Bay Area Holiday: Day 5 (Pixar!!!!!)

15 Aug

A few days before our holiday Nancy emailed us and was like “I hope this is OK, but I’ve gotten us a private tour of Pixar.”

“I hope this is OK”. HA!

It was a huge privilege to tour Pixar. They don’t do public tours and it’s a closed campus so you have to know someone to even get inside. I think they occasionally do tours for charity but they cost like $500.

The excitement began even in the car park. Well actually it began in the morning when I woke up and was like “it’s Pixar day!” but the documented excitement began in the car park.

image nicked from Christine

And from the car park to the actual campus. I suspect that Pixar rotate this fixture depending on their most recent release.

image nicked from Christine

Clearly I was the only one going for the learned look.

And of course, Luxo!!!

image nicked from Christine

I would totally watch a movie about Luxo and his ball.

Across from Luxo was the building where we did the bulk of our tour.

Unfortunately I can’t talk about everything we saw because of the NDA. Everything I’m posting here is already public knowledge. I have some pictures from where we were allowed to take pictures and I figure I can vaguely allude to their awesomeness but I’m going to err on the side of caution and not talk about some of the really cool stuff we learned. Sorry! I’ve seen some bloggers who seem to have gotten clearance to talk about more so if you’re interested this chick goes into more detail.

We learned a bit about the storyboarding, writing and animation process and got to see how much effort they go to so everything is perfect. It’s not automated – they have people rendering everything – like each individual hair on someone’s head – crazy attention to detail like that. Every film really is such a labour of love. =)

Oh yeah also in the main lobby they had all their Oscars and awards.

They had some fan drawings in the display case too. Did you know that they keep all of their fan mail? Totally made me feel warm and fuzzy.

The vibe is very creative and cool. Pixar let their employees do what they need to do to be productive. They have the usual stuff on campus like a pool, soccer field, gym, cinemas where they have weekly movie screenings (and they bring in the director for a Q&A session!), basketball court, and a few employee bars. I’m not sure if Google and Pixar are awesome or if these are fairly typical Silicon Valley perks, but either way we were all impressed.

The campus wasn’t as large as Google – Google have their bikes to get around and Pixar have little scooters. So cute!

One thing that already seems to be public knowledge is the cereal bar. I think I remember seeing a video about it on YouTube or something – they have a room with a cool espresso machine and a bunch of different cereals.

Also a fridge full of milk. I don’t know why I’m so excited by the milk.

There are murals and artwork everywhere and apparently the main building was designed as a “town square” kind of ideal, where people constantly meet up and exchange ideas. Megan told us that the original intent was to have only one restroom so you’d have to cross paths but thankfully for the employees that didn’t make the final cut.

I didn’t get a good shot of the downstairs area but you can kind of see it in this photo: (note the temporary Monsters University decorations)

Most of the photo props were for Monsters University. This was Nancy posing for her Monsters University student ID:

image nicked from Christine

I’ve seen the Toy Story 3 version, where you could stand inside a box and pretend you were a Barbie or something. Fun. =)

They had an Incredibles exhibit upstairs but that was the only spot where we could take photos. You know that everyone does this pose, but no sense reinventing the wheel.

image nicked from Christine

Upstairs was where all the really cool stuff was (seriously, even their meeting rooms were gorgeous). They had rotating exhibits based on the last two movies that were released – in our case, Monsters University and Brave. We got to see a lot of their storyboards, notes, clay models and story ideas. There were all these detailed notes about plot/character arcs, how the story and the visual inform each other, and first-draft sketches.

We also got special permission to go through and have a look at where the animators worked. I don’t think I’m allowed to talk about what we saw, but it was also very, very cool. =P

The Pixar store had mainly Monster University stuff and like the exhibits the focus is on the current movie. I was tempted by a couple of the hoodies but they were too big. =( After browsing the store we had lunch at the cafe where we saw John Lasseter. Christine and I were super excited but were like “OK, be cool. We gotta be cool.” I totally geeked out about it later though – I was like … 5 meters away from John Lasseter!

Needless to say, the tour was wonderful. I was overflowing with happiness the whole time and was so grateful to have the opportunity to tour one of the best companies in the world!

Sully isn’t looking at me. I ain’t even mad.

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2 Responses to “Bay Area Holiday: Day 5 (Pixar!!!!!)”

  1. Pradeep Rajkumar August 20, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    I love California.. and I need to visit Hollywood

    • pamperedhousewife August 20, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

      California was fantastic! I heard that Hollywood is a bit of a disappointment though. =(

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