I love watching documentaries. Typically I gravitate towards something in the business, history, or sports categories but they vary. This week I had the pleasure of watching “The Pixar Story” a documentary on Netflix that came out about a decade ago. It hooked me from the start, and offered some valuable lessons along the way. Here are a few of my takeaways.
1. New ideas may not always be immediately accepted
Nowadays, most people probably associate Pixar with successful and popular animated kids films. But computer animation was a foreign concept in the days before Toy Story. While working at Disney, John Lasseter, the eventual director of Toy Story, began to explore the possibilities of computer animation, received a lot of resistance, and was eventually let go. He admits in this film that following that event he was depressed, but through networking, hard work, and determination, John eventually directed the first computer animated feature length film (Toy Story), which was the beginning a revolution in the industry. He did not give up his dream and vision after being fired, but instead passionately pursued his dream because he truly believed that pioneering this new concept would have lasting impact on the film industry.
2. If possible, love what you do
It is evident throughout the entire documentary that most, if not all of the main personalities absolutely loved and were passionate about what they do. In reality they experienced things such as: fast-approaching deadlines, pressures to perform, financial stresses and constraints, long work days, rejections of ideas, and more. But what drove them to persevere through hard times was their passion for animation and belief that they were a part of something special. Explore what your passions in life are and see if there are any opportunities to incorporate those things into your work life and career path.
3. Overnight success stories usually require hard work
At one point in the film it is mentioned that after Pixar began to thrive, some viewed it as an overnight success. But outsiders do not necessarily see the amount of effort required to become an “overnight success.” There are stories of John Lasseter bringing a mattress into the workplace so that he could take brief naps while working on a project through the night. And if Toy Story and A Bug’s Life, Pixar’s first and second feature films, were not the successes that they became, would Pixar have become the brand it is today or even survived much longer? I guess we will never know. The point is that great success in this world is typically achieved through an enormous amount of persistence and hustle.
I have more lessons I’d love to bring to light regarding this film, so keep watch for Part 2 to this post.