The Academy Award®-winning creators of "Toy Story (1995)" open the door to a frightfully funny world of monsters and mayhem and scare up lots of laughs in their new movie, "Monsters, Inc. (2001). " This witty and imaginative new computer-animated adventure is the latest film from Disney/Pixar (following "Toy Story (1995)," "Bug's Life, A (1998)," and "Toy Story 2 (2000)") and is the second feature in the current five-picture association between the two studios. Featuring the inspired vocal talents of John Goodman, Billy Crystal, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly, Steve Buscemi, Mary Gibbs, John Ratzenberger, Bob Peterson, Frank Oz, and Bonnie Hunt, "Monsters, Inc. (2001). " is a Walt Disney Pictures presentation of a Pixar Animation Studios Film.
"Monsters, Inc. " was directed by veteran Pixar animator/storyman Pete Docter, who was part of the Academy Award®-nominated story team responsible for "Toy Story (1995)" and the supervising animator on that landmark 1995 film. Adding valuable creative input throughout the production was executive producer John Lasseter (Pixar's executive vice president, creative), director of both "Toy Story (1995)" films and "Bug's Life, A (1998)," and a Special Achievement Academy Award® winner for "Toy Story (1995)" and a 1989 Academy Award® winner for his short film, "Tin Toy. " Grammy Award-winning composer/songwriter Randy Newman once again joins creative forces with the Pixar team, bringing his impressive range of musical talents to the score and end credit song.
Pixar, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, makes its boldest leap forward yet with "Monsters, Inc. (2001). " The film represents the studio's most advanced and sophisticated use of computer animation technology to date, as it required 2. 5 million rendermarks (a measure of computing power) compared to the nearly 1. 1 million used on "Toy Story 2 (2000). " Among its many impressive technical achievements is the breakthrough depiction of fur and hair, which has the shadowing, density, lighting, and movement consistent with the real thing. This is seen to best advantage with Sulley's feathery blue-green and purple spotted coat that includes nearly 3 million individual hairs, and with Boo's hair and pigtails. Another simulation program allowed Boo's T-shirt to move independently of her body. This approach represented a major advance over Pixar's previous experimentation with clothing on the short film "Geri's Game" (the 1998 Oscar®-winning animated short film that played in theaters with "Bug's Life, A (1998)").
Lasseter observes, "Pete and his team have done an amazing job with the characters and relationships on this film. Not only is it a funny film, but it has a richness of emotion that resonates and gives the characters a life way beyond the boundaries of the screen. In order to make a really entertaining motion picture that people will remember, you have to tell a really great story that has lots of emotion and humor, you have to have characters that will live beyond the story, and you have to put them in a world that's incredibly believable. Audience's love when they see something they've never seen before but yet have some aspect to which they can relate. 'Monsters, Inc. (2001). ' presents this alternate world where the foundation is an urban company town that is familiar and yet it's presented in a way that audiences have never thought of before. "
Docter recalls, "'Toy Story (1995)' was so much fun and touched a lot of people because they could relate to it. I began thinking about other things that were true for me as a kid. One thing I knew was that monsters existed and they were in the closet, especially at night. My clothes would turn into different things - tentacles, claws, and eyes. We began thinking that there must be some reason why monsters scare kids and started playing with that notion. "
Commenting on Disney's fourth collaboration with Pixar, Thomas Schumacher, president of Walt Disney Feature Animation, observes, "'Monsters, Inc. (2001). ' represents another major achievement for Pixar Animation Studios and the art of computer animation. Disney is proud of our partnership with this amazing group of filmmakers. The film itself is a brilliant piece of entertainment with memorable characters and hilarious situations. Pete Docter has successfully added feature film directing to his long list of accomplishments and this film reflects his gentle nature and sly sense of humor. Audiences are going to love the fun and unbridled imagination of this film and will remember it for a long, long time. "
Set in Monstropolis, a thriving company town where monsters of all shapes and sizes reside, the film follows the hilarious misadventures of James P. Sullivan (known to all as "Sulley") and his best friend, roommate, and co-worker, Mike Wazowski. Both work at Monsters, Inc. , the largest scream processing factory in the monster world, where Sulley is the top kid Scarer and Mike is his enthusiastic Scare Assistant. The main power source in the monster world is the collected screams of human children. At Monsters, Inc. , an elite team of Scarers is responsible for gathering those precious natural resources. Complicating matters is the fact that monsters believe human children to be toxic and direct contact with them is forbidden. When a little girl (named Boo) accidentally follows Sulley back into his world, he finds his career in jeopardy and his life in utter chaos. Assisted by Mike, he schemes to rectify his mistake but the trio becomes caught up in a series of complications and unexpected intrigue beyond their wildest dreams.
In his role as director, Docter guided the story development of "Monsters, Inc. (2001). " over the past four years and supervised the film's creative team. Assisting him in that role were co-directors Lee Unkrich, co-director of "Toy Story 2 (2000)" and supervising editor on "Toy Story (1995)" and "bug's Life, A (1998)," and David Silverman, one of the key creative talents on "The Simpsons. " The film was produced by nine-year Pixar veteran Darla Anderson. Anderson produced "bug's Life, A (1998)," one of the highest-grossing films of 1998, before turning her attention to "Monsters, Inc. (2001). "
Joining John Lasseter as executive producer on the film was Andrew Stanton, an Oscar® nominee for the "Toy Story (1995)" screenplay and screenwriter for "Bug's Life, A (1998)" (which he co-directed) and "Toy Story 2 (2000). " Stanton also wrote the screenplay for "Monsters, Inc. (2001). " along with Dan Gerson. The original story was written by Pete Docter, Jill Culton, Jeff Pidgeon, and Ralph Eggleston. Bob Peterson served as head of story for the film.
Anderson notes, "As Pixar's executive vice president of creative, John Lasseter's insights offered the production inspiration whenever needed - he is a fantastic coach, completely confident in Pete and his team, yet always there to offer his guidance and creative direction. Pete has been absolutely wonderful to work with. His easy going ways and innate creative sensibilities are a producer's dream. "
Docter adds, "Darla's energy, drive and humor have been essential to the completion and success of this project. I love working with her because she works from her gut and intuition. She just has a sense of how to get things done and she's usually dead right. "
Central to the success and enjoyment of "Monsters, Inc. (2001). " is a colorful menagerie of monsters and one beguiling human intruder named Boo. Versatile actor John Goodman ("Emperor's New Groove, The (2000)," "O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)?," "Raising Arizona (1987)") scares up a winning performance as the voice of Sulley, a furry, eight-foot tall, 800-pound monster who has a close encounter with Boo. He may be the last thing any human child would want to find in his or her closet, but beneath his intimidating exterior, Sulley's a real teddy bear with an inner gentility and warm personality. Behind any good Scarer is a good Scare Assistant and no one knows how to coach, cajole, and coax his partner to record scare totals better than quick-witted, one-eyed, lime-green Mike Wazowski. Hilariously voiced by the multitalented Billy Crystal (whose credits include memorable stints as an actor, comedian, director, and everyone's favorite Oscar® host), Mike doesn't always see eye to eye with Sulley but he proves to be a caring and loyal friend when the going gets tough. Completing the unlikely trio is Boo, a brave little girl who finds life on the other side of the closet to be exciting and not at all frightening. Mary Gibbs, the now-five-year-old daughter of Pixar story artist Rob Gibbs and his wife, Sue, makes her acting debut as this enchanting innocent who is blissfully oblivious to the chaos she creates in her wake and the danger that she faces.
