Michael Arndt, screenwriter of the awesome summer hit Toy Story 3 (and Little Miss Sunshine)! Mary Coleman, Senior Development Executive for Pixar Animation Studios! Emily Zulauf, Creative Development Associate for Pixar Animation Studios! All gathered together under the roof of the 2010 AFF and Conference, October 21-24!
We’ve got some terrific panels in the works, including one on Pixar’s Story Development Process and another on Writing for Animation. Where do the ideas for animated features come from? How do animation studios find writers? How do they work with them?
To hold us over until October, we’ve got a few more viewings of Toy Story 3 and the below interview with Emily Zulauf.
AFF: How did you get involved in development at Pixar? What’s been your career path?
EZ: It’s been a little random! I was in LA right after college, but northern California always felt more like home. I worked for an agency in LA, small production companies in Chicago and San Francisco and finally got in at Pixar as a temp.
AFF: What is your day-to-day work like at Pixar?
EZ: I do a bunch of reading for writer/director matches and research for our in-development projects. Our department handles a lot of stuff, including short films, so there is always something going on.
AFF: What projects are you currently working on?
EZ: I can’t talk about any of them! I’d like to keep my job!
AFF: Will there ever be a Monsters, Inc. 2?
EZ: There will be! And they have a great team working on that. I’m definitely looking forward to it.
AFF: Photographs online make Pixar Studios in Emeryville, CA look like some magical office dream. Does that place really exist?
EZ: Yes. I have a chocolate river in my office. It makes it very hard to concentrate.
AFF: Advice for up-and-coming screenwriters?
EZ: We give a LOT of feedback at Pixar, which is hard for some writers. For a work environment like ours, I’d say learn to love that process – if you can embrace it, it will only make your writing better.
AFF: Does Pixar develop all of their story ideas and scripts in-house, or do they ever accept submissions from agents? If yes to the latter, have there been any films produced thus far that came from ‘outside’ Pixar?
EZ: Everything here is director driven, including the ideas. So, nope, we don’t take ideas from outside. That said, we do hire writers from the outside and once they are on board, they are instrumental in helping the director achieve his or her vision.