For the Love of Pixar's Q & A Session with Pixar Veteran Matthew Luhn

We recently had a Q & A sesh with veteran Pixar Animator and Story Artist Matthew Luhn. We talked about his work at Pixar, Toy Story, and of course, his favorite characters. See his answers to our questions below.

Matthew Luhn teaching the art of story.

Matthew Luhn teaching the art of story.

(Q). You first joined Pixar when computer animation was in its infancy. What was that like?

(A). It was exciting. Every day we were discovering new tricks or techniques on how to bring our characters to life through a computer! It was all brand new.

(Q). Over the years you made the transition from Animator to Story Artist. It's obvious that somewhere along the way you discovered that storytelling was more than a hobby for you. For those having a difficult time pinpointing their passion, what are some indicators they should look for in the discovery phase?

(A). Follow your bliss! If you're doing a job you don't enjoy, then something needs to change. Ask yourself what you really want do, then follow it with all your heart.

(Q) Stories (especially those that are animated) go through a lot of rewrites as they are developed. Of the numerous Pixar film(s) you worked on, which one changed the most? And why?

Toy Story 2, 1999.

Toy Story 2, 1999.

(A) Toy Story 2 went through the most changes because it started off as a direct to video movie. We storyboarded and restoryboarded Toy Story 2 at least 20 times. But in the end, we believe it turned out great.

(Q) The Pixar universe is full of characters we can relate to. Is there one particular character you identify with the most? Why?

(A) I would say I'm a blend between Marlin and WALL-E. I'm a dad, so I can identify with Marlin's overprotective personality. As for WALL-E's personality, I'm also a hopeless romantic at heart like him.

(Q) What person, place OR thing is inspiring you right now?

(A) The thing that is inspiring me the most right now, is how people and companies are using storytelling to make a positive impact on the world.

(Q) In August, For the Love of Pixar is hosting a workshop with you as the instructor. Who is this workshop for and what kind of things will they learn?

Matthew Luhn teaching the art of story.

Matthew Luhn teaching the art of story.

(A) My workshop in August is for everyone who wants to learn how to craft stories that are memorable, impactful, and personal. From Disney/Pixar enthusiasts, to filmmakers and business people, anyone can benefit from this workshop. To sign-up, click here.

SAVE THE DATE: Story Workshop with Pixar Veteran Matthew Luhn Coming August 26th


For the Love of Pixar Workshop Matthew Luhn

SAVE THE DATE for Friday, August 26th! Filmmakers, writers, animators, entrepreneurs, communicators, and marketing professionals looking to learn how to better engage their audiences don't want to miss this rare opportunity with one of Pixar's most accomplished storytellers.

Matthew’s story credits include Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, Monsters Inc., Monsters University, Finding Nemo, UP, Cars, Ratatouille and other films currently in development.

For a complete description of the workshop, click HERE. Registration opens next month on Thursday, July 7th! 

Finding Dory: Downloadable Wallpaper for iOS & Android Phones

Pixar's Finding Dory swims into theaters TODAY! To help you celebrate this whale of a tale, we formatted digital wallpaper with Dory, Hank, and others for your mobile phones. Downloads available for Samsung Galaxy S5 & S6, and iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and above here.

iPhone 5 & 5s Downloads here:

iPhone 6 & 6s Downloads here:

iPhone 6 & 6s Plus Downloads here:

Samsung Galaxy S5 Downloads here:

Samsung Galaxy S6 Downloads here:

5 Things You Can Learn from Pixar's Inside Out Marketing Strategy

Inside Out, 2015. ©Disney/Pixar.

Pixar's Inside Out hits theaters this Friday, June 19th. Based on what we've already seen, this animated feature is sure to light up the box office on opening weekend. But all of those teasers and trailers were just a small part of what got us excited about this movie. The real buzz began when Pixar deployed a marketing strategy that invited fans to do the marketing alongside them. While many strategies tend to broadcast and only distribute content, Pixar's strategy revolved around making genuine connections with people.

Here are 5 things you can learn from Pixar's Inside Out Marketing Strategy:

1. Invite Followers or Fans to Create Your Content

We've seen brands do this before, but very few times have we ever really seen them reward or follow through on their ask. For Inside Out, Pixar collaborated with artist networks like the Poster Posse, and featured fan art contest entries on social media channels like Tumblr, and Instagram. They also invited writers like Jon Negroni, blogging moms like Vera Sweeney, YouTube sensations like The Eh Bee Family, several podcasters, and other online personalities to get a behind-the-scenes look at their work ahead of the film's debut. Insiders wrote posts about their experiences, hinted at what they saw, and praised them for a job well done.

