“Inner Workings” is the delightful short film played in front of “Moana”. It features Paul. And Paul is just like you, perhaps. He’s got a job. He’s pragmatic and sensible, but he wishes for more. He thinks outright and often of the future (particularly of all the ways simple errors can kill him) but dreams of spending more time in the now.
But this story isn’t really about Paul. “Inner Workings” tells the story of the perpetual pull of the human heart, even as it works against the very pragmatic realism of the brain. It’s about Paul’s … well, inner workings.
I got the opportunity to attend the “Inner Workings” press conference and find out the inner workings of “Inner Workings”. Directed by veteran Disney animator Leo Matsuda, whose credits include Wreck-It Ralph and Big Hero 6, also wrote the short. Produced by Sean Lurie, from the “Tinkerbell” franchise, it’s set in a surreal version of California, specifically Venice Beach.
Leo began by telling us about his inspiration, “I’m a Japanese Brazilian so I’m very disciplined, but I also like to party.” He was also inspired by the human anatomy acetate transparency illustrations from the “Encyclopedia Britannica” that he flipped through as a kid. Leo’s pitch was one of 50, according to Sean, but it was the one that caught and had the drive.
Getting from pitch to completion is always a process. They mentioned how the inspiration for Paul’s insides was an interesting development – starting with muppets and ending at the aquarium. That music was the most important thing. And although Sean thought the protagonist was the heart, Leo convinced him it was actually the brain.
Make sure to get to the theater early for “Moana” and catch “Inner Workings” beforehand. You’ll be glad to did.
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