A Dreamer Walking

Pixar Was My Dream

Posted in Personal Philosophy by Jacob on July 22, 2014

As soon as I heard John Lasseter, creative head of Pixar Animation Studios, speak these words, “I want someone who has this burning desire to tell a story that they want to tell”, I knew he was talking directly to me. I spent countless hours learning from the heads of Pixar. I took notes on all the Pixar movie commentaries and looked up countless interviews online. I bought books on Pixar and have religiously gone to every one of their movies. The studio sounded like a dream land where artists could ride around on scooters, play volley ball and ping pong, and were given a free breakfast with every brand of cereal imaginable. I had created an image of a studio without flaws. A studio who treated everyone fairly and would do anything for the sake of creating a great story.

Then the ideal image I had of Pixar began to crumble. It’s what every child goes through when they create an idol out of  flawed human beings. Little by little I began to realize the studio I came to love was not the great haven I had dreamed of. In 2006 Pixar was bought by Disney, a company who had shown numerous times they cared about profit more then anything else. The studio who had always claimed to be “director driven” began to replace more and more of their directors. The people who had birthed ideas such as “A rat who wants to cooks” or “A young girl who isn’t interested in conforming to the typical princess mold” were taken off of their projects and replaced with other artists. The main reason given for making these changes was because Pixar was not willing to settle for the mediocre. But then they produced Cars 2 which I and almost every critic out there believed was a full buffet of mediocrity. Key artists began to leave Pixar. Jan Pinkava, Brenda Champman, and Doug Sweetland are a few of the big name artists to go other places with their award winning talents.

Lasseter’s quote keeps flashing in my head, “I want someone who has this burning desire to tell a story that they want to tell”. See, I have a burning desire to tell stories. They are my most valuable possessions. With this quote Lasseter is saying he wants me to share my greatest desires with him. However, in order for me to share these desires with Lasseter, Pixar’s president Ed Catmull, and the rest of the leadership at Pixar I must first trust them.

I know Lasseter understands the power of trust. See, Pixar would not be Pixar if it weren’t for a group of rebellious artists who were willing to go all in with each other. For the first ten years of owning Pixar Steve Jobs lost money, yet he trusted Lasseter and his storytelling abilities to consistently write checks to him so he could continue to make animated shorts, which eventually lead to Lasseter directing Pixar’s first full length feature, Toy Story. John Lasseter trusted two artists with no directing experience, Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter, to helm the first Pixar movies not directed by him, Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo. And at the pinnacle of their success the heads of Pixar trusted a director who had just come off of a box office flop, Brad Bird, to completely shake up the studio’s routine and make the first Pixar movie to star humans and earn a PG rating, The Incredibles. Yet, in recent years trust seems to be hard thing for Lasseter to find. The last three Pixar movies had different directors at the beginning of their production. The movies ended up keeping their usual quality look but suffering from unoriginal storytelling.

Though Lasseter and the other creative heads are struggling to trust their artists it’s clear they still want their artists to trust them. The two main leaders of Pixar, John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, have continued to claim the most important thing about their studio is the artists. However, one of the greatest lessons I have learned from Pixar is words are cheap. In his most recent book, Creative Inc., Ed Catmull talked about the illusion of value that comes with curtain sayings. When Pixar began to create numerous successes one of their greatest sayings was, “Story is king”. However, Catmull found Pixar was not the only one saying story was the most important thing. Everyone was saying it. Catmull realized words were cheap when it came to talking about what creates success. What would separate Pixar was the walking out of the things they said.

A few weeks ago a story by the site PandoDaily came out detailing Ed Catmull’s involvement in the illegal activity of trying to fix employees’ wages. People whose net worth are in the hundreds of millions, such as Ed Catmull, John Lasseter, and Steve Jobs, were working to make deals with other studios in order to keep their employees’ wages at a minimum while assuring artists would not jump ship in pursuit of better deals. In a more recent development PandoDaily showed how Ed Catmull was actually a ring leader for this illegal wage-fixing activity. This evidence shown in the article spits in the face of Catmull’s claims to be a studio for the artists. Instead of paying his artists what they were worth he adamantly tried to get as many studios in the region to agree to not pursue each others employees. And when Sony Animation refused to follow the guidelines Catmull was enraged. As soon as Sony began going through a hard time and was selling part of their special effects division Catmull advocated for “aggressively going after Sony people”.

