the world that’s close to us and the characters.”
  17. The set extensions/skies department deal with the world that’s far away from us. The big cities in the background, the big/broad skies, etc.
  18. And finally, with set tech, they are the unsung heroes of the set department. They do a lot of coding and support and they’re the ones who keep everything running. For the Incredibles 2, they created a 360 degree camera that showcased the whole world in each scene; they even created the parts of the set that didn’t make it in to the final shot. For example: the set tech’s prune each set based off the framing. Everything that’s not needed for an exact shot gets taken away and turned off, so it doesn’t have to be rendered or run through the pipeline. It’s all done to save space and memory and it’s usually applied on a shot by shot basis.
  19. According to Deanna Marsigliese, character artist on the Incredibles 2, “Costume design for animation is no different from costume design for live action – in fact, many people argue that costume design for animation is more difficult.”

    (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

    (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

  20. Just like the architecture in the film, the clothes are also heavily influenced by mid-century aesthetics.
  21. Deanna has a passion for vintage styling, particularly mid-century modern, and she incorporates the styles she loves into her daily wardrobe (when I saw her at Pixar she wore a gorgeous vintage shirt and skirt and looked like she had just traveled through time to give us the presentation) and that’s one of the reasons she was brought on to do costume design on the Incredibles 2.
  22. Deanna’s creative process included two different components: being creatively theoretical, “which is all about abstract thinking through storytelling” and being creatively practical, which is obviously centered around being clever and efficient (which is more focused on dressing all of the background characters).
  23. Bryn Imagire, the Shading Art Director, returned to the world of the Incredibles after designing costumes on the first film. Since the sequel isn’t really set in a specific time period, Brad Bird was OK with the team referencing current fashion since some characters wouldn’t work well within that time period, such as Bob wearing his iconic jeans and a T-shirt.
  24. Technology now is more advanced than it was 14 years ago, so even that affected the clothes and the shading and how the garments fit the characters. Looking back, their original super-suits stretched a lot and didn’t feel like they were worn by the characters; they just looked like they were pasted over their bodies. So their new suits in the Incredibles 2 are made from actual patterns and have real pattern textures, which means they don’t stretch around as much and they actually feel like real fabric.
  25. According to Bryn, Bob’s style was inspired by Paul Newman, “the handsome, robust family man.” Also, since Helen is helping bring superhero’s back into the spotlight, Bryn focused on Mary Tyler Moore, Marilyn Monroe, and Audrey Hepburn for her costumes; “they were all strong, career oriented, and fabulous women all at the same time.”
  26. At one point in production, Brad Bird told Bryn that Edna Mode is actually Japanese and German, so Bryn looked at Japanese fashion designers for inspiration: Rei Kawakubo, Eiko Ishioka, and Chitose Abe were huge in the development process for her. Bryn chose those designers because they “contrasted heavily to what they wear in their day-to-day lives and what they design for their models; their personal looks are way more comfortable compared to the high fashion created for their lines.”

    ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

  27. According to Fran Kalal, Tailoring Lead, one of the biggest challenges of designing clothes for animation is the artists at Pixar “can’t take a sweater from Up and throw it into the world of the Incredibles 2, it just doesn’t fit into that mid-century modern world. With each film the artists have to start from scratch every time and re-define the visual language of what fabric looks like in each new place.”

Make sure you stop by again later in the week – I will be posting about the first 30 minutes of the Incredibles 2, going in-depth about the making of Bao, writing a review of the short film, and also sharing a bunch of other things I experienced during my trip to Pixar earlier this month.

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12 Moments From The Cars 3 Press Event That Will Get You Excited For The Film

Brian Fee, Cars 3, Interview, Press Conference

Posted by Nia • June 14, 2017

We hope your nostalgia and love for the Cars universe has moved into full gear, because Cars 3 finally opens in cinemas this Friday, June 16th.

Upcoming Pixar was honored to attend the press event for the film last Saturday in Anaheim. Here are some of our favorite moments from the event that will, without a doubt, get you pumped for Friday.

