Pixar: Where Creativity Comes Inside to Play

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 31, 2003 | Go to article overview

Pixar: Where Creativity Comes Inside to Play


Byline: Scott Galupo, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

EMERYVILLE, CALIF. - Pixar Animation Studios, located in a postindustrial suburb outside the San Francisco Bay Area, is an antiseptic-looking corporate campus, complete with its own roving security staff in shorts and polo shirts.

Just down the road from Pixar, which houses the technical wizards who produced the animation blockbusters "Toy Story" and "Monsters, Inc." and the just-released "Finding Nemo," is a Home Depot and an Ikea furniture store.

It's about as far geographically and culturally from Hollywood as you can get in the movie business.

Designed by Apple Computer guru Steve Jobs himself, Pixar's headquarters look a lot like the sinister toy company in the Robert Redford espionage thriller "Sneakers."

Once inside, after your bag has been searched by a pair of polite men guarding the door, such notions disappear, however.

The building's main space, an airy glass-ceilinged atrium, resembles a botanical warehouse. It's a Saturday, but lots of Pixar employees are on the job.

Well, sort of. Work here is done intermittently. Because ideas aren't necessarily produced between 9 and 5, all-nighters aren't uncommon. That leaves plenty of time for fun and games.

They shoot pool and play Foos Ball, a table soccer game; sip lattes on ratty-chic couches; zip around on razor scooters; play video games on vintage arcade machines.

To walk into Pixar is to leave the real world; it's rather like watching one of Pixar's otherworldly creations.

The high-tech studio's sophisticated, highly expressive brand of animation is the result of miles of computer code fed into a digital nerve center called the Renderfarm that has breathed human life into toys and bugs; it made child-spooking monsters look like sympathetic, workaday stiffs; and we play merrily, unconsciously along.

Pixar has no peer in creating alternative onscreen universes. To get to that point, the company has cultivated a nontraditional, egalitarian corporate culture that stresses creativity, flexibility and individualism; a laid-back philosophy that's reflected by the clothes the employees wear and the goofy idiosyncrasies of each worker's cubicle decor.

Almost everyone is wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and not just because it's the weekend. Here at Pixar, every day is casual Friday.

"I love doing what I do," says production designer Ralph Eggleston, "but sometimes stopping and playing pool is relaxing. It gets my mind out of the world of the movie for two hours.

"Subconsciously, I'm thinking about the movie, so when I get back to my desk and I have a problem I haven't solved, maybe now my batteries are a little more recharged," Mr. Eggleston says.

This is the kind of company that lets your inner child run wild and your freak flag fly, where the feng shui flows just right.

There's even a maternity room for nursing moms.

The culture here is a mix of Peter Drucker management theory, Tony Robbins motivationalism and high-'90s idealism; it's a company full of nerdy geniuses with Jefferson Airplane and Jerry Lewis as its board of directors.

Other companies have tried this, it's true, but they probably had a dot in their names and ran out of business around the time the NASDAQ stock index tanked in the spring of 2000.

"I want the studio to be a fun place," says John Lasseter, a Pixar vice president responsible for the studio's overall creative product. "I believe that if you have fun while you're working, it's going to appear on the screen. That gives me license to be the biggest clown in the place. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Pixar: Where Creativity Comes Inside to Play
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.