In Creativity, Inc., Ed Catmull explains why Pixar has been able to produce such massively successful animated films over the years. As an author, I wanted to see what I could learn from their success in my attempts to write better books.
Here are the three main ideas I found useful from Catmull’s book:
The movies always start out bad.
Catmull provides example after example of successful movie that started out with a lot of bad ideas. Some of them were so bad that the movie eventually became unrecognizable from its original iteration.
Finish the first draft fast but don’t be satisfied with it.
The movies get better because of candid feedback.
They have what they call a Braintrust in which a group of people offer candid feedback to make a story better. The producer doesn’t have to use any of the suggestions, but he or she has to address the problems that come up in those meetings.
Get as much feedback as possible.
Vision develops over time.
Catmull described the process as more of a marathon than a sprint. All too often, people think a vision for a project clear and concrete at the outset, when in reality that vision changes over time. The more adaptable you are to the vision, the better the movie will be.
Don’t settle on your original vision for a project. Let it evolve over time.