“Let’s tell the story about the emotions inside a girl’s head. Wonderful, let’s do that. How do we do that? We don’t know.”
(Thanks goes out to Disney Pixar for providing me with this unforgettable experience for Disney Pixar’s Inside Out. Any opinions are 100% my Inside Out lovin’ own!)
Disney Pixar’s Inside Out: From Script to Screen
Great ideas happen every day. Many of them stay just that, ideas, but some of those ideas become reality. Things like Taco Bell Breakfast and Dyed Armpit Hair could have (and probably should have) remained ideas.
Things like Nutella and Disney Pixar’s Inside Out make life better, thus needed to become reality. Without people like Ronnie del Carmen and Josh Cooley, ideas like Pixar’s Inside Out stay just that.
“One of the things that go me excited was when Pete Docter came to me and said ‘I want to make a movie about emotions’. I was like ‘Whoa! What does that even mean?’ What do they look like? What does the mind look like? How does it work? That was a great challenge. That’s what kept me coming back every day – we were going to crack this one.” – Story Supervisor Josh Cooley
The whole concept of Disney Pixar’s Inside Out went from script to screen in storyboards with Co-Director Ronnie del Carmen & Story Supervisor Josh Cooley (who was recently announced as Co-Director for Toy Story 4)! We got the chance to chat with them while at Pixar Animation Studios and it was actually really interesting!
“When we start a movie it looks like this (nothing). All we have is the concept, the whole idea. We would sit across from each other, tell stories, and start drawing whatever comes up.” – Pixar’s Inside Out Co-Director Ronnie del Carmen
Making a whole world from scratch was not an easy task for Pixar. As Inside Out Director Pete Docter said “It’s a place where we’ve all been, but never seen before” and for the past 4.5 – 5 years, Ronnie and Josh have been there. Trying to figure out the rules of Pixar’s Inside Out World, and they tried a lot of them.
“Inside Out is one of the largest tasks we have taken upon as a studio, in terms of trying to tell the story about emotions. It is so huge and original.” – Pixar’s Inside Out Co-Director Ronnie del Carmen
Pixar’s Inside Out is an hour and a half long and I agree with Ronnie del Carmen when he said they ‘could probably tell a mini-series on just this concept‘. With a movie that is this “big”, you have to contain it, and tell the story in the time you have. Ronnie remembers Inside Out Producer Jonas Rivera saying ‘I think we are going to be making the largest sets that were ever made at Pixar. Given the concept ….the mind looks endless.‘ When you see the film this weekend, you will know what they mean.
“When you look out the window of Headquarters, and are looking over the edge, you can’t see how far away it goes. It’s its own world. Imagine what else is over there and on that side over there and what other worlds can go over there. ‘Oh that will be great I wish we could go there.’ Even us as we were making it were thinking that.” – Pixar’s Inside Out Co-Director Ronnie del Carmen
For Inside Out, one drawing took about a minute and they did hundreds of drawings each day for storyboards. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to create storyboards for an animated movie? A long time ago, this whole storyboarding thing started by a man named Walt Disney.
Those storyboards are then pitched to a room full of people, for Inside Out this process happened over the course of 3 years! With a great movie, you want to make sure you keep the good parts and take away the bad parts. So, with animation, there is never a finished script until the very end.
“The way that story boards are performed, is through the story teller’s made up scenes. You find out if you care about what happened. Is it fun? Is it slow? Is it too much? Then you cut it down, edit it, and try again.” – Pixar’s Inside Out Co-Director Ronnie del Carmen
If you think about the work and time that goes into animation, in the digital age…can you imagine what it was like pre-technology?
“In the old days before digital, we would pin up our drawings drawn on paper, and stand in front of the room and pitch the story. Like a little performance. The most exclusive theater, but it’s all about the drawings. We make up the dialogue ourselves and put it in order, that’s why it’s called a sequence. We do all the voices and pitch it to the room.” – Inside Out Co-Director Ronnie del Carmen
If you were to ask me to draw the emotions inside my head, it would probably look more like the 1-10 pain chart at the Doctor’s office. Ronnie and Josh? When they draw emotions like Sadness and Joy they really think about HOW they look.
