Angus MacLane Talks Small Fry
"You get to see all the people that look like you given away to kids and presumably played with," he adds. "And even though some of the toys might end up being thrown away in the trash, display toys don't see that. All they see is that they're not being played with. And I think there's a fast-food truth to there being the coolest toy, which usually sells out really quickly, and then there are the ones that are not cool, which usually stick around a lot. So you'll see in our display, the mini-Buzz, which is the coolest one, and the Zurg belt buckle, which is the least coolest.
"I remember going to a restaurant and seeing the crown jewel in the assortment on display and asking if I could have that one, and they'd say, 'No, that's just for display.' That logic never made any sense to me since they're not going to get anymore of these toys on display. Just give the kid the display model. That's a really weird obscure joke."
Small Fry alludes to similar themes in the Toy Story universe. And Buzz has already been through this process of feeling discarded, so he's frustrated about being a part of this support group. "There are a string of problems that toys would have and a string of problems that humans would have," he continues. "In this case, the toys don't have a say in what happens to them because they're so small and powerless. And they have this ethics code of staying motionless when humans are around. And so I was riffing on that but with characters that have even less of a shelf life than regular toys."
As far as working with the new animation team up in Vancouver, MacLane says it was a great learning curve for them to learn more about the Pixar way of working while also getting acquainted very quickly with the Toy Story universe. "This had to be a short that looked as good as three feature films," he suggests. "They really rose to the occasion and it shows onscreen. They're a smaller studio, they have a great energy to them to try things out and, with more than 20 new characters, they always delivered consistently."
Bill Desowitz is former senior editor of AWN and editor of VFXWorld. He has a new blog, Immersed in Movies (www.billdesowitz.com), and is currently writing a book about the evolution of James Bond from Connery to Craig, scheduled for publication next year, which is the 50th anniversary of the franchise.