Live-Action Toy Story: Profile

Yesterday, I posted about an incredible feat of ingiuity and dedication: a shot-for-shot recreation of Pixar’s first feature-length animated film Toy Story.  It was so incredible and I was so impressed that I had to reach out to the film-makers themselves to figure out how and why they did it.  They were gracious enough to answer the few questions I (and apparently a bunch of other blogs around the interweb) had for them regarding the film:

Remain Seated Please: What inspired you to pull off such a daunting task of recreating a feature-length pixar film, shot for shot?

 Jesse Perrotta:  I think part of what started the fire in us to make us want to do this was the release of Toy Story 3. The months following the movie’s release, we were in constant Toy Story mode, haha. Also, we wanted make something that would be historical (the first shot-for-shot recreation of an animated film in live action.) Nobody did it before, and we wanted to be the first!

RSP: How long from start to finish did this take?

Jesse: Without counting preparation, it took us almost 2 years to the day (August 2010 to August 2012).

RSP: What film making inspiration did you have (outside of Toy Story, obviously?)

Jesse: It’s hard to think of another answer besides Toy Story, haha. I wasn’t really inspired to do it but anything else

Jonason Pauley: I was also inspired by the kids in the 80s who re-made Raiders of the Lost Ark, the guys who re-made the Goofy Movie song in a similar way… I just loved watching shot-for-shot type low budget re-makes (Be Kind Rewind would have been better if they had more of those type of scenes.)

RSP: What was the most difficult sequence to shoot? 4.) what did you edit this in?

Jesse: I would say the hardest scene was the shot after Buzz jumps on Scud’s face, when Scud is trying to shake Buzz of while the camera is moving away from them. It took us countless takes until Scud finally did what he was supposed to do.

Jonason: For the most part, shooting all day we completed about a minute of the film, but it seemed to take twice as long for the chase scene. Also, working with kids and Scud wasn’t too easy either. It was fun, just not easy.

RSP: What did you shoot this on (camera type?)

Jonason: I filmed with just a normal consumer camcorder. Panasonic HDD (that’s not High Def Delux, that’s Hard Drive Disk)

RSP: What program did you use for editorial?

Jesse: We edited the movie on Adobe Premiere Pro.

Jonason:  I did the majority of the editing, like Jesse said, on Adobe, but you, Jesse, edited a scene in Vegas.

RSP: Did you have any “technical advisors” or was a lot of it improvised between the two of you? (ie – stop motion stuff, marionette, puppetry, etc?)

Jesse: It was pretty much all on-the-spot decisions. (e.g., “I can’t get his arms to do what I want. let’s use the wire.”, or, “This shot’s so hard to do! Let’s film it backwards!”) Also, Jonason’s dad would sometimes be around and give us some tips on how to accomplish a certain scene.

Jonason: A.D. is credited as “Technical Expertize” because he resurrected my computer from the dead to a zombie-like state once.

RSP: Is film production a dream of yours?

Jesse: I can answer this for both of us… yes! We definitely want to have careers in film-making. I, personally, would love to compose music for films and television shows.

Jonason: I want to make good movies.

RSP: What’s next for you two?

Jesse: I’m planning on riding this Live Action Toy Story success train for a while, and see where it takes me. I’m also going to be working on a new series called Billy and Chucky (it’s a puppet show.)

Jonason: I’m going to school for a film degree and it doesn’t really matter to me what I do, as long as I have a part in making movies and videos that people will enjoy as much as I do. For now, more internet stuff.

RSP: What has the reception been like? 5.5M* views in just 5 days is unheard-of!

Jesse: I’m so amazed to see how much this movie has been getting attention these past few days! We’re not just popular on Youtube, but it seems like we’re showing up everywhere on the internet! It’s really exciting, and it feels so rewarding to know that people are enjoying it, and watching it with their families

Jonason: I am amazed at how well received it has been as well.

*6.3M as of today!

I had never done an interview before this one but these kids and their project inspired it. Very inspiring seeing what they pulled off and from their points of view, it’d appear that it was also very rewarding.

As I went on and did more homework on these kids, I learned that they took a trip to Emeryville, California with no promise (or success as far as I could tell) of getting in but just to hand out DVD copies of the film to Pixar employees and they were met with a smile from security who seemed to be expecting them.  Although Pixar has a history of never commenting on fan-projects (because then we would all do fan-projects), they have received accolades from a few Pixar insiders including Lee Unkrich, director of Toy Story 3!

It also turns out that these are the same kids behind the live-action Toy Story 3 finale released last year which is what first gained the interest of Unkrich as well as 2.6M other viewers since it was released.

These kids have two major viral hits on their hands and we here at Remain Seated Please are glad to be in their corner early-on!  To the next few-million hits!