Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Inside the Pixar Braintrust

"While problems in a film are fairly easy to identify, the sources of those problems are often extraordinarily difficult to assess. A mystifying plot twist or a less-than-credible change of heart in our main character is often caused by subtle, underlying issues elsewhere in the story. Think of it as a patient complaining of knee pain that stems from his fallen arches. If you operated on the knee, it wouldn't just fail to alleviate the pain, it could easily compound it. To alleviate the pain, you have to identify and deal with the root of the problem. The Braintrust's notes, then, are intended to bring the true causes of problems to the surface--not to demand a specific remedy. We don't want the Braintrust to solve a director's problem because we believe that, in all likelihood, our solution won't be as good as the one the director and his or her creative team comes up with."
Here is an excerpt from Ed Catmull's soon to be published book Creativity, Inc.

(Thanks, James Caswell)


Anonymous said...

And if you don't agree with the "brain trust," you get fired. With over half the Pixar directors pushed off projects and most having left the company, maybe it's a little late to tout confusion as a good business plan. No wonder the likes of Jan Pinkava, Brenda Chapman,Teddy Newton, Dave Silverman, and Doug Sweetland left.

Steve Schnier said...

I'm about 1/2 way through the book and it's quite good. That said, I agree that the "brain trust" system won't work for everyone. That said, you can't deny the quality or success of their movies, so there has to be something to it.