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

  1. NASCAR superstar, Ray Evernham, moderated the event and started things off by asking Brian Fee why the Cars films have resonated with audiences for over a decade. “I think it’s the characters and the overall appeal to their realism.  When you walk away from a movie, if you felt anything at all, it’s probably because of the characters. You can see a little bit of yourself in them, see a little bit of someone you know. I think at the end of the day that’s what we take away.”
  2. One of the biggest new characters that’s introduced in Cars 3 is Cruz, a personal trainer to the race cars. She has a massive impact in the story and Lightning McQueen’s own character arc. From Cristela Alonzo, the voice of Cruz,”What I like about her is that she’s very good at what she does, but at the same time she still has doubts about herself regarding the same skills that she uses to coach the cars to become the best they can be. What I like about Cruz is that I think she’s very relatable to both boys and girls. You might have doubts about things, you might not know how you’re going to pull something off, and at the end of the day you realize the only way to make sure you can do your best is to actually just go for it and trust your instincts. I think that’s something we all struggle with at times – the whole idea that you think you can do something and then you have doubts. You realize you’ve got to forget the doubts, it’s going to happen anyways – let’s just try our best and see what happens. And I love that about her.”
  3. You’ll notice that Cars 3 has definitely upped the game in regards to showcasing strong female characters. Not only is Cruz involved, but there’s also Natalie Certain, who works for the Racing Sports Network, and spends some of the film predicting the outcome of the races. Kerry Washington is the voice of Natalie, and said this in regards to the diversity in the film, “I do think it’s fun to see women in the film who are brave, smart, and courageous but also teachable. Women who balance having extraordinary talent and intellect but are also humble enough to learn the lessons they learn at the end of the film. To learn that you have to step into your greatness and that it’s not as simple as numbers. Heart and passion is the most important thing.”
  4. Director Brian Fee listed John Lasseter and the late Joe Ranft, as his professional mentors. “They’ve given me a lot of career advice and I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”

    (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

  5. In fact, Fee’s first memory of the Cars franchise was when he started at Pixar in the story department. “My first memory is sitting in story reviews with John and the rest of the story crew, just trying to figure out different ways to make each other laugh around the table. Drawing lots of things, gags and jokes, and pinning them up to the wall. I couldn’t believe I was there, I was trying to absorb everything.”
  6. Fee’s children have influenced Cars 3 a great deal, to the point of including a strong female presence throughout the story, “I want my daughters to never be afraid to try something because they think they’re not good at it. I never want to hear them say something like, certain things are for boys and certain things are for girls.”
  7. Cristela Alonzo definitely had the greatest presence during the press event, and offered many inspirational quotes. This one being our favorite, “I like this movie a lot because I feel it’s a good way to tell kids that they matter. And I think that growing up, when you come from a family that doesn’t have a lot, a lot of the time the parents forget to tell the kids that they matter because they’re too busy trying to survive. I want them to know back home, that it’s possible for them to have a dream and to actually achieve it.”
  8. Owen Wilson and Cristela Alonzo actually worked together, as opposed to recording their lines separately like the rest of the cast. Fee wanted them to record together so that they’d be able to show their relationship and the support, get those real emotions caught together, just like the same support and friendship that Cruz and Lightning McQueen give each other throughout the film.

    (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

  9. Cars 3 deals a lot with the old and the new – the racers of the past and the racers of the present, there was a lot of contrast between the use of modern technology in racing and how the younger, faster cars, are replacing the older makes. Isiah Whitlock Jr, who voices River Scott, a Priston Cup racer from the ’50s, gave his thoughts on the heavy themes, “I really feel that we need to pay attention to the pioneers, and the people who have come before us. And some of the struggles, especially with the character that I play. We need to pay attention to that and to see how we got to where we are today. I know with Scott, he did not have the sponsors or the equipment – there were so many obstacles and yet he was able to persevere. That’s the key word there, perseverance, overcoming a lot of those obstacles to be successful.”
  10. Research for every Pixar film is a key element to the success of the story, but Producer Kevin Reher mentioned that research for Cars 3 was especially important since they were honoring the racers of the past. “We were so inspired from these wonderful stories that came forward during our research. The stories of Louise Smith, Wendell Scott, and Junior Johnson. We just felt that we wanted to honor them with our story and their backstory.”
  11. Brian Fee mentioned that he enjoys some of the improvisation that happens during the recording sessions. He’s had to go back to the script numerous times and change dialogue or some of the action by what wonderful reactions and lines comes from the actors.
  12. And finally, Nathan Fillion, who voices Sterling, Lightning McQueen’s new sponsor, gives his reasons for what makes Pixar films so compelling, “Here’s my theory, nothing happens by accident in a Pixar movie. They tell their story one pixel at a time. So, by the time it gets to the point where I’m sitting there in front of the microphone, all of the hard work has actually been done. I rely very heavily on the director, we get to play around a little bit, but in all honesty you’re looking at a thanksgiving meal and Nathan is the pepper. They work has been done, we just need a little extra pepper and we’re done.”

