After completing a full-length, shot-for-shot, live action version of Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story last summer, two young East Valley filmmakers have released the video on YouTube.
“We made it because we wanted to see it,” said Jonason Pauley, one half of the filmmaking duo.
The film, created by Pauley of Gilbert and Jesse Perrotta of Apache Junction, released on Saturday, has already attracted more than 3 million views as of Tuesday afternoon.
Media coverage has exploded across the globe, and across the internet, with popular tech sites like Mashable, Gizmodo, CNET, Buzzfeed, and Wired chronicling the efforts. NBC News, ABC News, Time Magazine, Slate, Huffington Post, Yahoo! News, The Daily Mail and CNET have also featured the movie in coverage this week.
“I didn’t think it would go as fast as it has,” said Pauley, a Gilbert resident.
Pauley and Perrotta began filming in summer 2010, enlisting the help of family, friends and neighbors to help find the exact toys, as well as play characters and voices in the movie. With only a $1,000 budget, they finished the film last summer.
“If ‘Toy Story’ was in real life this is what it would look like,” Perrotta said when he and Pauley were profiled by the Tribune in October. Read that story now at evtnow.com/toystory).
“Someone who knows the movie really well will say, ‘Wow, that tiny thing in the background they got right.’ ”
The two met through their Mesa church, and after they couldn’t pick just one scene to recreate, decided to shoot the entire movie, Pauley told the Tribune in October.
Pauley transformed two rooms in his parent’s home to Andy’s and Sid’s rooms. While many of the toys could be borrowed, bought or found, the toys in Sid’s room had to be created, Pauley told the Tribune in October.
Coordinating schedules between the school-aged kids, a Sid’s dog, borrowed from a stranger, and the crew was difficult, Perrotta told the Tribune in October.
The two decided to release the film online after a trip to California to present the finished DVD to Pixar.
They hoped their reimagining of the movie would help them to be granted access into the digital animation studio.
“We didn’t get let into the studio, but we were able to give DVDs to people as they went in to work,” Pauley said.
So far, they haven’t heard anything from Pixar, but the response to the online video has been much more vociferous.
On top of the millions of views, thousands of viewers have left comments on YouTube.
“Hat(‘s) off! I’m like the biggest Toy Story fan and this is amazing! Congrats, hope you guys get your recognition for doing something so cool :),” posted one user who identifies herself as Louiza S.
Some of them even demand another two live-action installments for Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3.
“I like reading the comments from people saying they just got done watching the whole thin and their kids loved it too,” Pauley said. “It means that the time spent doing that wasn’t just fun for us, but also brought joy to others as well.”
More than 1,000 fans followed the progress on a Facebook page — that same page, titled “Live-Action Toy Story,” was up over 5,200 fans as of Tuesday afternoon — viewing clips and checking in as Perrotta and Pauley documented their trip to California.
As fans of the movie franchise themselves, the two hoped to get attention for their filmmaking by creating a new twist on a classic, Pauley said.
Pauley, a film major at Northern Arizona University, said he hopes to do more original work now that he has this project completed.
“We knew that if we made something completely new, people wouldn’t watch it,” he said.
As of publication, the movie has been dubbed in Spanish, French and Portuegese.
To view the movie, clips, outtakes and more, visit www.youtube.com/user/jonasonsMovies.
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