Published on May 14, 2014[Recorded: May 8, 2014] “Many have attempted to formulate and categorize inspiration and creativity. What Ed Catmull shares instead is his astute experience that creativity isn’t strictly a well of ideas, but an alchemy of people. In Creativity, Inc. Ed reveals, with commonsense specificity and honesty, examples of how not to get in your own way and how to realize a creative coalescence of art, business, and innovation.”
– George Lucas
As a young man, Ed Catmull had a dream: to be an animator and an artist. When he learned that he lacked the natural talent for hand-drawn animation, he turned to his other passion: physics, and then computing. That pivot eventually drove a desire within Catmull to make the first computer-animated movie. He nurtured that dream as a Ph.D student at the University of Utah, where many computer graphics pioneers got their start. He eventually forged a partnership with George Lucas—an alliance that led, indirectly, to his founding Pixar Annimation Studios with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter in 1986. Nine years later, Pixar released Toy Story, the first feature-length film created entirely on computers. It changed animation forever.
Pixar has gone on, as of early 2014, to win 27 Academy Awards® for animated filmmaking. When The Walt Disney Company bought Pixar in 2006 for $7.4 billion, Catmull became the President and CEO of the combined Walt Disney Animation Studios. Thus, through his chosen route of physics, mathematics and computing, Ed Catmull realized his dream to be a Disney animator.
The environment that Catmull and his colleagues built at Pixar, and continue within Disney, is based on philosophies that honor the creative process, strike a delicate balance between artistic storytelling and skilled engineering, and defy convention. In his new book, Creativity, Inc., Catmull reveals some of the secrets of Pixar’s success and describes his own approach to inspiring excellence in a very large organization over the long term.
Ed Catmull, a Fellow of the Computer History Museum, joins John Hollar for a conversation about how to build a sustained creative culture, nurturing both the technical and artistic “poles of creativity.”
Please join us for what is certain to be an inspiring evening with a true revolutionary.