    (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

    (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Cars 3 is an absolute blast and we can’t wait to see it again and again in theaters starting this Friday.

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10 Things We’ve Learned About Lou That Proves It’s One Of The Most Charming Pixar Shorts

Cars 3, Dana Murray, Dave Mullins, Interview, Lou, Premiere, Press Conference, Shorts

Posted by Nia • June 14, 2017

At the Cars 3 press junket on Saturday, we got to learn loads of new information about Lou, the short that will be playing in front of the film this Friday. During the making of presentation, director Dave Mullins and producer Dana Murray gave us some wonderful behind the scenes information about how the short was slowly pieced together.

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

  1. Under the guidance of story guru and overall legend, John Lasseter, Mullins incorporated some must-needed rules for every Pixar film. “Pixar films have very specific ingredients. They have heart, meaning your character is flawed in some way and experiences personal growth over the course of the film. Entertainment, which means the story has to be unpredictable and funny. There’s a setting, which needs to take the viewers to a place they’ve never been before, is exciting, and new. And finally, the animation, and this means the film can only be done with animation and need the medium’s full attention.”
  2. Lou is Mullins’ directorial debut and he’s spent 4 years working on it. He’s even been pitching short film ideas since 2005, but Lou was the first one given the green light from the studio. Mullins is passionate about telling good stories and he started searching for ideas that would stick. He wanted something full of heart. And he turned to the inspiration that came from his childhood, such as moving around a lot due to his father’s job, and leaving behind friends in every city – at time, he said, he almost felt invisible.
  3. “When you bring an inanimate object to life, you have to think about it’s intended purpose in the world.” The lost and found box was initially a bully, stealing the children’s toys in the playground and then eventually learning his mistakes and returning them at the end of the film – but that didn’t work because there was nothing to love about him. At one point during the conception of Lou, the character itself was actually a little boy with all of these toys attached to him. Instead, Mullins went back to the core of what the character was: a lost and found box. It was meant to find and return lost toys to children, so that itself sparked an idea that Lou himself would be the hero/protector of the playground.

    (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

  4. Mullins’ wife, Lisa, who’s a stop motion animator, helped him pitch the film to John Lasseter and Pete Docter by creating a real life maquette of Lou. The model showed how the character would be incorporating objects in to his design and how he would be bringing this character to life by forming him with toys. The overall design of Lou changed throughout the course of the film as they tried to figure out the easiest ways to animate him, but in the end they went back to simple design that Lisa created for the pitch (which in turn, you will see in the finished short).
  5. Dana Murray jumped from Inside Out to help Mullins as producer on Lou. Her biggest job, besides scheduling and budgeting, was partnering with Dave and forming a deep friendship with him so that she ensured he wanted to tell the story he set out to create. During story development they had the obvious challenges like how they’re going to dramatize Lou when he’s built with all of these random toys, and second, how are they going to populate a playground when this is just a short film. If you look closely at the children in the short and even the bully, J.J., you’ll be able to find re-use designs from Finding Dory and Inside Out.
  6. Even though the story was locked down, they had their hero, Lou, and the playground bully, J.J., there were still issues in figuring out how to depict J.J. and how they’re going to get to the heart of Mullins story. “For J.J. we tried a cross between Scott Farkus from A Christmas Story and John Conner’s friend from Terminator 2. But these kids just seemed way too tough for what we needed for our story. So we looked at Jonah Bobo from Crazy Stupid Love. And even though he has this tough look, he’s also really vulnerable at the same time. This is really the look we needed for that character: someone who is tough as nails, but also full of heart.”

