Working at Pixar isn't all beanbag chairs and snack-fueled brainstorming. It's work, and Andrew Stanton should know: As part of the original creative team that brought Toy Story to the screen in 1995 -- and, more recently, as co-writer and director of this summer's billion-dollar-grossing Finding Dory -- he has played an essential role in the nearly three-decade evolution of America's most consistently innovative animation studio. And it's always been tough.
"Everybody thinks it's fun," Stanton beams through laughs. My talk with the director is his break from what he calls the "intake mode" of reading new material and deciding what his next project will be post-Dory. Or as Stanton calls it, "a messed-up version of having fun."
The 50-year-old filmmaker has been having messed-up fun for a long time -- and won two Academy Awards, one for Finding Nemo and one for WALL-E, for himself along the way. To figure out what it's like to swim in the rarefied CGI waters of Pixar, we asked Stanton to dive into his past and guide us through a typical day at the company's beautiful Emeryville, California, campus.