One of my favorite parts of Disney•Pixar films are the shorts we get to enjoy before the feature. Day & Night was no exception, with its unique and endearing take on the differences that can unite us.
With Toy Story 3 set to be released next week on DVD, I thought I’d bring you some behind-the-scenes info on the making of the film, as well as some fun facts (like hidden easter eggs within the film referencing other Pixar productions) about the short.
For those who have not seen Toy Story 3 in theatres yet, here is a synopsis of Day & Night and a Question and Answer session from Director Teddy Newton:
When Day, a sunny fellow, encounters Night, a stranger of distinctly darker moods, sparks fly! Day and Night are frightened and suspicious of each other at first, and quickly get off on the wrong foot. But as they discover each other’s unique qualities–and come to realize that each of them offers a different window onto the same world—the friendship helps both to gain a new perspective.
Running time: 6 minutes
TEDDY NEWTON (Director)
Newton came to Pixar in July of 2000 to work on Pixar’s sixth feature film, “The Incredibles,” and has since contributed his considerable character design skills to many of Disney•Pixar’s award-winning feature and short films, including “Ratatouille,” “Your Friend the Rat” and “Presto.” He was also instrumental in the creation of the End Titles of “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille” and is frequently cast as a voice in Disney•Pixar films, including the role of Chatter Telephone in “Toy Story 3,” which hit theaters on June 18, 2010.
For his Disney•Pixar directorial debut, Newton teamed with producer Kevin Reher on “Day & Night,” a new short film released with “Toy Story 3.”
Prior to coming to Pixar, Newton worked in the story department and in character design at Warner Bros. on “Iron Giant.” He also served as writer/producer for the independent feature film “The Trouble with Lou.”
Newton is inspired by the drawings of Al Hirschfeld and early Warner Bros animation. He grew up in Dana Point, Calif., and attended California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts).
Q: How did you develop the idea for “Day & Night”?
A: When coming up with the idea I just wanted to make sure I made a distinction between Day ideas and Night ideas. So Night would have a moon, where Day would have a sun. Day would have a rainbow. Night would have fireworks and, you know, it would keep going like this. I was just laying out drawings with these little distinctions within them and once I had enough drawings I could see a connection between what is going on with these pictures that makes the story. And it really was about differentness—that’s the main theme I started to play with—how do they relate to each other and how do people respond to something that is new and different.
Q: “Day & Night” is created using both traditional and computer-generated animation—why the combination?
A: I wasn’t sure we would make a hand-drawn picture at Pixar, so I thought I could compromise and do part of it with hand-drawn characters as well as some CG elements. That’s really where it started. I initially thought of it completely as a 2D project but with all this new 3D technology that people have been playing with around with here, I thought this might actually get more dimensional.
Q: How did you approach the hand-drawn aspect of the film?
A: Well, a lot of people at Pixar do draw and they draw really well, but they haven’t done it in a long time. Especially in animation, there’s no need to do drawn animation at Pixar for most pictures until this one. So it was great to bring out a lot of the guys who maybe hadn’t done it in 10 years—it was invigorating for them to get back to the erasers and pencils.
Q: How did you incorporate 3D into the film?
A: We wanted to use the 3D in a way that reflected the story, so when the characters are introduced the 3D is quite conservative. It’s almost as if we’re using the 3D to show how deep they’re looking into the other and once they start to actually get interested in one another you’ll notice the 3D actually starts to get deeper, as if they are looking deeper into each other. And I think that’s kind of a fun idea just visually to play with that kind of teams itself with the story line.
- In the scene where Day is watching a drive-in movie through Night, the drive-in theater sign says the film playing is “TS3,” the abbreviation for “Toy Story 3.”
- The western movie playing at the drive-in is homage to the T.V. show in 101 Dalmatians.
- The flip-flops next to the girl on the beach are actually 10 times bigger than her foot.
- There are several characters in Day & Night that were taken from the film “Up.”
- The joggers are all background characters from “Up.”
- The lumberjack chopping down the tree is the construction working, Tom, from “Up.”
- The howling wolf is a modified version of Alpha, Charles Muntz’s head dog from “Up.”
- The Cars seen on the strip in Vegas were taken from the film “Cars.”
- The airplanes that Night sees zooming through Day are modeled on “Glamorous Glennis,” the rocket-powered Bell X-1 that Chuck Yeager flew to break the sound barrier.
- Day and Night are lit in homage to 1950s Technicolor films. In those films, directors would shoot night scenes during the day, and use tinted filters to make the scene look like nighttime. In “Day & Night,” Night, in particular, is lit in this style.
- There were 29,888 frames inked, painted and exported from animation for the final versions of Day, Night and the special effects in the film.
- The radio broadcast in “Day & Night” is taken from a talk given by Dr. Wayne Dyer, an inspirational speaker and author. Director Teddy Newton remembered hearing Dr. Dyer on recordings his mother played when he was young, and he decided to incorporate one of the recordings into the film.
- Dr. Dyer’s closing line in the film, “The most beautiful things in all the universe are the most mysterious,” is a paraphrasing of Einstein’s quote, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.”
- In the Czech-language version of “Day & Night,” the radio broadcast is voiced by former President of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel.
- In the Croatian-language version of “Day & Night,” the radio broadcast is voiced by the current President of Croatia, Ivo Josipovic.
Day & Night is available on the Disney DVD and Blu-Ray release of Toy Story 3, which arrives in stores on November 2. You can use the following Toy Story 3 coupon to receive an $8 discount on your Toy Story 3 (Four-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) purchase but only for a limited time!