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September 4, 2016

Big Changes!

First Day, Last Day

This news is a few months old, but thought I should update the ol’ blog. Here’s the text from my most-liked Facebook post from May 20th, 2016:

“I can hardly believe it, but Friday was my last day at Pixar. Lemme tell you – it feels really weird to leave your dream job. But I’ve got a [stupidly ambitious] short film that needs finishing, and it seems like the only way to make that happen.

I’ve made so many lifelong friends at Pixar – and learned from some of the most talented people you could ever hope to meet. I was lucky enough to have worked on Monsters University, Toy Story of Terror, Inside Out, Lava, The Good Dinosaur, Piper, & Finding Dory. (Go see it next month!) Truly thankful for every day of the experience.

Back in 2011, I snapped a photo before I entered the gates for the first time. Thought I’d recreate the shot, driving the other way… outward and onward!”


It’s been an emotional transition, honestly – but it’s also felt like the right step, at the right time.

So… what now?

First off, my hands/arms are killing me so I’m trying to cool off a sec and reduce my time in front of the keyboard. Be careful, kids! Animation ain’t coal minin’ but it can still be dangerous. Don’t ignore pain, read up on RSI! Finally seeing a physical therapist and hopefully I’m turning a corner.

A lil excruciating pain hasn’t kept me from chipping away on the VFX for my sci-fi short, which is coming along slowly but surely. I thought I’d have more time to focus on that but… turns out:

I’m headed back to Amsterdam for a bit, to co-direct the Blender Institute’s current short, Agent 327! Like my sci-fi project, it’s a proof-of-concept for a potential feature. This one animated – in Blender! Scary thought. Hope we can make it happen!

And now, time to pack.


Posted By: Colin Levy @ 8:52 am
Categories: News,Projects

December 27, 2015

Too Busy!

Does time fly or what? This blog’s been dead for two and a half years – but I’ve been busy!

I served as Director of Photography for Pixar's LAVA

Career highlights since 2013:

Director of Photography on Pixar’s short film, Lava.

Led a small team which handled the camerawork for all the shots in the movie. Big emphasis was on preserving the SCALE of our main character Uku, who is a mile and a half wide!

Also worked as a Camera & Staging Artist on:

1. Inside Out
2. The Good Dinosaur
3. Finding Dory

A mere glance at this list flares up my carpal tunnel. So. much. work.

Inside Out

Me, Getting Emotional about Inside Out

I pitched 3 shorts internally at Pixar (in front of some of my heroes) which was a phenomenal experience, and am working on several projects on my own time.

First and foremost, I’m developing an ambitious Proof of Concept for a sci-fi thriller, tentatively called “The Portal Experiment”.

Although I’ve been working on it in some capacity for over two years, I’ve just begun a 5-month Leave of Absence from work to focus on getting through the rest of production and push ourselves into Post, which we’re hoping to wrap up by the end of 2016.

I’m collaborating with my good friend Mike Sundy on the feature screenplay, based on the short. Writing solo is painful for me, but with the right partner it’s actually fun!

And I can’t leave this out: last October I was flown to Cairo, Egypt to speak at the Qabila Film Festival and serve on the Jury for the Animation category. An absolutely amazing experience.

A video posted by Colin Levy (@colin.levy) on

Hopefully big things on the horizon. Maybe in another two years I’ll update this blog as a bonafide director, eh?

If you’re interested in jumping back in time, check out these years-old posts below!

Posted By: Colin Levy @ 7:38 pm
Categories: Projects

July 24, 2013

Monsters University

Welp, the movie has been out for over a month and my blog has been silent for nearly ten. So I thought I’d post a lil blurb on Monsters University — my first credit for Pixar!

I worked on Monsters University in the Camera & Staging department for nearly a year, and it was a pretty amazing experience. I’ve been working with some of the most welcoming and talented people I’ve ever met, and I’ve been doing my best to just absorb. I feel like I’ve learned a little bit about a whole lot of things, from storytelling to shot design, from studio management to how to best to mix six cereals together.

I contributed to several sequences in the film, and I’m definitely proud of the work I’ve done. One scene in particular was “shot” entirely by yours truly! And hundreds of thousands of theater-goers out in the real world have experienced it! The coolness still blows my mind.

Not sure at what point I’ll be able to show the work that I’ve done specifically, but I’ll be looking into that. I’d love to show a layout / final comparison…

Since finishing work on Monsters University, I’ve been bouncing between three other projects, including the next Pixar feature “The Good Dinosaur,” and the 22-minute TV Special, “Toy Story of Terror.”


What’s kinda cool about the above promo still is I got to be the one to frame it up. Looking at it now, I feel like I should’ve tilted down a bit more and lost some of Woody’s hat.

Ehhh, maybe. I don’t really know what I’m doing, actually. Pixar just hasn’t realized it yet!

Until the next update.

Posted By: Colin Levy @ 3:49 pm
Categories: Musings,News,Projects

Not too long after the release of “The Secret Number,” I was turned on to an interesting web enterprise called Tongal, which basically is in the business of crowd-sourcing video advertisements for major brands.

I thought it was a cool concept, and I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring for an advertisement for NASA’s Zero Robotics Challenge. I teamed up with a few colleagues from work, and this is what we came up with in 30 days:

We won second place in the contest. So consider this experiment a success!

Posted By: Colin Levy @ 12:18 am

My senior film The Secret Number has been in the works for nearly two years. And now it’s finally online!

Lemme know what you think. We’ve got a Visual Effects Breakdown, Behind the Scenes, and Previs Comparison Reel up on YouTube as well.

And check out the official site!

Posted By: Colin Levy @ 10:22 am
Categories: Projects

Wanted to post a different sort of VFX breakdown which shows a bit more *process*.

Over a year ago I spent a few weeks on the logo for my not-quite-real production company “Lightning Hill Pictures”, which I’ve branded a few of my films with.

Going through my drives, looking for stuff to clear off, I came across a lot of renders and elements for the logo that showed how this thing evolved. I thought some folks might find it interesting!

Lightning Hill Pictures – Logo Progression Reel from Colin Levy on Vimeo.

Still a few things I would change about the logo, but overall I think it came together quite nicely!

Let me know what you think.

Posted By: Colin Levy @ 6:02 pm
Categories: News,Projects

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Welcome to the online portfolio of Colin Levy - filmmaker, visual effects artist, storyteller... occasional blogger.

My best filmmaking work: