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Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

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Pixar's Ed Catmull and Pete Docter talk Creativity, Inc.

Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) (2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA) Map it
Small_decc7681d2a9f812a716e22943090922 Melissa Mytinger

For nearly twenty years, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing fourteen consecutive #1 box office hits, including the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters, Inc., Up, and WALL-E, which have amassed $7 billion in combined worldwide ticket sales and garnered thirty Academy Awards. But in the beginning, long before Pixar was one of the world’s most successful movie studios, it was a small hardware company struggling to stay afloat. Ed Catmull, who co-founded the company in 1986 with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter, led Pixar as it moved toward its goal—to make the first-ever computer animated movie—and grew into the creative, innovative force that it is today. In CREATIVITY, INC, Catmull, who is also the president of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios, reveals the ideals that have made the studio so widely admired—and so profitable.
Catmull tells of his childhood fascination with Walt Disney, his experience at the University of Utah when the computer graphics field was in its infancy, and his start in the film business in 1979 when, flush from the success of Star Wars, George Lucas hired him to merge moviemaking with technology. Readers learn about the challenges Catmull, Lasseter, and Jobs—a dynamic trio who could address technical, creative, and business issues—faced as they brought Pixar’s first film to the screen, and arguably just as important, the hard work that came after Toy Story’s success as they built a sustainable creative environment.

Among the lessons we learn while we’re inside the studio: that Quality is the best business plan; how to Uncouple fear and failure—to create an environment in which making mistakes doesn’t strike terror into your employee’s hearts; how Getting the team right is the necessary precursor to getting the ideas right; why it's important to Prepare for the unknown problem; why Making the process better, easier, and cheaper is an important aspiration, but it is not the goal. Making something great is the goal; why A company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure; why it's true that If any department “wins,” the company loses.

CREATIVITY, INC. is a years-in-the-making distillation of the core principles Catmull has used to develop Pixar’s singular creative culture. Its lessons will serve anyone who wants to work in an environment that fosters problem solving and creativity and any leader who wants to enable his or her people to thrive and collaborate effectively. Its rare view into how Pixar’s beloved movies are made will appeal to the studio’s millions of fans and Catmull’s account of working side-by-side with Steve Jobs for over 25 years casts a new portrait of the man he calls “Pixar’s fiercest champion and a close friend.”

Ed Catmull is co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. He has been honored with five Academy Awards, including the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for lifetime achievement in the field of computer graphics. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Utah. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and children.

Pete Docter is the Oscar®-winning director of “Monsters, Inc.,” and “Up,” and Vice President, Creative at Pixar Animation Studios. He was an executive producer on Disney•Pixar’s recent release, “Monsters University” which has grossed over $743M at the worldwide box office. Docter is currently working on Disney•Pixar’s next original film, “Inside Out” scheduled to release in June 2015.

Starting at Pixar in 1990 as the studio’s third animator, Docter collaborated with John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton in developing the story and characters for “Toy Story,” Pixar’s first full-length animated feature film, for which he also served as supervising animator. He served as a storyboard artist on “A Bug’s Life,” and wrote initial story treatments for both “Toy Story 2” and “WALL•E.”

Docter’s interest in animation began at the age of eight when he created his first flipbook. He studied character animation at California Institute of the Art (CalArts) in Valencia, where he produced a variety of short films one of which won a Student Academy Award®. Those films have since been shown in animation festivals around the world, and are featured on the "Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2." Upon joining Pixar, he animated and directed several commercials, and has been nominated for six Academy Awards® including Best Animated Feature-winner “Up” and nominee “Monsters, Inc.,” and Best Original Screenplay for “Up” and “WALL•E.”

Berkeley Arts & Letters at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive (2621Durant Avenue, Berkeley)

Tickets all include a copy of Creativity Inc. $40, one seat one book; $50, two seats one book) at Brown Paper Tickets in advance; at-the-door tickets available pending space available and should not be counted upon

Pixar's Ed Catmull and Pete Docter talk Creativity, Inc.

Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) (2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA) Map it
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