Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Viral Site Hints at Next Pixar Short; Reveal Next Week Likely

Yesterday The Pixar Times discovered a strange Tumblr blog, called Rainy City Tales 332, which is chronicling the making of an unnamed animated short film.

"Posts have been providing voices—often humorous—to inanimate objects found within a city, such as a broken umbrella, an emergency door handle, and base of a fire hydrant," the site reported. Also, "city rain seems to be a common focus of the blog."

So where does Pixar come into the picture? The clues are everywhere.
  • One image shows a whiteboard with technical writing that discusses 'stealing MU rigging system' and Pizza Planet. Monsters University, anyone?
  • On May 4, Pixar's Emeryville studio was evacuated due to a nearby hydrogen fuel leak. A post from the same day states, "Who would have thought snow days happen even in California. Well, if you think of hydrogen as California’s snow."
  • Rainy City Tales 332 is also on Twitter, where they follow—and are followed by—several Pixarians, including one in the Worldwide Publicity department, which takes the lead in marketing the shorts.
That's some strong circumstantial evidence right there. But there's more, including some sly references The Pixar Times didn't catch.
  • A post from February has a photo of a fire hydrant named "Horst". Said hydrant bears a striking resemblance to the sous-chef of the same name in Ratatouille.
  • Another entry mentions a "Mr. M.G." and "Jonas", suggesting Michael Giacchino as composer and Jonas Rivera as producer.
With dozens of intentionally maddening items dating back almost six months, I'm sure I've missed a few clues myself. This is Pixar's most viral-y marketing campaign yet (see here and here).

Interestingly, the Tumblr names the photography of Saul Leiter as the major 'inspiration' for the look and style of the short. Leiter is known in the art community for his New York City street photography.

A reference to not wanting to be eclipsed by Comic-Con in a post from yesterday points to the short being revealed next week, after the convention wraps. It may end up being this decade's Red's Dream.
Update: A video just posted shows an animator's workspace decorated mostly with Pixar movie posters and one for Aardman's Chicken Run! What?!

(Updated 11:24 PM)


Anonymous said...

Another big clue is this image, showing a list of vehicles it seems, bottom right. At the end, 'Pizza Planet', implying this film, like others at pixar, has a cameo from the famous delivery car.

Mike Bastoli said...

Thanks for that!

Alexandro Fantino said...

When I read it on The Pixar Times I couldn't help but think of Red's Dream as well. I'm looking forward to seeing what this is all about!

Joshua said...

Very interesting! I love getting a sneak peak at announcements via viral media like that. I read the tumblr feed. It does kind of remind me of Miyazaki elements. And yes, the multiple Pixar posters are suspect, along the the pizza planet reference.

Anonymous said...

About Mr. M.G.: He said on his twitter a few days ago that he hasn't written a note of music since Nov 11. It means he might not be involved with this 'project' as you alluded to in the main.

Btw I have a feeling they're not going to announce this project next week either :)