    (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

  7. “What pitches well, doesn’t necessarily play well on screen. This happens every time you go into a new department and without fail, when your story is taken through the different departments, it’s just another moment to remake your film. And at Pixar, you’re never really done working on story.” Mullins and Murray had to completely change Lou‘s story several times throughout the course of the film as they got notes from Lasseter and Docter, and when they took their production to the next stage of development. The Lou at the start of this production, when it was initially pitched, is something completely different to what’s on screen.
  8. With every Pixar film, they always have to try and raise the stakes regarding animation and technology. With Lou‘s case it was actually animating this complex character and making it look as believable as possible. “The simplest solution to animating Lou was that every piece of him needed to be animated by hand… everything was animated like how a stop motion animator would do it. To this day, I still have animators cursing my name. But despite all that, we at Pixar love these challenges and the animators really dug into Lou. They were up for the task.” In regards to Mullins using simulations in Lou, Mullins and his crew used cloth simulation on Lou’s red sweatshirt as well as many other elements depicted throughout the film.
  9. “When we animated J.J.’s entrance, it was a great intro but we had some problems with it. The first one was that J.J. wasn’t really that entertaining, he’s just kind of mean for no reason and because of that, it was getting in the way of the ending. We really had to re-think that character again. So the question was, how do you make a bully funny? How do you end of caring for him? And this got me thinking about what motivates bullies. A bully usually acts one way because they want one thing: attention. So, J.J. became a kid who constantly disrupted other kids to get attention, making him an outsider. When Lou forces him to act with compassion, this changes how the other kids see him and he finally gets the thing that he really wants, which is acceptance.” This subtle change had an enormous impact on the film and showed the right character growth that was needed for both J.J. and Lou.

    (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

  10. Finally, Mullins chose Frozen composer Christophe Beck to helm the score for Lou. “He has this quirky sensibility about his music that we knew would fit the film really well. So we worked on that theme, and it was really important, because I wanted something that you could hum, something that would fit for the bully and Lou. Once we had that, Chris came up with this idea, which was, recording all the percussion parts separately in a round. So each note was played one at a time, and would go in a circle, to create this sort of mechanical tune.”

It’s safe to say that Lou is now one of our favorite Pixar shorts and we’re so excited for you to experience it on the big screen this Friday, June 16th.

Stay-tuned for coverage on the actual Cars 3 press event and reviews of the films.

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Cars 3 interview with story team

Bob Peterson, Cars 3, Interview

Posted by Simoa • June 1, 2017

Do you spend a lot of time pondering the logistics of the Cars universe? While the filmmakers at Pixar have never addressed most of the burning questions surrounding these films, the writing team for the latest installment, Cars 3, did! The full interview can be found on Slash Film, along with plenty more excellent content on the film and its development.

These interviews are always great fun to read, allowing glimpses into Pixar’s story process and giving fans the opportunity to gain insight into each stage of production. They always prove to be illuminating, and we’re grateful whenever the directors, animators, and writers share behind the scenes facts. And hearing from our favorite Pixarians just sweetens the deal!

The Cars 3 writing team includes everyone’s favorite versatile Pixar voice, Bob Peterson, story supervisor Scott Morse, Mike Rich (credits include Finding Forrester, The Rookie, and Secretariat), and Keil Murray.

Below are excerpts from the interview.

Slash Film: So was it always a Lightning McQueen comeback story where he has to find himself as the world changes around him?

Kiel: I think comeback came with [Mike].

Mike: Yeah, it did come with me. It was always McQueen searching for himself, because he’s confronted with that first moment where he’s going “Oh my gosh, I can’t do this forever. I don’t want to retire. I do want to come back. I want to stay competitive.” But he just didn’t know how to get to the answer of that question. Worse yet, he was making the mistake of just trying to do it just like the [younger racers]. “I’ll get fast again. I’ll do what they’re doing. And I’ll be fine.”

