For my first three takeaways on the documentary, “The Pixar Story,” check out my “Lessons from Pixar, Part 1” post.
4. Spark creativity by getting a fresh perspective
It seemed like Pixar could do no wrong after coming out with movies like Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc. But for their next movie they brought in an outside director for the first time in their history (all directors to that point had been employees of Pixar). It may have seemed like a risk, but Pixar essentially made it clear to outside director Brad Bird (eventual director of The Incredibles) that they did not want to become complacent or duplicative in the content they produced. Creativity needed to be stirred up again. Businesses many times can get caught up in the bubble that is their branch, company, or industry. By learning new strategies techniques and perspectives from “outsiders,” individuals and businesses may be able to learn how to think differently, become more creative, and ultimately improve how they operate.
5. Delegation and Autonomy
As Pixar began to grow and sought to produce more films more frequently, they had to branch out and call on others to direct new movies. Inexperienced individuals directed some of Pixar’s biggest early hits such as Finding Nemo and Monster’s, Inc. Yet, John Lasseter, the recently famous director, believed in these people, so much so that he delegated massive projects to them though they had never led a venture quite so big. I believe a key ingredient to the success of these new directors was that they were given creative autonomy. They were given the freedom to put their own flavor on the films and think outside the box without being micromanaged. This is a great lesson for any business. Autonomous environments managed correctly can help improve productivity, workplace happiness, and ignite innovation.
5. It’s all about the story
Those that participated in Pixar’s rise to prominence emphasized the importance of a captivating story. Although computer animation was the new eye catching technology, the movies would have failed without a narrative that captured the attention of the audience. Tom Hanks tells a story of him and Tim Allen going to watch the completed version of Toy Story 2, and both of them crying during an emotional part of the film. The crew on Finding Nemo talked in detail about their desire to create a touching story line that chronicled the joys and hardships of a father and son relationship. Yes, these movies have incredible animation, but without a good story the projects may have flopped.
That’s it from me for this time around, but I’m always looking for other intriguing documentaries. If you have any documentaries that you would recommend I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments. Until next time.

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