John Lasseter is a creature of habit. Every workday the director of Toy Story, A Bug's Life and the soon-to-be-released Toy Story 2 leaves his office prompt at 5:30 p.m. So how does he deal with interviews scheduled for that time? Via his car phone, of course.
This begs the question: Is this car phone business a filmland affectation, or is he really so busy that he must do interviews for Toy Story 2 while on the move? Lasseter laughs good-naturedly at the seeming impertinence of the question. "I really apologize. I'm extremely pressed for time right now. I live up in Sonoma, which is about a 45-minute drive, so it's a good time to reach me. Also, setting me away from Pixar is good, because I'm pulled from all sides when I'm there, especially at this point in the film's production."
Thankfully for Lasseter and his support team, this crunch period is rapidly coming to an end. Toy Story 2 has an estimated delivery date of early October, giving them approximately a week to finish their polish on the much-anticipated sequel, which opens November 25.
"We just finalized our last FX shot." Lasseter announces happily. "Final shots are also being done in lighting and rendering. Then we start work on the post-production, then the sound work, which is being done out at Skywalker Ranch [located in San Rafael, not far from Pixar's Richmond, California location]. So, within the next week or so we should be done, at least at Pixar.
"In computer animation, you're always looking at the movie in abbreviated states – you never really get to see what the final thing is going to look like. At the end of production, you start seeing shots you worked on from the modeling stage to the layout, animation and shading. That's really when it all comes together, when it's lit and put on film. Your mouth is wide open, watching this stuff – you just can't believe how amazing it looks. Even though everybody has been working really hard and is exhausted and all that, it produces a kind of energy and excitement." […]