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Friday, 2 May 2014

Disclose.tv: The inside joke behind mysterious 'A113' code that appears in nearly every Pixar film [MailOnline]

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thumbnail The inside joke behind mysterious 'A113' code that appears in nearly every Pixar film [MailOnline]
May 2nd 2014, 17:50

The mysterious combination of numbers and letters 'A113' that has been popping up in Pixar films for over a decade is well known to people in the animation industry. The secret behind the code, which made appearances in various forms in the Toy Story trilogy, Finding Nemo, A Bug's Life, Up, Brave, as well as animated shows like The Simpsons and American Dad, and even live-action movies like Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is that it's an intentional inside joke. As it turns out, 'A113' is the number of a classroom at the famed California Institute of Arts where the first generation of animators studied graphic design and character animation. Among the prominent alumni who at one time or another graced the hallways of CalArts and sat in that fabled room was John Lasseter, chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. 'it's one of those little things you have to look for,' Lasseter said in 2009 in reference to A113. Director Brad Bird, who created The Incredibles and Ratatouille for the studio, was the first to plant A113 as an Easter Egg - a secret message - in the 1987 show Amazing Stories in tribute to his alma mater. According to a Wiki page dedicated to A113, the code has appeared in at least 45 cartoons, movies and even video games. If you spot A113 in a show or an animated feature, it means that someone from CalArts has played a part in making it. Bird said of A113: 'I put it into every single one of my films, including my Simpsons episodes.' Even Bird's Twitter handle features the magic number: BradBirdA113. The number has become so ubiquitous that, true to form, Disney Pixar produced a short animated clip a few years ago explaining the ethos of A113. Beyond Pixar films, the visual Easter egg has popped up in everything from Terminator: Salvation to Mission: Impossible -Ghost Protocol and Disney's The Princess and the Frog. Together again: Last year, filmmakers (L to R) Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter and Pete Docter gathered outside room A113 for a Vanity Fair photo-shoot by Annie Leibovitz +13 Together again: Last year, filmmakers (L to R) Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter and Pete Docter gathered outside room A113 for a Vanity Fair photo-shoot by Annie Leibovitz According to Margaret Crane, public relations officer for CalArts, the world-famous classroom is currently being used as a studio by the Graphic Design Program. In Toy Story, the classroom number doubles as the license plate number on Andy's mom's blue van; in Finding Nemo, A113 is the model number of the camera used by a SCUBA diver; in Ratatouille, Git the lab rat has a tag on his left ear that read 'A113'. In the 2012 film Brave, which tells the story of a free-spirited Scottish princess who turns her mother into a bear, A113 appears in Roman numerals as ACXIII above the door of the witch's hut. Although the classroom number did not appear in the original Monsters film, in last year's sequel, Monsters University, the animators used it as the number of the lecture hall where Mike and Sulley have their first class. The number has become so ubiquitous that, true to form, Disney Pixar produced a short animated clip a few years ago explaining the ethos of A113. Beyond Pixar films, the visual Easter egg has popped up in everything from Terminator: Salvation to Mission: Impossible -Ghost Protocol and Disney's The Princess and the Frog. According to Margaret Crane, public relations officer for CalArts, the world-famous classroom is currently being used as a studio by the Graphic Design Program. CalArts is a private university located in Valencia, California, which was the brainchild of the world's greatest animation visionary, Walt Disney. The school's list of alumni reads like the who's who of American animation, among them Glen Keane, Pixar's Lasseter and Bird, Tim Burton and Henry Selick, to name a few. CalArts' most recent claim to fame is that its alumnus Chris Buck won an Academy Award for Frozen earlier this year. According to CalArts, since 1985, directors who graduated from the institution have generated an astonishing $30billion in box office grosses. In 2014, CalArts, solidified its reputation as a cradle of creativity when it was ranked No. 1 college in the U.S. for students in the field of animation.

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