“What would Joy look like with curly hair? Big floppy ears? Sometimes we would draw some people that would inspire us later on, like Amy Poehler. We don’t write these things, we tell each other stories. Pete Docter would tell stories about Ellie, his daughter, who is the little girl in the beginning of UP. We tell each other stories we know because our kids are different ages.” – Pixar’s Inside Out Co-Director Ronnie del Carmen
A little Animator secret we learned……
“It actually helps to make faces while you are drawing. That’s how we do it. A lot of animators have mirrors around their desks so when they are drawing, they can look at themselves.” – Pixar’s Inside Out Co-Director Ronnie del Carmen
While we didn’t have mirrors or 3 years to pitch, we did get to learn how to draw Anger with Pixar’s Inside Out Story Supervisor Josh Cooley! This is the third time I have learned to draw with a Disney or Pixar Animator and each time I’m always wowed with what I end up with. When the animators break it down into steps I really feel like I can draw!
One of the things I love about Pixar’s Inside Out and have mentioned several times, is that the movie is VERY relatable. Every parent will feel like Pixar has stepped inside of their lives, inside of their heads, and put it up on the big screen.
The best part? The parent sitting on the left and the right of you in the theater feels what you are feeling. Seriously though…who hasn’t had a toddler running around the living room buck naked, climbing on furniture, and spanking their butt?!
“We get to workshop our own daughters stories, our observations, our lives as parent and kid. All those stories show up in every story session because our main laboratory for Inside Out is to go inside our own experiences as parents. We used those experiences as parents, and having daughters, and what they went through and how we felt about it. That starts our story telling and that’s why a lot of the moments in the film feel like they are every family’s story.” – Pixar’s Inside Out Co-Director Ronnie del Carmen
Do you know what one of the cool perks of being the kid of a Pixar Employee working on the hit movie of the Summer? You get the chance to screen the movie, in storyboard version, before it’s animated! They did his to see how the kids would respond to.
“We brought our kids, and friends of our kids, in for a screening. They just watched the story board version, not even animated, and they got it! They completely got it! They got the theme, they were able to name all the characters and all the islands. We were blown away. My daughter was three at the time and she was singing the Bing Bong Song. Ridiculously cute.” – Pixar’s Inside Out Story Supervisor Josh Cooley
Fun little secret, Josh’s daughter voices the young Riley on Inside Out! Plus, here’s a short Behind the Scenes Interview with Josh Cooley!
I’m pretty sure every person we spoke to at Pixar Animation Studios sang nothing but praises of Amy Poehler. How much inspiration and fun she brought to not only her character Joy but to the entire film.
“Amy was a huge influence on how to treat Joy. We were challenged with Joy because a character that is happy all the time is a challenge. With Amy, she plays it so well, and before our first recording session we walked through the script with her and she influenced the character greatly. – Pixar’s Inside Out Story Supervisor Josh Cooley
“Amy is such a great performer and writer. You have to take advantage of what they bring and what their inclination is because it feels natural, not forced. She has such genius comedic timing.” – Pixar’s Inside Out Co-Director Ronnie del Carmen
(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
Not only do they get to work with amazing people like Amy Poehler, but these guys are creating films like Inside Out that are opening up a dialogue between parent and kids, bringing us an idea that has been brought before, and learning things about themselves as well.
“My favorite character to draw was Joy. She was the very first emotion we had to figure out. It’s her experience that we follow, what she goes through, and we actually describe it this way. In the beginning Pete Docter wanted to talk about his experiences with having a daughter. Everyone wanted to tell stories about their daughters, but through all the years it ended up we were telling stories about ourselves as parents. It was a precious journey for us being storytellers and filmmakers. We didn’t know we were going to do that.” – Pixar’s Inside Out Co-Director Ronnie del Carmen
I’ve seen the first 56 minutes, went inside the mind of all the creative minds behind the movie, been wearing my Inside Out T-shirt once a week, sporting my Inside Out Tote Bag daily, ordered my Disgust POP Figure, added the Inside Out Emotions Book Set to our bookshelf, and purchased my tickets to opening day of Inside Out for me and the oldest two kids. I’m not just preaching to you to go, I’m serious.
“We get to tell stories that are incomplete every day. We walk away knowing we haven’t completed the story for the people, even the people we work with. But we are so excited to know that we get to tell that part of the story next time.” – Pixar’s Inside Out Co-Director Ronnie del Carmen
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