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How “Toy Story 2” Was Nearly Deleted

Coding errors.  Not fun.

And here’s how it was saved…

Earlier, we mentioned Supervising Technical Director Galyn Susman. A few months earlier, Susman had given birth to a son. As she was a new mother, she needed to be able to do some work from home, so Pixar had set up a computer for her that had the complete film. In addition to the full film at that point, she would receive incremental updates with changes made over that time. No one knew when the last update had been, but obviously whatever she had was better than what they possessed at the moment. So they headed to her house and drove her computer back to the Pixar offices (Susman and Jacob later recalled the amusing procession, with her computer wrapped in blankets and strapped into a seat belt in the back seat with Jacob nervously watching it as Susman drove). The computer was plugged in and booted up. It had been updated two weeks ago. So they had the original back-up from a few months ago, her current updated version plus whatever other files they could cobble together from the various worker’s individual work stations. That gave them roughly 70 percent of the film’s files (as of the update two weeks earlier) as being verified as working fine. They had to then hand-check all of the directories for the remaining 30 percent to make sure it was correct. That took the entire staff working the whole weekend with very little sleep making sure the other 30 percent of the files were accurate. Eventually, they finished and production on the film was back up and running.

Ironically enough, executives at Pixar were not happy with the product as it was at that point after they viewed it and they ended up asking for the entire film to be re-worked.

That took nine months.  “Toy Story 2” was released to theaters in November 1999.

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