Posts with tag Pixar Animation Studios

Research of new music expressions

New Opera Co just had the opening of ”Vi i villa”, a newopera where the group use the classical form of an opera and turn it into a modern drama. Is it possible to use an everyday, very basic and realistic, dialogue in an opera? How do you create a libretto, together in the ensemble, how do you act and how do you produce? The questions was a 4-viv-foto-erika-von-weissenberg.jpgdrive for New Opera Co to explore and start, as they describe it, a phase of research and collective process in terms of ideas, performance, text and music. The result is a beautiful and creative performance that shows a new form of expression and gives an idea of what a modern opera could be. The stage is simple, a rehearsing room with just black chairs and four glasses. Scenery is projected on the wall and the dialogue, sung by the actors and actresses, is about ordinary things in the relationship between two people.

The performance was built in quite an interesting process, where the group combined working together with the whole ensemble, included actors, director, technicians, musicians, dancers, with times of concentration where the composer have built the text and the music on his own. In between, the parts that was ready, was performed and showed in front of an audience. This gave the composer an idea of how the text needed to be built and the song had to be sung to work. It’s quite a similar process, and way of thinking, as the one described at Pixar Animation Studios, where the storyboard continuously was showed to an audience and reactions taken into account in the building of a film (look here to read about our visit to Pixar Animation Studios).

”Vi i villa” is performed at the performance stage Atalante in Göteborg. Also look at trailers at http://www.atalante.org/viivilla/.

27 september, 2008

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Web, technique and alternative thinking

Two days after the visit in the Apple store in Colorado to get help with a broken computer-battery, we got an e-mail in the inbox asking if we were happy with the service we got. A link to a website was provided, which in a few seconds directed us to a fill-in form on the web, where we easily could write down our opinion and send it back. As a customer you felt they were very interested in your opinion, in our case even though we never bought anything. We got the battery for free.

When Barack Obama, the Democratic Presidential Candidate, set together his campaign organization, it’s said he wanted it to be different than traditional ones. He wanted the organization to be ”buttoned up like a business” combined with a voter-friendly grass-root attitude. A look at the website of Barack Obama shows that you can contact him, or the campaign organization, through e-mail, Facebook, Linkedin, Myspace, Flickr, BlackPlanet, Twister and other web networks. One of the factors behind the success of Obama’s campaign so far, is said to be his openness to critique and direct feedback from people on the street, from participants on convents to colleagues at his office. The tool for public use is an interactive and informative website where access to the candidate never appears to be far away. You get the feeling he is actually interested in your opinion.

Three components seem to be essential in an innovative approach, no matter if you run a cultural organisation, a business or build a campaign organization for President. Three entities that combined have the potential of creating new things: The latest in technical solutions and the World Wide Web; An open and low-hierarchical top-bottom organizational structure; and a creative working atmosphere.

At Pixar Animation Studios, the high profile technical solutions and constant pushing of new mathematical solutions for animated moves on the screen, combined with a continuously challenged creativity and open atmosphere, is said to be the key factors for success. At Namac, a small art and media organisation in San Francisco, the new website is built according to the newest ideas of interactivity. This is hoped to better involve members between meetings and to get direct feedback on their activities.

The working atmosphere and low levels between top and bottom is put forward by businesses like IDEO and Pixar Animation Studios. A working atmosphere of being casual, but deadly serious about quality and getting the work done is something many refer to as a typical Silicon Valley attitude. And you find it in many of the most innovative companies in US today. Apple started in Silicon Valley, the idea of Google was formed at Stanford University in the same area and the Design firm IDEO was founded there. It’s not suprising that Barack Obama showed such an interest in Google and in November 2007 decided to unveil his innovation agenda at one of their offices. The Campaign organization that he runs is most certainly inspired by the Silicon Valley attitude. It’s said to be open for initiatives, relatively casual, and deadly serious about quality and getting the work done on deadline.

Read about Barack Obama’s Campaign Organization in Rolling Stone, issue July 10-24, 2008.
Read about our study visits to Pixar Animation Studios, IDEO and Namac on this website.
Apple at Wikipedia and Google at Wikipedia.

12 juli, 2008

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Pixar Animation Studios

For the movie Finding Nemo, 43.536 storyboards were presented during the three year period it took to make the film. The full movie was screened five times for an invited audience until the result was satisfying for the team. At Pixar Animation Studios they are constantly creatively challenged. The storyboarding process is all about building an idea, pitch it for the creative team, get critique and re-do it. img_6138.jpgWhen screening the films, the interaction is direct. Critique is not about being polite, but say what you think. Details are important. An idea is finished when they feel a hundred percent sure that the result is exactly what they want. Intuition is a driving force. In the book The art of Wall-E Andrew Stanton, director and writer , describes the process: ”If you challenge yourself with each artistic endeavor, always aiming beyond your comfort zone, you invariably become a student of your own work…”. On the team directors, artists, sculptors, actors, writers, designers, editors and animators work in collaboration: drawings are done by several people and a story is very much a product built with team-work.“The atmosphere at Pixar is casual. But deadly serious when it comes to quality”.

Eric Pearson, Post Production Manager, meet us in the lobby. Two things strikes you when stepping in through the doors at Pixar. The lobby is a very large open space at the center of the building. It’s planned as the meetingplace for both visitors and the employees. img_6094.jpgIt’s a place where you eat lunch, meet over a cup of coffee in the lounge sofas or just run into each other as you move around between the film theatre, the second floor, coffee and drinks, and the reception. The second thing is how quickly they put up exhibitions of the work behind the films. Wall-E, the newest film, just opened at the film theatres in US. Walking at Pixar, everything is already exposed in the exhibition: example of storyboards, sculptors, products, sketches and small stories of how the film was built.

In New York Times’ Sunday Book Review there is a review of the new book telling the story of Pixar The Pixar touch. The Making of a Company. Writer Michael Hirschorn, argues in the article, that what is striking about Pixar’s history is that the whole thing with computer animation in the beginning seemed provisional. The entrepreneurs starting it kept on working, even though no-one believed in it, driven by an intuitive feeling that this was what they wanted to do. They were, as Hirschorn puts it, “entrepreneurs seeing clarity where others saw only fog”.

Also look at New York Times’ critic A.O. Scott, where he is reviewing Pixar’s movies.img_6099.jpgimg_6110.jpgimg_6129.jpg

2 juli, 2008

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Lotta Lekvall
Director of Nätverkstan, a Cultural Organisation in Sweden. Nätverkstan provides services …

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