Bits of Pixar Philosophy

I’ve always loved the movies and shorts produced by the people at Pixar1, but there’s also a lot to admire in the philosophy and work ethic of the people who make them happen.

In Building the Next Pixar, Fast Company magazine profiles some of the few people who have left the company and how they are applying the values learned at Pixar in new ventures.

The whole thing is worth your time, but here are a couple of quotes that have stuck in my head for some reason.

A computer will make something perfectly square, perfectly spherical, and that’s just ugly and boring. All of your time is spent kind of messing it up, which is the opposite of most people’s jobs…the real world is a big old mess and most people’s time is spent tidying it up. – Suzanne Slatcher, animator now working in food marketing

Maybe we shouldn’t work so hard to tidy up the world, and spend more time embracing and understanding the chaos instead.

They [Pixar management] threw you into a lot of different things to try and eliminate fear from the creative process. This meant improv classes, drawing classes, learning from people who were the best in their field–all in the interest of attaining confidence in your own artistic ideas. Fear is the biggest killer of creativity. In order to cultivate a strong creative environment, you need to make people comfortable in expressing their ideas. – Gabriel Schumberger, layout artist and technical director, now director of digital creative for Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Do we work to eliminate fear from the creative process in schools? Or even address the process at all? We certainly talk a lot about kids and creativity.2


  1. Maybe not so much the Cars films.

  2. Image by Satomi Ichimura on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

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