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Entries in John Lasseter (7)


Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

I didn’t include much in the book about the lifestyles enjoyed by Pixar’s co-founders—just a little bit here and there, I hope with a light hand. My interest was more in the road to success than in the perks that come with attaining it.

For those whose curiosity runs more in that direction, however, check out the recent local coverage of John Lasseter’s proposed winery in Glen Ellen, California. (The Lasseters have been making wine on a small scale with grapes from their Glen Ellen estate property for a half-dozen years; the bottles have been destined for friends, family, and charity auctions.) The minimalist web site for the Lasseter Family Winery is here.

Lasseter also owns a 1901 locomotive, which will run on his Glen Ellen estate. The locomotive, the Marie E., was formerly owned by the revered Disney animator Ollie Johnston, who ran it at his vacation home in Julian, California. After Johnston became too infirm to keep up the property, Lasseter bought the Marie E. and engaged the Hillcrest Shops of Reedley, California, to restore it.

What both of these have in common is that they’re cheaper than a Gulfstream and, one suspects, way more fun.

UPDATE: The Pixar Blog has details on Pete Docter’s planned treehouse. Docter, director of Pixar’s forthcoming feature, Up, is seeking to build three cottages in a 60-foot-tall artificial oak tree.


Art challenging technology

In explaining the relationship at Pixar between art and technology, John Lasseter often describes it this way: The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art.

Here’s an early example of art reaching out to technology at Pixar before it was Pixar. The predecessor to Pixar, Ed Catmull’s Computer Division at Lucasfilm, contracted with Lasseter in late 1983 to work on a short film directed by Alvy Ray Smith; the film eventually became The Adventures of André & Wally B. The group’s modeling software at the time offered only basic geometric shapes like cones and cylinders. Lasseter asked Catmull and Smith for a new shape, a flexible, teardrop-like form, that would let him create a more appealing character.

Below, Lasseter reaching out to the technologists. (Click to enlarge.)

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