Onward and upwards
PRODUCER KORI RAE TALKS 3D WORLD THROUGH THE SIX-YEAR PRODUCTION PROCESS BEHIND ONWARD
It starts with Dan and I in a room, just two of us, and we start talking about ideas. That’s when we hit upon Dan’s story and realised how powerful it was. That storyline about loss, grief and those people left in your life who support you, we both thought that could connect with a lot of people.
We bring on a head of story and slowly add a few story artists. Availability is always an issue at Pixar because we have multiple films in production at once. The goal within the first two years is creating a treatment, an outline, and then a first draft which we use to put the movie up in story reels. It’s a very skeletal crew at that point, we usually just have story, editorial and maybe a bit of art happening.
You get into a rhythm where every 12 to 14 weeks you screen the film in story reels.
We put the movie up for other creatives at the studio, with sound effects, temp music, scratch voices, everything. We do that eight or nine times over the course of the six years and get all kinds of notes from the whole studio.
Trial and error
We get all those notes, we go back to story and editorial, tear the movie down, address the notes, figure out what’s working and what isn’t, and then we spend the next ten weeks putting it back up. The entire six years is really trial and error of story, trying to catch our mistakes, and see if everything we set up in acts one and two is being paid off.
It’s not until about 18 to 24 months out from release that we start crewing up and building assets. Really only the last two years of that six is the hands-on making of the movie. We’re incredibly savvy with production at this point in our history at Pixar. What we strive to do is to spend as much time as possible on the story before we start making it.