A Note from UP Director Pete Docter Says Pixar Films “Don’t Get Finished, They Just Get Released”

     June 8, 2010


I have never actually written a fan letter — I instead live vicariously through the correspondence of filmmakers I admire and their anonymous enthusiasts.  In October 2008, Pete Docter was best known as the director of Pixar’s 2001 effort Monsters Inc. and was hard at work on the soon-to-be Oscar-winner Up, but made time to scrawl a handwritten note in response to a fan.

Letters from animators are always the best, because they include little cartoons in the margins.  Docter’s note is no exception, in which he doodles himself alongside Monsters Inc. characters Mike, Sully, and Boo.  Check out the letter, including scans of the original, after the jump.

Here’s the full transcript via Letters of Note:


Hey Adam!

First off, let me apologize for taking so long to respond to your very kind letter. Things are pretty nuts around here. You had asked for an autographed photo of me; I don’t really have anything like that, not being famous. But here is a drawing of me for you.


I’m sure you can see the resemblance.

You are sure right about the importance of a good story in movies. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of work (and rework, and rework and rework) to get it right. And even then quite often we’re not 100% pleased.

As John Lasseter likes to say, our films don’t get finished, they just get released.

Hope you enjoy “UP” next year!

Pete Docter

Letters of Note is full of little treasures like this, and Monsters Inc. is my favorite Pixar film, so this is a little slice of heaven for me.

Here are the scans:



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