Question: Correct me if I’m wrong, but when you’re pitching a Pixar movie, you have to come up with three different ideas …
And then you go with the best one, right?
What was it about this concept that really appealed Pixar?
DOCTER: We were finishingUp and I [came] up [with] three ideas and pitched them and John [Lasseter]’s like, ‘Well, okay. Keep working on this and, you know, maybe steer that way,’ and then it was a couple of weeks later I came up with this one and pitched it to him and he agreed that we should just focus on this one exclusively. So it didn’t really come out of the three. Most of the stuff we do is slightly outside of the normal sort of operating procedure.
RIVERA: I think to your point it was, at least for me, because when you pitched it to me and I saw John sit forward at about the same time, there was just a lot of promise in it. John’s always looking for worlds that seem somehow familiar but have been untapped to the audience, which is easy to say and hard to find and you had a great way – I don’t remember it exactly, but it was based on the observation of your daughter and so kind of right out of the shoot, ‘Okay, it’s coming from truth and observation,’ and you said something along the lines of, ‘What if we told the story of a little girl that’s growing up or something but she’s not the main character, she’s the setting.’ That felt new. That felt like a doorway in, and that’s what John craves, and we all do. There was not a ton more other than the personified emotions in the mind and so forth, and it felt like enough of an arena that at least John was confident this was really great, to let us try to plow that.
You knew it was going to be very complicated and have a lot of moving parts, so was being able to say, ‘Okay, now we have to do it,’ daunting at all?
DOCTER: Well at the beginning it was the delusion of, ‘Oh, this one’ll be easy, right? I know the other ones were hard, but this one we’ll figure it out right away,’ and then it doesn’t last very long before you realize, ‘Oh, okay. This is actually gonna be…’ I think in the end this one’s turned out to be the most difficult project I’ve ever worked on, for many reasons.
RIVERA: Yeah, it really was. It’s just so fragile. It was one of those things where it was a great concept, it was a great idea, and that’s a huge success when you’re developing something, but then it stayed there, it stayed at that stage for a long time. As we started to write and board and we’d have a screening of just our story reels and the brain trust of Andrew [Stanton] and Brad Bird, and everyone would get together, but we noticed they’re still saying the word ‘concept.’ The movie would end like, ‘This is a great idea!’ [Actually], we need it to be a movie. It just took a little more labor and, I think, fine-tuning to get it there.
It was mentioned earlier that one of the reasons it took so long with Brave was the technical aspects. In the case of Inside Out, what do you attribute the longevity of the project to?
DOCTER: Well, it was pretty much the same time schedule as Monsters and Up, so it seems to kind of take between four and a half and six years for all the films. This was kind of right in the middle, about five.
RIVERA: Yeah, it was pretty stable, actually. Most of the time, as per norm, is in story.
DOCTER: I remember we were saying, if we somehow got a perfect script from heaven, we could probably make it in about 16, 18 months.
RIVERA: Yeah that’s where they all come from, by the way.
DOCTER: Yeah, from heaven. [Laughs]
RIVERA: No matter how you overlay these movies, it’s about 12 months to animate a movie, seven or eight months to light it and so forth, so it’s really the planning, the two and a half years …
DOCTER: Yeah, figuring out what movie it is we’re making. Because I always thought, growing up I had this idea, when you watch the movies it feels as though the writer or the creator just like, [laser sound effect], it all came to life at once, and the truth is, it’s a weird, lumpy discovery process. So you have this little bit and then you add that, add over here and then that doesn’t belong and you move things around, so it’s a really organic, messy process and that takes time to kind of sort through.
Read the remaining questions from the article on Collider's site!