An Inspirational Interview With Pixar’s First Female Director Of A Pixar Short Film “Bao” Domee Shi & Producer Becky Neiman

I recently had the chance to sit down with Producer Becky Neiman and the Director of “Bao” Domee Shi the first female director of a Pixar short. “Bao” will play just before the start of Incredibles 2 so make sure you don’t miss it waiting in the concession line.  I love “Bao” and I know you will too.

Who Is Domee Shi

Domee Shi has a background in storyboarding and loves visual storytelling. She started as an intern in 2011 with Pixar three-months in she attended a storyboarding boot camp, and you just like do assignment after assignment. After pitching to a whole room full of like veteran story artists, supervisors, directors, like every week she decides to try for a job. Pixar offered her a full-time position as a story artist on Inside Out after. She worked on Inside Out for about two and a half years and then moved on to The Good Dinosaur and Toy Story 4. She even did a small stint on Incredibles 2. Like anyone else that has ideas for short films, you have to pitch them to Pixar. Domee Shi decided to pitch three ideas. Bao was one of them and rest is history. 

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Leadership At Pixar 

Becky Neiman and Domee Shi are supported by a strong female leadership team at Pixar when I heard that I thought OMG amazing.

“Our editor, production designer, sound editor, production manager, and a technical manager is was super inspiring for us” Becky Neiman

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Inspiration Behind “Bao”

The inspiration behind “Bao” came four years ago when Domee Shi was at the office working late.  She was inspired to do a modern take on a classic fairytale like The Little Gingerbread Man but with a Chinese dumpling. While doodling and drawing inspiration from her own life the ideas started to fall in place I was also drawing a lot of inspiration from my own life growing up.

“I’m an only child, and ever since I was little I feel like my mom and my dad have always treated me like a precious little dumpling, always making sure that I’m always like safe and never wandered away too far. I want to explore that relationship between this parent and this child and this mom character learning to let go of her little dumpling.” Domee Shi

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What Does “Bao” Mean

Becky Neiman explained the during the interview the title “Bao” has two meanings one is a steam bun and the other means a treasure or something precious.

How Domee Shi’s Mom Played Apart In Creating “Bao”

Domee Shi’s mom sat in on the interview which was wonderful. Her mom has a creative consultant credit at the end of the short. “We brought her in twice to do dumpling-making classes for the whole thing. It’s was really important for us to get all of those little details right and to get the animators and effects artists like in there like studying. My mom technique of like how she folds the dumpling exactly and kneads the dough and just like poking the dough and smelling the pork filling. It’s was important to get those details right, like just to get them as accurate as possible on the big screen.”

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Good News

About two years ago Domee Shi and Becky Neiman found out they would be the short featured before Incredibles 2.

“We only just found out like within the last year that e would be attached well, that we could finish it and that we’d be attached to Incredibles 2. We couldn’t believe it we knew that this feature is so highly anticipated and more people will be able to see it.”

“Bao Dumpling Recipe

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Reflections On The Film From Becky Neiman & Domee Shi

“My original intentions with this short is just to like tell this story that might be familiar with a lot of people around the hopefully telling this universal story but with like this culturally specific paintbrush more people can like learn more about this stuff that they don’t know much about (Chinese culture). So, I’m really excited about it.” Domee Shi

It’s this very unique and culturally specific story, but the themes are so universal. Becky Neiman

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After many years of waiting I’m excited Incredibles 2 drops in theaters June 16th I can’t wait to take my family to see it. In INCREDIBLES 2 is back their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible.

I recently returned home from an amazing press junket featuring the Incredibles 2. Check out the interviews with Frozone Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl plus in the inside scoop on Pixar Fest at Disneyland. 

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Disclosure: I went to LA to help cover the #Incredibles2Event, #BigCityGreensEvent, and #PixarFest with 24 other Bloggers. This is an all expensed paid trip by Disney to cover this press event. All opinions are my own.

 

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