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Pixar Cofounder Ed Catmull on Failure and Why Fostering a Fearless Culture Is the Key to Groundbreaking Creative Work

Pixar Cofounder Ed Catmull on Failure and Why Fostering a Fearless Culture Is the Key to Groundbreaking Creative Work
by Maria Popova Why the greatest enemy of creative success is the attempt to fortify against failure. “Make New Mistakes. What makes Catmull, who created Pixar along with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter and is now president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation, particularly compelling is his yin-yang balance of seeming opposites — he is incredibly intelligent in a rationally-driven way yet sensitive to the poetic, introspective yet articulate, has a Ph.D. in computer science but is also the recipient of five Academy Awards for his animation work. Ed Catmull (Photograph by Deborah Coleman, Pixar) Catmull begins by pointing out that failure, for most of us, is loaded with heavy baggage — a stigma that failure is bad and a sign of weakness, engrained in us early and hard. We need to think about failure differently. Artwork from 'The Ancient Book of Myth and War,' a side project by four Pixar animators. And yet many people, including within Pixar, often misinterpret the point. Share on Tumblr Related:  Pixar / Disney

5 Random Life Lessons I Learned At Pixar — Sutro 1. We. Not I. One of the things I'll always remember, is that there was this feeling of being part of a team, almost like belonging to the same family. Yes, we had some fights, and sometimes we'd annoy each other at breakfast or Thanksgiving dinner, but there was this sense of respect, admiration, and true genuine friendship between all of us working there. Not only on a work level, but also on a personal level. I'll never forget that. 2. One of the most unforgettable moments of my time at Pixar, was the day I met Steve Jobs. I was coming in to work along the beautiful path at the entrance of the main building, where the roses bloom in ways I've never seen before in the Spring. But then he opens the door of the main building, which is now actually called The Steve Jobs Building, and he stops. My only thought is: "Shit. Until I get to the door, completely nervous (and it's not easy to make me nervous). I look at Steve and simply say Thank You. 3. We're all trying to figure it out. 4. 5.

Pixar’s Ed Catmull Emerges As Central Figure In The Wage-Fixing Scandal Ed Catmull. (Photo-illustration.) Pixar and Disney Animation president Ed Catmull has always had a reputation as a decent person, but newly revealed court documents show that he’s been working against the interests of Pixar’s employees for years, as well as trying to hurt other animation studios who didn’t play by his rules. Catmull’s deposition and emails from the lawsuit confirm that he was instrumental in operating a secret wage-theft cartel that violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. Pando Daily’s Mark Ames published a piece about the documents earlier this week. Catmull’s attempts to bring Sony into his cartel are documented in today’s piece. He flew to Los Angeles in 2004 to meet with Sony’s animation co-presidents Penney Finkelman Cox and Sandy Rabins and pressure them to fix their employees’ wages and limit career opportunities. Catmull, however, didn’t forget. “Just this last week, we did have a recruiter working for ILM [Lucasfilm] approach some of our people.

Brave Pixars extraordinary run of successful films starring male characters took a courageous turn in June with the release of Disney/Pixar’s 13th feature, Brave, the studio’s first princess film. The conflict in this feature centers on the relationship between Merida, a young “don’t wannabe a princess,” and her mother, the elegant Queen Elinor. Merida inherited her father’s fiery character along with his flaming red hair, rather than her mother’s calm demeanor. She would rather be outdoors riding her horse, rock climbing, and practicing archery like Fergus, her father, than studying to be a princess and meeting her pre-ordained destiny­—marriage to the son of a rival clan leader. With a fairy-tale setting in medieval Scotland amidst lush landscapes and kilt-wearing clans, and a fairy-tale plot that includes a tricky witch, a spell that must be undone, and plenty of action-adventure along the way, Brave enters new territory for the studio. All the code executed at render time.

Deconstructing Big Hero 6 - article | CGSociety Deconstructing Big Hero 6: The OriginsDirector Don Hall at the Academy event “Deconstructing Big Hero 6” on April 23, 2015 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Deconstructing Big Hero 6: The Inspiration for BaymaxDirector Don Hall at the Academy event “Deconstructing Big Hero 6” on April 23, 2015 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Deconstructing Big Hero 6: The StoryDirectors Chris Williams and Don Hall, and Producer Roy Conli at the Academy event “Deconstructing Big Hero 6” on April 23, 2015 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Deconstructing Big Hero 6: The Two StylesHead of Animation Zach Parrish at the Academy event “Deconstructing Big Hero 6” on April 23, 2015 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Deconstructing Big Hero 6: Creating San FransokyoVisual Effects Supervisor Kyle Odermatt at the Academy event “Deconstructing Big Hero 6” on April 23, 2015 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Event recap at The Academy website:

