Say what you will about some of the studio’s recent output, but Pixar’s operating process has remained steadfastly left-of-center since it broke out big with Toy Story in 1995. Many expected the studio to move to Los Angeles or take on a more traditional method of production following its immense success, but Pixar maintains its central headquarters in Emeryville, California and sticks to its central, creativity-inspiring work philosophies. One of the most curious aspects of the studio is the Pixar Braintrust, a group of Pixar creatives that weighs in on all of the studio’s features on a regular basis with a brutal honesty.
In an excerpt from his upcoming book Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, Pixar President Ed Catmull offers a detailed, behind-the-scenes look at the Braintrust process, offering extensive examples from Toy Story 3 and director Pete Docter’s new film Inside Out. Read some of Catmull’s insights after the jump.
There’s no doubt about it: Pixar has lost some of its luster. The animation studio used to be the company that could do no wrong, but following its first truly disappointing film—Cars 2—Pixar’s subsequent output has yet to receive the same universal acclaim that was previously almost guaranteed. This year’s Pixar release, Monsters University, has fared a bit better than Cars 2 and Brave as far as critical acclaim goes (I loved it), but there are still plenty who claim that the pic is not “up to snuff” with regards to the very high bar that the studio set in its initial run.
One of the main complaints against Pixar in recent years is the studio’s new propensity for sequels. Now Pixar Studios President Ed Catmull says that the plan is to scale back on follow-ups in the near future, with the aim of making one original film a year and alternating sequels only every other year. Hit the jump for more.
The Library of Congress has added 25 more films to the National Film Registry. Each year the library chooses films they deem are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically” significant to add to the registry. This year’s additions include Forrest Gump, Bambi (long overdue, I’d say), and The Silence of the Lambs, as well as the sci-fi classic The War of the Worlds (1953), Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend, and Charlie Chaplin’s first feature The Kid. In addition, the Library of Congress chose to add student works from Pixar Animation co-founder Ed Catmull and director Robert Rodriguez‘s El Mariachi. Hit the jump to check out the full list of this year’s films, which also includes a short blurb about each film.
The second part (part one is here) of my visit to Walt Disney Animation Studios continues, which focuses on the talented people that made Tangled and the process that it takes. During my press day at the studio we had a flurry of round-table interviews and John Lasseter, head of Disney’s animation wing, stopped by to speak for over 20 minutes. So join me after the break for highlights of what we discussed and a ton of behind-the-scenes information on Tangled.