Two weeks after being uploaded, “Live Action Toy Story” reached 8 million views on YouTube, making it a viral hit. All it took was an iPad, a lot of patience and the aspirations of a couple of high school friends.
The 80-minute film, created by Jonason Pauley and his friend Jesse Perrotta, is a re-creation of the animated Pixar film Toy Story. Work on the video began during Pauley’s senior year in high school and continued for the next two years, ending during Pauley’s sophomore year at Northern Arizona University, where he studies electronic media and film.
“After seeing Toy Story, I started playing with my toys differently, I really made them alive,” Pauley told the East Valley Tribune.
Pauley and Perrotta were together for almost every day of shooting, with Perrotta working mostly on the puppetry while helping with camera work and scheduling. While Perrotta now teaches keyboard to elementary school students in Phoenix, Pauley is focusing on a career in film.
Making the video consisted of Pauley playing the original movie on his iPad while setting up each scene to be exactly how it appears in the original movie. On an average day of filming Perrotta and Pauley had at least four family and friends helping them on set. The credits give thanks to more than a hundred people who volunteered to help on set throughout the two years that it took to finish the project.
Pauley said that because he started filming before he was at NAU he was not able to get advice or tips from faculty and staff, but that his classes later helped him. “I learned new programs and things, we worked on Final Cut here and on the movie I was working with Premiere Pro. So it was just new things to add on to what I know what to do.”
Pauley chose NAU for the forested landscape and friendly atmosphere, although he also credits the affordable price, the degree program and the closeness to his family in Gilbert. Pauley said he wants to take an independent study class at NAU so that he can “be more creative.” Using the freedom in an independent study, Pauley wants to create videos that allow him to use his own ideas and follow a direction he chooses rather than one he is directed towards.
Pauley has no immediate plans for another big video production. But he isn’t losing sight of his big goals.
“I want to keep making movies,” Pauley said. “I always knew that’s what I wanted to do. I was about 7 when I knew I wanted to make movies.”
Pauley said he has no preference about what he does in the movie industry as long as he has the opportunity to be working on a set.