INTERVIEWS - John Lassater and Hayao Miyazaki at Comic-Con

John Lasseter Interviews Hayao Miyazaki at Comic-Con

John Lasseter: Talk a little bit about how you develop your storis.

Hayao Miyazaki: My process is thinking, thinking, thinking. Thinking about my stories for a very long time. If you have a better way please let me know.

John Lasseter: When I visit him I'm always amazed because we work so hard at Pixar. we have a storyboard team and we work and re-work our sequences. I go over and watch him and he storyboards everything himself, and his boards are so beautiful, and they actually become the layout for his films and it just comes out of his head. That's not really a question. I'm just gushing because I'm sitting next to Hayao Miyazaki.

Hayao Miyazaki
Hayao Miyazaki: I think that working on a storyboard alone is a custom that we have in Japan in terms of animation. It's not just me that works that way. But since I am slow it seems like I;m working on the storyboard all the time.

John Lasseter: How did you come up with the idea for Ponyo? What was the inspiration for Ponyo?

Hayao Miyazaki: We just saw a story about a frog. But the first idea I had for Ponyo was that little boy picks up a frog. But I couldn't work out a good story for a frog so I turned it into a goldfish. I think I was lucky - it was good that I turned it into a goldfish.

John Lasseter: The music in your films. The amazing work Jô Hisaishi has done. How early do you bring him in on the process?

Hayao Miyazaki: Fairly early on, I bring in Mr. Hisaishi to discuss what kind of film I'm going to make. I gave Mr. Hisaishi some notes regarding for example, that Ponyo is a small goldfish, and I gave him indications of what kind of motifs I would like him to have in the film. Then he composes the music as he sees fit in a free way. And then he makes an "Image" out of all the music that is going to be in the film.

We don't necessarily use all that music, but it is the music that he imagines would be best fitting for the story. And then as the story develops and it gets farther into the production process, we discuss more specific uses of his music. Sometimes we do use the music, sometimes we don't use the music, sometimes he loses the memo that I give him, so we have all kinds of issues going along making the film. We do disagree sometimes. There is some music that I left out of the film My Neighbor Totoro. And he is still telling me that I should have used that music. But I insist that it was good I didn't use that music.