It’s not everyday you the opportunity to tour Pixar Animation Studios and meet some of the talented team behind incredible animations such as Inside Out and Lava. Read on to learn more about Pixar’s Inside Out and the short Lava coming out June 19.
Pixar Animation Studios Tour
As cool as it would be, and is, to tour Pixar Animation Studios, not just anyone gets to go inside the gates. I was fortunate enough to tour the facilities with 24 other bloggers on this trip before sitting down to chat with Inside Out Director Pete Docter and Producer Jonas Rivera and Lava Director James Ford Murphy and Producer Andrea Warren. Talk about cool. I’ve seen every Pixar film, so for me, this was one heck of a bucket list item.
Interview with LAVA Director James Ford Murphy & Producer Andrea Warren
We saw the new animated short LAVA and chatted with Director James Ford Murphy & Producer Andrea Warren about the short and the creative process. You can only see new animated short Lava when see when you see Inside Out. I want to tell you all about it, but I can’t. So you’ll just have to wait and see it for yourself on June 19.
Producer Andrea Warren talked about how they’ve shown the short Lava at a few film festivals and other places. “It’s always been a pleasure to do that, so I will warn you that what you’re about to see is an image of an extreme Tropical Nature. You may feel inspired to take a Hawaiian Vacation and we will not be held responsible for that.”
Director James Ford Murphy talked to us about the pitch process for Short Films at Pixar. Anyone can pitch, but you can’t pitch just one, you have to pitch 3. He always wanted to create stories about things that he really loved and things that he connected with emotionally.
On his love of Hawaii
James: Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had this tremendous fascination with Hawaii and Volcanoes, as I think most kids do. I was a huge Elvis Presley Fan, 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.
About 15 years ago, my wife and I were watching an episode of “ER” that featured a very recognizable song that I had heard and knew from the “Wizard of Oz,” but I’d never heard a more hauntingly beautiful rendition of this song, it literally floored me. 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 and feature it in a Pixar Short?’
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 hear featured in the film and every single time I pitched, I would sing and play the Ukulele, which I will do for you right now. So this is my first few verses and the Chorus.
And James sang and played for us. Which was amazing!!
A long, long time ago, there was a Volcano living all alone, I never did see. He sat high above his bay watching all the couples play and wishing that he had someone too. And from his lava came this song of hope that he sang out loud every day for years and years.
I have a dream I hope will come true that you’re here with me and I’m here with you. I hope that the Earth, Sea, and Sky up above will send me someone to love.
James: For 1 year, all I did was listen to Hula music because I pitched the idea that it would be sung by traditional Hawaiian Singers. So I searched and I listened to every single singer that was available in Hawaii, and in doing so, I found out about a Music Festival and an Awards Festival. It’s called the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, and it’s the Grammy Awards of Hawaiian Music. Every single person I’m interested in was there, and this would be our opportunity to see, meet, and hear all of these wonderful Musicians.
Not only did we come away with the two musicians that you’ll hear in the film—Kuana Torres Kahele from Jilo and Napua Greig from Maui—but we left with this new understanding and this new responsibility that dealt with this tremendous culture and this sense of Aloha that they speak of, and this sense of family and this sense of place. And all these things were like, ‘Oh My God, can we get all these things into the Film?’
I think the peak for us in terms of inspiration was going to be a part of that. And then we were lucky enough to screen it at the Hawaiian Film Festival this year.
I lava it! You’ll have to see it for yourself on June 19.
On the names
James: Uku is the Lava Volcano [male character] and Lele is the female character. And then together, they’re the Island of Ukulele.
It sounds like Mono Uku would be the Mountain Uku and Mono Lele would be the Mountain Lele. And actually, we’ve done Postcards that are actual places, Mono Uku and Mono Lele and then together they’re the Island of Ukulele.
On the singers
James: Kuana Torres Kahele [voice of Uku] and Napua Greig [voice of Lele] were hand picked. They’re wonderful, and it turns out that they actually grew up together and they were in Hula School together as kids. They call themselves ‘Hula Brothers and Sisters.’
They were partners and they were both pulled out at a very young age to be singers, and so it was just fantastic because we recorded Kuana on the first day and he did all the narration, and then the second day he did the Volcano parts and then they sang together, I think it gave them such natural, wonderful chemistry when we were in the studio together. They were having so much fun between takes and were talking about each change and how they wanted it to be. They were laughing and we just had a great time.
Here’s the brand new Pixar Inside Out trailer for you! Pixar Inside Out is in theatres June 19.
Pixar Inside Out Trailer
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INSIDE OUT opens in theatres everywhere on June 19th!
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