Submitted by: Dave Trott 01/08/2017
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John Lasseter always wanted to be an animator.
His dream, of course, was to work at Disney.
But his first job there was in the theme park, on the Jungle Cruise ride.
Eventually he did manage to get a job in the animation studio.
Then something really exciting happened.
He saw the beginnings of the film Tron, a live action movie enhanced by
Lasseter saw the possibilities for animation.
Up until that time, all animation had been hand-drawn 2D.
His vision was an entirely computer-animated 3D movie.
But Disney studios had been making 2D movies for fifty years.
They didn’t want to change just for some dumb kid.
So John Lasseter was fired.
Now he didn’t have his dream job anymore.
He got a job at another digital company working on enhancements for George
Laseter was the only animator there, and he managed to make a very short,
very interesting, computer animated film.
Then he got lucky.
George Lucas sold that company to Steve Jobs.
Jobs paid $10 million thinking he was just getting a computer hardware
But John Lasseter showed him the short film he’d made.
Jobs asked him what he needed to make a success of that part of the
Lasseter said they needed to make a longer film, but that would cost half a
Jobs wrote out a personal cheque.
But before he handed it to Lasseter he said “Just one thing, John”.
Lasseter thought, here it comes, all the terms and conditions and stifling
But Steve Jobs said “Just make it great”.
And handed over the cheque.
And John Lasseter did make it great, that film won an Oscar.
And that film launched the new company, by now called Pixar.
And Pixar went on to launch an entirely new style of animation.
Totally computer-generated 3D feature films.
Pixar made some of the most successful films of all time: Toy Story, A Bug’s
Life, The Incredibles, Wall-E.
In fact Toy Story 3 became the first film ever to gross a billion dollars.
UP became the first animated film ever to open the Cannes Film Festival.
John Lasseter becamne the first animator ever (including Walt Disney) to win
the David O’Selznick award.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York even staged a ’20 Years of Pixar’
Meanwhile Disney was in serious trouble.
Their old-fashioned animation style had been totally eclipsed by Pixar.
So in 2006 Disney made a deal to buy Pixar for $7.7 billion.
On his initial $10 million investment, Steve Jobs made a profit of $3.7 billion.
Disney insisted on having it written into the contract that John Lasseter must
take over Disney animation.
The company he’d been fired from as a junior.
And so he became Chief Creative Officer at Disney and Pixar.
John Lasseter now has his own star on Hollywood’s ‘Walk Of Fame’.
And two Disney rides, ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘A Bug’s Land’, are taken from his movies.
Similar rides to the one he used to work on when he started.
It seems the ‘dumb kid’ wasn’t so dumb after all.
In 2013 Disney announced it was giving up making 2D animated feature films,
totally and for good.
Taken from 'One Plus One Equals Three'
Written in Dave Trott's distinctive, almost Zen-like style, One Plus On Equals Three is a collection of provocative anecdotes and thought experiments designed to light a fire under your own creative ambitions.