Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich, the filmmakers behind Coco discuss the process of creating an epic animated story with Pixar
Coco is the latest film from Pixar, the studio behind cinematic greats such as Toy Story, The Incredibles and Wall-E. Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich, who have both worked on other Pixar projects including the critically revered film, Toy Story 3, teamed up to write and direct Coco. With beautiful visuals and a complex and emotional message, Coco is a film that underscores the importance of family, and cherishing the time we all have with the ones we love. Adrian and Matthew sat down in our Main Theatre with Jeff Goldsmith, the producer of The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith, to discuss the development of the film, and how creating an animated movie is different from live-action. Below is a select number of moments from the Q&A. For the complete interview, visit Jeff Goldsmith’s podcast page.
On timing the release of the film with the winter holidays.
“We wanted to get the film out for people to be able to experience it during the holiday.”
In reference to whether they went to school for filmmaking, Adrian’s response was succinct.
“I went to school for theatre at UCLA.”
Every filmmaker gets their start somewhere. For Adrian Molina, he had the good fortune of landing early employment at Sundance Film Festival.“My first job after school was working for Sundance. I feel very fortunate to have started my career at such a storied organization.”
Co-writer Matthew Aldrich’s education comprised of the visual side of storytelling.
“I went to Cal Arts for character animation.”
Creating the story of Coco was a delicate balance between imagination and honoring the stories and folklore of Mexican customs. It took Adrian and Matthew some time to hone in on the tale they wanted to tell.
“The original idea for the film was different from the holiday, and it took some time to find what it was truly about, which got us both very excited.”
Luckily, when they were pulled into the project, both Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich had amassed an incredible amount of experience while working on other Pixar projects.
“I started on Coco in 2012, after having worked on Toy Story 3.
Being writers, scheduling work can be a challenge.
“I drop my kids off at school, and go to work. I work until 1, take two hours off, and am back to work writing by 3.”
When asked for advice on how to meet writing goals, their advice is simple.
“Deadlines are so helpful.”
The chief conflict in a film has to drive the protagonist to go through a change. Adrian and Matthew both shared their ideas on what drives multidimensional characters.
“It can’t just be physically challenging in the middle of the film. It has to be emotionally challenging.”
We would like to thank Aaron Sorkin and Jeff Goldsmith for an exceptional Q&A.
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