Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Behind the Scenes: Jay Shuster on The Creative Process at PIXAR #trgconf

These are my live-blogged notes from the second day keynote session at Training 2016, happening this week in Orlando. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

Behind the Scenes: Jay Shuster on The Creative Process at PIXAR #trgconf

The story is central to Pixar. Jay's in the art department as the production designer – his team designs everything you see on the screen.

“make it great.”

Pixar goes into a film without a locked script. Art and story work so closely together. Art informs script.

“We never finish a movie. We just release it.” ~ John Lasseter

They have a big team with a lot of nerds, and people who are really good at what they do. 

“Hire people smarter than yourself.” Everyone becomes a designer of a film.

PU Tube – find people talking about their projects. Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned. Always access this stuff to learn from what we’ve done along the way.

“art challenges the technology…technology inspires the art."

And always have fun doing what you do.

Design of the building – the left wing is the left brain – “the smartests” and the right wing is the right brain -- “the artists”. With a place to connect in the atrium.

Toy collections at Pixar are like a status symbol.

“Fail forward – bad ideas are fuel for good ideas.” Andrew Stanton (making mistakes!)

Trust – he spent months working on drawings for Wall-e.

Owning what you do.

Keep it loose. At Pixar, what impressed him was how loose things were – napkins with stains become the main drawing. Communicate the ideas however you want.

“Do your homework.” – go to Toys R Us and buy a ton of toys. Go study mars rovers. 

Storyboards are the currency – how ideas are bought and sold at Pixar. Even if they’re super loose, they all communicate stories.

Over 100,000 storyboards on every project. One guy pitched the same sequence 32 times.

In the early stages, they get all their employees to watch the film and take notes and ask questions.

“No” gets said after months of work. But the story dictates…

Things flow as people contribute their own skillset.

“It turns out, it’s a beautiful film.” [Wall-e]

“Pain is temporary. SUCK is forever.” – this is the overarching ideal. We’ve got to everything on the screen kind of perfect, because it’s going to be up there for a long time. That’s where the neurosis comes from.

Everything we do comes from that quote by the founding fathers: “make it great.”

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