Culture: May 2008 Archives

Although bits and bytes are its bread and butter, no major studio better embodies humanity in film than Pixar. A recent interview with Pixar director Brad Bird presents ten ways that Pixar promotes innovation. (Hat tip to Joe Carter's Evangelical Outpost.)

I found two points especially interesting. This one ought to interest Forrest Christian, who has been writing about adult underachievers over at his Requisite Writing blog:

Lesson One: Herd Your Black Sheep

The Quarterly: How did your first project at Pixar--The Incredibles--shake things up?

Brad Bird: I said, "Give us the black sheep. I want artists who are frustrated. I want the ones who have another way of doing things that nobody's listening to. Give us all the guys who are probably headed out the door." A lot of them were malcontents because they saw different ways of doing things, but there was little opportunity to try them, since the established way was working very, very well. We gave the black sheep a chance to prove their theories, and we changed the way a number of things are done here.

Later, Bird explains how geography contributes to creativity.

Then there's our building. Steve Jobs basically designed this building. In the center, he created this big atrium area, which seems initially like a waste of space. The reason he did it was that everybody goes off and works in their individual areas. People who work on software code are here, people who animate are there, and people who do designs are over there. Steve put the mailboxes, the meetings rooms, the cafeteria, and, most insidiously and brilliantly, the bathrooms in the center--which initially drove us crazy--so that you run into everybody during the course of a day. [Jobs] realized that when people run into each other, when they make eye contact, things happen. So he made it impossible for you not to run into the rest of the company.

There are urban design parallels: The layout of some cities makes chance encounters likely; in others a serendipitous meeting is all but impossible. Chance encounters enable the cross-pollination of ideas, which makes the whole city smarter.

If you are walking to work, riding the bus, hanging out a neighborhood coffeeshop, walking across downtown for a meeting, you're more likely to bump into someone you know and have that conversation you've been meaning to have when you get some time. If you're going from place to place in your car, you might wave at someone you know, but you're not going to stop for a chat.

Reader Ted King writes to tell me about a film well worth seeing. It's showing at Tulsa's Circle Cinema through May 15.

It's called The Singing Revolution, and it's about Estonia's struggle for independence in the late 1980s, and the role that patriotic songs played in that successful overthrow of Soviet rule. From the film's website:

Most people don't think about singing when they think about revolution. But song was the weapon of choice when Estonians sought to free themselves from decades of Soviet occupation. "The Singing Revolution" is an inspiring account of one nation's dramatic rebirth. It is the story of humankind's irrepressible drive for freedom and self-determination.

You may find yourself getting choked up watching the trailer. I did.

Here are the remaining showtimes at the Circle Cinema:

Friday, 5/9: 2:00pm, 5:45pm
Saturday, 5/10: 4:00pm
Sunday, 5/11: 2:00pm, 5:45pm
Monday, 5/12 & Tuesday, 5/13: 3:30pm, 7:15pm
Wednesday, 5/14: 5:15pm
Thursday, 5/15: 3:30pm, 7:15pm

Circle Cinema is located at Admiral and Lewis in Whittier Square, an area on the upswing. Just next door to the Circle is a soon-to-open French coffeehouse called Alisée MoMo. It looks very cool.

(Happily, the dirty bookstore on the opposite corner is gone.)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Culture category from May 2008.

Culture: April 2008 is the previous archive.

Culture: June 2008 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Contact

Feeds

Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
Atom
RSS
[What is this?]