The studio has officially fallen from the great pedestal on which it once comfortably sat. The artist seems to only be as useful as his ideas. The quote that once inspired me, “I want someone who has a burning desire to tell a story they want to tell”, now feels more sinister then encouraging. In the last two weeks there has been no response from Pixar to the PondoDaily articles. All the fan sites who claim to be news sources for the Pixar Studio, such as Pixar Times, Upcoming Pixar, and Pixar Post, have neglected to even mention the controversy; most likely out of fear of repercussions from the company. The truth is this story probably will just go away. The majority of the world will never know about Pixar management’s involvement in these illegal wage-fixing activities.

I am writing this post however to tell Pixar I know. And I am ashamed of you. You were my teachers. You gave me a passion to tell stories and created the foundations of my views on filmmaking. My dream was to tell my stories at Pixar. I didn’t want to tell these stories for the sake of fame, acclaim, or money. What drove me and what drives me still is the same thing that drove Ed Catmull to want to make the first full length computer animated feature 20 years before anyone else thought it was possible. It’s the same thing that drove Lasseter to stay at work and sleep under his desk in order to finish animation for the first full length animated short The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. It’s the same thing that drove the artists working at the studio to create an unbelievable streak of eleven box office and critically acclaimed films in a row. What drives me is this burning desire to tell the stories I want to tell. And I will tell them with or without Pixar. Everything depends on if the studio can regain the thing that drives creative collaboration the most, our trust.

 

 

Brad Bird – An Observation – Character Animation

Posted in Film and Filmaker Studies, Observation Series by Jacob on September 1, 2011

Brad BirdAll the Pixar films have moments of brilliant animation. However, I am always blown away by the animation I see in Brad Bird’s films. Bird’s films have an appeal and timing that gives the old silent greats, such as Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, a run for their money. Because of his animation background Brad tries to create scenes for his films he would like to animate himself. The legendary Disney animator Milt Kahl mentored Brad Bird. Bird was also lucky enough to work at Disney when Ollie Johnson and Frank Thomas were there. These great animators helped develop Bird’s eye for quality animation. I believe Bird is the best animator out of all the Pixar directors, and because of this most animators love to work for him. Bird pushes his animators to think outside the box and he knows the techniques of animation so well he is able to give his animators the kind of criticism that allows for them to create their best possible work.

Bird’s first project for Pixar was his original story The Incredibles. The Incredibles was a risky story to tell for multiple reasons. The movie required the Pixar artists to dive into an extremely challenging type of animation, human animation. Humans have always been some of the hardest things to animate. We observe how humans move constantly in everyday life so if the animator makes a mistake with animating a human character the audience will know. Yet, Bird felt the Pixar artists were up to the task and he gave them colorful characters to enhance their animation.

The Incredibles is about an over the hill superhero in Mr. Incredible who wants to relive the glory days. There are five Incredibles total and the whole family has superpowers. Bird’s genius was making the superpower for each Incredible directly reflect who the characters were on the inside. Mr. Incredible is the man of the and feels he has the responsibility to provide for the family, so Bird gave him super strength. Mrs. Incredible main purpose is to keep the peace and she feels stretched through trying to satisfy all the members of the family, so she is given the ability to be super flexible. The Incredibles oldest child Violet represents the “unconfident teen” who does not want to be noticed and creates barriers so she won’t get hurt by what someone says or does, so she has the ability to disappear and create force fields. Dash, the Incredibles middle child, is a ball of energy who is set on being the best in whatever he competes in, so what better superpower to represent him then super speed. And finally we have the baby Jack. Jack is a big “?”, he is too young for us to know what he will end up being. His powers reflect who he is by being miscellaneous. He can turn into metal, burst into fire, or transform into a demon, all depending on his mood at the time.