Mike and Sulley's co-workers at Monsters, Inc. include the creepy lizard-like monster Randall Boggs, who would stop at nothing to become the new top Scarer, even if it means sullying Sulley's reputation. Talented Steve Buscemi ("Ghost World (2001)," "Fargo (1996)," "Reservoir Dogs (1992)") brings a sense of comedy and chicanery to this slippery eight-limbed character. Oscar® nominee Jennifer Tilly ("Bullets Over Broadway (1994)," "Liar Liar (1997)") gives a hilariously hair-raising turn as Celia, the spirited serpent-haired receptionist who only has eye for her "googley bear" Mike Wazowski. Providing the voice of Henry J. Waternoose, the paternal crab-like CEO of Monsters, Inc. , is Oscar®-winning actor James Coburn ("Affliction (-),", "Great Escape, The (1963)"). Although he has a warm spot in his heart for Sulley, his star Scarer, desperate times call for desperate measures and he is prepared to do what he must to save the company that has been in his family for generations.
Also on the Monsters, Inc. (2001). roster is Roz, the company's dedicated and dyspeptic Dispatch Manager who is a stickler for details and a big fan of paperwork. The film's head storyman, Bob Peterson, delivers her deadpan dialogue. John Ratzenberger ("Cheers"), a Pixar favorite who has voiced the Piggy Bank, Hamm, for both "Toy Story (1995)" films and was heard as P. T. Flea in "Bug's Life, A (1998)," has a delightfully abominable role as the lonely Yeti of the Himalayas. Desperate for company, Yeti rolls out the welcome mat when Mike and Sulley pay an unexpected visit to the human world. Another former Piggy, Muppet master/director Frank Oz, does a turn here as Fungus, Randall's constantly worried Scare Assistant. Comedienne Bonnie Hunt (who gave voice to Rosie the spider in "Bug's Life, A (1998)") turns in a comedic cameo on this film as Ms. Flint.
TECHNICAL ARTISTRY AND ACHIEVEMENT
Helping to keep Pixar on the cutting edge of computer animation technology was a team of technical experts. On "Monsters, Inc. ," two-time Oscar® winner Tom Porter served as supervising technical director and was in charge of overseeing all aspects of modeling, shading, lighting, and rendering. Under Porter's initiative, a new organization called the Shots Department was established and supervised by Galyn Susman. This department assigned the film's 1500 shots to individual sequence supervisors and technical directors, who would follow each shot through all stages of the production process.
Eben Ostby was the supervisor in charge of the modeling department. In this area, clay sculptures of the faces were created and digitized for the main characters while nearly 50 other miscellaneous monsters were created in the computer from a virtual kit of parts. Learning from their experience on the two "Toy Story (1995)" films and "Bug's Life, A (1998)," the modelers used a proprietary program called "Geppetto" to add more controls allowing the animators more subtle movements. In terms of complexity, Ostby estimates that Sulley, Mike, and Boo were considerably more complex than Buzz and Woody and had 30-40% more controls than even the lifelike Al (of Al's Toy Barn fame) from "Toy Story 2 (2000). "
Adding to the film's stylish look were production designers Harley Jessup and Bob Pauley. The early design phase for the film included research trips to industrial towns and to nearby factories with assembly lines. Taking the lead from Docter, they began establishing a look and logic for Monstropolis. This meant creating the internal workings for Monsters, Inc. from its "Scare Floor" to its "door vault" (which includes 5. 7 million individual and identifiable closet doors on hundreds of mile-long conveyor belts). The factory itself has a 1960s sensibility and was intended to feel slightly outdated. In all, 22 different sets were designed for the film ranging from Boo's bedroom to the trendy Sushi eatery, Harryhausen's, and the remote blizzard-bound home of the Yeti.
Art directors Tia Kratter and Dominique Louis lent their talents to creating the color palette, lighting and shading parameters for the film. Kratter, a classically trained background artist, worked with a team of digital painters to set the colors and textures. Her extensive research included studies of llama, yak, goat and sheep fur as well as visits to junkyards to analyze welded metals for the factory scenes. She also helped to finalize the colors for the characters. Louis set the ambience and lighting for the film by creating a series of pastel drawings to establish the mood. Through these paintings, he was able to communicate his wonderful sense of color and value, bringing vibrancy and focus to the images. The pastels were then given to the lighting department, which used them to guide the look of the final shots.
The art directors worked closely with supervising lighting lead Jean-Claude Kalache and shading supervisor Rick Sayre to achieve the look and ambience indicated by the creative team. Sayre and the shading team created thousands of shaders for this rich and complex film to give the monster world a stylized and textured look.
Another key member of the production team was layout supervisor Ewan Johnson, who continued Pixar's pioneering efforts in providing alternate coverage to the filmmakers for any given scene. Sophie Vincelette supervised the set dressing department, a new innovation that takes the various digital objects and props and creatively assembles them. Kori Rae served as the film's associate producer. Jim Stewart was the film editor.
With regard to animation, Pixarians Glenn McQueen and Rich Quade reprised their roles as supervisors. McQueen most recently served as supervising animator on "Toy Story 2 (2000). " Quade was a supervising animator on both "Bug's Life, A (1998)" and the original "Toy Story (1995). " Doug Sweetland and Scott Clark were the film's directing animators. A team of more than 35 animators worked on the film including character leads Andrew Gordon (Mike Wazowski), John Kahrs (Sulley) and Dave DeVan (Boo). Characters ranged in complexity from the eight-armed lizard-like Randall to the one-eyed Mike Wazowski, whom animators found harder to animate than meets the eye.
Acclaimed composer/songwriter Randy Newman, who has scored all three of the previous Disney/Pixar features, once again lends his impressive musical talents. For "Monsters, Inc. " Newman used 1940s jazz influences to capture the fun and spirit of the film. The score features such eclectic instruments as a bass harmonica, mandolin and accordion. He also composed an end credit song called "If I Didn't Have You," which is a delightful duet by Sulley (Goodman) and Mike (Crystal).
