Pixar animation director Andrew Gordon will share some tricks of the trade in a series of masterclasses in Australia.
7 Apr 2014 - 3:22 PM  UPDATED 7 Apr 2014 - 4:00 PM

He's worked on everything from Toy Story 3 to The Incredibles and Finding Nemo, but Pixar animation director Andrew Gordon will always hold a soft spot for Monsters Inc.

That's thanks to Sulley's loud-mouthed best buddie Mike Wazowski.

Wazowski might be a little green monster voiced by Billy Crystal, but to Gordon, he's like family. Well, actually he just about is - he's based on Gordon's family and friends from New Jersey.

Gordon, who is visiting Australia next month for a series of animation masterclasses, was chosen to work specifically on Wazowski during pre-production for Monsters Inc.

"They said, `Gordon is from New York or Jersey and this little Mike Wazowski guy he's got a similar personality, why don't you do a couple of tests with him'," he told AAP.

"Mostly (the character) comes from people I grew up with, my cousins or how my aunts and uncles act. I grew up in a really weird ... family of entertaining people."

It's one of the stories Gordon, who has been at Pixar for around 17 years after initially being knocked back for a job, will share during the Finding Animation seminars.

They'll also feature story supervisor Matthew Luhn, story guru Bobette Buster and a wealth of local Aussie talent.

Speakers will discuss what they consider good animation techniques, how they got jobs and at Pixar , why great stories and characters are the golden key to success.

Gordon, who has also worked on characters like Gill from Finding Nemo, is also likely to lift the lid on the `Lucky 7 Lounge' - a secret room off his office in the Pixar building.

"As soon as the directors found out about it, I thought maybe I would get in trouble but it was the absolute opposite," he says.

Soon he was being visited by the likes of Toy Story director John Lasseter, Steve Jobs, Robert de Niro and George Lucas.

When his department moved offices, it meant a new and refurbished Lucky 7 Lounge.

"You open a head (and there's a button), then a bookshelf opens and there's a lounge with a poker table and scotch," he says.

"Everybody from Buzz Aldrin to Ben Affleck to Tom Cruise, you name it, has been there."

* Finding Animation Tour Dates

May 24, 25 & 26 - Sydney, Atrium Theatre Australian Technology Park & AFTRS Fox Studios

May 28 - Adelaide (1-day), Mercury Theatre

May 29, 30 & 31 - Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

Visit www.epiphany.com.au for more info