My Executive


    Jul 29, 2013

    Toy-store stints gave me ideas for Toy Story movies

    Pixar's story and animation masterclass will be in town on Friday and Saturday, giving participants an opportunity to learn from two of the industry's top talents, Pixar Animation Studios' Matthew Luhn and Andrew Gordon.

    My Paper caught up with Mr Luhn, head of story at Pixar, on what it is like to be in the animation business.

    How did you get started in the animation business?

    I started working on TV show The Simpsons as an animator when I was 19. I was offered the job after a director from the show saw a short film I had made while attending the California Institute of the Arts.

    After working on The Simpsons, I was offered an animation job by Pixar in 1992.

    What is the key to a great story?

    Enduring characters and good story structure.

    How has animation changed over the years?

    With the birth of computer-generated (CG) animation about 20 years ago, we can do things we never imagined possible, but animation is still about great characters and story.

    Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

    The inspiration comes from my memories, dreams and life experiences.

    My family has owned and operated toy stores in San Francisco for over 70 years. As a kid, I worked in them, and that was where I gained numerous ideas for the Toy Story movies.

    What is your favourite Pixar animation film?

    Toy Story (1995), because it was the first movie I worked on and the first computer-animated film created.

    My favourite Pixar animation moment is when Woody in Toy Story 3 (2010) is trying to escape from a bathroom stall and almost falls off a toilet-paper roll.

    There's been much talk about how every Pixar film happens in the same universe, but at different periods of time. Is there any truth to this?

    There is no truth to this rumour, or is there?

    How did the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs influence Pixar?

    Jobs believed that Pixar could one day make CG movies and had the money to back (that vision) up.

    If it wasn't for him, the world would have never seen a Pixar movie.

    How has it been since his death in 2011?

    We all miss him, and his memory is kept alive in movies we make at Pixar, like sci-fi film John Carter and CG movie Brave (both 2012).


    The masterclass will be held at Genexis Theatre, Fusionopolis (Connexis Tower) on Friday and Saturday, from 9am to 5pm on both days. Tickets cost $390. Visit