Another of Pixar's favorite collaborators, multiple Academy Award® winner and Skywalker Sound's resident sound designer Gary Rydstrom, worked his magic to create the sounds of Monstropolis and to create a masterful mix for the film's soundtrack.
"Monsters, Inc. " has the distinction of being the first film to be animated at Pixar Animation Studios' new 218,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility in Emeryville, California. The new studio opened in November 2000 and has become home to nearly 600 of the industry's top animators and technicians. The release of "Monsters, Inc. " coincides with Pixar's 15th anniversary. Steve Jobs
Acquired the company from Lucasfilm in 1986 and incorporated it as an independent company at that time.
MONSTERS IN THE CLOSET: THE STORY
Since the very first bedtime, children around the world have known that once their parents tuck them into bed and shut off the lights, monsters lie waiting behind closet doors, ready to emerge. But what they don't realize is that for these monsters, it's nothing personal. It's just their job.
Monstropolis is home to a population of monsters of every shape and size. Their main source of power is processed human screams and the largest scream processing factory in town is Monsters, Inc. (or MI). Drawing from the factory's vast inventory of "closet doors," a team of elite monsters enters the human world on a nightly basis to scare children and collect their screams. Making the task more difficult is the fact that monsters believe children are toxic and that direct contact with them would be catastrophic. The company's CEO, Henry J. Waternoose, is faced with an energy crisis due to the fact that kids don't scare as easily as they used to.
The most valuable player at Monsters, Inc. is James P. Sullivan, or Sulley, an eight foot tall, blue-green monster with purple spots and horns. His Scare Assistant is a one-eyed lime-green monster named Mike Wazowski, who also happens to be his roommate and best friend. Life is good for this scare pair. Sulley is at the top of his game without an enemy in the world - except creepy and competitive chameleon-like Randall Boggs, the number two Scarer at the factory. Meanwhile, Mike's courtship of the girl of his screams, Celia, the receptionist at MI, is starting to take shape.
One night, Sulley finds himself on the "Scare Floor" after hours and discovers that a closet door has not been returned to the "door vault. " Opening the door to investigate, he unwittingly admits a young human girl into his world. Believing children to be toxic, Sulley tries to overcome his own fear and put things right but finds his situation worsening at every turn. He and Mike take the child - whom Sulley names Boo - to their home until things cool down and they can think of a plan. The next day they disguise Boo as a monster and take her to the factory in the hopes of retrieving her door and sending her safely home.
Mike and Sulley risk their own safety and security as they race to get Boo back to the human world before someone discovers her presence. Unbeknownst to them, they have stumbled upon a dastardly plot to boost energy production and now inadvertently find that they stand in the way of "progress. "
SCARING UP A STORY: ORIGINS OF THE PROJECT
After completing his assignment as supervising animator on the landmark 1995 computer animated film, "Toy Story (1995)," Pete Docter began exploring several ideas for a film of his own. One of the ideas that intrigued him was a story about monsters and things that go bump in the night.
Docter explains, "The intriguing thing to me about this subject matter is the idea that as kids we have these unnamed, unconscious fears, and we create monsters as a way to make them tangible. We began thinking, if monsters represent fears, what then are the monsters themselves afraid of? The obvious answer: children. Our own fears are afraid of us!"
Docter's initial concept for the film went through many changes during the development process, but the notion of monsters living in their own world remained an appealing and workable one. Early versions of the story focused on a 32-year-old man who had monsters show up that only he could see. It dealt with confronting childhood fears that had never been conquered and which were cropping up once again to cause anxiety. As the story continued to develop and take on new twists and turns, the central adult figure was changed to a child of varying ages (8-12) and gender. Ultimately, the story team decided that a young innocent girl would be the best counterpart for a furry 8-foot co-star.
The character of Sulley also went through some major changes along the way. He evolved from a janitor to an uncoordinated, down-on-his-luck loser to the superstar Scarer that he ended up being. At one time, the character even wore glasses and had tentacles.
"People generally think of monsters as really scary, snarly, slobbery beasts," observes Docter. "But in our film, they're just normal everyday 'Joes. ' They clock in; they clock out. They talk about donuts and union dues. They worry about things like having straight teeth. Scaring kids is just their job.
"One of our biggest challenges was to come up with a good reason as to why monsters scare kids. For awhile, we played with the idea that it was like a Broadway show and monsters entertained each other by scaring kids. That evolved into the whole business idea, which seemed pretty ripe for humor
Working from Docter's original idea, Andrew Stanton, who had written the three previous Pixar features and who served as executive producer on this film, set to work creating a screenplay that would capture the concept's spirit and imagination. Once Stanton had established the foundation for the film through his several screenplay drafts, he turned his attention to his next project ("Finding Nemo" due for release in 2003). Dan Gerson stepped in to write subsequent versions of the "Monsters, Inc. " screenplay and to further define the plot, characters, and dialogue. At the same time, story supervisor Bob Peterson and his team were helping to visualize the script with drawings, gags, and lots of inventive ideas. Co-director David Silverman came on board in 1998 to lend his expertise to the story process and focus on strengthening the relationships between the main characters. Another key contributor was co-director Lee Unkrich, whose live-action background proved priceless.
According to Stanton, "The first and last thing that John Lasseter asks with regard to the story is 'do I care, do I care, do I care. ' It's always heart first and head second. And Boo is the real key to this whole film. Pete was really strong on this point. He has a natural instinct for tapping into the innocence of little kids and has always been a magnet for them. Our own kids would see him and just want to play with him.
"We had a great time coming up with the overall logic to the monster world," he adds. "We pulled from our own workday experiences at Pixar and found parallels in the human world to parody. The challenge here was to make up an entirely different world from our imaginations. Whereas 'Toy Story (1995)' and 'Bug's Life, A (1998)' were based on or connected to reality, the world of monsters has no restrictions and we could really be as creative as we wanted to be. "
David Silverman remembers being hooked on the idea from the very first pitch. "The subject matter just completely wowed me and the first storyboards were so hilarious and presented so many possibilities," he says. "It just seemed like a great idea for the Pixar style of humor. Working on 'The Simpsons,' my strength was in staging and performance. This film gave me a chance to become more involved in the writing and coming up with solutions. "
Screenwriter Dan Gerson joined the Pixar team in 1999 and remained on the film for almost two years working with the filmmakers on a daily basis. He recalls, "I would sit with Pete and David and we would talk about a scene and they would tell me what they were looking for. I would make some suggestions and then go off and write the sequence. We'd get together again and review it and then hand it off to a story artist. Here's where the collaborative process really kicked in. The board artist was not beholden to my work and could take liberties here and there. Sometimes I would suggest an idea about making the joke work better visually. Once the scene moved on to animation, the animators would plus the material even further.
