Lunch With The FT : Disney/Pixar Chief John Lasseter

Sunday, January 18, 2009

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…..During Lasseter’s first stint at Disney he found himself being asked, “What would Walt do?” At the Lucasfilm computer division new ideas were not discouraged, partly because of Catmull’s background in science. “With science there is this culture of experimentation and most of the time those experiments fail,” says Lasseter. There’s a culture of failure, which is accepted and it’s become part of Pixar.”  It was important, he says, to strike the right balance between technological innovation and storytelling.  “Art challenges technology but technology inspires the art.  Often you’ll see a film where it’s been caught up in the technology and it doesn’t captivate.  What I learnt from those great Disney animators was that it’s what you do with the technology that matters.”  Steve Jobs (who earlier this week announced he was taking medical leave from Apple) heard what the Lucasfilm computer division was doing and ended up buying it for $10m in 1986.  Lasseter says Jobs funded the newly renamed Pixar for 10 years before it turned a profit.  “Over the years he must have invested another $50m-$60m.  There is nobody else that would have supported us for that long.”…..

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