Encouragement from Pixar

Posted: January 2, 2015 in books
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well as you know this is the year of creativity here at AMOKArts. This means that in addition to all the things I listed in my earlier post. I will be doing a lot of reading on the topic of creativity. The first book I am reading (besides the Bible, by the way did you know you can read the whole Bible in a year reading just 3.25 chapters a day?) is a book called Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
by Ed Catmull.

Though I am only at about 20% read, I am loving this book. Catmull is one of the founders of one of the most creative companies of all time, Pixar and while this is a business book, full of good business principles, it reads like a memoir. Fascinating stuff.

When one looks at a company like Pixar, it would be amazingly easy to think that the company has always been a smashing success. Nothing could be further from the truth. In some very real ways, the folks at Pixar were inventing computer animation at a time when computer technology was far behind the ambitions of Catmull and his team. They not only had to deal with these limitations, they had to invent their way around them. Then consider their trajectory. After a few stops in academia, they landed with George Lucas after that minor success known as Star Wars. Financial stresses eventually made Lucas attempt to sell off the computer animation division. After several sales fell through, they ended up being purchased by Steve Jobs, who had just been kicked out of the company he founded, Apple computer. Jobs’ intention was to turn Pixar into a hardware company selling the high end animation computer they had been developing. This was miles off of the original dream of creating the first computer animated feature film. This hardware venture also failed miserably.

Finally, Disney came into the picture, contracting Pixar to make what would become Toy Story. At one point, Jeffrey Katzenberg of Disney pushed Pixar to change the character of Woody the Cowboy to be more edgy. When Pixar presented the tests they made on this new version of Woody, Disney hated it so badly that they halted production, until Pixar rewrote the whole thing, which by the way meant they took the character of Woody back to the way they intended to create him in the first place. Of course, Toy Story was an amazing success and the rest is History.

Why do I share this story? First of all because you have got to read this book! Secondly, I believe it is crucial that we remember, the road to success is often EXTREMELY bumpy and lastly, perseverance is crucial. sometimes you have to stick to your original vision, even when people who seem to know are trying to steer you in a different direction.

It worked for Pixar. Maybe it will work for you.

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