Senior Project Research Paper


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Senior Project Research Paper

  1. 1. Geller 1Caylee GellerMs. TilleryBritish Literature25 October 2011 The Rise of a Giant: Pixar Inc. In the first animated movie produced by Pixar, a famous space ranger named BuzzLightyear said, “To infinity and beyond!” and that is exactly where Pixar has taken the animationindustry. The success of Pixar is duly noted worldwide and they remain a leader in theanimation industry. The company reeled in more than 100 awards and nominations for theirwork on animated films, commercials, and technical contributions to the animation industry. Thetrials and triumphs of this company have earned it its spot as one of the top leading animationcompanies in the entertainment industry today (Seibold). With all this success it is hard to thinkthat it was almost over, before it ever began. Pixars history of trials and triumphs starts with agroup of men, and their ideas that would revolutionize the entertainment industry (The GaleGroup, Inc.). In 1979 George Lucas brought out Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith, both associates formthe New York Institute of Technology, to join Lucasfilm Ltd. (Seibold). Together they built upthe core of the animation department, but there was still something missing. During negotiationswith Disney Catmull and Smith were introduced to John Lasseter. Lasseter felt that he no longerwanted to work under Disney and join the group of animators at Lucasfilm Ltd. There was stillone more problem to solve though. Funding was low and they needed an investor (Pixar). At thispoint the company went up for sale, for the asking price of $30 million dollars. Steve Jobs, CEO
  2. 2. Geller 2of Apple, was interested in buying the company, but not for that price. Jobs offered Lucas $15million dollars for the company and Lucas accepted, thus completing the star studded line up(The Gale Group, Inc.). Now under the wing of Steve Jobs the company was named Pixar and began work onanimated short films and commercials. The company began to develop a new "super computer"and software for new and innovative ways to create these animations. To prove just how greatthese new systems were at what they were designed for, the company began work on a short filmcalled Luxo Jr. about a desk lamp. This lamp can be seen hopping on the on the “I” in Pixar inthe opening short in Pixars movies. This was Pixars first full short film and it was one of Pixarsfirst Oscar award winning pieces. In light of all this success Pixar was in trouble yet again(Seibold). With all the money Pixar was putting in to make the new computers and software, theywere not making any back. Pixars financial future seemed to be fading fast and Steve Jobs wasgoing to have to pull the plug on the company’s operations. When it came down to cuttingexpenses in the company, Steve chose the animation department. With little to no funds beinggenerated by this department it seemed like the best idea, but John Lasseter had a different idea.In a last attempt to keep the animation department open Lasseter gave a compelling sales pitchon a short film called Tin Toy. Jobs agreed to keep the department running on limited funds.Pixar animation was in a rut, but that was all about to change. Around this time Disney was considering making a fully animated film and Pixar jumpedat the chance. Disney offered 15 million dollars to do the movie and Jobs quickly agreed.Though no one knew it this deal saved Pixar. Pixars fist full length movie was named Toy Storyand the stars of this movie, a space ranger named Buzz and a cowboy named Woody, take on
  3. 3. Geller 3many obstacles as they fight to establish Andys favor (“The Pixar Story”).. This feature film wasa huge hit at the box office and continued to bring in revenue through merchandise sales. Eventhough the movie seemed to have endless success, Pixar saw a small amount of revenue from themovie. Pixar had sign most of the revenue over to Disney, but that did not stop Steve Jobs. In a decision to make Pixar public Steve Jobs dismissed the fact that investor like toinvest in profitable companies, ignoring the dim prospects of future revenue regarding thecompany. In Job’s plan to use the big internet boom to his advantage, he planned to invest incompanies with potential for great futures on little more than speculation, instead of a firmbusiness plan, was starting to seem fashionable. Job’s still had a big problem though and theproblem was profit sharing, as part of him assuring Disney that Pixar would still fulfill theiroriginal contract and produce the rest of the Toy Story movies with their original principles. Hehad granted key employees of Pixar contracts and profit sharing. With these contracts the powerof Pixar was shifted and placed in the hands of these key employees. Ed Catmull was particularlyhappy with this move. If he and the others did not agree to trade their profit sharing for stock, themove to public would not go through. They had ahold of Steve Job’s wallet and were not afraidto squeeze. Job’s minimized the number of people involved in the deal to maximize the amountof shares he would own. With this the IPO went through and all the sudden Steve Job’s wasworth $1.5 billion dollars. At this point Pixar found Steve Jobs very valuable. Disney and Pixar were ready to negotiate a new deal, in which Job’s wanted Disney andPixar to be equals. In this new deal Pixar would pay 50% of cost of production and Disneywould share 50% of the profit with them. In this new deal Pixar asked for equal billing rights toDisney and all creative control. Disney accepted these demands and a new deal was reached.This new power house team created a string of very successful films (Seibold).
