[EXCLUSIVE] Meet Andrea Goh, The Malaysian Technical Director Behind Pixar’s Toy Story 4

She was part of the team that brought you Toy Story 4! Image: Courtesy of Andrea Goh

We don’t know about you, but Toy Story 4 was one epic film. Well, epic is not the accurate word — but the movie did everything that we never expected it to do. It conjured up all those childhood #feels of nostalgia; we may need to remind you here that the very first Toy Story movie came out 25 years ago.

The gang’s all here! Image: Pixar, from Imdb.com

Of course, the technology that we’re presented with in current times surpasses what was available 25 years ago, and with that evolution came changes also to the animation scene. You’d see details of the toys that are so minute and so carefully thought-out (e.g. the fibres on Woody’s clothes, the ultra-fine details of Forky’s pipe-cleaner arms). 

Life, animated. Image: Pixar, from Imdb.com

Behind the scenes is literally a whole army of animators and a team pulling it all together. Andrea Goh, who is a 27-year-old Malaysian was one of the team members and she was the technical director/filmmaker for camera and characters for the movie Toy Story 4. She had also worked on other wonders like Cars 3 and Incredibles 2!

Here, we caught up with Andrea to learn more about her love for animation and how it came about, and what it takes to land a job in Pixar and animating with the crew behind these blockbusting animated movies.

Have you always wanted to work on films as a technical director? Can you tell us how your interest in it came about?

I’ve always love movies ever since I was a kid but I always thought it was a hobby. When I was graduating high school and deciding what’s next for my journey, 9 Pixar artists came to Malaysia and gave a talk about how they made Toy Story 3 in different departments. From that moment, I knew I wanted to be part of the filmmaking world. I was inspired to be part of something bigger than me and telling meaningful stories to inspire others.

Could you share a bit about what your job entails as a technical director/ filmmaker?

I wear many hats when it comes to filmmaking. As a camera artist, I work with the team to decide camera angles to best serve the story and beauty of cinematography. As a character artist, I create the characters by modeling them and rigging them like a puppet maker. I was also the Technical Supervisor who oversaw the technical departments and leading the team in a new pipeline for the Sonder short film.

How did the opportunity to work on Toy Story 4 come about?

I was casted to work on Toy Story 4 after my work on Cars 3 and Incredibles 2.

Image: Courtesy of Andrea Goh

What was your experience like working on Toy Story 4?

It was a great team and I learned a lot from every sequence I worked on. I was really happy to work on the Gabby Gabby scenes since I love horror movies and they came in handy as references for her sequences.

Was there a lot of pressure seeing as the film series is a worldwide favourite?

I was just really excited to be part of my favourite film series, the one that inspired my journey to be in this industry.

When there is a will, there is a way. Try to make the best out of your situation and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it.”

Can you share a little about the projects you’re currently working on?

I can’t say much other than I have been working on the next two announced movies: Onward and Soul.

Was Pixar always your dream company to work for? Tell us more about how you felt when you got your first job with the company?

Yes, I’ve always loved Pixar movies and wanted to be part of making the films. It was definitely very surreal to step into the very studio of my dreams. I also felt like there were a lot of full circle moments, like when I got to work alongside the amazing artists who were there to gave the talk back in Malaysia.

Image: Courtesy of Andrea Goh

What would you say is your proudest achievement(s) to date since starting your filmmaking career?

One of my proudest moments was when I brought my mum to see Toy Story 4 at the wrap party, as she was the one who brought me to see the first Toy Story when I was a kid.

You’ve credited your education/university courses for your success. What was the most memorable part(s) about your studies?

I loved the lecturers in The One Academy, they built my grit and hardworking mentality from the start. After that I went to Academy of Art University and that’s when I got to learn to explore more departments and become part or many memorable projects.

What is your advice for young girls who want to pursue a career in filmmaking/animation?

 When there is a will, there is a way. Try to make the best out of your situation and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it. Things won’t always go your way, but with grit and hardwork, you can pull through almost anything. And lastly, to pull through these moments, you will need support. Filmmaking is a team effort, so find your team and your trusted people to make things happen.

Watch the trailer here!

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