I’m not usually one to get super excited about a random sequence of letters and numbers, but ‘A113′ is kind of an exception. In case that doesn’t ring any bells because you haven’t devoted your life to animation, let me enlighten you — ‘A113′ has appeared in almost every Pixar movie, some Disney films, and even a few television shows, and it was never clear why.
Until now. After being seen in everything from Finding Nemo to Toy Story to The Princess and the Frog to The Simpsons and American Dad, someone on Reddit (of course) pointed out that the code seems to correspond to a classroom number at CalArts. Imgur user TheGhostWhoHatesSpills reveals:
“A113 refers to a classroom number at the California Institute of Arts. It was the classroom for first year graphic design and character animation, where many of the animators at Pixar and Disney, and several other studios, discovered and mastered their craft. The use of A113 in their films is a friendly nod to one another that they once shared a classroom without which they would never be doing what they’re doing now.”
Meep! I love that! I’m almost even bummed that it isn’t a secret anymore, because it’s such a lovely way for animators to give each other a special little hello that nobody knows about, even between studios and individuals who don’t actually work together. But since we all do now, it’ll make watching the movies that much more interesting, feeling like friendly spies who cracked a code and understand everybody’s secret handshake now.