• Creating a fun place to work…

    Its really no secret anymore that I have had a few offices that had secret rooms at Pixar… I’ve never really talked about it much, mostly people have told their own version of the story…Mostly mythology. In the next couple of posts Ill try to speak on why it happened and what the real reasons were…

    Well, it all started when I was a kid, as most stories do… Something imprinted with me… My brother Ken, always had the most amazing club houses…One was in a old ice shed out back. He had fur up there, a drawer of baseball cards, a chest of toys and trinkets.. Of course I was never allowed. I did sneak up when he was away, but I loved it there. Being in a place I was not supposed to be was the key. A hiding place… When your a kid, you make forts, you try to construct things, well because its fun! My brother had the shed, the attic, a bush that was a three story apartment etc…Why should it be any different at work? My brother inspired me , or rather as he would say it, I copied him. Copy Cat, he would often call me… I’ll admit, I did like what my older brothers were doing. A kid makes the kid version of what the older kids do…

    So The Love Lounge, was the place at Pixar I “found” When I moved in, there was simply a key in an air vent and I crawled in as any kid would do… Ironically, on the other side of the building there is the same door, but for some reason it never was seen as a place to have drinks and hang out… Animators are a special breed. Basically people that still somehow wanted to keep playing with their action figures…and make them come alive… The natural thing was to do the same thing. I strung up some lights, Bought some airplane bottles of liquor and the next thing I know, Im sending out invitations to my fellow animators to have a drink… Posters start going up…I was inspired by Shawshank redemption. The character in that film had a really cool Cell with a poster of Raquel Welch… The place started turning into a 50′s lounge…We were all so young and it was fun trying to hide from the Brass. One day, while on the Film Finding Nemo, I was supposed to be in a review. They came to my office and was coming out of the door… Caught red handed by Director Andrew Stanton. He looked inside and noticed that I had a sort of Snoopy Dog house. Snoopy’s dog house was also something that as a kid I always wondered about.. He had so much stuff in there… I knew I wasn’t going to be fired, but maybe get in trouble for having a chocolate martini in my hands while a bunch of animators crawled, or rolled out laughing… The next thing I know, John Lassiter is coming by, Then with Steve Jobs… They pretty much loved it… Steve signed the wall: This is why we built this building…The next year or three I met too many famous people to count. Some of my hero’s, So many actors, Musicians, Billionaires, Princes, you name it.. I met them… And had some pretty interesting conversations inside of an airvent.. hey would sign ┬áthe wall and crawl out. That part was always awkward… If I had only had a butt cam…

    One of the big things I learned, and that we all learned.. Don’t force fun. Its up to the employees to push on the culture to make things happen. Don’t wait for the HR team to set up a mixer. The people are who the company is. What I love about Pixar is that people are always trying to outdo each other. Whether its their office, a talk, a party, tools, anything, this is the stuff that makes things interesting.The big issue with a lot of companies out there is that you become afraid of asking… You start thinking that if you ask, they will say no.. Most of the time they may… Most of the great things that happen are spontaneous…Built on some crazy perception…

    Next week Ill continue some of the story of the Love Lounge and talk bit about the Lucky 7 and some other things that may be of interest…

    Thanks for listening..feel free to ask questions…





  • Great short

    A former Pixar animator and Academy award winner, John Kahrs did a really cool short for Lyft.

    Check it out. It is a stunning piece of work that has a nice story and a really great look and feel.

    Congrats on such great work.

  • Gesture here, Gesture there, but don’t Gesture everywhere….

    Gestures have always been facinating to me inside and out of the animation industry. I remember the lightbulb going on in my head when I first heard Glen Keane talk about how he looked at gestures. Never before did I put two and two together in the way he did. Now, with the advent of so many classes, online schools the info is out there. I recently did a class on Lynda.com. Its part of a series of classes where I will cover the craft more than software specific tools. Many of the learnings are free. Here are a bunch of clips for your viewing pleasure. Thank you all for still reading Spline Doctors. Please suggest things for the future and I will try to get them up. I heard people are interested in a Finding Dory Round Table.

    Welcome Video

    Cliche Gestures

    Over Gesticulation

    Weight and Physics


  • ALIENS !

    On this day – July 18, 1986 – ALIENS was released into U.S. theaters. This eagerly anticipated follow up to the original ALIEN film from 1979 not only delivered great entertainment, but ended up raising the bar on what a sequel could be. If you have not seen this, borrow it, rent it, watch it any way you can ! After, you can then read this great post from ScriptShadow pointing out 10 reasons why this movie works so well from a storytelling point of view. This is a great breakdown. Enjoy the read.

    - N. Stanton


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  • a few cool links

    Art of the gag:



    Cool vid on stop mo of force awakens…




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