It’s easy to forget that “loyalty” includes loyalty down as well as loyalty up. At the Harvard Business Review blog, Stanford’s Bob Sutton reminds us with the awe-inspiring story of how Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith risked everything to protect their team—the Computer Graphics group at Lucasfilm, and future founding employees of Pixar—from counter-productive layoffs.
Carlos Baena, Toy Story 3 animator:
In 1995, Spanish youth Carlos Baena was living the skateboarder’s idle life in Los Angeles. Although he had an artistic bent, Baena had no clue about how animated movies of any kind were made. But he saw two astounding things: Toy Story and The Nightmare Before Christmas. He was never the same again.
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Baena’s road to Pixar Animation Studios was rocky.
“I got rejected time after time,” he says of his five applications to work there. “And I didn’t care! Every time I got rejected I went: ‘Oh yeah? Well wait for me next year!’”
In the meantime, he worked as an animator elsewhere [at Industrial Light & Magic], refining his technique. Pixar remained the ultimate goal. He was hired during Finding Nemo. Now he is a star there, all because he watched two movies in 1995. (From the Toronto Sun)
Michael Arndt, Toy Story 3 screenwriter:
They approached me. Back in early 2005, Pixar was looking for a writer to work with Lee Unkrich on an original idea that he was planning to direct. One of the development people here at Pixar, Mary Coleman, bumped into Little Miss Sunshine producer Ron Yerxa at the Sundance Film Festival and asked him if he knew of any decent writers, and he recommended me. So I was hired at Pixar while LMS was still in the editing room. It’s a tribute to Pixar that they were willing to hire an untested writer (me) and subsequently trust him with one of their biggest movies.
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It took me ten years of writing before I finally sold my first script. I know that Malcolm Gladwell’s rule of 10,000 hours of practice is kind of a cliche at this point. But for me, that cliche is 100% true. It basically took me 10,000 hours of writing before I had any success at all. (From Animated Views)