ByElise Jost, writer at
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Elise Jost

has long been considered the successor to 's golden age on the animation podium, creating stories full of wonder that appeal as much to young kids as they do to adults. Meanwhile, Disney, though still clearly an animation powerhouse, seemed to lose some of its magical touch.

But the two studios merged in 2006, and slowly, it looked like the genius of Pixar chief creative officer and his team had started getting absorbed by the creative minds at Disney. And, while the new movies of the Disney-Pixar era could be viewed as a result of good influence from one team to the other, there's actually a much more specific technique that Pixar was able to teach its mother company.

The 'Brain Trust' Is A Process Unique To Pixar

'Wall-E' / Pixar
'Wall-E' / Pixar

What Pixar calls the "Brain Trust," or "Story Trust," is a complex process of dissecting a story until every element makes sense — but not only to the director and the writer. Instead, the ideas of a team working on a new movie are submitted to a whole bunch of people outside of the development process. Not only can it be tough, since it might lead to a scene or even a character getting completely scrapped, it's also particularly long.

Yet, it's an approach that's always proven satisfactory to the brains behind the Pixar gems, since it's forced them to get to the bottom of every single idea they've thrown on the table.

Moana Will Be The First Example Of The Old School Meeting The New

will be the first concrete example of the Pixar process applied to a Disney movie: Ron Clements and John Musker, the two directors of the Polynesian adventure, were also behind Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and Hercules, but completely changed their creative approach with Moana.

As Clements explains,

"It's a very collaborative environment. Moreso than it's ever been. Everybody pitches in and everyone feels like we're all working together on this stuff and we want it to be as good as it possibly can be."

'Moana' / Disney
'Moana' / Disney

Musker compared the technique to theater, where plays could be shown to a small public before starting to tour the country, in order to measure the reaction of the audience:

"In live-action, you write a script, then you film that script, and when you watch the movie there's not much you can do. This is more like a theatrical model. Where we take a play out of town. The play's not going to open for a year or two, but you're putting it up on the stage and you're re-working it and that's kind of what we do with these movies."

That's also why these projects can see so many different directors and writers come and go: , the Kiwi director who directed the recent Hunt for the Wilderpeople, penned a first version of the script, but in the five years it took to bring Moana to life, he had time to work on three live-action movies, having just wrapped filming on Thor: Ragnarok.

Yet, it seems completely worth it if it means both Disney and Pixar can continue to release such heartfelt stories that will speak to generations to come.


Which Disney era do you like better?

[Source: io9]


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