One of the significant characteristics I noticed about Pixar when I was researching them for my “Creative Assembly Lines” blog was their willingness to do whatever it takes to keep their creative team together.
When it became apparent that they were running out of cash, and Steve Jobs’ patience was wearing thin funding them, they turned to creating TV commercials to buy them a stay of execution.
At the time it was viewed by many as “beneath them” – they were a pioneering, Oscar-winning, computer graphics studio with aspirations to do a full-length computer animated film – but in retrospect Lasseter and others recognise how important this episode was in preparing the studio for Toy Story. In essence, they delivered 81 mini-movies before moving on to Toy Story, all of which helped not only keep the creative team together but refine their production process too.
For me there are clear parallels between this situation and studios in our own industry who have to take on work-for-hire in order to fund their aspirations to make original games. It’s also a great example of one of Denki’s own pillars of “The Way” – Preparation.
Anyway, I was recently sent a link that documents some of these commercials. What’s most striking about them is how “Pixar” they are – all the elements people love in Pixar’s movies are already here in minature. Click here to view them.