Pete Docter recently sat down to chat with Hector Navarro of the Nickelodeon Animation Podcast and discussed his journey into animation, the early days of Pixar, and much more regarding the story and animation process.
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In the episode, Pete dives into his love for animation — specifically calling out flipbooks which should come as no surprise since he was the creator of Nine Old Men: The Flipbooks (and the forthcoming Nine More Old Men: The Flipbooks).
One particular thoughtful moment was when Pete dove into the topic of constraints. He told a story of when he asked a group of children to broadly come up with a story — he joked you could hear crickets in the room. Follow that up with another visit with the same group of children where he offered them short subjects, a brief description, and a location — the stories were amazing at that point.
“If you can do anything, then you don’t know what to do. But, if you are limited, there are constraints on you, and sometimes the greatest things come out of that.” It’s a relatively straightforward idea, but the concept of finding a way to get people’s minds in the state you want them to be in can make all the difference.
The 30-minute interview wraps with Pete chatting briefly about Coco and Toy Story 4 (although no new details were revealed), as well as some additional insight into what he believes his mainstay of animation is.
He notes that although the story is paramount, he feels it goes a bit deeper and that it’s the relationships between the characters that really allow audiences to get invested in a film. When Pete was asked what advice he would give to himself when he was 21 years old (Pete’s age when starting at Pixar), he said that he would draw more — you can never draw enough. Great advice from a great director.
Additionally, be sure to listen to our conversation with Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera as part of the Pixar Post Podcast Episode 035 (regarding Inside Out), or Episode 053 (regarding their acknowledgment at the Autism Festival).