“Share your toys!” Who never listened to this phrase in your childhood or even spoke it to your children? This is the plot of the short film Lou from Disney-Pixar that premieres before the new animation Cars 3, which will open on June 16.
From director Dave Mullins and producer Dana Murray, Lou tells the story of a lost and found box of toys that has its own life. Lou himself is a kind and invisible monster who takes care of this lost and found box of a pre-school, which contains all kinds of toys, games, balls, incompatible objects and among other stuffs. Lou keeps an eye on the playground area and ensures that everyone is reunited with the treasures they once lost – even those who did not notice that they were separated from something so precious. During the long lead press day at Pixar Animation Studios, a group of journalists and I had the opportunity to hear from Dave Mullins and Dana Murray how it was the process to put this wonderful short together.
Dave has worked on many Pixar animations, including Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., The Incredibles and Ratatouille. He worked as directing animator on Up and supervising animator on Cars 2. He also contributed his animation skills to Brave, Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur. On the other hand, Dana was a lighting coordinator for Cars and held a variety of department manager positions on feature films Ratatouille, Up and Brave. She also served as production manager for Inside Out.
Dave shared that since 2005, he started pitching different short film ideas. Nothing stuck until he started thinking back to his childhood and got personal and explained how and when Lou was born, “when I was a kid I moved around a lot…I was always the new kid and it was tough leaving old friends behind every year and having to make all new ones. At times being the new kid made me feel invisible…So I thought about that experience and it gave me an idea for an invisible character that could hide in plain sight at a school and longed to be accepted by the other kids”.
Dave and Dana shared how Lou’s story transformed throughout the animation process. “By continuing to work on the story we found some humor and entertainment that was missing from the original version of the film. In the end, we stayed with the original idea but we learned some things. It was a great lesson in being open to radically different ideas because at Pixar the best idea always wins”, stated Dave during the long lead press day at Pixar Animation Studios.