Pixarblog: Can we look forward to hear the original dubbing voice (Larry the Cable Guy) in Air Mater?
Rob Gibbs: Absolutely! Larry the Cable Guy is the voice talent behind Mater in all of our shorts and features. He brings so much to the character, he’s able to improvise lines and he’s hilarious!
Pixarblog: What was your job in detail during the production of Air Mater?
Rob Gibbs: As director I was involved from the very beginning of the story until the last shot in lighting. I rely on a very talented pool of people. I don’t do any one thing by myself, it’s a collaborative effort.
Pixarblog: What are the major difficulties and challanges in doing a short film?
Rob Gibbs: There is so much that we want to put in these shorts. The challenge is to keep it under six minutes and have all the fun we want to put in there. There is usually no shortage of ideas, it’s what to keep and throw away that’s hard. It’s always easy to add, it’s hard to take away.
Pixarblog: Pixar has a huge resume of short movies; you have directed or co-directed a good amount of those shorts; can you describe us your approach to filmmaking?
Rob Gibbs: In each of the shorts, we have tried to stick to a certain genre, we want each short to have a different feel. For instance, Monster Truck Mater, is much different then Mater Private Eye. Monster Truck Mater was inspired by professional wrestling and monster truck rallies. While Mater Private Eye was inspired by film noir. Once we decide on a genre, we try to stay true to that approach of filmmaking, camera moves, dialogue and overall look.
Pixarblog: The new short film ‚Air Mater‘ was firstly produced in Canada. Did you get support from the colleagues in Emeryville?
Rob Gibbs: It’s an extremely collaborative effort. We do all the storyboards, art, design and editorial in Emeryville. Then we deliver a story reel to Vancouver and they do everything from building the characters in the computers to layout, animation and lighting.
Pixarblog: Did you settle in well in Canada? What was it like working there?
Rob Gibbs: I live in California, but I love to visit Vancouver. The studio has such an awesome space and the people that work there are wonderful. I would live there if I could.
Pixarblog: Where did the sound recording for Air Mater take place?
Rob Gibbs: We record dialogue in Los Angeles and Emeryville. The sound design is done at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County.
Pixarblog: You have a huge personal background in storyboarding. Was this helpful in terms of the communication with the animation and art department – was it easier for you to visualize your ideas for “Air Matter”?
Rob Gibbs: Yes, absolutely. Working with the story team and doing a lot of the story boards myself, I’m familiar with every aspect of the characters‘ motivation. That helps with the communication with the animators. I also rely on their talents to bring acting and gestures to the characters.
Pixarblog: Where do you see the „Cars“ franchise going in the future?
Rob Gibbs: We love the Cars world, and we are attached to these characters. I hope it will continue as long as we have great stories to tell.
Pixarblog: If you could have worked on any animated movie or cartoon which one would it have been and why?
Rob Gibbs: I loved Roger Rabbit, I had friends that worked on it and envied them. I love that world, because there is no limit to what you can do with those characters.
Pixarblog: Why Cars for all the shorts and not any of the other Pixar movies?
Rob Gibbs: Pixar has a tradition of creating new and original shorts every year. The Cars world is just another extension of that.
Pixarblog: What does your role of director and writer on the Tow Mater shorts entail?
Rob Gibbs: In the beginning stages, as a writer I rely on my team to help with the story. When it comes down to the actual writing I work with my editor, producer, John Lasseter and the voice talent to create the dialogue. As a director I oversee every aspect of the production, again I have an awesome team of people that I rely on.