3D World

Mon­sters film school

DAN SCAN­LON RE­VEALS HOW MAK­ING MON­STERS UNIVER­SITY PRE­PARED HIM FOR THE CHAL­LENGE OF DI­RECT­ING ON­WARD

- Entertainment · Movies · Pixar Animation Studios · Dan Scanlon · Kori Rae · Onward

Se­quels can be a tough nut to crack for any di­rec­tor, pre­quels tougher still. So when Dan Scan­lon made his Pixar di­rec­to­rial de­but with a pre­quel to the beloved Mon­sters, Inc. it proved a steep learn­ing curve. “A pre­quel is a hor­nets nest in a way,” Scan­lon tells 3D World. “You get the char­ac­ters that you get and you can’t change them wildly be­cause they have to hook up to the next film.” As the film­mak­ing process got un­der­way Scan­lon came to re­alise that the art of a pre­quel is in meet­ing the char­ac­ters as dif­fer­ent peo­ple and sur­pris­ing au­di­ences with the back­story of how they got to where we saw them last.

Scan­lon worked with Kori Rae on Mon­sters Univer­sity, kick­ing off a cre­ative part­ner­ship that would con­tinue into On­ward. “I love what the movie be­came about,” he con­tin­ues, “it was a movie about the ob­sta­cles in life. It felt like some­thing I hadn’t seen a lot in movies, es­pe­cially kids’ movies. They tend to tell you that if you work re­ally hard and don’t give up then ev­ery­thing will work out, though that’s a won­der­ful mes­sage, frankly it’s not al­ways the case. Kori and I were ex­cited to make a film that would be there for peo­ple who hadn’t had that ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Mon­sters Univer­sity equipped Scan­lon with valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence ahead of tak­ing on Pixar’s first foray into the fan­tasy genre. “I learned about work­ing with the crew at Pixar,” he re­calls, “these in­cred­i­bly tal­ented artists and film­mak­ers. Go­ing into On­ward I knew what they were ca­pa­ble of and what I could chal­lenge them with. It was a cool ex­pe­ri­ence go­ing into On­ward with the con­fi­dence of hav­ing done this once be­fore.”

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