Secret revealed: Why Pixar opted for the mind of a girl in “Inside Out”.

The jumping desk light company, Pixar, just released their latest smash called Inside Out.  Even though it was edged out from the Box office’s #1 spot by that ginosaurus dinosaur movie it still racked up an amazing 90 million or so in its opening weekend.  I have not seen the movie, but with a 98% score on the Tomatometer, I definitely intend to.  I just need to take my kids with me otherwise I might look a bit suspect.  (Adult male alone in movie house whilst presumably watching animated movie?) Maybe if I leave me balaclava?

The premise of Inside Out is about the emotions running havoc in the mind of a little girl.  

This intrigued me and resulted in something I don’t do very often, as it’s way too exhausting. It made me think.  Why did the creators of the film decide to use the emotions of a little girl when there are a lot more options they could have explored?

I did some research and found a transcript of conversations between the creative team behind the movie, before their initial pitch.  They were discussing the various angles they could use.  I decided to post a synopsis of their discussion so I might spare you a minute or two.  I wanted to post a link but the source material has been removed.  Much like my ability to tell my kids what to do.

The mind of Man: This would not work for a very simple reason.  It would be boring for Man can only do one thing at any given time.  Answers like “Yes dear”, “No dear”, “Your not wearing that!”and “D’oh” does not make for entertaining 3D viewing.  And as there would be no images of the actual Man or his pectoral muscles, six-pack and designer stubble, most woman (and a few men) wouldn’t be interested in watching it either.  Nothing exciting would ever happen, unless Man watch sport for twenty four hours of the day.  (Or find an old copy of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition) Should this happen then ‘Anger’, ‘Joy’, ‘Excitement’ and ‘Aggression’ will end up with some interesting exchanges of foul language depending on who’s team is winning.  Before this turns into a fantasy let’s have a reality check, shall we? Where on earth would you find a married man who are able to watch sport for a whole day? (If you know of someone, please e-mail me @ Ahdad…)

The mind of Woman: This movie would be too complicated for an animated feature.  The intention is not to make a French Arthouse movie with Italian subtitles that no-one understands.  There would have to be a gazillion characters running around, all talking at the same time.  ‘Love’ and ‘Touchy-feeliness’ will drive all other character relationships and plot developments.  Then at regular intervals the character arc of ‘Joy’ will be interrupted by the letters P, M and S causing all hell to break loose.  Everyone will be asked to act different and  ‘Anger’ will be recast as ‘F#ck off’ whilst ‘Sadness’ will evolve into ‘Sobbing’.  The subtitles will disappear and the language of the movie will change to Irrational.  It will end up being a mystery, only understood by other woman.

The mind of Teenage boy – This premise will never be allowed by the studio execs for a kid’s movie, but maybe an R-rated one.  This will end up becoming animated porn with ‘Sex’ being the only character appearing in an abyss of empty space.  ‘Hunger’ will be omnipresent but will only appear when ‘Sex’ is sleeping.  ‘Joy’ and ‘Jerk’ and ‘Charm’ might appear randomly but will remain quivering in the shadow of ‘Sex’ for they are only supporting acts required for the ultimate character development of “Sex’.  Fathers of girls around the globe will have to buy shotguns and arm themselves with a variety of other ammunition in order to fend off the inevitable attack of this testosterone infused beast.

The mind of Teenage girl – There were some potential in this option but in the end there was a question about what kind of person would want to see an animated movie where the array of characters are limited to ‘Bitchy’, ‘Leave-me-alone’, ‘Shopping’, “Let-me-take-a-selfie’ and “What-you’re-looking-at’?  and let’s not forget “He’s cute, isn’t he?” ‘Joy’, ‘Anger’, ‘Despair’ and ‘Excitement’ will all be played by one person and this person will just morph randomly and unexpectedly into all the different characters as the day progress.  It would be a very depressing version of the Breakfast club where the guy doesn’t walk across the field with his fist victorious in the air.  In this version there will be a bunch of cheerleaders holding a victory banner, standing on the not-so-dry dreams and shattered hearts of a million teenage boys.

The mind of Boy – This was a close call.  In the end the producers realized that little boys suffer from the same condition as their adult counterparts i.e having a limited capacity to concentrate on doing more than one thing.  If it’s not insects, or a ball, or a PlayStation console; they could not be bothered.  ‘Hunger’ might lure ‘Joy’ away for a few minutes but it wouldn’t last long, as ‘Hunger’ will quickly be killed by food.  At some point ‘Cry’ might appear when a ball hits Boy in the face, but the promise of ice-cream will diffuse this very quickly as well.  Nothing interesting will happen in the script as ‘Excitement’ and “Joy’ would constantly change places with “Hunger’ and ‘Sleep’.  There might be a few moments where ‘Joy’ will appear as a mime when ‘Sleep’ has a crucial scene, but that’s all.

In the end the producers of “Inside Out” didn’t really have choice.  You need sugar and spice and all things nice to make a good animated movie.

For the record I did send them an e-mail offering my mind as the backdrop for their movie, but they replied by saying their intention was not to make a short film.

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14 thoughts on “Secret revealed: Why Pixar opted for the mind of a girl in “Inside Out”.

  1. I saw it, and it was GOOD. It was especially meaningful to me b/c we moved across the country last year, with a 9 year old boy, who missed his friends and had trouble making new ones……to the San Fran area, of all places. And yes, CA did ruin pizza.The whole movie was lost on my 2 and 4 year olds. My big boys loved it.

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