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Disney Just Laid Off The Pixar Employee Who 'Saved' Toy Story 2

Last week Disney laid off 75 employees from animation studio Pixar, and among those affected were some long-time, senior personnel. That includes Angus MacLane, director of Lightyear (who had been there for 26 years) and producer Galyn Susman, famous for being the person who “saved” Toy Story 2.

Disney's New Post-Apocalyptic Anime Proves The Mouse Has Good Taste

Share SubtitlesOffEnglishShare this VideoFacebookTwitterEmailRedditLinkview videoHulu’s New Anime Is The Last of Us Meets The Promised Neverland

As has been recounted numerous times over the decades—in perhaps the most detail in this 2012 TNW story—during production of Toy Story 2 back in the late 90s an animator cleaning up some files one day accidentally deleted most of the team’s two years of work on the film.

Not to worry! They had backup tapes—yeah, tapes, remember this was 1998—and quickly found that while some of their most recent animation work had been lost, that was only around a week’s delay. An inconvenience, but for a movie that was taking years to produce, not a huge problem.

Or so they thought. The more the team began working with the data saved on the backups, the more problems they ran into. Turns out that the backup tapes had suffered issues of their own—they had quietly filled up months back, and has been erasing old data with new saves every time they backed up—and so the restored animation wasn’t working either.

Oren Jacob, former Chief Technical Officer of Pixar, recounts this dreaded moment:

Amidst the doom, one person had an idea. Supervising Technical Director Gayle Susman, who had recently had a child, had been doing a lot of work from home and had her own backups.

And it worked! The data took a ton of work to reintegrate with the whole team, but they eventually got back up to speed and the movie was saved. For a time, at least; while Susman, her backups and her Volvo have long been the stars of the story, it’s not as widely reported that not long afterwards Pixar’s leadership hated the movie so much that loads of it had to be scrapped and redone anyway in a hellish, months-long crunch that may have resulted in a pretty great movie, but also took a huge physical and emotional toll on Pixar’s workers that left “a full third of the staff” with RSI and instances like the time an animator “had forgotten to drop his child off at daycare one morning and, in a mental haze, forgot the baby in the back seat of his car in the parking lot” (the baby was rescued and was fine).

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