Toy Story, as we all know, was a huge hit. Only it was almost scrapped before ever seeing the light of day. Pixar had been trying to make the first, feature length computer animated film for years. They finally got the chance when Disney gave them the green light for Toy Story. The incredibly talented team worked on it for months, they showed it to Disney, and…it was terrible. It didn’t work, no one liked it, and the whole project was weeks away from termination. In this first version, the Woody we all know and love was, for lack of a better term, an asshole. He was an unsympathetic and unlikable character, and nobody could stand to watch him. After this crushing blow, the Pixar team basically rewrote the entire story in two weeks, and it still wasn’t great, but was good enough to continue production. They kept iterating during production and Toy Story become a phenomenal hit making over $350 million alone, not counting the sequels, and made Pixar a household name.
It’s easy to think that most master works and successful products are fully formed ideas in the minds of their creators, just waiting to be realized. But more often than not, as with Pixar, it takes a lot of work to get there. It’s not just the rare genius, but the 99% perspiration that makes something a success.
I highly recommend watching The Pixar Story, especially if you have Netflix, since it’s available to watch instantly. There is a lot of other great stuff in there that would be interesting to anyone in a creative field.