WALL-E – Creation of a Lovable Robot
All of us might have seen the romantic film WALL-E- the simple love store story of the maintenance robot WALL- E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class) the last one on the planet cleaning the earth from garbage and EVE (Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator), a sleek, ergonomically advanced robotic probe whose main function is to locate plant life in order to determine whether the Earth is capable of supporting human life.
The director and screenwriter of this film is the famous Andrew Stanton (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille and the sound designer is the extraordinaire Ben Burtt (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark). These two men have been responsible for some of the most loved creations in cinematic history including R2-D2, Nemo, Buzz Lightyear and Indiana Jones’ crack of the whip.
The main idea of the film is- all the humans left the earth and forgot to turn the last robot off. This genius idea fell out of AndrewвЂ™s mouth on a lunch back in 1994 when John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Joe Ranft and Andrew were discussing their thoughts for their future projects. For about 2 and half years now they were banging their heads against the wall trying to create an interesting character. The idea of someone without a name, a silent robot seemed as something worth mining but they doubted if anyone will ever give them money or a chance to create such a movie.
It took almost 6-7 years for the guys to understand what to do with something like this. The moviemaking and animating technologies were getting more and more perfect and now there was a chance to bring their character to life.
Coming up with the character takes months to years and it took almost one year and a half to make WALL-E look right. As Andrew says, stimulating a real person is a very complicated thing, people are complex and you need to be in their skin and think like them. For WALL-E-it was even more than complex, itвЂ™s like a dog where the slightest movement of the tail expresses great emotions. For the Pixar team WALL- E was the character that you almost canвЂ™t stop yourself from design.
Ben Burtt was introduced in the project 3 years before the film got completed and his task was to develop a very special sound. He created about 2400 sound files for WALL-E which is a lot more than in a usual film (usually about 1000 sound files). When working on the sounds for the movie he was taking a recording device with him everywhere on the streets and collecting sounds. Ben says that world is a big sound file and many sounds are found by accident.
One of the most important things is be inspired by the character. Ben was coming to the Pixar office with the small sound samples based on which the Pixar team animated simple actions to see whether they fit or not. Sometimes they could listen to the sound and get inspired with that Ben was doing.
How It looks + How It Moves + The Context- this is a magic success formula of our little WALL-E hero. ThatвЂ™s really great when people care that much about they character they are creating and theyвЂ™ve done a really great job!