Marketing doesn't have to be one-sided. If you're getting ready to launch a product, brand, or event, identify your most devout followers and see how you can leverage their help or influence.

Pixar's Inside Out collaboration with artists,   Salvador Anguiano,   Matt Needle,   and   Adam Rabalais   of the Poster Posse (left to right).

Pixar's Inside Out collaboration with artists, Salvador Anguiano, Matt Needle, and Adam Rabalais of the Poster Posse (left to right).

Pixar enthusiast, Jon Negroni at the #InsideOutPixarHQ Event.

Pixar enthusiast, Jon Negroni at the #InsideOutPixarHQ Event.

Lettering and images by  Sean Tulgetske , inspired by Pixar's Inside Out.

Lettering and images by Sean Tulgetske, inspired by Pixar's Inside Out.

2. Invite Followers or Fans to Distribute Your Content

Pixar's Inside Out social media channels and assets.

Pixar's Inside Out social media channels and assets.

With everyone essentially on every social media network these days, Pixar made sure to coordinate content across all platforms. But they did more than just share links and announcements with followers. In fact, they brilliantly contextualized assets as well. On their Inside Out website and social media channels, Pixar resourced their fans with downloadable mobile and desktop wallpapers, stickers, headers and profile images. They took things even further and populated the web with shareable #BirthdayEmotions, #WeddingEmotions, coloring book pages, doorhangers, and Pinterest recipes.

Inside Out Pinterest

Communicators looking to build awareness need to make sure they build creative assets people can share and distribute for them. If you want to increase engagement, make sure graphics aren't overloaded. And if your culture allows it, use humor.

3. Invite People to Ask Questions about what You are Offering or Doing

Don't be afraid to open the floor for discussion. If you keep all the information to yourself, you'll have trouble getting people behind you. At special screenings, festivals, and events, Pixar invited people to ask questions about the cast, production, studio, etc. For those unable to attend those engagements, Twitter became the go-to space designed for questions to be taken.

Pixar Twitter Questions

4. Give Your Followers or Fans a Place to Celebrate What You are Doing

People with shared interests like to huddle with other members of the tribe to develop relationships, network, and speak the same language. For Inside Out, Pixar initiated a series of "emotional" events for industry peers, students, artists, and fans. Do a hashtag search of #InsideOutYouTubeSpace, #InsideOutPixarHQ, #InsideOutAllAccess, #BeEmotionalInsideOut, and #SpreadJoy and you'll see where people gathered offline and online. The lesson here: if you build it, they will come.

Pixar Spread Joy Downtown Disney

5. Remind People You Live on the Same Planet

Throughout the year, Pixar took advantage of expressing their "emotions" by commemorating several seasons, cultural events and holidays. Rather than ignoring them altogether, they fashioned character memes accordingly and joined the online conversation. And in an exclusive movie tie-in, 15 new bitmojis were released for fans wanting to fully immerse themselves with these emotions while texting.

Pixar Memes
Pixar Bitmoji

I Dream of Disney

I dream of disney

When I was a young boy my 5th grade teacher had everyone in class write a letter to someone they aspired to be. At the time, I believed that I would grow up to be an animator, so I wrote a letter to the Disney Animation Studio. 

To everyone's surprise, an animator wrote back answering the questions I had asked. It was nice and of course allowed me to write a cute five page research paper. A five pager in 5th grade was a lot of work and certainly stretched my capacity to learn. Looking back, I can recall so many reasons why I was thankful for that reply. First, it gave me hope of what my future could become. And secondly, it was rewarding to see how taking the risk of asking Disney these questions actually paid off. 

Isn't it funny that when we are younger it's easier to take risks? Doesn't it seem like it's easier to dream big? Maybe it's because the stakes aren't as high. And so as we grow older the idea of taking risks seems scary. Big dreams begin to feel impossible. We begin to ignore those dreams. We continue to grow older and along with it the stakes continue to grow higher. But that's good news actually. God designed it this way so that we are more reliant on him to come through for us. 

When we go for the God-sized dream, we are bound to see God-sized results. The results aren't always what we expect, but certainly available to teach us something new.