"This was my first experience writing on a feature film and it couldn't have been better, " adds Gerson. "Not only did they welcome me into their group but also they were so receptive to my ideas. I was blessed to have Pete as my first director. He is completely collaborative and it was not uncommon for me to speak with him 3 or 4 nights a week just to check in and discuss the film. "
As story supervisor, Bob Peterson oversaw a team of story artists that ranged in size from eight to twenty individuals at various stages of the production. "Every story I've ever worked on has been a struggle," he notes. "And you're fighting the good fight. It's like you're given this rough piece of marble and you're just chipping away at it until the story tells you what it wants to be after working on it for awhile. There comes that day when it all starts to fall into place. On this film, we struggled with the relationship between Mike and Sulley, who Sulley was and his steps to becoming who he is in the end. Typically, one scene will inform the rest of the movie. Something will spark your imagination and it ripples out from there in many directions. "
"Pete is a joy to work with," adds Peterson. "He's always looking for the entertainment in a scene and he's a great animator in his own right. David is a great resource for humor and is knowledgeable about the great radio comedians and lots of other things. His humor rubbed off on everyone and he was an excellent draftsman as well. "
Lee Unkrich adds, "One of the liberties we have here at Pixar is that we give ourselves a long stretch of time to develop our stories. We can try lots of different things and go down different paths. This is a luxury that is not often afforded in live-action. 'Monsters, Inc. ' is probably the most sophisticated thing we've done in terms of relationships and depth of character. At Pixar, we believe that heart and emotion are vital to our story. We want audiences to really laugh and have a great time but we also want them to have an emotional experience that they can walk away with.
Stanton concludes, "One of the great things about Pixar is that we have a core group of creative talents that come together to make these films. John leads this big think tank or brain trust - which includes Pete, Lee, story supervisor Joe Ranft, and myself. Even if we're not officially on a film, we're always available to be the checkpoint, the devil's advocate, or just to help see things with a fresh eye. We act as story firemen and it's a nice safety net to have. You don't feel as lonely on that long road of trying to make a movie work. "
The title "Monsters, Inc. " was suggested by Joe Grant, the legendary Disney artist/storyman who co-wrote the 1941 feature film "Dumbo" and who served as story director on the original "Fantasia / 2000 (1999). " At the age of 93, Grant continues to lend his story expertise to Disney's Feature Animation department and still comes into work five days a week. Docter, a longtime admirer of Grant's work, would frequently speak to Joe and discuss the project. Grant responded by sending envelopes full of drawings along with notes in his elegant, everyday calligraphic handwriting. Docter recalls, "It was just the most perfect title. Joe was a great inspiration to us and we would get all sorts of great press clippings and drawings from him throughout the production. "
BEHIND THE SCREAMS: PETE DOCTER AND HIS CO-DIRECTORS
To assist him in creating "Monsters, Inc. ," Docter enlisted the support of two talented co-directors. Lee Unkrich had joined Pixar as a supervising editor on the original "Toy Story (1995)" and quickly became an integral part of the team. Drawing on his live-action filmmaking roots, he was able to bring elements of traditional film production into Pixar's computer-animation process. He worked closely with the film's layout team on the staging, composition and cinematography and lent his editorial expertise to help tell the story in the most compelling manner. "Lee was a major influence on the film," Docter notes. "We totally relied on him for a lot of the staging. He did a brilliant job working with Ewan Johnson and the layout team to give the film a look and feel that is very dynamic and exciting. He also worked closely with Jim Stewart and his editorial team to give the film a sense of excitement and fluid movement. "
Co-director David Silverman became a key player in the area of story and worked closely with the story artists and writers to add humor and heart. According to Docter, "David is a hilarious, funny guy and brought a lot in terms of the relationship between Mike and Sulley. He helped create a chemistry between them and gave us lots of ideas throughout the whole story process. "
Unkrich notes, "During my time at Pixar, it's been my philosophy to keep the films really rooted in a kind of live-action sensibility even though they're animated. Because our medium and our films look so hyper-realistic, we're able to have some fun with the audience. Intellectually, they know that what they're seeing is not real and is completely fabricated, the images look completely realistic. I love the idea of creating an engaging, entertaining, and emotional experience by manipulating data in a computer. There's something magical about creating something that is 100% manufactured, yet can move audiences so deeply.
"Working with Pete has been great," adds Unkrich. "He is a brilliant animator and one of the nicest guys you can imagine working with. He really inspires the crew and has brought a tremendous sense of fun to this entire production. "
As for his directing debut, Docter notes, "For me, the fun of directing has been the great sense of discovery. I love working with people that I can learn from. As a director, you're constantly faced with situations that you've never encountered before. It's exciting to explore the creative possibilities and to discover new things all the time. Ultimately, the real satisfaction is telling a story that people respond to. "
Lasseter adds, "Pete has done a great job. I knew from the beginning that he was going to be a great director. His instincts are remarkable and his sense of entertainment through movement is second to none. On 'Toy Story (1995)' I always relied on him and there are many signature Pete moments in the film. We share a natural curiosity for things. When he first came to Pixar, he was always trying to figure out how computers could be used for practical jokes. One of my key fundamentals of directing is to have fun. And even though Pete has been working harder than anyone I've ever known on this film, he always had a smile on his face. You can't help but love Pete and that shows in the film. If you have a great attitude and everybody around you is having fun, it will show on the screen - and it does. 'Monsters, Inc. ' is a fun movie. "
Docter adds, "I really relied on John's experience and amazing eye throughout the process. John basically invented this medium, and he was such a help at every stage of the production, from initial concept to the final frame of film. "
BRINGING THE CHARACTERS TO LIFE: ANIMATING MEMORABLE MONSTERS (AND A GIRL NAMED BOO)
Bringing the characters in "Monsters, Inc. " to life required a skilled team of animators working in concert with an ensemble of great voice talent. Dialogue tracks were recorded over a few years and the animators were inspired by these performances along with keen observations and their own imaginations to create the depth, emotion and fun that these characters bring to the screen.
With his roots as an animator, director Pete Docter knew exactly how to work with the animation team. The film's two supervising animators - Glenn McQueen and Rich Quade - gave him the level of leadership and support he needed to guide the team of more than 35.
"The overall quality of animation on this film is really great," says Docter. "Glenn and Rich have been able to push everybody further than anyone thought they could go and there's some truly amazing scenes in the film. "
McQueen notes, "Pete was a great guy to work with and proved to be a real animator's director. On 'Toy Story (1995),' he was, without a doubt, the best animator in the department and he really knows how to relate to animators. He knows our part of the film like no one else and encouraged us to do our very best work. "
McQueen and Quade took an active role in working with the modeling team (supervised by Eben Ostby) to create characters that were animation-friendly. New animation controls (called "avars" - articulated variables) were built into the tools programs to give the animators a wider range of options and the ability to add more subtle movements to the performance.
