Wednesday 9 July 2008

tightknit beats ad-hoc

The traditional Hollywood approach is to gather an ad-hoc collection of actors, producers and technicians for a film and then disband the group as soon as it's over. Some see this flat, decentralised approach as the corporation of the future.

Mavericks at Work author Bill Taylor says the creative geniuses at Pixar turn this approach on its head by succeeding as:

'a tightknit company of long-term collaborators who stick together, learn from one another, and strive to improve with every production.'

(Hat-tip to Laura at Theatre Tribe, a networking site for 'theatre people outside the box', who sees Pixar as a good example for the sort of theatre company where 'everybody is involved in every aspect'.)

Another piece about Pixar emphasises how long-term collaboration leads to innovation. Randy Nelson, dean of Pixar University, runs courses in drawing, screenwriting, improv and colour for all 700 staff members, from the senior executives and animators to chefs and janitors.

This way they plan to avoid what happened to Disney. Nelson says, 'We saw how the formula crept in. Everyone here loves the old Disney favorites, but we never want to do one of those movies where the audience can figure out there must be a song coming here or "He's an orphan, so he's going to have a fat little buddy."'

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