Director, Monsters University Key moment of inspiration: All we knew was that we loved Mike and Sulley’s relationship in the first film, and we wanted to do something that would delve into that further. That’s where the idea of going back in time came from, the best way to get to know these characters and understand their relationship on a deeper level was to watch the relationship develop. This lead to the idea for Mike’s story, the chance to tell a story about a character that doesn’t get everything they want in the end and how disappointments like that can lead to something better. We felt like we’d rarely seen that in film, and that excited us! Biggest challenge in making the movie: The story is tough on every film, and this was no exception. The prequel nature of the film made it even harder. With a prequel, people already know how things will end up for your characters, so your job is to reveal something deeper about how and why they ended up where they did. Fave animated character of all time: I’ve always liked Woody from the Toy Story films, he’s a flawed leader, he’s selfish at times but in the end he always choses what’s best for everyone. State of the toon business: There are a lot of studios making animated films now which makes it harder to stand out, but I think that’s a good challenge for all of us to continue to try harder to find great stories and create new original characters and worlds. Career beginnings: I loved to draw, and I loved films and TV. I made flip books when I was young and eventually got a Super 8 camera and started animating everything I could find. Best advice: Keep moving forward. I don’t remember who it came from, I feel like I’ve heard it from a lot of filmmakers throughout the years, but it’s important advice. Don’t let yourself wallow on something too long, keep moving forward, keep your momentum even if you don’t have all the answers, and finish what you start.