Another change on "Monsters, Inc. " from previous Pixar features was the designation of character leads for each of the main characters. On past productions, animators gravitated towards or became experts on specific characters, but generally worked on whole sequences involving multiple members of the cast. On this film, certain key animators were selected to be specialists that the other animators would turn to for advice or suggestions as to movement, personality, etc.
"Assigning animators to work on specific characters was less of a conscious decision and more of an evolution that happened during production," says McQueen. "Some of the animators were doing such terrific work on the characters that it seemed silly to have them do anything else. We ended up casting them on specific characters just like you would an actor on a live-action film. "
For the character of Sulley, the massive monster who finds himself in a world of trouble, animator John Kahrs was asked to lead the way.
"I'm not a big eight foot hairy guy, but I share a lot of similarities with Sulley," says Kahrs. "I'm six-foot-one and I have a relaxed easy-going personality like the character. I guess that's why they gave me the assignment. Basically, I think he's suited to me and vice versa.
"My first instincts were to make sure that Sulley wasn't going to be some monkey or gorilla," adds the animator. "He's not a Mighty Joe Young guy and he doesn't walk on his knuckles. He walks upright and he's more like a powerful bear than a gorilla. The challenge was to think of him not as some heavy lumbering guy but rather as a more energetic character with a lot of confidence. The scene where Mike is coaching him with the 'scary feet, scary feet' routine was a big turning point for me. I started thinking of Sulley as a guy in football training camp. It turned my whole world around and gave me a new perspective on him. He has sheer power and speed. He's the top dog at MI. "
"John Goodman's vocal performance was really rich and had a lot of range," says Kahrs. "It had a wonderful rhythm and a lot of texture. There is a resonant warble to his voice, almost bear-like, and it fits the character so well. I would get direction from his performance and know exactly how the eyebrows are going to move and what the emotion of the scene is going to be. "
For Kahrs, one of the biggest challenges was to convey the enormous sense of gravity and weight in the character's animation. "Placing the feet at the right place at the right time and then having the hips and body drift over them was really crucial. Paying close attention to the musculature in his arms and how it relaxes with the arc, speed and pendulum of the fall were also important in conveying his mass. You could spend a lifetime trying to make him look good but the payoff was worth it. He was a great character to work on and I'm going to miss him. "
Quade adds, "The trick with Sulley was to get that sense of weight across but not have the character move too slowly. If you slow down the action, the film starts becoming lethargic. We had to find ways to make him feel big while, at the same time, keeping him active and fun. Things like fast eye darts or hand movements can convey quickness. We began thinking of him as a linebacker who is big but can move fast when he needs to. The hair dynamics, added by the technical team, also helped communicate a feeling of weight. Its realistic motion enhanced the animation and made it feel more real. "
Guiding the animation for the character of Mike Wazowski, the feisty one-eyed ball of energy, was character lead Andrew Gordon.
Gordon recalls, "I was doing some early tests on Mike with Billy Crystal's dialogue and I had a real knack for him. The character has an East Coast, New York style and I'm a Jersey guy myself. I grew up with lots of crazy relatives who used wild gestures and mannerisms when they talked. I felt like I knew the character of Mike and I could see the acting in my head very naturally. "
Gordon attended several recording sessions with Crystal and was able to study the actor's expressions and mannerisms in person. Gordon recalls, "Billy would take a line and go off on lots of tangents with ad-libs and comedy routines.
"Basically, Mike is a giant eyeball," adds Gordon. "You're dealing with a head that's a body and a body that's supposed to be a head. When I'm acting out a scene, I'm looking at what my body and torso are doing but also at what my head accents are doing. It's like a cross between analyzing the motion of my body and also looking at my head, and coming up with interesting shapes for the eyes. Capturing the subtlety of the eye was a big part of it. I would videotape close-ups of my eyeball to see what the eye was doing when my eye looks up, how the eyelid reacts, how to sell the eye direction. Little things like pupil changes and dilates became important.
"The key to animating Mike is to get good mouth shapes that are very appealing and round," he adds. "When you're working with a character with such a big eye and mouth, it's like a target. Your eye goes right to him. Another thing we were able to do was to use the mask structure around his eye to get added subtlety. We have controls that allow us to bend the one eyebrow so that it essentially acts as two. "
"Billy Crystal has almost a manic energy and his voice is just all over the place," observes McQueen. "He's always doing something completely different and unexpected, which works really well and is a great thing to play off with Sulley. "
With regard to the character of Boo, McQueen had some initial concerns about animating a human child. He recalls, "Everyone knows how a little girl moves and as the father of a three-year-old I knew we had to animate her just right or the audience wouldn't buy it. There is a level of aimless busy-ness that kids have and I was concerned that we had to capture that sense of wonder and energy. Luckily, Pete has two kids of his own and he knew exactly what he wanted. For example, he was concise in his direction to the effects people as to what a kid's tears should look like. All of us with kids were going 'Yep, that's right. A little more red in those cheeks. "
The lead animator on Boo was Dave Devan, a five-year Pixar veteran who has worked on such other characters as the acrobatic pillbugs Tuck & Roll (from "bug's Life, A (1998)") and Buzz and Woody.
"Boo has been the most challenging character I've worked on at Pixar," explains Devan. "She is caricatured and cartoony, but she has to be believable. I don't have any children of my own, but I spent lots of time observing real human behavior. Some of the animators would bring their kids into the studio after work and Mary Gibbs (the voice of Boo) came to my office one time. She had been eating jellybeans and had lots of energy. My own niece and nephew were also good studies. Another time, we had a bunch of kids running around here on a playdate. Seeing how they walk and interact and what catches their attention and how they behave when someone's talking to them was really helpful. I ended up with a binder containing pictures of kids, especially their facial expressions, so that I could try and get those observations into Boo's character.
"My involvement with the character goes back to when the modelers were first working on her," he adds. "I was helping to make sure we got the control we wanted and that the face was as fleshy and expressive as possible. The final character has about 900 animation controls. Humans have always been tough to do in computer animation but with 'Geri's Game' and this film, Pixar has made some great progress. With Boo, we were able to put great subtlety into the acting and I was amazed by the results.
