In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Pete Sohn director of Elemental, will hold a one-hour live Q&A on May 15 from 9:00-10:00 PM ET, courtesy of Asians in Animation, CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment), Pixar Asiana, and Rise Up Animation. This special session will include not only the Q&A but also dive into Sohn’s background as a Korean American and his personal experiences that inspired Elemental.
All are welcome to join in the Zoom call, be sure to register for the event. Pete Sohn will be answering questions from the audience, so come prepared with some thoughts and curiosities about the film.
We will be recapping the event with the top questions and our thoughts on the event once it concludes. Don’t miss your chance to watch along and register now.
RECAP OF THE EVENT
To start the session, host Jonathan Lee introduced Peter Sohn and asked about the origins of the story. As we’ve heard previously, Peter covered the beginnings of the movie and how it was rooted in his own life as a child of immigrants.
Interestingly, his parents didn’t see the vision of a career in the arts, but his Father talked with someone working on the 1980s cartoon, The Real Ghostbusters and realized that you could make an honest paycheck making art.
STEVE JOBS STORY
Pete told a funny story while talking to Steve Jobs after the Ratatouille release party, and Peter said, “Wow, it’s great what Brad Bird was able to do with this film, right?” (alluding to the change of Directors on the film). Peter said that Steve spoke sternly to him (afraid he was going to get fired) about how Brad didn’t do all this himself. It took a team of people that worked together to make the film happen.
Peter tried to note that it was not what he meant, but Steve moved the conversation to introduce his Son, Reed. Peter said that among that statement, he now knows the weight of what Steve was saying, and he sees all the faces of the artists that worked on Elemental to make it what it is today.
TIPS FOR FUTURE DIRECTORS/ARTISTS
When asked about some tips for future artists and directors, Pete noted that you need to be open and honest. You need to know what fuels you and your characters, staying focused on the priority of the film. The film is everything you so need to put your own feelings after the needs of the film. You should always be open to receiving honest feedback.
Surround yourself with people that are willing to give you feedback that could lead to a better film if you listen. You don’t always have to take the feedback, but you need to be open enough to take it, process it, and decide what to do with it.
As an artist, so much of your work and feedback rely on your drawing or the acting that you bring to a character. As a director, you have to learn how to bring your art to a communicative format so you can convey your vision to the others making the art. He noted how hard this is, and sometimes he would sketch and communicate at the same time.
When asked if there was something he wishes he could tell his younger self, he wished he didn’t try and keep his early drawings to himself and hide them away from the embarrassment of them being “bad” or “wrong”. He wishes he got better at being vulnerable and taking criticism from those that could offer him thoughtful feedback earlier.
His first foray into vocal acting was when Brad Bird asked him to voice a mugger with a New York accent in The Incredibles. Yup, this character (the scene takes place approximately 4:40 into the film).
When he’s voicing a character, he’s just trying to stay present in the performance and give what the director is asking for. With Sox from Lightyear, It was a little more challenging for him. Typically, he voices a character with one motivation and delivery style. With Sox, he had to deliver his lines with the militant pacings of a droid but also offer a caring side that legitimately wanted the best for Buzz.
Thanks to Peter Sohn and all of the wonderful organizations and groups that put this together. We loved listening along.
Check out even more about Elemental on our site and get ready for it to hit theaters on June 16, 2023.