***Disclosure: I attended The #MonstersUEvent . My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney. All opinions are 100% mine. Some pictures provided by Disney.***
Being a producer of any movie sounds like hard work, but when we chatted with Monsters University Producer Kori Rae up at the Pixar Campus for the MonstersUEvent you could tell that this was a passion project for her. Check out her interview below:
KORI RAE: You know, it was, it was decided pretty early on when Pete and John and, and Dan, and, Andrew Stanton all got together when Pete started wanted to throw out some ideas for another film in the Monsters, Inc. franchise. There was, like, a two or three day offsite with them, and they were just bantering about ideas, and in that, at that off site, the idea of, a prequel, mostly just meeting Mike and Sully before Monsters, Inc. and kind of getting to know them, and how did they end up becoming who they were.
That idea was kind of born in that, at that time. So it was kind of a… Let’s go backwards, and then they just thought the college setting would be fantastic in a world that we hadn’t really explored before, so it came out back then.
Q: Now were you approached to be the producer for this or did you want to be a part of it?
KORI RAE: Yeah. The latter. As soon as I knew that it, they were thinking about it. I said I really want to work on that movie if I can. So, luckily that worked out.
Lots of questions about sequels and other jump off films:
KORI RAE: We’re so focused on getting this one done. Not a whole lot of thought has been given to anything else.
Q: Did you work on the original Monsters, Inc.?
KORI RAE: I did. I was the associate producer on that.
When asked about the crew size on Monsters University:
KORI RAE: At our peak, the crew size ramps that start small, then it ramps up, and then it ramps back down. At our peak, we’re about 260, 270. Working on the movie, just on the movie here.
So departments kind of come in and out. It’s kind of a linear process. So you have story and editorial and art up front when you’re designing and, and creating the film, and then all of the other departments come online. So, at a point probably about five months ago, we were at our peak at about 270 or so. And then it kind of ramps down.
Q: So how close are you to having the movie ready?
KORI RAE: Very, very close. We’re working on the mix right now. We have a little bit of score left to do. We have a couple of score days the end of this month. The picture will be done this week, and then all of the assembly of those bits and pieces happen, and it will have a finished product by mid mid-May.
The truth is, we back into our release date, so we’re actually right on schedule. We were scheduled to finish picture this week. Everything’s on, on schedule.
Questions about Kori’s background in education:
KORI RAE: Yeah. I majored in secondary education, in English, and I taught and coached right out of school, for a little bit. Then decided to change directions and do other things, and that led mehere to Pixar eventually after a few years. Producing is definitely a lot like teaching and coaching, I think.
Q: What did you teach?
KORI RAE: It was eighth grade English.Then I coached volleyball, softball, and basketball. All three.
Q: What made you change directions?
KORI RAE: You know, I wanted to go explore a little bit. I had been an athlete all my life. I’d been involved in, in sports and everything, and I wanted to go. I wanted to travel a little bit, and then I just wanted to, to explore other things. I did editing for a while, and, journalism and stuff like that.There was a period where I just did a whole bunch of things, and it was fantastic, ‘cause I just, I, [STAMMERS] everything. I just wanted to, to discover more. I wanted to see what else was out there. So. And then ended up here, so that worked out…
Questions about the Casting of the Film:
KORI RAE: So we cast the film even when it’s just in story reel form. That’s when we start thinking about casting the characters, and as soon as we cast them and record them, we cut it in, and, and we start working, and that’s usually in the [STAMMERS] Sometimes it’s still in the storyboard phase, and sometimes it’s in the layout stage, which is where we’re just laying out the camera. Then we have to get it all in, and locked before it goes to animation. So all of the voices are in and final, and edited in before animation. They use that to animate to. They have to have those voices in there to animate to.
Q: So they can add facial features?
KORI RAE: Yeah, and kind of just get the emotion, and get the character through the animation. The intonations that they use. It’s amazing how much you can see coming through, not even just in the facial expressions, but even in their body and their movements are all comes through the voice. Kind of what the emotion of the character is for a certain scene.
Q: What do you like working with more?
KORI RAE: Not necessarily more? The good thing is that, because our process is fairly linear, you get to spend a good amount of time in each department, and so it’s totally satisfying in that way. For this film, we were in story a lot, and I think because the, the challenges of doing a prequel were so intense. I really loved being in story on this film, and we had an incredible team dealing with the really challenging problems.
It was also a little bit new for me. As a first time producer it was the first time that I had really been in the story room every single day all day. So I really loved that part of the film. But I always love animation.My first gig on A Bug’s Life was managing the animation department. And, uh, so I, my heart is always with the animators. I love that department, and it’s where the film really comes to life, so it’s always great to go to dailies and see what people are doing when they animate a scene, and how much they, they plus it, and, make it its own thing. So that’s always great.
Sounds like being a producer is kinda like being a mom except with even more responsibility! Thanks Kori for taking time out of your busy day to chat with us!
Screaming with laughter and oozing with heart, Disney•Pixar’s “Monsters University” is directed by Dan Scanlon (“Cars,” “Mater and the Ghostlight,” “Tracy”), produced by Kori Rae (“Up,” “The Incredibles,” “Monsters, Inc.”) and features music from future Rock-and-Roll-Hall-of-Fame–inductee and award winning composer Randy Newman (“Monsters, Inc.,” “Toy Story 3”). The film opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2013, and will be shown in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.
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