Monday, December 19, 2011

My Tour of Pixar

Back in July, Brianna Galloway, Chris Wiggum, and the great folks at Pixar were all kind enough to give me a tour of the studio.

And, let me tell you, it is everything you expect, and more. When you first enter the grounds, it is quit pleasant. There is a lot of lush greenery and walkways and open space. Upon entering the main building, you are greeted by the iconic massive atrium, complete with 6-foot-tall LEGO Woody and Buzz, and full-sized Guido and Luigi figures.

The receptionist's desk is directly to the left, and a couch sits to the right. Behind the couch is a display case filled with Oscars, Annie Awards, Golden Globes, etc. Quite impressive.

The atrium also includes, of course, the cereal room (complete with any kind of milk you might desire), an exclusive "Studio Store" where I spent far more money than I could afford to, a small cafe, and tables for employees to relax and socialize.

The back wall of the atrium leads to a large screening room where the Pixarians watch dailies, host events, and just have fun. The night after my visit they planned on watching Jurassic Park, most likely spurred on by their upcoming dino-project.

The upper level contains production offices, and a massive gallery in the main hallway. The gallery was all about Cars 2 during my visit, since it changes based on the current project. There's anything from storyboards to character sheets and digital poster art. There are even TVs with headphones playing video interviews with the film's creators.

On the first level is the RenderFarm and over at the brand new building, Brooklyn, are the pre-production offices (and massive, wonderful Brave paintings and art). The final building houses the publicity department.

There is also a gym, basketball court (complete with Luxo's ball in center court), garden, and soccer field.

As you'd expect, nothing escapes the Pixar charm. The bathroom plaques are Bo Peep for Women and Woody for Men. (An interesting anecdote I was told is that Lasseter only wanted two restrooms on the whole grounds so that it would force employees to interact with each other, but apparently that wasn't realistic.) The Brooklyn building's marble floors have the occasional Pixar character's silhouette hidden among the abstract pattern if you look hard enough.

Oh, and every person had a glowing smile on their face.

Let it suffice to say that I plan on working at Pixar one day. Not just because they make the world's best movies. Not just because they are outside the world's most awesome city, San Francisco. Not just because Fenton's, as featured in Up, is a short drive away and had the best sundae I've ever had. Not just because I went broke at the Studio Store and need to make more money to support the habit. But for all of these reasons combined. It's just a great place to be.

If you ever get the chance to pass through that gate, take it. You'll never want to look back.


Anonymous said...

Work towards your dream! I believe that you can and will work there someday.

Loz Intransit said...

Well you've done the first part - being noticed enough to be invited by the Pixar guys. Its just a matter of time now :)

I have a more modest goal of achieving what you already have - the invite. It really is amazing the culture Lasseter and co. have cultivated, its what David Brooks calls the 'Haimish Line'. Impressive!