The next film Brad Bird directed and wrote for Pixar happens to be one of my favorite animated films of all time, Ratatouille. The animation in Ratatouille is phenomenal. The whole premise of the movie relied on getting the audience to believe a rat could cook. This was no easy task yet Bird executed the idea perfectly. Here is a great example of Bird’s brilliant direction in the movie:

Understand first the animation is all being driven by the personalities of the characters. This is actually the main reason the scene is so wonderful to watch. We have the human character Linquini who does not have a clue what is going on. You can see it through his facial expressions when Colette is reading off the ingredients and even more so when she leaves frame to set the dish up. We are also given a shot of Remy thinking about the ingredients Colette is reading off. These are very subtle pieces of animation but they are setting up the cooking scene. When the cooking starts Remy takes charge and the music begins. Notice how well the music blends with the animation. Each movement seems to hit curtain beats – Linquini reaching for the first spices, Remy bending Linquini to smell the sauce, Linquini going to get more ingredients. The more involved Linquini and Remy get with cooking the more expressive the music gets. There is a delicate balance between us realizing Remy is the one making Linquini cook and Linquini trying to maintain some kind of control. The humor actually comes from the battle for this balance. All the efforts Linquini makes – saying “thank you” to the cooks, telling them he needs some of their material, and trying to explain himself to Colette – make the scene all the more entertaining. Follow Linquini’s facial expressions while he is controlled by Remy. The animation is all about action and reaction on Linquini’s end. Also, notice how Bird and his animators do not hesitate in getting Linquini physically involved with the things around him. One of the hardest things to do in computer animation is have characters interact with other objects or people. Yet, Linquini is grabbing and moving objects around and he is reaching through a cooks arm to grab some things behind him. Linquini also hits some brilliant extreme poses in the scene. Animation is all about extreme poses and exaggerating movements not possible to do with live action acting. The animators need to make sure Linquini moves like a human, but they also have the responsibility to exaggerate his poses so they are easy for us to read. Linquini reaching for the spices, lifting his leg to start his walk around the kitchen, and reaching his arm out to stop Collete, are all examples of great poses where the animators are pushing their animation to the limit in order to communicate to the highest potential the action and essence of the character.

Brad Bird has never shied away from risky storytelling. He believes in the characters he creates and the animators who bring them to life enough to push the storytelling to the limit. It was no easy task to make a film about rats cooking. Before Bird came onto the project the artists shortened the rats’ tails and made them walk and act far more like humans. The Pixar artists did this because they were afraid an audience would be too appalled with more realistic rats. However Bird believed the idea of rats cooking would only be believable if the rats looked realistic. So he made the artist lengthen the tails, study the anatomy and the rats’ movements so they looked and acted in a more realistic way. Realize Bird did not make them look completely realistic, they do have a much softer design and more colorful look then real rats, but they were changed enough for the audience to buy into the illusion. The result was a movie that on paper looked like it could never work (I mean who in their right mind would like to see a rat in the kitchen, let alone cooking?) yet through brilliant character animation and subtle design changes we not only become okay with Remy the rat cooking, we ended up rooting for him to succeed.

Bird’s films make me realize how phenomenal the medium of animation really is. The characters Bird creates could not possibly be expressed in as complete a way in any other medium. How the animation reflects the character within is what is most important. Bird’s animation sticks out because the animators are on top of their game when working with him. Bird is a very enthusiastic and dedicated man. One of his sayings is, “Film is forever; Pain is temporary”. Bird is not the easiest director to work with. He will ask for a lot. But I believe most of his artists see the results are well worth it. I believe the artists working with Bird know he has conviction in the characters he creates. They are real to him and he will not stop pushing his artists until he sees the heart and souls of his characters come alive on screen.

 

Spline Cast Interviews!

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob on August 28, 2011

Well I am in the middle of writing a few papers actually. But none of them are where I want them to be. However, through reviewing some notes I found two podcasts I listened to years ago that produced some excelent advice and insight. I thought I might as well share. Both are from the site Spline Doctors. I would recommend anyone interested in animation to check the Spline Doctors site out. Spline Doctors consists of a group of Pixar artists (mostly Andrew Gordon)  who take interviews of colleagues, give updates on animation events going on around them, and post advice on animation techniques. They don’t update the site as much as I would like, but you will find several hours of good material in their archives. I think it would be wise to take advantage of this free recourse. Now to the interviews.

Andrew Stanton Spline Cast (2006):
This podcast has been extremely helpful to me in the last week or so. It has inspired about a half a dozen blog ideas. Andrew talks about how he got facinated with animation and how he found out about Cal Arts. He explains the reason to why he gives John Lasseter and the Pixar 200% every time he comes to the studio. He also talks about what drives him to make good films. Andrew Stanton is a master storyteller and he will give you some great insight on the foundations of what makes a good film in this three part interview. (Here is the link to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3).

