A: Being able to have ownership of what we’re doing and creative control, that’s why I got into filmmaking. That’s the motivation. I want to make movies. And I’m not making them for anyone else besides myself and my friends. You don’t need any other motivation than that.”
The actor-director has used his star power on YouTube to galvanize his fans and fund the largest crowdfunding campaign in web series history. Now he wants to use that model to take over Hollywood. More>
In This Exclusive Excerpt From Creativity, Inc., Ed Catmull Unveils One Of His Management Tools — The Pixar Braintrust, Which Has Helped The Animation Powerhouse Score 14 Box-Office Hits In A Row.
A hallmark of a healthy creative culture is that its people feel free to share ideas, opinions, and criticisms. Our decision making is better when we draw on the collective knowledge and unvarnished opinions of the group. Candor is the key to collaborating effectively. Lack of candor leads to dysfunctional environments. So how can a manager ensure that his or her working group, department, or company embraces candor? By putting mechanisms in place that explicitly say it is valuable. One of Pixar’s key mechanisms is the Braintrust, which we rely on to push us toward excellence and to root out mediocrity. It is our primary delivery system for straight talk. The Braintrust meets every few months or so to assess each movie we’re making. Its premise is simple: Put smart, passionate people in a room together, charge them with identifying and solving problems, and encourage them to be candid. The Braintrust is not foolproof, but when we get it right, the results are phenomenal.
With an estimated 2.3 million Americans behind bars, the U.S. incarcerates a larger percentage of its population than any other nation on Earth. As a result, one out of every 28 children grows up with a parent in jail—an average of one child per classroom.
Q: One of your most memorable scenes had Skyler getting up from dinner with Walter, Hank, and Marie and walking into the swimming pool. What was it like for you to shoot that scene? Can you swim?
A: I’m a decent swimmer, thank God, but I never thought I’d be able to do that kind of thing, because it required me having to be trained with scuba equipment, with a regulator. Going under the water and staying under the water for periods of time gives me claustrophobia.
But I also like a good challenge. The boys always got to do a lot of stunts on the show. So when I got to do something that was stuntlike, I thought, okay good. Now I finally get to do something.
It was hard to tell from the shot, but I actually had to walk into the pool, and then there was a cut after I walk down into the water. Our wonderful special effects people and our stunt people had to build a wire cage, and they rigged that blue skirt I was wearing onto the wire cage so that the effect of the skirt billowing around my head was created.
They placed that wire cage in the deep end of the pool. That’s why they had to train me to go underwater and breathe with a regulator.