In 2001, when I was nine, I’d already been writing stories for fun for as long as I’d been able. But Monsters, Inc. and Pixar’s wonderful approach to storytelling proved to be one of my earliest wake-up calls: I needed to do something creative with my life, and I needed to tell stories.
Pixar’s work during my childhood featured the best storytelling I’d ever known. To this day, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc. remain some of my favourite stories – a calibre of imagination that seems to balance creativity and science, and be completely beyond my reach.
So, as a child, I watched the DVD featurettes, took the virtual tour of the Pixar campus, and hoped to one day receive the honour, the thrill and the reward of being a part of that process.
Imagine being able to take one of the most enduring childhood myths in the Western world, explore it laterally, and not only execute a pan-generational piece of entertainment, but build and explore an entire world – resolving each theme, idea or character arc in a fully realised piece of art. And imagine being able to achieve that in 93 minutes. That is the dream.
It feels absurd, hyperbolic, and characteristically childish to suggest that Monsters, Inc. could be a primary catalyst for my love of darn good storytelling. I couldn’t have understood its value or impact at nine years old. But here I am: I’ve spent 93 minutes with an unintelligent grin plastered on my face, and I want to go into the world and think, explore, and create.
I doubt I’m the only one. Pixar may well be responsible for a high number of my generation’s greatest storytellers. I still hope to be one of them.