Brad Bird Spline Cast (2007): Brad Bird talks briefly about how he got hooked onto animation.  He gives us insight into several of the Nine Old Men and what it was like being mentored by Milt Kahl. He also talks a little about the difference between 2D animation and 3D and the strengths and weaknesses of both. The most interesting part of the interview for me was when Bird talked about the weakness of our generation as filmmakers and how the business side of Hollywood tries to cripple creativity. He goes into some of the reasons he got interested in Pixar and how the movie Toy Story broke one mold only to create another one for the animation industry. His advice at the end is also some of the greatest advice you will ever get.

Also,

Pete Docter Spline Cast (2007): This I did not consider to be as good as the other two interviews but it is well worth listening to. Pete Docter is not as blunt about his philosophy as Andrew Stanton and Brad Bird are. However, in this interview you hear a lot of what filmmaking deep down is about for Docter. He explains his constant effort to find the emotion of a story. He explains what he likes about the medium of animation. For Docter the story is all about the relationship and he explains why very clearly in this interview.

The Disney Problem!

Posted in Personal Philosophy by Jacob on September 11, 2010

There has been a lot of controversy around Disney animation lately. The next Disney Animation movie Tangled seems to be looking shallower and shallower every day. The reason is “safety”. The executives at Disney, have changed the title of the upcoming animation movie from, “Rapunzel Unbraided” to the much safer “Tangled”. Also, after watching the last few trailers for Tangled, it seems that Glen’s Kean’s (The original Director who recently needed to stepped down) original vision of a artistically unique film has turn into a more dazed “Traditional Disney” style of a film, where the color schemes and character designs are similar to many animated movies we have seen in the past, such as Dreamworks Sinbad and Disney’s Treasure Planet and Bolt. Also the only advertising I have seen for the movie seems to be built entirely on gags, where the characters do not seem to have any depth and the “entertainment” comes from characters getting beat up or from pop references that will be forgotten in five to ten years.

The problem is Disney is playing it SAFE. There are still many good artists at Disney, however the artists are not the ones calling the shots the executives are the ones calling the shots and they are all business majors with hardly any artistic background. Money is the top concern for the decision makers at Disney. To be guaranteed good money you need to have a reliable formula, the only problem is there is no formula to good film making. So instead of good films we get mediocre films, where metaphorically, some of the top chiefs in the world are reduced to cooking hot dogs. The artists at Disney are capable of so much more then what they are doing now.

A similar kind of thing happened in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. There was a whole slew of talented artist that had just began to graduate from the school CalArts. CalArts was founded by Walt Disney (the actual man) and taught by mostly old Disney artist who worked during the Golden Age of animation in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Students who are now looked up to as masters at animation such as John Lasseter, Joe Ranft, and Brad Bird, were taught in CalArts to keep on pushing the limits of animation, to always strive to be unique and look at storytelling in different ways, so they could push the animation medium forward. These CalArts students had some big visions and wanted to apply their visions to the Disney Studio.

The Disney studio did not want to push the medium of animation forward in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The graduates from CalArts were extremely disappointed. Brad Bird, Tim Burton, Joe Ranft left the Disney Studio. John Lasseter was fired because he had too high of ambitions.

The Disney heads denied people like John Lasseter and Brad Bird, because John’s and Brad’s ideas were not “traditional Disney”. The heads of Disney wanted to have a reliable formula they wanted their workers to create reliable movies like the ones done in the late 1930’s through the mid 1960’s. However, the reason why the movies from the 1930’s through the 1960’s, were successful, was because the artist were always striving to do something new. It was the people who taught John Lasseter, Joe Ranft, Tim Burton and Brad Bird, that created the masterpieces in the 1940’s, such as Pinocchio and Bambi. The way the artists created those masterpieces was through NOT following a formula but instead taking risks and driving the technique of storytelling forward.

How ironic it is that the executive heads of Disney are using “traditional Disney” as a excuse to stay the same. Walt Disney was one of the first people to try new things and push his medium forward. The Disney problem is that those in charge, are no longer interested in traditional Disney. The heads of Disney need to play it SAFE and by doing that they are slowly dying away. Their movies don’t last as long anymore, there has not been a huge hit at Disney animations sense the Lion King and the great artists at Disney are given less and less freedom. Creativity requires risk. A risk seems to be exactly what Disney is not willing to take.

