Bantam Press, £20. Order at the discounted price of £16 inc. p&p from the Independent Bookshop
Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace, book review: How the Pixar founders shook up the world of film
Pixar might be one of the most interesting companies on the planet. As well as being a studio with a consistency of hits worthy of any great director, it basically created both a genre (computer animation) and the technology with which to build it.
Its films will rightly hold for decades, even when the software used to draw Toy Story, Monsters, Inc and co is as archaic as a pencil and paper is now. But can it make the dullest genre of all – management theory – come to life?
The answer is a surprising yes. Co-founder Ed Catmull may not be as well-known as other Pixar figures like John Lasseter or Steve Jobs, but his role in the company was crucial. Coming from a computer science background, his research made Pixar viable and was instrumental in convincing Jobs, then exiled from Apple, into buying it from George Lucas when it was nowhere near making a movie, let alone a profit.
The story of Pixar and its merger with Disney (Catmull is president of both) is a fascinating one. It's not told here, although Pixar's progress serves as the crutch for Catmull's lessons.
There's a reason Pixar doesn't make many duffers. It's a dedication to quality at the expense of almost everything else. How to achieve and maintain this is a blend of science and human skill, and Catmull shares an intimate knowledge of both.
We learn that Pixar has implemented an annual shutdown day where staff discuss ways to improve, we learn about the Braintrust, a set of key figures at Pixar who creatively deconstruct films in productions, how Jobs designed the new building to encourage staff interactions and we relearn old Sammy Beckett's adage about failure. At Pixar, no-one should be afraid to fail. As long as they fail quickly and correct themselves.
It seems unlikely that lessons from teething troubles on Toy Story 2 could have much use for, say, a small accountancy company, but you suspect there is. Observations on critical feedback, allowing people to not self-censor and improving on successes are broad enough to apply to anyone managing a team. Just don't expect as much fun implementing them as those who spend hours discussing the story of an overprotective fish, or a lonely trash-clearing robot.
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Syrian refugee child beaten by Istanbul Burger King manager for eating customer’s leftover food
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction
Alfred Hitchcock's unseen Holocaust documentary to be screened
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Photographer Matt Lankes' portraits of the cast of Boyhood influenced the film's storyline
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners