"Monsters, Inc." is an animated film about two monsters, Sulley and his best friend, Mike. They work for Monsters, Inc., the largest scream-processing factory in the monster world. When a little girl, Boo, follows Sulley back into the monster world, he finds his career in jeopardy and his life turned upside down.
Pixar, the animation company that produced "Monsters, Inc.," helped us to go behind the scenes of this blockbuster film, which hit the big screen in 2001. In the following article, we'll examine what went into creating "Monsters, Inc.," and we'll also provide in-depth details about each scene. First, though, here's a little more background:
Early versions of the "Monsters, Inc." storyline featured a 32-year-old man who had monsters show up that only he could see. As the story continued to develop, the adult figure was changed to an innocent young girl. "Monsters, Inc." features a friendship between Sulley, a furry eight-foot monster, and a toddler named Boo.
Sulley, the lead monster, evolved from a janitor to an uncoordinated, down-on-his-luck loser to a superstar scarer. "People generally think of monsters as really scary, snarly, slobbery beasts," says director Pete Docter. "But in our film, they're just normal everyday Joes. They clock in; they clock out. They talk about doughnuts and union dues. They worry about things like having straight teeth. Scaring kids is just their job."
The title "Monsters, Inc." was suggested by Joe Grant, the legendary Disney artist/storyman who co-wrote the 1941 feature film "Dumbo" and served as story director on the original "Fantasia." Grant provided his story expertise to Disney's Feature Animation department until his death in 2005.
Docter, a longtime admirer of Grant's work, would frequently speak to Joe and discuss the project. Grant responded by sending envelopes full of drawings and notes in his elegant, calligraphic handwriting. Docter recalls, "It was just the most perfect title. Joe was a great inspiration to us."
On the next page, we'll discuss what went into creating the unique characters that populate the "Monsters, Inc." world.