The Character INTRODUCTION!!!

Posted in Personal Philosophy by Jacob on August 27, 2010

Unlike real life (as you can see above), the introduction of a character in film is very important. I just watched a commentary on the Pixar movie Ratatouille where Brad Bird went into detail on what he was thinking through out the film making process of Ratatouille. I have come across very few who are as good at explaining their process and philosophy on film making as Brad Bird. In the Ratatouille commentary Brad emphasized the importance of introducing a Character. It is a art that seems to have been lost with this generation of filmmakers.

Every main character in Ratatouille has a very unique and telling way of being introduced. The main Character Remy, a rat obsessed about becoming a cook, is introduced to us crashing through a window with a cook book in his hands. This introduction is very telling of who Remy is as a Character. The breaking of glass represents the kayos that is going on in Remy’s life, the book represents his passion for cooking, the two are together because they are directly related to each other, the kayos Remy finds himself in is because of his weird obsession on fine cooking. There is also Emile who is Remy’s brother, he is a very soft spoken rat who will eat absolutely anything, naturally he is introduced to the audience sitting down in a very relaxed position eating garbage. Skinner the villain of the picture is introduced so we can see only his hat hovering over the counter like a shark before it attacks.

I look at some of my favorite movies of all time, such as Schindler’s List and I see some very clever introductions that express exactly who the characters are. With Oskar Schindler we are introduced through him getting ready to go to an expensive dinner, immediately we can tell that he wants to look richer then he really is, he scrambles to find the money he will need for the dinner, very prudently he puts on his cloths and the last thing he puts is his small Nazi badge, telling us who his allegiance is with. We do not hear Schindler speak before we know exactly what he is about. Within the first five minutes of meeting Schindler we see his eye for woman, his way with handling money to get what he wants, and his hospitable charm he uses to gain reconnection.

You can look at many of Steven Spielberg’s movies and see his genius with introducing his characters. Whether it is Indiana Jones and his very stylized intro where we hear the hero theme and we have a extreme close up revealing our hero’s face or the subtle into of Tom Hanks’ character John Miller in Saving Private Ryan, where we see a bunch of solders getting ready to storm Omaha Beach and we are introduced to the shaking hand of John Miller looking just like the rest of the people he is with, trying to throw off the idea that he is a “hero” and making him just a solder like the rest of the people he is with. You can tell that Steven puts thought in what we see first and how it represents who the character is as a whole.

A good filmmaker will take the extra time to find the perfect way to introduce a character to the audience. The first impression means a lot, we build opinions right away, the filmmaker needs to make sure they are the right opinions. I am not saying that we should always have huge introductions, they can often be very subtle you do not want to consciously draw attention. The question you want to ask yourself is, am I expressing who this character is?

Make it PERSONAL!!!

Posted in Personal Philosophy by Jacob on June 6, 2010

Film making needs to be personal. The reasons why I have a story worth telling is because of the personal aspects I bring to it. The personal style of each director and artist is what makes film interesting to watch. I think some of the best advice I have gotten on film came from Brad Bird (director of The Incredibles and Ratatouille), when he was asked, “What is the best advice you have for an upcoming film maker”, he replied, “Go experience life”.

I just got done working on some very sophisticated slideshows for my friends. I realized that I was able to bring a lot more emotion and individuality to the project because I knew the people in the slideshows personally.

When it comes to film, the audience has already watched a movie that has had a beginning middle and end before. If you break down a story to its basics you will find that there is no such things as a truly “original” storyline anymore. Most movies have a hero and a villain and usually the hero wins out in the end. The reason why people do not stop after watching one film, is because each director and artist have their own personal take on the story they are telling.

The more personal you make your project the better of a reason someone has to check it out. Brad Bird told the upcoming filmmakers to “experience life” because our individual life is what makes our thoughts and expressions unique. One of the greatest gifts we have is our own unique view on life, we as individuals are able to shine a light on any curtain subject in a different way then anyone else.

