Kelsey Mann and Pete Docter standing in a hallway talking at Pixar

Get Your Inside Scoop at the Making of ‘Inside Out 2’

Being a fan of Pixar means we are all emotionally connected to the characters and world that the creatives have built. With Inside Out 2, I have the added bonus of getting to see my favorite movie come to life once more as Riley goes through puberty.

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I was lucky enough to be invited to a special trip to Pixar, by Disney, that gave me the inside look at how movies are made. Specifically how the team at Pixar all comes together to work on one “show” at a time. With Inside Out 2, the attention to detail really stuck out for me because it is the world that I think most vibrantly represents that feeling of growing up and not knowing what your emotions mean.

Walking the Pixar campus, seeing how all the departments come together, and watching scenes unfold really made the magic of Pixar movies feel that much more special. Mainly because I could see just how many people all worked together to create something that brings the audience a lot of joy when it is all said and done.

The day consisted of us going through each department, seeing how a scene is workshopped to perfection, and the day before we saw the final product in the 35 minutes of Inside Out that we watched. Even though the day was overwhelming and exciting to see, there were moments that stuck out for me.

The motion of emotions

Jason Deamer and Keiko Murayama talking about characters
(Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

My favorite part of the day came at the very beginning for me. It was about character creation and design and we learned about how the concept behind characters like Joy (Amy Poehler) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) came to be. Jason Deamer and Keiko Murayama went through the process of thinking of an emotion like a shape and building from there.

The minute they said that, I could see how an emotion like Fear (voiced by Bill Hader in the first film and Tony Hale in this one) has that cowering shape. I understand the vision of new characters like Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos). But the excitement for me came when we got to draw emotions ourselves.

I am by no means an artist so my first thought was just fear itself but when I got the words “calm/peaceful,” I could see how a character would look. Big eyes, wavy hair and wavy eyes to represent the calm of a beach. A cozy sweater on in pastel colors to bring that peaceful energy. It wasn’t perfect and definitely wouldn’t make the cut in the movie but it gave insight into how they make and design the characters that we fall in love with.

Finding your voice

Vince Caro behind the booth at Pixar
(Virginia Mae Rollison/Pixar)

Call it me being self centered but my personal favorite thing to do is perform. (I was a theatre major after all.) While at Pixar, they took us into the recording booth so that we could do a scene. Before I even knew what was happening, I said that I hoped that I could be Joy. Surprise, everyone was Joy. We got to play Joy in a scene where she meets Anxiety (Maya Hawke) for the first time.

Playing around with timing, cadence, and making sure that it was the perfect emotion for Joy really gave us a look into how hard voice performing and producing can be. Especially when it can make or break a scene.

Overall, getting to see the behind the scenes of Inside Out 2 just made me love these movies that much more. Inside Out 2 hits theaters on June 14th and it feels so great to be back with Riley and her emotions!

(featured image: Deborah Coleman / Pixar)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.