I recently came across a great new initiative by Pixar, the company which disrupted the movie industry with blockbuster hits like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Wall-E and The Incredibles.
It is called Sparkshorts, and is described as Pixar Artists’ Projects.
Check out my video above about why the company can benefit from a program like this.
Essentially, it is a program which allows staff at Pixar to try out smaller, different, riskier projects that wouldn’t fit into the standard “Pixar Family-Friendly” formula.
Jim Morris (President, Pixar Animation Studios) describes the program like this:
“The SparkShorts program is designed to discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows.
These films are unlike anything we’ve ever done at Pixar, providing an opportunity to unlock the potential of individual artists and their inventive filmmaking approaches on a smaller scale than our normal fare.”
Here is a video introducing the team involved.
And as I describe in my video, programs like this provide multiple benefits to the company.
Firstly, it enables the staff to flex their creative muscles in new ways, and try ideas which would never be accepted into a feature length film aimed at families.
For example, Purl uses language in a joke that some people would find offensive.
And Kitbull includes scenes of animals becoming bloodied due to abuse by their owners.
They are also able to try out various different visual styles.
And so programs like this prove to the entire organisation that Pixar is a place where new ideas are welcome, no matter where they come from.
This will encourage other people to push themselves creatively as well.
However, it also has more direct benefits for Pixar as a business.
By allowing their staff to experiment, they will learn new animation and production skills which could then potentially be used in their next feature-length films.
The new projects may even need to invent, refine and innovate brand-new technology, something Pixar is famous for.
So the Sparkshorts program benefits both the staff, and the company.
There are going to be a total of 6 short films produced and released, each with their own style and theme.
Three of the short films have already been released on Youtube, which you can watch here [warning, one of them might well make you cry a little like I did…]
What did you think of the films? Which was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below.
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