hollywoodreporter A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe. Even with framed cartoons on his walls, Ed Catmull's office on the Pixar Animation Studios campus in Emeryville, Calif., is downright bland compared to the museum of toy trains, trucks and memorabilia that is John Lasseter's space down the hall. Catmull, a Utah-born scientist and pioneer in computer graphics who began his career at Lucasfilm before launching Pixar Animation Studios with Steve Jobs and Lasseter in 1986, often is described as the brains of the operation, while Lasseter is the heart. With Inside Out and Good Dinosaur, Pixar is releasing two films in a year for the first time. In truth, it has been challenging. You delayed Good Dinosaur a year to retool it. They completely trust that we're doing the right thing for the film and for the studio. How much pressure do you get from Disney to make more sequels? But it is more costly.

‘The Good Dinosaur’: Pixar’s Biggest Production Nightmare Crash-Lands into Theaters The FBI groomed 14-year-old Richard Wershe to become a drug dealer and informant. The teen dope slinger helped put away the mayor of Detroit’s brother-in-law—and got in bed with his niece. When Wershe got busted, the FBI didn’t help him and the mayor got his secret revenge. Richard John Wershe, Jr. is a political prisoner in America. The political component of his ordeal is local, it’s harsh and it’s vindictive. Wershe, who grew up in Detroit, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for a non-violent drug crime committed when he was 17. Rather, Wershe was a paid confidential informant for the FBI who helped the feds prosecute drug-corrupted cops and the drug-dealing brother-in-law of Detroit’s mayor. The story of Richard “Rick” Wershe, 46, known in the media for years as White Boy Rick, is a tale of crime and punishment gone awry. Wershe was recruited by the FBI at age 14 to join the fight in the war on drugs as a paid confidential informant.

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This professor teaches Pixar’s approach to creative genius Two hundred and fifty people. Four to five years. One groundbreaking movie. That was Pixar’s formula for hit after hit—though it took nearly 20 years for its founding team to produce Toy Story, released in 1995 as the first full-length computer-generated movie. Harvard Business School (HBS) Professor Linda A. Pixar cofounder and president Edwin E. “Leading innovation is not about creating a vision and inspiring others to execute it,” Hill said in her TED Talk last year. Hill saw Pixar’s ability to incorporate individual “slices of genius” at work in a dozen industries around the world—and even in the archetype of the wild-haired inventor. “Edison may get the credit for his inventions—it was his laboratory, of course—but each one typically arose from years of effort that included many others,” as Hill and her co-authors put it. Hill puts such leadership into three organizational capabilities—creative abrasion, creative agility, creative resolution—for leaders to build into the culture.

How Ed Catmull Spent His Last Day as Head of Pixar Executive Summary Sometimes a creative act by one leader can inspire others. Ed Catmull, Pixar cofounder and long-time leader, did just that after announcing his retirement in late 2018. Earlier this spring I had the chance to witness two of the “farewell talks” that Ed Catmull gave to the people of Pixar. Each “farewell talk” was a separate, hour-long session with a different team in the company, but the content wasn’t tailored to specific departments. Catmull has always been unusually reflective about the challenges of leading creative organizations, and generous in sharing the practices he finds effective. Make the sessions inclusive. Keep it intimate. Pose questions rather than offer answers. Create the space for people to air their own thoughts. Display undiminished curiosity. So, why were these conversations valuable to the company? When I asked Catmull, “Why doesn’t everyone do this?” Sometimes a creative act by one leader can put a new question on the table for others.

How this Pixar storyboard artist made 'Float,' a Disney+ short about his autistic son - SFGate A scene from Pixar's short film "Float."A scene from Pixar's short film "Float." Photo: Pixar A scene from Pixar's short film "Float." Photo: Pixar How this Pixar storyboard artist made 'Float,' a Disney+ short about his autistic son Pixar’s newest short film “Float” opens with a visual of a dad playing with his son in the front yard. The story is close to the heart of director Bobby Rubio. RELATED: These are the highly anticipated Disney and Pixar movies coming out soon Rubio’s opportunity to bring his experiences to the screen came via Pixar’s SparkShorts incubator program. “[SparkShorts] allows us to tell these grittier stories,” says producer Krissy Cababa. “It’s not a fairy tale,” says Rubio. RELATED: Pixar movie scenes that you can visit in real life in the Bay Area In addition to shining a light on the challenges of parenting, “Float” also pays homage to his Filipino-American heritage.