Ever wonder who wrote the popular San Francisco pizza line from Inside Out? Earlier this week (June 16), Pixarian Josh Cooley logged onto the popular Reddit website for a Ask Me Anything session – a Q&A style platform set up like an online press conference.
Cooley who has been with the studio since 2003 has been particularly busy lately as he was the Story Supervisor, Screenplay Writer, and Vocal Talent on Inside Out. In addition to his Inside Out credits, Cooley recently directed an Inside Out themed short film – though a title and release date have yet to be officially announced we believe it will be titled, Riley’s First Date. Below is a summary of the Q&A session.
(Question): Pixar Studios has a gift for telling stories that audiences invest with characters we truly care about, even as adults. What do you think is the key to making an audience invest emotionally in the stories you tell?
(Josh Cooley): I think one of the keys is to tell stories about characters with issues we can relate to. Pixar is a director-driven studio which means the director is creating a story that is personal to them. I think that’s a big part of it.
(Q): I understand that as a Director, you present your storyboards/animatics to the Brain Trust for loving and CANDOR, frank talk, and spirited debate. How do you handle the issue of a fellow brain trustee taking a part of your story and suggesting an idea that everyone in the room seems to love, but you(the Director) personally dislike?
(JC): Great question. The brain trust is there to help support your story and help the director find it. LOTS of ideas are brought up, good and bad. It’s left to the director to choose the best idea that they can relate to that helps them move the story forward.
(Q): How sneaky is the Pizza Planet truck in Inside Out?
(JC): VERY sneaky. It’s hidden in a very “memorable” place. wink wink nod nod…Get it…..”memorable”…….
(Q): Do you have a moment, line, or scene from any of the movies you’ve worked on that you’re proudest of, or that’s your favorite?
(JC): I wrote Anger’s line in Inside Out. “Congratulations San Francisco, you’ve ruined pizza! First the Hawaiians, and now YOU!” I was in the booth when Lewis Black recorded it and cried with laughter.
(Q): You said you started as an Intern in Story Development. What was your background prior to that?
(JC): I started as an intern on Cars in the Story department after graduating from art school. I originally was planning on being a 2D animator for Disney, but then took a story class and fell in love with storyboarding and coming up with ideas at the same time.
(Q): What classic Disney animations were inspirations to you in your career path?
(JC): I grew up obsessing over Peter Pan, Fantasia, and Pinocchio.
(Q): I’m sure you gave consideration to what a boy’s version of what an Inside Out movie would be, so what was it that sold you on the idea of exploring it from a girl’s point of view?
(JC): Inside Out was always going to be in a girl’s head. That’s how Pete Docter conceived it. And I’m glad he did. I have a 6-year-old daughter (who voices young Riley), Jonas Rivera, our producer, has daughters, Ronnie Del Carmen our co-director has a daughter, so does Kevin Nolting our editor. It was exciting telling a story about Riley growing up while watching our own kids grow up.
(Q): I am very excited to attend INSIDE OUT tonight with Fandango Events. They are doing a Q&A with some of the filmmakers is there any inside jokes or any questions I can ask that would catch them completely off guard and give them a glimpse of my superhero-like insight?
(JC): Ask Pete Docter how many sugar cookies he consumed during the making of Inside Out. If the number is less than 1,000, he’s lying.
Be sure to share your thoughts with other Pixar fans in the Pixar Post Forum.