Scott: He’s looking outward and not inward for the answers.

Bob: Mike, you had a one sentence sort of summation which is interesting, in reference to comeuppance, which was “life worth living.”

Mike: Oh, yeah. It’s just kind of a theme of a life worth living is a life that’s constantly evolving. And if you stop or just try and look back, or worse yet, try to go back, then it’s not a recipe for happiness.

Bob: We’ve seen a lot of comeback stories, so we strive to make an emotional and unique one that you may not expect.

On whether the new generation of hot shot racers who threaten Lightning McQueen was at all mirrored at Pixar:

Bob: No, we’re very nurturing and accepting of these young people coming in. Like I always say, there’s no way as a story editor I’d get hired now. You hope that they’re much better. We embrace the technology and all that. The trick for us is to not feel threatened and to welcome in this young crop of kids who have such a developed sense of art and cinema. It’s a wonderful thing. It’s not quite so much what we used to guide us in this film. It mainly grows out of McQueen unable to accept the truth that he’s a little older and obsolete and the rest of the world reminding him of that and forcing him to deal with it. So you want a nice crop of very young cars who are fast and very contrasted to him. Even Cruz, who’s with him, is very technological and is fast, and is just different. He’s from an older generation, and it’s all gotta point him into learning what he needs to learn. So that’s why they’re there, to really throw him off balance.

Finally, how are cars born in the films?! Is there religion in the Cars universe? Bob Peterson offers a very simple and succinct answer.

Bob: Luckily we get to spend our time thinking about these stories which are very much universal human stories, and if we find ourselves pondering this kind of stuff, then we’re probably not doing our job very well.

North America, get ready to gear up! Cars 3 opens nationwide on June 16th.

 

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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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Here’s Your Chance To Ask The Team Behind Finding Dory Questions!

Andrew Stanton, Angus Maclane, Finding Dory, Finding Nemo, Interview

Posted by Nia • June 4, 2016

Finding-Dory-Fluke-Rudder-Screencap-Pixar-Post

Upcoming Pixar will have the opportunity to interview the cast, directors, and producer of Finding Dory next week on June 9th. Do you have any questions for directors Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane? What about any inquiries for the cast on your favorite fishy friends? Not only will you have the chance to ask them questions, but you’ll also be featured in a future post. Tweet us your questions or leave us a comment below about what you’d like us to ask them or know about their 17th feature film.

Don’t forget to check out Finding Dory when it splashes into theaters June 17th!

Just… keep… swimming!

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Upcoming Pixar Interviews Peter Sohn For The Good Dinosaur Blu-ray Release

Blu-Ray, Bob Peterson, DVD, Interview, Pete Sohn, The Good Dinosaur, Upcoming Pixar

Posted by Nia • February 19, 2016

It’s easy to get carried away during the excitement of the award season here in Hollywood. Amid the buzz of the upcoming Oscar ceremony, Disney/Pixar held a press day in Los Angeles to celebrate the Blu-ray and Digital HD release of their 16th feature film The Good Dinosaur.

The film will finally be coming to Blu-ray and Digital HD on the 23d of February. I had the opportunity to interview director Peter Sohn about the The Good Dinosaur‘s overall production process and it’s Blu-ray release.

Image via Disney/Pixar

Image via Disney/Pixar

What is your favorite part of the filmmaking process? And more specifically, what’s your favorite part about working on an animated film?

My favorite part has continually been getting to work with all of the amazing artists up at Pixar. On every film there you’re collaborating with a lot of talented and creative people, and for me I live off of it. I can’t tell you how much fun it was, from department to department, to get to know what people love, what people don’t like, and trying to find ways to make the best film that we could. My favorite part of making an animated movie definitely is the world building and the character building. There’s nothing that comes for free in animation. You literally have to build everything from the ground up and in doing that, there are so many “what if” questions and exploration you can do that’s really fun. Once you get down to making a character come to life there’s nothing more exciting.

And what is the most challenging aspect of making an animated film?

