Have you ever accidentally deleted something important you were working on at the most inopportune moment? Of course you have. In a computerized world, this sort of mistake happens all the time. Unless you’re some sort of impossibly meticulous individual who pays precise attention to whatever it is you’re doing at the moment, there’s a very strong possibility that you’ve fallen victim of your own inherent stupidity. Now imagine that scenario on a much large, more expensive scale, one that involves years of work executed by a multitude of talented individuals.
The team at Pixar experienced this sort of issue during the production of “Toy Story 2”. The film and all of its elements were stored on a Linux machine, which, as Linux users well know, isn’t a problem in and of itself. However, someone absentmindedly typed the command “RM*” into the computer, which effectively began removing all of the files from the system. Before they knew what was happening, large portions of the feature were being deleted at a rapid pace.
Not a problem, right? Everyone has backups of their projects, and in the case of a studio like Pixar, it’s mandatory that everything has a proper duplicate. Unfortunately, the back-ups were faulty, which means that none of the deleted files could be recovered.
Panic, as one can imagine, quickly set in.
Just when everyone thought that all hope was lost, in steps technical director Galyn Susman, a new mom who had literally been taking her work home with her each and every night. Low and behold, the missing files were safely storred at her house, completely intact, prompting a very stressful, very intense rescue mission. Erased components were eventually uploaded, Woody’s hat was properly returned, and all is right with the world.
Given that Pixar works in a strictly digital medium, attempting to “reshoot” lost footage could prove extremely difficult and very costly, particularly when you’re working within a specific timeframe. Had Susman not copied these files to her personal computer, who knows where the franchise would be right now?
If you found my storytelling to be particularly dry and not very exciting, have a look at the video embedded below. The clip is an animated retelling of the whole ordeal from the people who were there, sweating bullets and wondering how, exactly, they were going to fix this enormous problem. This could be the most entertaining two minutes you’ll experience all day.