Pixar is on a winning streak, to say the least. Its animated films not only rack up large box office, they hit the cultural zeitgeist gong in a way that other studios and creators can only dream about. Last year’s Inside Out just received the Best Animated Film Oscar after winning raves not just for the usual Pixar storytelling acumen but for putting front and center the emotions of eleven year-old Riley as she adjusts to moving across country and growing up.
Of course, it’s Pixar, and that also means visual wow factor. The studio’s animators make every new film from the studio a must-see simply because the public wants to know how they topped themselves this time.
John Lasseter, Pixar’s chief operating officer, is the subject of the newest book in our Contemporary Film Directors series. Richard Neupert explores Lasseter’s signature aesthetic and storytelling strategies and details how he became the architect of Pixar’s studio style. The visionary behind Toy Story and Cars, among other classics, Lasseter remains a major force in all of the company’s films, Inside Out included. Nick Romano at Cinemablend provides a quote from Ralph Eggleston, production designer on the film:
We worked on the idea of her [the character Joy] being effervescent or sparkly for champagne bubbles, for about 8 months. And it got to the point where we couldn’t afford to do it. There was just no way. . . . None of the other characters had it, because we just couldn’t afford it. When John saw it on Joy he said, ‘That’s great. Put it on all the characters.’ You could hear the core technical staff just hitting the ground, the budget falling through the roof. But it was all good. They found a way to make it work.