Pixar – 20 years of animation

Today, I finally got the chance to visit the Guggenhiem and Pixar, 20 Years of Animation, exhibits at NGV and Fed Square. The Guggenhiem was fantastic, and well worth a visit if you get the chance before it ships of-shore again on the 7th of October…but the real gold was to be found at the Pixar show.

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Upon entering, you are confronted with the following quote from John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of Pixar…

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Seeing that, I knew I was in for a good one. The exhibit is rigged to showcase the process Pixar goes through to create a film, and what they focus on to build such powerful stories. It was great, and is well worth the (measly) $15 to get in if you, like me, jive off anything relating to innovation and creativity. The exhibit takes down the curtain around Pixar in a wizard-of-oz kinda way! Some highlights of the exhibit are below…

1) Special document here! I kept the map of the exhibit they give you when you walk in…check it out here

2) Definately spend time (lots) on the Interactive Kiosks. Listen to how they create the story, through their rigorous creative process around storyboards. This is great, and after listening I can see why each scene in each film works out so great. They map ,improvise, create, act each scene out in a pitch to a grou pof Pixar employees. Then, John Lasseter (seems, the heart and soul of the company, given he exhibit) adds his bit, sending the ‘Storyboard Editor’ back to his drawing board before the final flow of the scene is nutted out. Why don’t every company have a ‘Story Board Editor?’ Everyone is selling an experience now, so why not map it out as the pro’s do??? Must re-read The Experience Economy…

3) It was evident from the numerous quotes and storys told within the exhibit that the focus within Pixar is very much on creating emotionally powerful stories. The fact that they create these with high-tech computer graphics is neither here nor there…as is quickly evident from the freehand artwork on display.

4) There we’re, thankfully, many film clips and and film extracts (as you would expect going to a FILM exhibit). There was a show on how Pixar create their worlds (The Artscape), as well as a large collection of award winning Lasseter short films on display when you first enter (including the famous table light clip that inspired the Pixar logo). Obviously, make sure you see all of these things. (Although, the Zoetrope was a bit trippy…)

Overall, I loved the Storyboard process most, and am going to try this out in more of a business application way very soon…listening to the Pixar guys pitch each scene so passionatley inspired me!!!

Well worth it!!! *****

Stress and the untamed mind…and email

Mother Dearest, aka Mum, recently attended a mental health night (she works for a mental health provider in Melbourne’s South East) and heard a guy (don’t have name at the moment…i’ll post later today) speak about busyness and unfocused thinking, and the immense stress it places on a persons mental health. This guy is a frontier scientist from Monash Uni, a Sandstone Institution here in oz that is prestigious world wide.

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I found this particularly interesting, as I am always buzzing around – checking emails, twittering, jumping from msn, to skype, to Facebook, to the web and then back to the thing I was actually supposed to be focusing on. And if I have trouble, spare a thought for my brothers generation…who know nothing else but homework with the ‘aid’ of MSN.

I realized when reading some of this guys work that it overlaps a bit with De Bono’s thoughts on Lateral Thinking – especially setting a firm Thinking Purpose when setting about working. I have thus concluded that, email and the other tools I use, whilst immensely useful, are disruptive to my productivity, and my creative thinking.

From now on, I’m going to practice a bit of mental application. I’ll set a thinking purpose (what do I wanna get out of this hour?), shut down the blessed email, make my last twitter for the hour, and then burn into some productive and focused thinking.

Follow me here for the results…more on this as I go

(Note…this post was completed whilst I should have been focusing on transcribing lateral thoughts from the Creative Thought session I facilitated the other day…good start!)