How shorts are made at Pixar + Lou in Cars 3 in theaters now!

Learning how shorts are made at Pixar

Remember a few weeks back when I headed out to Pixar headquarters? On this all expense paid trip I learned so much about how films are made. They actually take the time to teach us what it is that they look for. I thought I’d share with you what I learned about how shorts are made at Pixar. 

Lou learning how shorts get made at Pixar

I love going on these trips. We are taught so much about the art of making movies. Here’s a shot of us learning from Dave and Dana. 

What’s it take to make a movie short at Pixar?

There is so much that goes into making a movie or a movie short. Pixar films have very specific ingredients. Pixar films have heart, entertainment, setting and animation. Heart meaning the main characters flawed and experiences personal growth. Entertainment meaning the story has to be unpredictable and funny. Setting meaning the film needs to transport the viewer or audience to some place that is exciting and new and animation meaning the film must be called to be animated and must use animation’s full potential. 


Pixar films take notes lots and lots of notes to get the film to finished.

Dana Murray the producer of Lou states this: 

So this meant we had to go back to the drawing board and rework the entire story from scratch. The wonderful thing about Pixar’s culture is that it cultivates telling good stories but with that comes notes, lots and lots of notes. A huge part of my role was partnering with Dave to figure out which notes we were going to use to make them better and which notes we needed to let go of. So what we thought we knew about filmmaking was completely wrong. This is a lot more accurate. Story is never done.
Lou the short film on cars 3

How Mom ends up in the film!

Dave Mullins the director tells the story of how his mom ends up in the film.
 Lou wasn’t even a traditional character. He was all of this stuff. We had to figure out a way to build him so that the animators could actually move him without going crazy.We needed to turn this stuff into this. We decided that everything would need to be animated by hand, so there’ s no computer shortcuts or simulations that we ran to make this character feel alive. It is fully animation. And believe it or not this is actually the simplest solution. I still have animators cursing my name to the state because of it. At Pixar we love these types of challenges and the animators were totally up to the task. At this point we turn to the fantastic sculptor, Jerome Ranft, to sculpt JJ. And here’s a little secret about JJ, his initials stood for Joyce Jean, which is my mom’s full name. My mom called me on this and said did you think I was a bully? I was like no mom I just wanted to have someone immortalized in the film in the film that I loved. Not somebody that I didn’t. I had my bully’s initials on the board at one point and I’m like why am I putting that guy’s name in here. But my mom is great.
Isn’t that a great story! I love how he put his mom in there instead of his bully. 
meet JJ and how he got his name


On making the score for Lou and wrapping it up!

Dave spoke. 
We need a score that would reflect the quirky qualities of Lou in this world so we chose. Christophe Beck as the composer for Lou. Chris had this quirky sensibility about his music and we knew that he would fit the film perfectly. Chris and I worked on Lou’s theme and I wanted something that was hummable as all my main favorite themes are. We landed on that bum bum bum. And then once we had that theme, Chris came up with a really cool idea. Sothese are all the percussionists. There were 14 of them in a circle and what Chris had them do
was each one would play one note at a time and it went around in a circle like that. So they weren’t actually playing music all at once, they were just playing once at a time. So it sounded something like this. We were overjoyed with how the score turned out. It was quirky just like Lou and had a lot of heart. So we headed to Skywalker Sound where you create the sound effects and mix the music. At the end of summer 2016, the film was finally in the can. Dana drove separately that day and she headed home and I kind of walked back to my car and I was kind of sitting alone in the car by myself and felt kind of numb at that moment. I texted my friend Angus McClain and said Lou’s done. He replied sitting alone in the parking lot of
Skywalker Sound? And I’m like yeah. And he’s like hey man lets go get a beer. And at that moment this kid that felt invisible for so long as a school kid, realized not only did I make a greatfilm but also made a lot of great friends. And we’re happy with the film and we hope you like it.
Every time we watch a Pixar short we say the same thing. This one was the best one yet. They’re all so good. You’re going to want to watch this at the beginning of the Cars 3 movie. It’s so good. Cars 3 is in theaters everywhere today.  

Check out the trailer and Cars 3 movie info!


Directed by Brian Fee (storyboard artist “Cars,” “Cars 2”) and Produced by Kevin Reher (“A Bug’s Life,” “La Luna” short), CARS 3 cruises into theaters on June 16th!

Like CARS on Facebook:

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Visit the official CARS 3 website here:

cars 3 crazy 8 racing

CARS 3 opens in theatres everywhere on June 16th! Are you taking your kids to see Cars 3?

Before you go check out my other posts from Cars 3. 

5 things I learned at Pixar

Cars 3 Printables 

Pixar in a Box is helpful to teachers

 History of Racing

the Making of Cars 3

Learning from the directors and producers of Cars 3

My Cars 3 Review from a mom of teens

and Getting into Production of Cars 3


How shorts are made at Pixar + Lou #cars3event
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How shorts are made at Pixar + Lou #cars3event
find out what went into the making of Lou the short at the front of Cars 3 by Pixar.
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My UnEntitled Life
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