Newton, Reher and Wellins Talk Disney and Pixar Shorts
When most people think Walt Disney Animation or Pixar, their minds quickly jump to their favorite animated features. Even though animated shorts may not be first and foremost on people’s minds, they continue to thrive at both studios, produced within an artistic and creative incubator where ideas are hatched and nurtured alongside new production methodologies, problem solving techniques and artistic development. The production of animated shorts is a strategic commitment, a crucial part of feature film development for years to come.
At this year’s Ottawa International Animation Festival, I was able to sit down and talk with Teddy Newton, director of Pixar’s latest short, Day & Night, Kevin Reher, the film’s producer and one of the key development executives for all Pixar shorts, as well as Dean Wellins, director of Disney’s latest short, Tick Tock Tale. We spoke at length about their own experiences developing their respective films, the role of shorts at both Disney and Pixar, how shorts get made and what value they bring to each organization.
Dan Sarto: First of all thank you. I appreciate you guys making the time to talk with me. I have some specific questions for each of you about your films, but I think people will be interested as well in learning about the broader impact of short films at Disney and Pixar, a little bit more strategic discussion about the value, the benefit, the plan, the strategy for shorts.
Teddy [Newton], can you tell us a little bit about the genesis of the story [for Day & Night]? I know that from previous discussions with short film directors at Pixar, there are different ways in which these films come about. How did your film come to get made?