Story 3" Disney's Circle Seven Style
With the new release of Pixar's
"Toy Story 3" Blue Ray edition came a special
bonus feature that takes a look at some of the original
artwork from Disney's Circle Seven Studios. While working
for Disney's Circle Seven, writing the Monsters Inc. 2
script, we were asked to come aboard the TS3 project and
rewrite the script. They were in a pretty serious time
crunch and we had only a couple of months to rework a lot
of the story. It was our first time writing in animation
and when we took the job we were pretty clueless as to
the politics that were driving this and all of the other
sequels at Circle Seven. We eventually began to learn
about the battle going on with the potential buyout, etc.
In spite of that, they were very serious about these
films and we certainly didn't want to be the guys who
messed up the classic Pixar films we were being asked to
write. Long story short, we finished the draft of TS3
late 2005, only to have the whole thing tossed out with
the merger/buyout of Pixar. "They will never read
your drafts, we were told. We've had projects
shelved before, so even though we had put our hearts and
souls into the two films, we just moved on. (Ironically,
we would end up working for John Lasseter a few years
later on Tinker Bell And The Great fairy Rescue". An
amazing experience, as we went up to Pixar and were
teamed with a power trio of very talented women who over
saw the film for Pixar and JL.
So, with the release of artwork on TS3 special features,
we thought it might be fun to show some of the images of
the story we were working on. Keep in mind the opening of
the TS3 that we wrote was a contemporary version of the
opening scene they would invent for their TS3.
We thought it would be cool to open the film with a
glimpse into the imagination of Andy while he played with
Woody and the gang. In our version, Andy was still a
young boy so it was not shown in the form of a video
flashback...but, like Pixar we too thought it would be
fun to see the gang in an intense, action packed
sequence...a fool if you will, like TS2. You're in a
crazy action sequence only to be sucked out of that world
when his mom calls him for lunch, it's there we find we
are really inside Andy's mind as he plays with the toys.
The idea was such a hit with the director that they
immediately began boarding the sequence and hired David
Lowery a Storyboard Artist famous for his action
sequences like in "Spiderman 2", Iron Man, etc.
We even had the same fun with the semi-truck shooting off
of a bridge only to be saved by Buzz, which TS3 did with
The story itself was beginning to take shape and we too
had a lot of fun with a scene where the toys get trapped
in a daycare facility. This was a scene originally
written by Jim Herzfeld that we punched up. Ken even made
a brief appearance in our draft, (back at Andy's house
Ken wandered into Andy's room looking for Barbie who had
recently dumped him).
The most fun we had was playing around with the different
languages and characters from the other Buzz toys shipped
back from around the world. They had all been recalled
and were in various states of disrepair/insanity. A quite
insane Zurg was the first one to introduce Buzz to his
ultimate fate of not being repaired, but sent to the toy
crusher. Much easier to just ship out a new one, than
actually repair the recalled toys.
Finally, world class Art Director, Ric Sluiter's Viz Dev
work is featured here. Ric landed on his feet after the
project was shutdown, and now works his artistic miracles
at Blue Sky Animation. Pretty obvious why, when you see
his work, see more at his blog -
Maybe we'll get around to putting up some of our
"Monsters Inc. 2 Vis Dev, when that film has its
Blue Ray release!
Finally, some lessons we've learned along the way are
that things do have a way of working themselves out.
Pixar's Toy Story 3 has turned out to be exactly what it
was meant to be and made by the people who were meant to
make it...nice to have that perspective some four and a
half years later.