Friday 15 November 2013

Pixar Co-Founder Ed Catmull Writing Book About the Studio's History

Ed Catmull, as well as being an accomplished computer scientist and computer graphics pioneer, is also a very successful businessman. That's going to be the focus of his new book, Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, which will be published by Random House on 8th April, 2014. So says The Hollywood Reporter.

Catmull (now 68) co-founded Pixar with Alvy Ray Smith and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in 1986, after having worked for George Lucas's Graphics Group for several years (where he, Loren Carpenter and Robert L. Cook created Reyes, the precursor to Pixar's now industry standard RenderMan system). The company, originally thought of by Steve Jobs after his purchase of the company as a high-end computing house, lost millions of dollars continuously for years, due to poor sales of their self-titled Pixar Image Computer.

The studio's short films - particularly the John Lasseter-directed Luxo Jr., which premiered at SIGGRAPH in 1986 - garnered more attention though, and, in 1991, Pixar signed a three-picture deal with The Walt Disney Company. The first of those three films was what eventually became Toy Story. The rest, as they say, is history. And that history is the stimulus of Creativity, Inc., which is being co-written by Amy Wallace.

Pixar's history has been detailed many times before (most notably, in book form, in David Price's fantastic The Pixar Touch; also in documentary form, such as Leslie Iwerks's The Pixar Story), but this is the first history of the studio written by an important player in the story. Catmull is currently president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Catmull (left) with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter (right) in 1986.

Here's THR's blurb of the book:
"Creativity will provide an inside account of Pixar’s rise “from a small, money-losing hardware company to a movie studio with 1,200 employees and a streak of fourteen #1 movies in a row that has garnered 30 Academy Awards and earned more than $7 billion worldwide.” Catmull will use the story of Pixar’s rise to offer lessons on leadership, management and balancing art and commerce."
The book, from the perspective of Pixar fandom and business knowledge, sounds like a riveting read! It'll certainly go some way to fill the feature film-sized hole next year, after The Good Dinosaur's migration to 2015.

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