The People of Film – Pete Docter

Welcome to a new segment here on The Reel Insider that I call “The People of Film”. In each new post, I’ll discuss a new person in film (whether it be a director, writer, actor, producer, etc.), their accomplishments, their film work, and how they touch me through their films (as well as any other form of media, such as television).

To start off this series, I’ve begun with a somewhat unknown filmmaker, who is actually one of my favorites in not only animation, but in the film world in general. This man is Pete Docter.

Docter is an Oscar® winning director, as well as one of Pixar’s best filmmakers. He has worked on such Pixar greats as Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Wall•E, and Up. He will also be directing his third Pixar film (after Monsters Inc. and Up) called Inside Out.

Ever since childhood, Pete Docter has been drawing since his was just a child. Making hand-drawn animations and creating his own worlds of which he controlled the story. Watching films and cartoons, he was inspired by the story-telling of people like Walt Disney and Chuck Jones. As Docter grew, he never pictured himself being an animator, but eventually finding himself at the California Institute of the Arts and eventually a small (at the time) company, now known as Pixar.

He began there working on some shorts for different companies and eventually went on to be one of the three people to to come up with the concept for Toy Story as well as an animator and writer on the film. In 1994, as Toy Story was just being completed, Pete Docter and three other Pixar heads (Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter, Joe Ranft) came up with film ideas, which became the films A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, and Wall•E. In the following years, Docter went on to work on storyboards for A Bug’s Life and work on story for Toy Story 2.

Docter’s next work is the film Monsters, Inc. It is his first ever directorial role, as well as pixar’s first director besides John Lasseter. Monsters, Inc. is a great film, it is very emotional and funny as well. Most of all, I have a special connection with Monsters, Inc. Not only was it my favorite of the Pixar films (until the release of Up), but it was the film that introduced me to Pixar in the first place. For years, I had watched Pixar films, but I never thought about the production company until one time that I watched Monsters, Inc. and I asked myself who made this. The rest is history.

Over the next several years, Pete Docter took somewhat of a break from directing, working on the shorts Mike’s New Car and Boundin’. He also helped out on the English dub of the Studio Ghibli film Howl’s Moving Castle and more story work for the film Wall•E.

Then in 2009, came the release of Up. The first 10 minutes of Up are famous for being a tear-jerker and the rest of the movie doesn’t disappoint for heart, comedy, or action. I was personally extremely excited for this film before it released, being that Monsters, Inc’s director was the director of a new film. Docter brought on Bob Peterson as his co-director, who was the lead of story on Monsters Inc. as well, which also excited me. I went on opening day and saw it in 3D… It instantly became my favorite Pixar film and still is to this day.

Pete Docter soon began working on a new film, while helping new director Dan Scanlon on the story for the sequel to Monsters Inc., Monsters University. 2015 will come the release of his new film, Inside Out, of which he is bringing on his co-director of Up, Ronnie del Carmen, and producer of Up, Jonas Rivera. If you have seen my Most Anticipated Films of 2015 list, you know that Inside Out is my most anticipated film of 2015. The story follows a tween girl named Riley’s emotions: Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Fear. Joy and Sadness get lost inside the mind and the other three must take over. It is an incredibly original idea and the trailer’s are great. If you have not seen the trailer, go see them and I’m sure you’ll be excited.

Well, this concludes the first episode of “The People of Film”, did you enjoy it? Do you want to see more? What do you think of Pete Docter? Who do you want to see next in the series? Please comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!