  4. 4. Geller 4 With this success Pixar decided to upgrade. In 2000 Pixar was preparing for a move totheir new 225,000-square-foot headquarters in Emeryville, California. The new building was dueto be complete in late 2000. Meanwhile Pixar was hard at work on, Pixar’s fifth animated motionpicture, Monsters Inc. A film about a world of monsters dependent on children’s screams topower their world. The film was slated to premiere in 2002 and brought in a total of million atthe box office and was a major success for the company (The Gale Group, Inc). On January 24, 2006 Disney agreed to purchase Pixar in an all-stock deal for around $7.4billion. The shareholders at Pixar agreed and the acquisition went through on May 5, 2006. SteveJobs, who held 50.1% of Pixar’s shares, became Disney’s single largest shareholder with only7% of Disney’s shares exceeding ex-CEO Michael Enisner and even more than Roy Disney whoheld 1% of the company’s shares (“The Pixar Story”). With this new deal John Lasseter wasmade Chief Creative Officer and Ed Catmull retained the tile of President of Pixar while alsopicking up the title of President of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Although Disney and Pixarwere now under the same rule they remained separate entities while still working together tocreate award winning works. Pixar’s successes came one right after the other. Huge feature films such as TheIncredibles, A Bugs Life, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Cars, Up, and WALL-E. It’s safe to sayPixar no longer had a funding issue and with all these successful movies came awards(McDaniel). Pixar’s short film Tin Toy received their first Academy Award. In the years tofollow Pixar earned its second and third Academy Awards for its software innovations CAPSand RenderMan (The Gale Group, Inc). The company was also awarded two Golden Clios forthe work in animated advertising. In the years to follow Toy Story, A Bugs Life, and the shortfilm Geri’s Game would each received one. Further down the road Pixar would release Toy
  5. 5. Geller 5Story 2 reeling in their ninth Academy Award. Pixar would go on to be nominated and win over100 other awards (Giles). Pixar latest expansion was 2010 with the opening of a new Pixar animation studio inVancouver, British Columbia, Canada. This studio was named “Glenn McQueen PixarAnimation Center” in honor of the Canadian born animator Glenn McQueen who died in 2002during the making of Finding Nemo. Finding Nemo was later dedicated to him. This new facilityis mainly dedicated to work in producing TV specials and shorts based on Pixar’s animatedcharacters (“The Pixar Story”). Pixar’s journey to the top is inspiring. The leap from a dwindling financial future tobillions of dollars in profit is a true testament to what can come from perseverance and hardwork. This world renowned company has become a house hold name and a major player in theentertainment and business world. Pixar still continues to create new and innovative techniquesand works, winning award, and inspiring the world through their work.
  6. 6. Geller 6 Works CitedThe Gale Group, Inc., comp. “Pixar Animation Studios.” Funding Universe. The Gale Group, Inc., 2006. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. < Animation-Studios-Company-History.html>.Giles, Jeff. “Total Recall: Pixar’s Winning Streak.” Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster, Inc., 28 May 2009. Web. 26 Sept. 2011.McDaniel, Matt. “A Brief History of Pixar Studios.” Yahoo! Movies. Yahoo! Inc., 6 Mar. 2009. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. <>.Pixar. “Awards.” Pixar. Pixar, 2011. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. < press_box/.htm>.- - -. “Meet the Execs.” Pixar. Pixar, 2011. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. <>.- - -. “Pixar History - Introduction.” Pixar Animation Studios. Pixar, 2011. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. <>.“The Pixar Story.” Pixar Blog., 2010. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. <>.Seibold, Chris. “How To Turn 10 Million Into 7 Billion: A Brief History Of Pixar.” Apple Matters. Sterndesign, LLC, 23 Jan. 2006. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. < article/_to_turn_10_million_into_7_billion_a_brief_history_of_pixar/>.
  7. 7. Geller 7