×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lee Unkrich on His ‘Coco’ Collaborators and Similarities to Live-Action Jobs

Lee Unkrich, director of Pixar’s “Coco,” says, “There are a lot of misconceptions about what goes into making an animated film.” Unkrich talks about several of his below-the-line collaborators and how their work has key similarities — and differences — to the job of their live-action counterparts.

Harley Jessup (Production designer)

“The film looks gorgeous, and a huge part of that is Harley. In animation, we don’t have the luxury of finding locations that have a patina and history; it has to be created from scratch. Harley went on many trips to Mexico, took hundreds of thousands of photos and was able to create all that texture, all the layers of history. It was his responsibility to guide various teams, overseeing everything that went into the on-screen images, to bring that specific culture to a world inspired by real places we’d seen in Mexico. He put in as much work as any production designer on a live-action film.”

Christopher Boyes (Re-recording mixer, sound designer, supervising sound editor)

“He created interesting sounds, with a lot of character. It was important to have his team go to Mexico and record sound there. I didn’t want things manufactured; I wanted the actual textures, rhythms and ambience of different places we visited. Chris sent his son and a team during [Day of the Dead], and they recorded lots of parades, markets, Xolo dogs — anything in the film — rather than just recording stuff in a studio. Chris and his team of sound editors created a sonic landscape and did a gorgeous, authentic job. When I watch the film, it sounds like things I heard on my trips to Mexico. Chris had never [been] on a Pixar film. His work was in line with the pioneering work [sound designer] Gary Rydstrom did on a lot of Pixar’s early films and shorts, [creating] unexpected sounds to bring character to inanimate objects. Chris was definitely inspired by Gary’s work.”

Steve Bloom & Unkrich (Editors)

“I’m not easy to edit for because I edit myself and I’m very particular. But Steve is a great editor. This film went through a lot of twists and turns over the years as we found the story. I always relied on Steve to have a strong opinion. I don’t want yes men; I want people to tell me when it’s not working. Most people don’t know what live-action editors do, and they certainly don’t understand animation editors. At the end of the day, we’re all doing the same thing: We’re making a movie and putting out a film that works on-screen. We sometimes go through different steps and in a different order. But just as in live action, we’re concerned with performance, story structure, modulation and pacing throughout the film. The jobs are more similar than different. The biggest advantage to animation editors is that they’re involved early on in the story process.”

More Artisans

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Winners

    Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Cinema Audio Society’s top prize for sound mixing at Saturday night’s 55th annual CAS Awards. The film is Oscar-nominated for sound mixing this year along with “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born.” In a surprise over heavy-hitters “Incredibles 2” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Wes [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

  • ILM John Kroll Star Wars VFX

    Sci-Tech Awards Honored After Effects, Photoshop Developers' Major Impact on VFX

    On Feb. 9, two weeks and a day before the Oscars, the Motion Picture Academy held its annual Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards — sometimes referred to as the nerd Academy Awards — honoring achievements in motion picture technology.  The ceremony included no surprise winners — Sci-Tech kudos are announced in advance, and the achievements [...]

  • Steven Spielberg Lee Orloff Mary Jo

    Cinema Audio Society Honors Steven Spielberg, Lee Orloff and Mary Jo Lang

    At the Cinema Audio Society Awards on Feb. 16, CAS is honoring a trio of artists. The event take place at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown hotel.   Steven Spielberg, Filmmaker Award It’s hard to overestimate the influence of the three-time Oscar winner, a towering figure in Hollywood for decades. A prolific director-producer-screenwriter, who also co-founded [...]

  • Alex Honnold being interviewed in El

    Cinema Audio Society Nominees Added Audio Realism to Film Action

    As the Cinema Audio Society heads toward the 55th CAS Awards, its nominees, who have created immersive and intoxicating work, agree that sound is becoming the new frontier in storytelling. “Today’s directors understand the importance of sound from the start,” says Doc Kane, nominated for “Black Panther,” “Incredibles 2” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” “Looping [...]

  • American Society of Cinematographers

    Cinematographers Blast Academy Response on Oscar Telecast Exclusions

    Cinematographers opposing the decision to curtail four Oscar presentations on the telecast have blasted the Academy’s latest attempt to assuage concerns about the move. The group responded Thursday to officers of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors, sending a letter Wednesday night to its membership, asserting that no award category [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content