With the huge success of the original Toy Story in 1995, Pixar was already rallying to get the next movie into theaters in 1998. It was a huge effort. About everybody had access to the master machine in order to conduct their work; so it was nearly impossible to determine who was responsible for the crisis that came next.
A stray command, “rm -r -f*”, was entered into the system, and while artists were working at their stations, things suddenly began to disappear. By the time they could do anything, 90% of the film was gone–a year’s worth of work.
There had to be a backup, right? Pixar thought that they were prepared with their backups. But after a few days of working, the team realized that they had corrupted data. At the time, they used tape drives to store backup files. The backup system had been malfunctioning for the past month, yet no one noticed. It was only after that huge dilemma when Pixar discovered that the tape drives were full, but there was no error signal. This meant that the system wasn’t maintained properly. Due to the problem, the company thought that the project was lost.
But thankfully for them, their technical director had been working from home at that time because she was also taking care of her newborn baby. In desperation, they went to her home and brought the machine and the data that she was using back to Pixar. The day was saved!
We’re light years away from the tape backups that the Toy Story 2 team had in 1998. Today, there are several ways to backup your data, which includes using external hard drives and USBs. For larger projects, you could also save your progress through the internet using cloud storage or online storage services which have several features, like unlimited storage, accessibility of data from all sorts of online gadgets, data restoration and retrieval, and many more.
Still, many people these days don’t have backups; and when their data is gone and all else fails, they don’t have a technical director who happens to have a backup. Backing up information is actually pretty easy. In case you’re wondering how, all you need to do is Google “data recovery” or “backup data”, and you’ll find loads of information that you can readily apply. In case you have lost precious files, there are also data recovery programs and services that can save your own year’s worth of work.
After all of that panic and stress, by the end of the year, Pixar decided that the movie needed to be scrapped and completely reworked. Once again, we can learn a few more lessons from Pixar. Be sure that what you’re recovering and fretting over is worthy work. Only save and back up what’s essential. Clean out everything else.
As for Toy Story 2, despite the huge scares and the complete re-do, there was still a happy ending for the team. The movie was released in November of 1999 and was greatly received by moviegoers. It earned a whopping $485 million at the box office.