If I recall correctly, I began storyboarding on Pixar’s “Monsters, Inc.” back in the summer of 1999. We had just wrapped story on “Toy Story2” and I thought my days at Pixar Animation Studios were over. Surprise, surprise. I suddenly found myself with a new assignment. I never thought I would end up on Pete Docter’s amazing new movie about two very appealing monsters, but here we are anyway.
However, there’s something even more special when it comes to working with an amazing talent such as Pete Docter. Not only is Pete a very creative guy, he also happens to be one of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with. Yet, it gets even better. You see, I went to high school with Dave Docter and Dave happens to be Pete’s dad. So when I graduated from Santa Barbara High School and headed for the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank I never knew that one day I would be working for Dave’s son. Of course, it took a while to make that happen. I never made the connection, you see. After graduating from Santa Barbara High School, Dave headed for the Midwest and eventually, an academic career. Many years later, his son, Pete would head for Hollywood and a career in the cartoon business. I don’t know about you - but I think that’s a pretty amazing connection.
During the course of development, Pete Docter often consulted with legendary Disney story man, Joe Grant. And, it was Joe who gave the movie, then known only as, “Monsters,” it’s final title. Joe thought the film should be called, “Monsters, Inc.,” and so it finally was. The rough sketches in the photograph below show early development ideas on The Scare Floor. It’s the portal to the human world and the sequence went through numerous iterations before we finally decided on the material seen in the film today. Back then, Mike Wozowsky was assisting Randall, and acting as his toadie. In time, we saw the wisdom of making Sully and Mike buddies. It was a smart move and it served the story well. I found these rough sketches in my garage as usual. As you can see, the work is very wonky and rough. We were just testing ideas, after all. That’s how these great movies become great.