"Mary's performance really inspired us. The quality of her voice is great and was lots of fun to work with. She was really playful and gave the character exactly what was needed. "
McQueen agrees, "The bits of Mary that the editors chose for the film worked so well and always got a laugh from the animators, especially the ones with kids. You can tell when something's genuine and when the actor or performer is really feeling it. In this case they really got a three-year-old to do the lines and it gave us a tremendous amount of stuff to work with. "
Randall Boggs and Henry J. Waternoose
"Randall Boggs was another very challenging character to animate because he has eight limbs," explains McQueen. "Sometimes he's down on all eight and sometimes he's only using four legs. He also has a big long tail. From a technical point of view, he was very tough to animate just in terms of keeping track of all those legs and trying to come up with poses that are clear and appealing. Steve Buscemi's terrific voice really helped bring the character to life. It gave us a clear idea as to who the character is and his intent. There was a lot to grab onto and it made animating Randall a pleasure.
"James Coburn was another great voice to work with," he adds. "You couldn't ask for a better performance. He has a real fatherly, avuncular vibe to him that works really well with the Henry J. Waternoose character. From an animator's perspective, a voice that good is nothing but opportunities and potential. "
INSIDE MONSTROPOLIS: PRODUCTION DESIGN, ART DIRECTION AND LAYOUT FOR "MONSTERS, INC. "
Inventing the Monster World was one of the most challenging and fun assignments for the creative team on "Monsters, Inc. " It was a chance to let their imaginations run wild and to envision what a world populated by creatures of every conceivable shape and size would look like. Taking their cues from Docter, Lasseter and the story team, production designers Harley Jessup and Bob Pauley helped to visualize Monstropolis (and its residents) and the human world for this film. Art directors Tia Kratter and Dominique Louis supported that vision with color, lighting, and other artistic choices.
Docter notes, "In Monstropolis, the sky's the limit and we knew we could do just about anything designwise. We started with buildings that could move and talk and we had some strange architecture that got really weird. John Lasseter pushed us to think in terms of a more relatable Monster World, like our own cities, only designed for monsters. They've got huge buildings built of steel and stone because they need to accommodate 3-ton guys walking around. And everything from doors to telephones to cars have to be multipurpose in order to handle everyone from 8 foot monsters to little guys who are only 2 inches tall. "
In the early stages of researching the look and style of Monstropolis, Jessup and Pauley went to local factories, refineries, assembly plants, blimp hangers, and other industrial sites that could inspire their designs. Adjacent to the old Pixar Studios in Point Richmond, the Chevron refinery provided good research with its maze of pipes and structures for transporting gas. At Lasseter's urging, the production designers took a field trip to Pittsburgh to observe first hand what an older company town built around factories might look like. Inspiration for the individual workstations on the Scare Floor came from classic bowling alley designs.
"We envisioned the Monsters, Inc. factory as sort of a 60s era modernist building and the surrounding city has buildings over 100 years old," explains Jessup. "The notion was that the turn-of-the-century factory had been torn down and this one was put up in the 1960s during the heyday of the baby boom. Monsters, Inc. is now about 40 years old and feeling outdated and a bit run down. There is an energy shortage going on now and business isn't what it used to be. We have this whole history in our minds as we're designing it. "
Pauley adds, "We had a great time designing the whole assembly line door mechanism. This meant coming up with a logic to make it seem credible that the Scarers could pull a door off the track, lock it into a station and go through it to pull a scream out of a room. We had to support the magic that the door is a portal to another world and these monsters have to collect the 'scream. '
"The door vault itself has over 5. 7 million closet doors in it and in some scenes you can see practically every one of them," says Pauley. "We'd get notes from Pete after a story session which would suggest the specific path that the doors should follow and whether or not there should be a dead end. This meant creating a sorting pattern for the doors which gave us a great opportunity for a roller coaster kind of a sequence. "
Jessup worked closely with art director Tia Kratter to define the color palette and shading textures for the characters and the sets. Dominique Louis, who also served as art director on the film, did lighting studies and beautiful pastel drawings to help define the overall ambience of the film.
"We were trying to make sure that the monsters would be the most colorful things in Monstropolis," explains Jessup. "So we made the city somewhat muted and the factory a bit on the cool side colorwise. The brighter colors were saved for the characters themselves so that they would really stand out. The factory is all concrete with bright lights and green floors. Our goal was to evaluate the color rhythms of the film and make sure we were saving certain colors and light qualities for the most dramatic moments. "
Monstropolis itself was constructed something like a Hollywood backlot with roughly three residential streets that could be rearranged in different configurations to imply a bigger commercial area.
Helping Docter and the production designers to carry out their vision, art directors Kratter and Louis worked with a team of artists and technicians to color and establish lighting guidelines for both the monster and human world. Kratter helped to define the look of all the objects, props and characters and worked closely with the shading team (supervised by Rick Sayre). Louis concentrated on setting the ambience and lighting approach for the film in conjunction with Jean-Claude Kalache (lighting supervisor).
Kratter recalls, "For Sulley, I did about sixty paintings suggesting what the fur might look like. We had collected all kinds of samples and were looking at llamas, yaks, sheep, goats and bear fur. We decided on a kind of matted fur. It was really important to Pete to keep the character playful. He didn't want Sulley to look mean in any way. We really wanted him to be a big lovable bear. After reviewing versions of Sulley that looked like fruit stripe gum colors, a leopard and a giraffe, Pete decided to go with a blue-green color with purple dots.
"Mike was originally going to be orange and he stayed that way for awhile until John Lasseter said he looked like a piece of fruit with arms and legs," adds Kratter. "At various times during the production, he was also purple and a devilish red fireball color until we ultimately decided on lime-green. This final choice seemed to work best with Sulley's blue-green color and they ended up complementing each other really well. "
Louis' pastel drawings helped to establish a master lighting style and approach for the entire film. Working closely with the production designers and Jean-Claude Kalache and his lighting team, Louis helped to bring a sense of visual excitement to each scene.
"Pete has a great sense of what he wants to see on the screen and he really wanted this film to have a lot of contrast and color saturation," says Louis. "We pushed these values with regard to mood and lighting to support the story and emotion. We were able to use shafts of light and fog on the Scare Floor and elsewhere to provide lots of interesting atmosphere. "
Another important component in establishing the look of the film was the innovative use of staging and layout. Ewan Johnson served as the supervisor for this important department.
"'Monsters, Inc. ' is the most sophisticated film we've ever done from a staging and layout perspective," says Johnson. "With each film we continue to learn from our previous experience and evolve. We're continually looking for new ways to communicate and tell stories. Pete and Lee have a great sense of shape and motion and like to work through the staging a lot. As a result, we're seeing more sophisticated layouts and more complex transitions between sequences. We look at the storyboards, listen to the directors' input, listen to the dialogue and then begin breaking down each scene and determining the best camera angle and staging. We try to tell the story visually without the acting, using rough pantomime. A good example of this is in the introduction to the Scare Floor where, by the end of the sequence, you know what the factory is all about, who the workers are and their jobs and how the factory works.
