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Technology and The Evolution of Storytelling

by John Lasseter

The limitations of the technology being used to shoot the films set up what we’ve learned as film grammar.

Walt Disney in 1939 receiving one Oscar statuette and seven miniature statuettes from Shirley Temple for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”

It’s interesting how people cannot see beyond what they’re used to.

If you use technology correctly, you can change opinions overnight.

It was because people didn’t understand what the technology could do.

The goal was to make the technology invisible.

Pixar co-founders Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs, and John Lasseter.

“Everything looks like plastic, so what if the characters were made of plastic? What if they were…toys?”

We focused on the story and hiding the technology.

Woody and Buzz in the original “Toy Story”

Overnight, the opinion changed. Because the technology was used in the right way, telling the right story.

It’s not the technology that entertains people, it’s what you do with the technology.

From left: Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter, and Joe Ranft, nominees, Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) (TOY STORY), at the 1995 (68th) Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon.

When you start doing something that’s truly new you will hear, “It’s not going to work.”

I couldn’t wait because I always viewed the technology as simply a tool.

The mediums we use are simply tools for expressing your art.

If you can make people laugh, cry and feel things with a film you make, you will be successful.

You know what? In your lifetime the software and the technology will change so drastically, it doesn’t matter.

And your work will not be about the technology. It will be about connecting and entertaining people.

It was never about the drawing to them. It was about that character and what it’s thinking.

Walt always said, “For every laugh, there should be a tear.”

Andrew Stanton, my creative partner at Pixar, has this fantastic phrase that I use all the time, “Be wrong as fast as you can.”

If you create characters people connect with and tell stories that deeply entertain and move them, the audience will come.



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