Many Pixar movies are instant box-office hits. Drawing the attention of kids, teens, and even adults. But, it is interesting to note that they all don't start out that way.
Want to know their secret? It's called "The Braintrust". Now before you start searching the internet for this program, it is actually a group of expert storytellers and Pixar employees that get together and discuss the film, according to an article at Fast Company.
Each storyteller and Pixar employee will give their honest feedback and don't hold back. This ultimately changes the way the films get made and how the story is told.
Here is how a "Braintrust"meeting affected Toy Story 3:
Michael Arndt remembers it was Andrew, meanwhile, who gave a Braintrust note onToy Story 3 that fundamentally altered the end of that movie's second act. At that point in the ﬁlm, Lotso, the pink teddy bear and mean-spirited leader of the day-care-center toys, is overthrown after the toys' mutiny. But the mutiny wasn't believable, because the impetus behind it didn't ring true. "In that draft," Michael told me, "I had Woody giving this big, heroic speech about what a mean guy Lotso was, and it changed everyone's mind about Lotso. But in the Braintrust, Andrew said, 'I don't buy it. These toys aren't stupid. They know Lotso isn't a good guy. They've only aligned themselves with him because he's the most powerful.' " This sparked a pitched discussion, until Michael hit on an analogy: If you think of Lotso as Stalin and the other toys as his cowering subjects, then Big Baby, the bald-headed doll with one droopy eye who acts as Lotso's enforcer, was Stalin's army. A ﬁx began to emerge. "If you ﬂip the army, you get rid of Stalin," Michael said. "So the question was, What can Woody do that will turn Big Baby's sympathies against Lotso? That was the problem I faced."
The solution—revealing that Lotso's duplicity had led Big Baby to be abandoned by his little girl owner—was all Michael's, but he never would have found it without the Braintrust.P
Here is another interesting story on how the "Braintrust" affected Wall-E:
Take WALL-E, which was known, early on, as Trash Planet. For a long time, that movie ended with our googly-eyed trash-compactor robot saving his beloved droid, EVE, from destruction in a Dumpster. But something about that ending never quite felt right. We had countless discussions about it. The confusing thing was that the romantic plotline seemed right. Of course WALL-E would save EVE—he'd fallen in love with her the moment he saw her. In a sense, that was precisely the ﬂaw. And it was Brad who pointed that out to Andrew in a Braintrust meeting. "You've denied your audience the moment they've been waiting for," he said, "the moment where EVE throws away all her programming and goes all out to save WALL-E. Give it to them. The audience wants it." As soon as Brad said that, it was like: Bing! Andrew went off and wrote an entirely new ending.P
It is interesting to see how all of these movies are made. To learn more about how the "Braintrust" works hop on over to Fast Company, and check out the full article.
Photo Credits: Pixar Company