"On this film, we move the camera a lot more and we've placed a greater emphasis on focus," he adds. "Focus is an integral part of directing your eye and it carries its own mood and atmosphere. On previous films, focus was handled during the lighting phase and here we are incorporating it into our layouts. On 'Monsters, Inc. ,' we're thinking about how the camera moves, how does the focus change and how do the characters move all at the same time. "
Unkrich observes, "Layout is helping us to bring exciting new action and fluidity to our stories. Traditionally in 2D animation you storyboard everything, you go through the workbook phase where you figure out how you're going to shoot everything, but you're not shooting coverage in the way you do with live-action. You're pretty much committing to a certain image size and a certain way of staging a given scene. In the computer animation medium, we're afforded the liberty of moving the camera wherever we want it. We build an entire room or a set and so there's no reason to commit to any particular angle right off the bat. We really find the scene in the editing room and this is all before we've even animated anything. "
NEW ADVANCES IN COMPUTER ANIMATION: FUR, CLOTHING, ATMOSPHERIC EFFECTS AND MORE
Pixar Animation Studios has been at the forefront of computer animation technology for 15 years and with each film they attempt to push the envelope even further. Computers keep getting faster and better, but the filmmakers keep adding new levels of complexity and challenges to the equation that require the technical team to constantly improve and rethink the way the film is rendered. Overseeing this effort on "Monsters, Inc. " was supervising technical director Tom Porter and his team of the industry's top software wizards. Among their proudest achievements on this film were the advancements in the depiction of fur and hair, clothing and atmospheric effects.
Porter notes, "'Monsters, Inc. ' has always been a film about a big hairy monster interacting with a small child. The small child is wearing a T-shirt through much of the film. All of a sudden we realized that we had to deal with hair and clothing - two issues that computer graphics hasn't dealt particularly well with in the past. Our goal was to avoid having the animators detail the movement of every individual hair and the movement of the wrinkles on the clothing. We set out to build intelligence into our models to dynamically move the hair and clothing in accordance with the character animation that was created.
"This raised all sorts of questions for us like how to attach the fur to the body, how the fur clumps, how does the fur move, how do you render it? Do we want to animate the T-shirt, is the T-shirt form fitting to the body so that it follows her body movements or do you want this dynamic flowing sort of thing where you just animate the underlying torso and the T-shirt match moves with her? In 'Toy Story 2 (2000),' the clothing on the humans was all standard form fitting that moved with the characters automatically. On 'Monsters, Inc. ,' the clothing moves independently and adds a level of realism. All of these things posed big challenges to our technical team. We had the scientists coming at it with the perfect physical simulation and yet we had to make sure that the directors got the movements they wanted from the dynamics program. "
Porter adds, "When art and science meet at Pixar, art absolutely wins. Every model we build, every surface we shade and every shot we light needs to support the art and the story itself. "
Pixar senior scientists David Baraff and Andy Witkin in the Tools Group created a new Dynamics System (using a program called "FIZT") to understand the physics of each situation and simulate the movement of the hairs and the clothing. Technical leads Michael Fong and Steve May implemented these programs and determined how to apply them to the characters. The goal was to free up the animators to concentrate on their performances and not have to worry about the fur and clothing movements. Animators typically worked with a bald or hairless version of Sulley and the other hairy beasts. In the case of Boo, the animation came first and the T-shirt was added on later by the technical team.
According to May, "For Sulley, not only did we have to model and render each individual hair - almost 3 million in all - but we had to make it move like it would in the real world. We had to dynamically simulate this movement. This meant adapting it for all lighting situations from dark to bright-lit rooms and a variety of environmental conditions including fog, snow and rain. Boo's hair presented similar challenges for our group. "
Fong adds, "Another big problem was collisions. When Sulley's running through the hall and brushing up against all sorts of things, that makes it pretty hard for us. When he goes to grab something or puts his hands together, does the hair spring back or move in reaction to what is touching it? One of the innovations we came up with allowed us to control the direction and flow of the hair along with the length. Instead of simulating every single hair, we came up with a way to indicate the movement for key hairs or representative samplings. The surrounding hairs would mimic their neighbors and give the pattern of movement that was desired. We're able to describe how each hair looks and reacts by modeling it as a link of balls and springs. We adjust the little hinges on each hair to define whether it bends or is stiff in any given area. "
Mark Henne, the technical director responsible for the research and development of the clothing in "Monsters, Inc. " notes, "It took about two years for me and the folks in the tools department to write the cloth simulation software used in the film. The challenge was trying to make a physical simulation work in a cartoon world. Boo's T-shirt had to respond to the body moving underneath it and not be distracting in any way. The factors we had to consider were the density and weight of the fabric, how gravity affects it and how quickly the folds pull out. When her body stops moving, the shirt had to stop moving as well. "
Other technical areas that added to the look and believability of the hair were the lighting and shading departments.
Rick Sayre, the film's shading supervisor, notes, "The first thing we realized in dealing with the fur was that it had to have shadows in order for it to look right. We worked back-and-forth with the lighting team to come up with a way to shade it so that lighting had control over it. Sometimes the hair would be backlit and have a transparent look to it. A program called 'Deep Shadowing' was created to help achieve this effect. "
Another breakthrough for Sayre and the shading team was in the way atmospheric effects were created. "We have a whole new system for doing fog, smoke, steam and other atmospheric shading effects," says Sayre. "We developed it for this film and its gives a marvelous sense of mood and added visual excitement to a scene. Snow was another big challenge for us. Essentially, we were able to have atmosphere in the world that was a very calculated or impossible effect prior to this. "
Jean-Claude Kalache was the lighting supervisor who played a key role in this technical breakthrough.
"Lighting a furry character is much more complex and altogether different than lighting a plastic toy. Hair and fur are really tough to light," explains Kalache. "By nature it is flat and the thing that makes it 3D is its shadows. We had to come up with a way to have every individual hair cast a shadow on a neighboring hair. Hair is generally very thin and doesn't cast a shadow at all. We had to find a way to do this in such a way that we could still render each image in an economical and reasonable amount of time.
"Another new lighting effect that we introduced in 'Monsters, Inc. ' is color ramping in which, for example, a spotlight can have subtle color gradations going from a warm yellow to a peach to an orange. You may look at a light cast on a wall and see three or four colors instead of one or two in the past. It's realistic and very stylized at the same time. On a set like the Scare Floor, where there are as many as 500 lights, this adds some real depth and dimension. With regard to fog effects, we came up with a new approach where we assume that any given place has a fog volume that you only see when you shine a light on it. Things like shafts of fog in the factory give an added element of atmosphere that helps to tell the story in a dramatic way. "
From a modeling standpoint, "Monsters, Inc. " also raised the bar in terms of technical complexity.
