I’ll be returning to WonderGround Gallery on Saturday June 21st from 11 AM – 1PM to debut my latest Mickey and Minnie piece “A Perfect Summer”. I’ll be there along with two other fantastic artists – Pascal Campion and Whitney Pollett. Summer is always a busy time at the parks so if you happen to be at the resort that weekend, come by and say hello. There will be a lot of new art and merchandise available.
WonderGround Gallery is located in the Downtown Disney® District at the Disneyland® Resort.
I find myself driving from Sacramento to Anaheim quite often. I’m always looking for great podcasts and audiobooks to listen to during my six hour journey to the Happiest Place on Earth. On my most recent trip, I finally had the opportunity to listen to Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in The Way of True Inspiration. The book, by Ed Catmull who is currently serving as President for both Pixar and Disney Animation studios, is not a memoir per se, but rather a glimpse at the inner-workings and philosophy of Pixar Animation studios. While it is usually John Lasseter, with his brightly colored shirts and boundless enthusiasm, that serves as the face of Pixar Animation Studios, it is co-founder Ed Catmull that has truly been with the company from the very beginning – before Pixar was Pixar, you could say. Hearing his version of Pixar’s birth and development is intriguing to say the least. Parts of the studio’s story we’ve heard before. But hearing it from Catmull offers a very different perspective and insight.
I must admit, I approached this book as a Pixar fan. And while I’m always curious about the company’s philosophy and approach to making films, it is the behind-the-scenes anecdotes and personal accounts that I was most interested in reading. I had to keep reminding myself that this isn’t a memoir. Catmull writes with great earnestness – never delving into prolonged navel-gazing or gossip. The whole point of the book is about respecting others in the work place. So, to ‘dish’ about specific situations and people would be against the very philosophy that the book promotes. But once Catmull starts a story about some of the more trying times the studio has faced on different projects over the years, the more curious you become to hear more. The stories, which were all great, tend to get wrapped up a little too quickly and left me wanting more. I think the book is at its best when discussing the merger with Disney and any mention of Steve Jobs. In hindsight, Creativity, Inc. would have benefited from a delay of just a few months. There is only a slight mention of the wild success of Disney’s Frozen and no mention at all of the changes on The Good Dinosaur.
I’m not a manager and I don’t work for a large company. I can’t really speak to how effective this book is as a model for managing creatives and creative projects. I like what Catmull had to say and how he said it. He seems likeable, level headed and his words feel sincere. As a casual reader/listener, I would highly recommend the book/audiobook to fans of the studio and animation in general. I think his stories resonate more with folks familiar with the studio’s history and body of work. My only hope is that Catmull gets the chance to write a full-blown memoir of his time with Pixar and Disney.
Happy Star Wars Day! Every year I try to commemorate Star Wars day with a fun image. You can see 2013 and 2012 entries in my flickr feed! It’s a great time to be a Star Wars fan. December 2015 and Episode 7 is just around the corner. And try as I might to manage expectations for these new films, it’s hard not to get fan-boy excited over new Star Wars material. Let’s hope director J.J. Abrams is the new hope we’ve been waiting for.