talks about her start at Pixar
by Scott Wolf
Jimenez, Ralph Eggleston, and Katherine Sarafian from Pixar were
together at Comic-Con, it gave me the opportunity to talk to them
collectively about how Pixar works and a bit about their own careers as
Each have worked on many of Pixar's films and also Andrew directed "One
Man Band," Ralph directed, "For the Birds," and Katherine produced
Scott Wolf: How did you get your start with Pixar?
Katherine Sarafian: My past started with the shorts program because I
was a graduate student at UCLA Film School. I knew I wanted to work in
computer filmmaking, I just didn't know what that meant at the time. We
had a guest speaker from Pixar. I remember everything about my career
except for I don't remember who that speaker was.
But somebody came down and showed “Luxo Jr.” and a couple of other Pixar
short films in one of our little screening rooms and then did a talk and
I was like, 'Ok! That's where I’m going to work.' As soon as I
graduated, I sent a résumé to Pixar Shorts and I sent another résumé to
Pixar Features and I sort of waited and waited and literally waited for
them to call. I thought, “I’ve got the best résumé, people are going to
hire me,” and eventually they did and that was it. (she laughs)
SW: What were you hired as?
Katherine: I was hired as an assistant to the Production Manager of Toy
Story and I became a coordinator of schedules and spreadsheets and I
sort of tracked the footage that we were doing every week.
SW: Wasn’t your actual credit Creative Resources and Marketing?
Katherine: That was in “Toy Story 2.” Pixar’s a place where I’ve worked
there almost 13 years and I think I’ve had eight different careers. It’s
a studio where you can move show to show and do a different thing.
SW: It almost sounds like old time Disney where just because you
are hired for one thing, it doesn’t mean that’s what you’ll end up
doing. Do you all feel that way?
(They all agree)
SW: Katherine, you produced “Lifted.”
Katherine: Yes, I produced "Lifted" most recently.
SW: From the second it says the word “Lifted” I laugh.
Katherine: Gary Rydstrom the Director will be happy to hear that.
SW: What did you do before “Lifted?”
Katherine: I was Production Manager of “The Incredibles” right before
“Lifted” and that’s where I worked with Andy (Andrew Jiminez) and Ralph
(Eggleston). Before that I was Production Supervisor of “Monsters, Inc.”
and before that I was on "Toy Story 2" and that was the detour into
Creative Services, Consumer Products and Marketing, before that I was
the Art Department Manager of “Bugs Life” and before that I was a story
scheduling coordinator on “Toy Story.”
But yeah, Tom Porter who was the Associate Producer of “Cars” was the
head of Marketing for a couple years and he was one of the people who
Ralph Eggleston: I didn’t even know that. And he invented “motion blur.”
Katherine: He invented “motion blur,” head of marketing, and Associate
Producer of a movie. (chuckles)
Ralph: The very first time Steven Spielberg saw how to paint on a
computer Tom Porter showed him.
Katherine: So yes, you can do lots of things there.
Andrew Jiminez: Well, in any field with all this technology that’s
developing… I remember Ed (Catmull) saying once, and this is such a rare
philosophy that I think a lot of other studios have the opposite of,
which is we have to find people who are better than us and get them here
because people bring so many different things to the table and we might
not even know what we need five years from now as far as the technology
to solve this story we haven’t even thought up yet. So to hire people as
“artists” and not hire people as “you do this one thing, you do this and
that’s all we want you for, then we’re going to let you go.” Pixar
doesn’t work like that. They invest in you and your potential talents
and your potential.
More from Pixar's Andy, Ralph and Katherine:
About Pixar's short films
How Pixar's different from other studios
Andy & Ralph's start with Pixar
See other interviews