Monday, May 09, 2011

About creative people

More than anything, creative people seem obsessive about details. From New Yorker about "Hayao Miyazaki", a Japanese animator who is the inspirational auteur Pixar folks look up to:

Pixar’s chief creative officer, John Lasseter, is an ardent fan of the work of the Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, who was profiled by Margaret Talbot in 2005. Lasseter told Talbot that when animators at Pixar get stuck on a project, they go into a screening room and watch a Miyazaki film. Though Miyazki has rejected the computerized path favored by Pixar, he shares with Pixar’s animators an intense focus on the tiniest specifics of his movies. Talbot describes a documentary film in which Miyazaki gives instruction to the young staff working on “Spirited Away”:

“The dragon is supposed to fall from down the air vent, but, being a dragon, it doesn’t land on the ground,” Miyazaki says. “It attaches itself to the wall, like a gecko. And then—ow!—it falls—thud!—it should fall like a serpent. Have you ever seen a snake fall out of a tree?” He explains that it “doesn’t slither, but holds its position.” He looks around at the animators, most of whom appear to be in their twenties and early thirties. They are taking notes, looking grave: nobody has seen a snake fall out of a tree. Miyazaki goes on to describe how the dragon—a protean creature named Haku, who sometimes takes this form—struggles when he is pinned down. “This will be tricky,” Miyazaki says, smiling. “If you want to get an idea, go to an eel restaurant and see how an eel is gutted.” The director wriggles around in his seat, imitating the action of a recalcitrant eel. “Have you ever seen an eel resisting?” Miyazaki asks.

“No, actually,” admits a young man with hipster glasses, an orange sweatshirt, and an indoor pallor.

Miyazaki groans. “Japanese culture is doomed!” he says.

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A similar piece about Walt Disney:

Disney … was a tightener from the first, incessantly churning out gags, pulling apart and fixing the gags of others, and pained by the sloppy and the slack. “Snow White” was finished in a panic, and years later Disney was still fretting over the shortcomings of his heroine—not her ethical decision to hang out with a large group of small men, but the wobbles in her construction. “The bridge on her nose floats all over her face,” he said. He became an industry, but the one thing that links the industrialist, whatever the product, with the auteur, whatever the form, is obsessive pedantry—the will to get things right, whatever the cost may be.

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