Back in January I got the opportunity to visit Pixar Studios, just east of San Francisco in Emeryville, CA. The campus itself is gorgeous with iconic pieces such as Sully & Mike from Monsters, Inc and the Pixar Lamp – a giant replica of the white table lamp in the logo.
There’s even an awesome life-sized LEGO Woody from Toy Story!
While there I got to chat with the creators of Pixar’s new film Inside Out (Director Pete Docter and Producer Jonas Rivera), as well as the creators of the Pixar short Lava (Director James Ford Murphy and Producer Andrea Warren).
Lava (Pixar Short)
The animated short Lava is a musical love story that takes place over millions of years about a lonely volcano named Uku who sings a love song as he yearns for love from another. Does he find love or will he sink back into the ocean?
James Ford Murphy has had a passion for the Hawaiian culture that started many years ago. “Ever since I was a kid,” he says, “I’ve had this tremendous fascination with Hawaii and volcanoes as I think most kids do. I was a huge Elvis Presley Fan and I think Elvis had a fascination with Hawaii and I was exposed to that but it wasn’t until my wife and I got married and we went to the big island for our Honeymoon that I really fell in love with Hawaii, volcanoes, and particularly Hawaiian Music”.
One thing that particularly inspired him was Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole’s beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
“I could believe the power and the beauty of that song. So then when it came time for me to come up with an idea for a short film I thought, well I have this love of volcanoes and this love of Hawaii and Hawaiian music, what if I could write a song that makes me feel the way that that song did when I first heard it. So that’s what I set out to do. And as I developed the idea, the story, and the pitch for Lava, I also wrote this song that you’ll see featured in the film and every single time I pitched, I would sing and play the Ukulele.”
James played the song from LAVA for us with his ukulele and you can feel the passion and love he had for it. Another thing I will say is that the animation is SPECTACULAR. When you see it watch at how lifelike the sea creatures are.
LAVA plays before Pixar’s Feature Film Inside Out, opening everywhere June 19, 2015.
Inside Out is a new Pixar feature film about those little voices in your head. Here’s the latest trailer:
Pete Docter says the premise was thought of when his daughter became a preteen:
When my daughter Ellie turned 11 and 12 and things changed a little bit, she got quiet. We talked to her teachers who’d say, “Ellie’s a quiet girl.” And we’d say, “Who are you talking about?” You go through a difficult time, both from the kid’s point of view and the parent’s point of view.
And that was really the origins of this film, is trying to figure out what’s going on inside her head.We had this idea of using emotions as our main character – Anger, Fear, Sadness, Disgust and Joy. And, what that lead to was this great research that we got to do talking to psychologists and neurologists, and really deep dive into how and why we think and feel. A lot of that research has shown up in the film.
This is a first – a movie for kids and adults alike that really shows how the minds and emotions work. It’s all about who’s driving and who you allow to drive.
Riley (the girl in the film) has new friends, new surroundings. What happens along the way is that Sadness starts to become more and more pushy, and start to get in the way. And Joy is wanting to make sure that her kid stays happy, and so she tries to relegate her to the side. Things, tensions escalate, things get worse and worse to the point where both of them end up getting sucked up out of that tube and sent out of headquarters, way out into long term memory. So that means the only emotions that are driving, are disgust and fear and anger, which may explain some things about teenagers.