"The character models in this film are a big leap for Pixar and computer animation in general," states modeling supervisor Eben Ostby. "On '[Toy Story (1995)' we dealt with plastic toys and on 'A Bug's Life' we had insects primarily with hard skeletons. Here, for the first time, we're getting into a lot of organic characters and shapes with subtle movements. We have monsters and a child with flexible bodies and we had to come up with more sophisticated tools to achieve better movement.
"The characters on this film have roughly 30-40% more controls or avars in their faces than the last generation of characters, most notably Al from 'Toy Story 2 (2000),'" continues Ostby. "There are more subtle controls which allow smoother movements and a wider range of emotions. We're using a new generation of tools that are more powerful than ever before. "
One of the major new technical innovations of "Monsters, Inc. " was the creation of a new department to keep track of all the elements that go into creating a shot. Appropriately called the Shots Department, this area was placed under the supervision of Pixar veteran Galyn Susman. A team of seven sequence supervisors and 16 shots supervisors worked on her team to assemble and render every shot in the film
"Basically, what we do is unify the whole film and figure out a way to get the job done in the most expedient way," explains Susman. "For this film, we basically created a new pipeline as to how things got done. This helps ensure a flow of work to each department and avoid any mad rush or lack of inventory at the backend of the production cycle. A shot TD (Technical Director) is apprised of everything that is needed for an individual shot and works with the various departments to get it done. With all the simulation and special effects on 'Monsters' this was a really good way of keeping track of all the components needed to complete a shot and get it ready to be rendered. Being able to contact one person who at any point in time could tell you the status and requirements for a particular shot simplified life for everyone on the production. "
HE SCORES BECAUSE HE CARES: RANDY NEWMAN'S MUSICAL CONTRIBUTION TO "MONSTERS, INC. "
"Monsters, Inc. " marks the fourth feature film collaboration between Pixar and acclaimed composer/songwriter Randy Newman. His work on this film includes a delightful score using 1940s jazz and big band influences as well as an end credit tune called "If I Didn't Have You," which is sung by none other than John Goodman and Billy Crystal.
"Randy is amazing," says Lasseter. "He has this incredible sense of humor that really comes through in the music. But he also has a really big heart and a great sensitivity that also comes through. There's a lot of emotion in his music. That blend of twisted humor and emotion is really unique. On 'Monsters, Inc. ,' I think he has written his best score ever. He took the Monster World very seriously. There are real dangers here and he never talks down to the film or the audience. "
Docter adds, "Early on in the production, we looked at the film shot by shot with Randy and talked about what we were trying to achieve emotionally. One of the big things I've learned from John is that lighting and music are very important ways to communicate with the audience either on a conscious or subconscious level. Randy's music can be sweet and poignant without ever being sappy. For our film, he's created memorable themes for each of the main characters. Sulley's theme is kind of heroic while Mike's is a bit on the jazzy side with woodwinds. "
Adding to the uniqueness of Newman's score for "Monsters, Inc. " is an unusual assortment of instrumentation. Bass harmonica, an accordion, marimbas, cimbasso (cross between a tuba and a trombone), bass oboes and saxophones are a few of the items being used to give the score its offbeat sensibility.
Newman explains, "All pictures require a lot of moods, but this was a different world entirely that you had to conjure up musically. It's like the real world, with people going to work, except they're monsters. Hopefully, the score heightens the emotions and the precariousness of the dangerous situations. The Pixar films really soak up music. They're so good and you have to match the quality that they've achieved. John and Pete are about the nicest guys I've ever worked for and I have a real affection for animation and the things they do. I believe the 'Toy Story (1995)' films were about the best pictures I've done.
"The end credit song, 'If I Didn't Have You,' is about friendship and the fact that Mike and Sulley are completely reliant on one another," adds Newman. "They truly couldn't exist without one another and they know it. John Goodman sings really well and Billy Crystal is a natural performer. They brought a real sense of comedy to it and made it their own. "
Billy Crystal says, "John and I had a lot of fun singing a classic Randy Newman type song. Randy is a genius and the song really captures the relationship between Mike and Sulley. A lot of people don't know that John has actually sung in Broadway musicals. I've done a little bit of singing and we both really had a good time staying in character and singing the song. "
"Randy Newman is probably my favorite songwriter working today," adds John Goodman. "I've always been a big fan of his. His melodies are beautiful and for this film he's written a nice sweet simple song of friendship. It was a thrill to work with him. Normally, I'd be frightened to death singing one of his songs but it was just a wonderful experience to be able to do this great music. It was as easy as falling off a log and lots of fun. "
PIXAR HOME AND HISTORY
Pixar Animation Studios celebrates its 15th anniversary this year with its fourth feature release and the inauguration of an all-new facility in Emeryville, California (near Berkeley). The company has 600 employees and continues to set the standard for excellence in storytelling and innovation in computer animation technology.
Quickly establishing itself as an award-winning digital animation studio, Pixar has been responsible for almost every major breakthrough in the application of computer graphics to filmmaking. In recognition of its pioneering work in computer animation, the company and its employees have to date been awarded 13 Academy Awards®, including Oscars® for Best Animated Short Film in 1989 ("Tin Toy") and 1998 ("Geri's Game"). "Toy Story (1995)" remains the only animated film to ever receive an Oscar® nomination for Best Original Screenplay. That film also earned John Lasseter a special achievement Academy Award®.
Pixar's new 218,000 square foot studio occupies 15 acres in the revitalized and fashionable downtown Emeryville area. The site has previously been home to the Del Monte Fruit Cocktail Canning Factory, a baseball field and a horseracing track. Construction on the new studio began in 1998 and Pixar officially moved in last November. Most of the animation on "Monsters, Inc. " was completed at this location.
The building itself is made of brick with exposed interior and exterior girders. The style is representative of the "Modern Industrial Company" and has structural similarities to the Musee D'Orsay and the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D. C. The Studio boasts maple floors, a large, skylit, open foyer conducive to meetings, several state-of-the-art-screening rooms, and an outdoor amphitheater for company gatherings.
Pixar was born out of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm, Ltd. George Lucas recruited Dr. Ed Catmull (president of Pixar), then director of the Computer Graphics Laboratory at the New York Institute of Technology, to develop state-of-the-art computer technology for the film industry. Catmull's group - which included director/animator John Lasseter and William Reeves (director, animation software development) - went on to produce computer animation sequences for "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982)," "Star Wars Episode VI : Return Of The Jedi (1983)" and "Young Sherlock Holmes (1985). " In 1986, Steve Jobs acquired the division, which became Pixar and was incorporated as an independent company.