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We headed to Pixar to get an inside look at Inside Out 2!

The two-day exclusive event featured a step-by-step process of how the sequel was being made.

We found ourselves in Emeryville, California (just outside of San Francisco) a few weeks ago at Pixar Animation Studios.

It wasn’t our first time visiting, but let’s say that we were once again very happy to stop by the otherwise closed-to-the-public studio to get a first look at their new feature- Inside Out 2.

One could say that we got an inside look, but it was much more than that, with two days filled with seeing the first 30 minutes of the sequel film, a fancy dinner reception at the studio, and intimate group sessions with Pixar artists showing us their process in creating the film, step-by-step.

Like really. We effectively know the pipeline and process of how Pixar films get made.

So we thought it might be really cool if we shared that process through interviews and experiences we did with those artists who worked on Inside Out 2 for the past few years. And now, by subscribing to this newsletter, you will get to really go inside this upcoming Pixar film before it’s release in theaters on June 14, 2024.

We’ll be doing this through multiple parts with multiple newsletters over the next few weeks, so let’s start this first newsletter at the very beginning of the process that started with director Kelsey Mann.

Old Birthday Pictures

When Pixar’s chief creative officer Pete Docter talked to his colleague Kelsey Mann about doing a sequel to his Academy Award-winning 2015 film, Mann was quick to begin that process of exploring the beginnings of its story.

“My research began like how many of our Pixar films begin- with ourselves,” said Mann, who eventually found himself looking through old family photos.

Director of Inside Out 2 Kelsey Mann (L) and director of Inside Out and Pixar’s chief creative Pete Docter (R)

I noticed a trend in a lot of my childhood birthday party photos,” he continued, pointing out that his smile started disappearing in those photos as he got older. “I realized looking back that maybe the magic of my youth and those smiles stopped because of what a lot of kids go through as they move into adulthood, and that’s becoming self-aware.”

He immediately connected that realization to the main character of the original Inside Out film, Riley, and how he wanted to continue her story- and the emotions that live inside her.

“When you become self-aware, you can bet that there are a whole new set of emotions that come about. It’s in that we had the start of our movie- Riley becoming a teenager and with it, becoming self-aware and experiencing new emotions as a result. Doesn’t that sound fun?,” quipped Mann referring to the craziness of being a teenager.

That craziness is felt through the first 30 minutes of the film that we saw. After quickly going through a voiceover from Joy in a recap of what Riley and the emotions in Headquarters have experienced since the first film, we quickly get introduced to those new personified emotions in this sequel:

  • Embarrassment

  • Envy

  • Ennui (French for ‘the boredom’)

  • and Anxiety

Those four emotions join the existing ones including Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Fear in Riley’s head. With a fuller ensemble of characters, Mann mentioned it was somewhat difficult to narrow down what emotions to include in the movie, but opted with those with help from some experts.

“Part of the deeper research we did was talk to psychologists and doctors who specialize in caring for teenagers and their mental health,” said Mann, adding that each of those new emotions often react or interact with those core emotions very well (e.g. there’s a joke in the film that has Fear saying that he would be best friends with Anxiety).

New emotions!

In the next edition of the DE newsletter, we’ll explore the next step in the animation pipeline for Inside Out 2- storyboarding and editorial. How do you take heady existential concepts like emotions (and the new narrative device called Sense of Self) into an entertaining movie?

Make sure to check your inbox soon for all that soon!

What you should also know this week

  • Tiana’s Bayou Adventure aka the re-themed Splash Mountain water log attraction will be opening this summer at Walt Disney World resort and later this year at Disneyland Resort. Check out the new Audio-Animatronics that will be coming to the attraction.

  • DisneylandForward, the much talked about expansion plan that will probably include an Avatar-themed land at the Disneyland Resort, will have its final vote for approval by the Anaheim City Council this evening.

  • The first open world Star Wars game, Star Wars Outlaws, shared its first trailer that confirms that its narrative takes place between the events of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. The game is due out in August 2024.

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