Pixar Commercials as Silly Symphonies

I just received a preview copy of The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey by Charles Solomon.

Even though I am barely 50 pages into it, I can tell that it is going to be fantastic. The artwork is gorgeous and acclaimed animation historian Charles Solomon really brings a lot to the Toy Story, um, story.

I ran across this quote on page 30 from Pete Docter and thought it tied in very nicely with the evolution of the early Disney animated shorts, except on a slightly different path. Pixar, in its earlier days, stayed afloat financially by doing a lot of commercial work.

“All these different products moved in different ways,” adds animator Pete Docter. “So We tried to think, ‘How would a Life Saver move?’ The commercials became our equivalent of the Silly Symphonies, training us not only in movement, camera, and lighting, but in economy of storytelling. We wanted to tell some sort of story, not just cut product shots together. It showed us what we could do in thirty seconds.”

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