Animating a Blockbuster – Pixars Success


I just finished reading an article that Wired Magazine wrote on Pixar Animation Studios and the making of Toy Story 3. I, like many other people, am a big fan of the studio and the great movies they put out. I have always been fascinated by the company and the success that they’ve had and like many artists and animators, would give my right arm to work for them… well, maybe not my right arm since I’m right handed. I love the passion that the Pixar employees and personnel show for their work and it got me to thinking about how my love for comics, cartoons and animation started.

Just a little background on me, my love for animation really grew from my passion and love for comicstrips & books, as far back as I can remember Charles Schultz and the peanuts gang was my sole reason for getting into art. I LOVE drawing comicstrips and that was what I wanted growing up, to have a syndicated comicstrip in the newspaper, of course I loved my Saturday morning cartoons as well, and like many kids would grab my bowl of cereal and plop down in front of the TV and lose myself for most of the morning. I wasn’t as much a Disney fan as I was a Looney Tunes, Warner Bros. fan, their style of slapstick, three stooges kind of humor really appealed to me and made me laugh out loud.

Since starting in 3D & animation about 3+ years ago now, and I am by no means calling myself a professional in it yet, have come to appreciate the whole process and time involved in creating something in 3D. I love the behind the scenes and making of parts of DVD’s almost, if not more, than the movie itself. Pixar, I would say, is the pinnacle of how a studio should work, animation or otherwise. I know of no other studio that has that kind of track record, where every movie they’ve put out has been not only a box office smash but been critically praised as well and where the employees genuinely love working for the company. Believable characters and great stories are a big part of the equation, be it 3D animation, comicstrips, or comic books, if they are to be successful and long-lasting. That was why I loved comicstrips as a child, Charles Schultz made me believe in Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the gang as did all the other comics and cartoons I love. Who didn’t feel bad for or laugh at Wile E Coyote and his ever quest to catch the roadrunner, or Tom’s back and forth with Jerry.

I think as artists we long to create something that people can connect with and that stands the test of time, long after we’re gone. Pixar has managed to do just that, create characters and stories that people can connect with in some form or fashion and that will stand the test of time long after the people that started the company have gone.

Pixar has a great mix of elements that makes them such a successful studio. Starting with interesting characters, a great story, talented directors, animators and production people, add to that a totally collaborative effort and environment where even the most junior person has some input, which I feel is their strongest point, and top it with a burning desire to make everything you do better than the previous thing, to constantly push yourself and your craft. You can’t help but come out with a great product. Even the simple layout of their office, where everything from the bathrooms, lounge and eateries are centrally located and everyone can co-mingle with people from other departments, fosters a creative and collaborative environment.

So, Thank You Charles Schultz for initially putting in me that spark and passion for art, comics and cartoons, and Thank You Pixar for helping to keep it alive!! :0)

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