I think it has to do with the same thing I’ve always said: trying to tell the best story possible. The story reels in an animated movie have to be very tight because you have to draw every shot out. It’s all going to be made and then worked on, so you don’t want to get that wrong. You really focus on those reels and trying to tell a story within the reel. You’re just constantly putting it up and then taking it down, putting it up and then taking it down again, and that’s very difficult. It’s an important one for animation.

What are some inspirations for you as a storyteller?

I love watching other movies, diving into other art, and being inspired by what other people have done. When it comes down to it, the more I’ve been doing this job, the more living my own life has become a real inspiration. Finding out about other people, other cultures, other traditions; finding out about who I am and how I fit in the world has all been really great.

Were there any westerns that inspired the overall look of The Good Dinosaur?

There were locations that were really an inspiration for the movie. In Shane, Dancing With Wolves, and Heavens Gate there was beautiful cinematography. There was a lot of inspiration that came from stories as well, different types of stories, like E.T. or Black Stallion. But when it came to the true Western inspiration, nothing beat the real thing. We did a lot of research going out to Wyoming, Oregon, and Idaho; that gave us our greatest source of inspiration.

How long did it take to develop the look of The Good Dinosaur? What type of new technology was used in developing the backgrounds, FX, etc?

I can’t give an exact date, but I can tell you this whole film was made in less than two years. When we first started talking about this, one of the things I wanted to try was making nature a real character in this movie. I don’t mean it had eyes or a mouth, but that Arlo could feel it and nature would become an antagonist throughout the film. It was really interesting because if you make nature a character, you really have to focus on it. The Good Dinosaur is a movie about Arlo and how he is growing. It was always about that back and forth between Arlo and nature; how nature tests Arlo and how Arlo learns to love nature. There’s a lot of technology that was involved in bringing that to life. First of all, water is very difficult to do in computer animation and the river would become Arlo’s yellow brick road that he needed to follow back home. So we had a lot of water in this film! There was a lot of new technology to bring that to life and all of the characteristics of water. For example, when Arlo was terrified or scared we really wanted the river to be kind of broiling so that it was almost parallel to what Arlo was going through. When Arlo got closer to nature, closer to Spot, the river would be peaceful and calm. We wanted to create a world that was big in scopes so that we could really dwarf a creature as large as a dinosaur. That meant kind of making the world feel 500 miles bigger in all directions. That was no easy feat. There was new technology built in terms of pulling out geological surveys, and understanding how the river erodes in nature. We also started building tiles. We started building hundreds of square miles of tiles that we would kind of stamp out into the horizon line and from there propagate rocks and trees. The technicians at Pixar came up with math that said, “OK from 400 feet high it will be snow. From 400 feet below it will be this type of tree, and then below that it will be water.” That’s just a really simple way of describing how the artists came up with ways to fill out the world.

What sparked the concept/initial story?

It was really Bob Peterson’s first pitch about a boy and this dog, then flipping it where the boy is the dinosaur and the dog is this human boy. That was the initial pitch and that kind of set everything off. Bob would ask me to come help and soon after that we talked a lot about how this relationship could work, and how the evolution could work. It’s impossible to have humans and dinosaurs together so that opened up the bigger concept about what if the asteroid had missed the earth. So it all kind of stemmed off there and we continued to dig deeper to find the story.

Is there a character you see yourself in the most? Why?

I see myself in Arlo a great deal; in all aspects of my life, from growing up to even making this film. Funny enough, when I was asked to direct The Good Dinosaur I was terrified, I was really scared. With the great support of friends and other directors I felt more confident, and the love for these characters and this movie kept me going through it.

What kind of behind the scenes footage do we except to see on the Blu-ray?

You know what’s great is that you will be able to see some of the footage of our research trips that really inspired the look and the characters of the film. There’s one in particular that’s close to my heart, and it’s the documentary on the McKay’s – this Oregon family that we met and I can’t tell you how much they changed the feeling of the movie and changed my life.

Thanks again to Peter Sohn for his time and for all the folks at Pixar for inspiring us all with The Good Dinosaur. The film is out on Blu-ray and Digital HD on Tuesday, February 23rd. Be sure to check back with us at Upcoming Pixar for a Blu-ray giveaway!

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