In the months following the tragic death of Steve Jobs in 2011, there was news of several books dedicated to retelling the story of the iconic figure’s life. The biggest book of them all, though, was Steve Jobs, written by Walter Isaacson with the full cooperation of Jobs along with his family and colleagues. Now, a new book is on the way, and again, the writers had inside access to those who collaborated with Jobs, including Pixar’s John Lasseter and Ed Catmull. [Read more…]
The unsubtle art of product placement has been present in film dating all the way back to the era of the silents. As of late, however, people have grown so tired of seeing real-life products or brand names being painfully evident that it becomes the first topic to discuss, as opposed to the plot or characters. (A recent example is Man of Steel, in which Ma Kent works at the local Sears, per her prominently displayed nametag, which she’s seen wearing at home.) Product placement by itself is not automatically a bad thing. Sometimes, it’s used subtly enough by a filmmaker to not be obnoxious; using a fake generic name for Google or a similar search engine, for example, can often be worse than seeing a character just go to Google. On the flip side, some filmmakers or actors are so blatant about the product placement that it becomes satire; you’d have to look to TV for the prominent examples, such as David Cross hawking Burger King on Arrested Development or Tina Fey on 30 Rock looking into the camera and asking for “our money” after bragging about her cool new cell phone. To take money from sponsors and using their products in your film is a delicate balance, in short; being too obvious may bother audiences.
While Steve Jobs‘ legacy at Apple often overshadows his significance in the formation of Pixar Animation Studios, there is no doubt that he left an indelible mark on the studio. Pixar CCO John Lasseter often credited Jobs with encouraging the employees to continue striving for great stories. Jobs famously pumped in millions of dollars to keep the then-fledgling studio afloat, long enough for Toy Story to be released, the studio’s first feature film, which went on to set a high bar critically and in box office take. After his death in October 2011, many openly wondered how Pixar would honor Jobs’ memory. The studio remembered him during the credits of its 2012 film, Brave, and recently dedicated a tree on its campus in his honor. Take a look at the beautiful tree and its plaque after the break!
While most of the news on the death of Steve Jobs is focused on his contributions to Apple and the consumer tech industry, he had a large effect on the entertainment industry as well. Without a doubt, one of his greatest accomplishments was funding Pixar during a time when computer animation in films was still a niche technology.
On yesterday’s post where I thanked Mr. Jobs for everything, a former Pixar employee (anonymously) shared a lengthy comment providing some amazing stories from the early days of Pixar and what Steve Jobs meant to the individuals working there.