Pixar's "Cars 2" hits DVD and Blu-ray on Nov. 1, and attentive Radiator Springs fans will notice a special bonus feature, "Air Mater." The new short in the "Mater's Tall Tales" direct-to-DVD franchise is the inaugural production from the creative team at Pixar Canada, the legendary animation studio's two-year-old outpost up north.
Unlike the expansive campus in Emeryville, California, the Vancouver-based Pixar studio is a boutique annex that will focus on projects involving the studio's most famous legacy characters. NextMovie was able to tour Pixar Canada and speak to various Pixar geniuses about what inspires them to continue making critically beloved blockbusters that all audiences -- kids, parents, child-free adults -- want to watch again and again.
If you don't get the new "Cars 2" DVD, you'll be able to see Pixar Canada's second short, "Small Fry," starring Buzz Lightyear, premiering before "The Muppets" on Nov. 23.
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It's been said Pixar's not a place for the thick-skinned to work, because you're always critiquing each other's work. Is that the secret of your success?
Dylan Brown, creative director, Pixar Canada: It's all about the quality. What we need to do is make the absolute best films possible. Whether they're original short films, legacy films like we're doing here -- feature films, or sequels -- it's always got to be our best. We all work extremely hard to meet that goal together. The word collaboration is thrown around a lot, but it's a real thing here.
Rob Gibbs, director, "Air Mater": It's constant scrutiny around here. I rely constantly on feedback. I sit with John [Lasseter] for an hour going frame by frame. There's a lot of minutiae and attention to detail, and you can't be married to every frame.
Dan Fogelman, screenwriter, "Cars": Pixar taught me that collaboration only makes your work better.
What's the formula to producing movies that adults and kids will like?
Dylan Brown: People always say we make kids' films. We think of it as family entertainment as the label, but honestly we make movies for ourselves. People get this idea that when they tradition to young adulthood that they have to get rid of the "kid" part of themselves -- the playful, imaginative part ... But I play every day here at work. It's about being excited about the work, loving it, playing with these amazing tools -- that's play!
Rob Gibbs: I don't think of my audience as being a particular age, because we try to do what we think is funny. I don't set out to hook four-year-olds, but it just happens that four-year-olds find it addictive.
Dan Fogelman: People will tell me all the time, "I saw 'Tangled' for my kid, but I ended up loving it, too." Making movies that parents and adults will like is what Disney and Pixar do so well.
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How will you maintain the Pixar quality in these shorts your team is working on?
Dylan Brown: I think of them as a three-bite gourmet meal. It's only three bites, but it's the most satiating, amazing little meal you've ever had. It will leave you satisfied but also wanting more. These are shorts but they challenge our staff in so many ways.
Rob Gibbs: It's the same thing as making a feature. We're limited as to how much we can develop a gag or a joke in the shorts, because it's a situation in which it's gag, gag, gag and then we get out of it. If something's not funny, we're not afraid of taking it out, because we know the audience won't think it's funny, either.
What's your favorite animated movie?
Rob Gibbs: All of the Disney films. When I was a kid, I remember going to the theater and watching them in awe. And I also remembering running home after school to see the Looney Tunes cartoons.
Darwyn Peachy, chief technology officer, Pixar Canada: I love the Chuck Jones "Bugs Bunny" cartoons, but of Pixar's movies, mine is "Ratatouille," which ... is a favorite of foodies. I love the story, the animation, the food, that it takes place in France.