One of the greatest keys to making good films is to “Make it PERSONAL”. When I begin to direct a film I must be able to take it personally and go into depth on what I think would express the story I am trying to tell the best. When I start to write a story I look at my personal life as my main inspiration. Sure I watch movies to get inspired and might even take a few pointers from other directors on how I go about creating and/or executing my story best. The power of the story however, should come from my own personal touch. I want to draw from real life when it comes to creating a unique character or story line. I have tried to look deep into my relationships with friends for the foundations of the Characters I create. When I am in charge of shooting a scene, my number one question is, “How do I feel about this shot?”. The more confidence you build for yourself and what you truly think, the better you will be able to express it on screen.

What I am saying mostly applies to any given writer or director of a film book or play. The director’s job is to follow his or her own personal heart. The people following the director have a job to obey the director. I am not saying, “If you aren’t a director don’t bring in your personal touch”, just followers need to be just that, followers. Being a follower might call us to sometimes sacrifice our personal preferences. We need to allow the director to make his or her movie. If the director has a personal vision, your job is to make that vision come to life.

 

The Brain Trust

Posted in Film and Filmaker Studies, Personal Philosophy by Jacob on May 18, 2010

Pixar has this small group called The Brain Trust. This group consists of the  Pixar directors and a few of their best artists. The Brain Trust is one of the greatest reasons why Pixar is on the top of the pedestal when it comes to animation and storytelling. The success of Pixar does not come from one man’s mind, it comes from the best of several master filmmaker minds, all of whom have their own unique qualities when it comes to making a movie.

Every 3 to 6 months each director at Pixar has to show the project he or she is working on to The Brain Trust. After showing the film (in its unfinished form) The Brain Trust tears the film apart in the form of critique. The Brain Trust is brutally honest on what they think of the film they are critiquing. The fact that the director might have been working on the projects for a few years now is irrelevant. The fact that the director showing the film might have already won several awards in the past is irrelevant. The fact that one of the suggestions might be (and has been in the past) to restart the project from stage one is a suggestion the director must be able to take seriously and be able to handle. “You need to leave your ego at the door”, says Pete Docter, the director of Monsters Inc. and the Academy’s best picture nominee UP.

Pete Docter talked about the power of The Brain Trust and how important it is to have fresh eyes look at your project every once in a while, especially when you are in the middle of a four or five year project. Usually the director gets so involved with his or her film that he or she loses perspective. Once you hear a joke for the hundredth time it stops being funny.  Because the director knows the story he is telling in such depth it is easy for him to assume the audience knows more then they do. The Brain Trust helps bring perspective to the people who are in the middle of a project. They see the film with new eyes, catching the things that either are not explained enough or over explained.

One of the keys to The Brain Trust’s success is the ability to openly criticize. The people critiquing the film must not feel that they will be punished if they say something wrong or say something too extreme. The Brain Trust needs to come to each other at a even playing field. No matter the kind of success one person might have had from another each director and artist needs to be open to what the other person is saying. Ego can very easily get in the way especially with the success Pixar seems to have had. The Brain Trust is a true test of humility.

Another key to The Brain Trust’s success is the control that the directors have for their films. Even though the director and his or her team must be open to The Brain Trusts comments, it is the director that has the final say to what stays and what goes out of his or her film. Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles and Ratatouille, has a much different style of filmmaking then someone like Pete Docter. Both directors can look at something from a very unique angle, both might have great ways to communicate a curtain idea, it is the job of the director who is in charge of the project being shown to figure out what works best for the story and what doesn’t. It is the directors personal vision that is the driving force for a Pixar movie. This is what makes Pixar a director driven studio.

The main key to The Brain Trust’s success is the ability to put story first. Both the director showing the project and the Brain Trust needs to have their first priority be answering the question, “what is best for the story?”. As popular and critically acclaimed as some of the members of The Brain Trust are they have not yet forgotten that they are servants to the story they are trying to tell.

It is amazing to see a group of people from completely different backgrounds and with completely different styles of film making, come together to help each other succeed. It is hard to look at a movie with unbiased eyes and criticize it. It is even harder to open yourself up to criticism. But, through the power of constructive criticism you can accomplish things that seem to be impossible, as Pixar has already proven.

(The Picture consists of five of the key people in the Brain Trust. They all have either directed or are in the process of directing Pixar films. From left to right, Brad Bird, Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter, Pete Docter, and Lee Ulrich)