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Pixar Cofounder Ed Catmull on Failure and Why Fostering a Fearless Culture Is the Key to Groundbreaking Creative Work

Why the greatest enemy of creative success is the attempt to fortify against failure.

edcatmull

“Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before,” Neil Gaiman urged in his commencement-address-turned-manifesto-for-the-creative life. “The chief trick to making good mistakes is not to hide them — especially not from yourself,” philosopher Daniel Dennett asserted in his magnificent meditation on the dignity and art-science of making mistakes. And yet most of us, being human and thus fallible yet proud, go to excruciating lengths to avoid making mistakes, then once we inevitably do, we take great pains to hide them from ourselves and the world. But this, argues Pixar cofounder Ed Catmull with the help of journalist Amy Wallace in an especially enthralling chapter of the altogether excellent Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration (public library), is a grave mistake itself — not only from an abstract moral standpoint, but also as a practical strategy for cultivating a strong creative culture in a company and an entrepreneurial spirit within ourselves as individuals.

What makes Catmull, who created Pixar along with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter and is now president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation, particularly compelling is his yin-yang balance of seeming opposites — he is incredibly intelligent in a rationally-driven way yet sensitive to the poetic, introspective yet articulate, has a Ph.D. in computer science but is also the recipient of five Academy Awards for his animation work. This crusade to uncouple fear and failure is thus delivered not with the detached and vacant preachiness of self-help books and lifestyle manuals but with the sensitive sagacity of someone who has been, and continues to be, on the front lines of truly pioneering creative work.

Brain Pickings | Read the Full Article

House of Cards’ Beau Willimon Talks About How the Hit Show Came to Be

Before Beau Willimon created the American version of House of Cards, Web TV (not including YouTube) was largely made up of network program outtakes—or worse, discards. But the writer behind the Netflix series as well as the Broadway play Farragut North (later adapted into George Clooney’s Ides of March) disrupted that notion. In its first two seasons, HoC gleaned the first Emmy noms for an Internet-first show and took home the first acting Golden Globe for an online property. Adweek spoke to Willimon about how the online cosmos have evolved since his days on the Howard Dean presidential campaign.

Beau Willimon

Adweek: House of Cards really elevated the Web video sphere. Were you always behind the idea of the show going to the Internet?

Willimon: No. When we first started out, we just set out to make a great TV show … and find the appropriate place to license [it]. At that time, we had in mind the usual suspects: HBO, Showtime, AMC. When we sat down with Netflix, we weren’t really quite sure what they had in mind. It’s sort of funny to think about several years later. Internally we debated whether it made sense to release a show exclusively on the Internet, to do so with a company that was just getting into the TV business. At the end of the day, a few things sort of played into the decision to want to team up with Netflix, not the least of which was two seasons guaranteed, which was huge, and creative control, which was huge, but also the opportunity to do something new and different. We suspected that if this all worked out, it would possibly be a paradigmatic shift in television, and that excited us. I think the rebels in us were very excited about teaming up with some rebels. In a lot of ways, we were in the right place at the right time at the right project. We didn’t start out on Day One that this would end up on the Internet, but we’re thrilled that it did.

That must have been an interesting conversation to tell the stars of the show: “Hey, so remember that TV show we were doing? Yeah, it’s going on Netflix.”

Dana [Brunetti, executive producer] has always been forward-thinking in terms of technology and where the industry is going. I know that he spoke directly to Kevin [Spacey, the show’s star], and said, “I think there is an opportunity there to do something exciting and new.” Kevin has always been progressive and forward-thinking and a risk-taker himself in art and producing. [Co-star] Robin [Wright], she trusted David [Fincher, executive producer]. She trusted the strength of the story, and realized no matter where we were there was an opportunity to dig her teeth into a character she was really excited about.

Adweek | Read the Full Article

How a Chant from 600AD found its way into Lord of the Rings, The Lion King, and Star Wars

One of the world’s oldest songs isn’t about love, sex or even power. It’s about death.

Dies Irae, the song of death, is a medieval chant that warns of an apocalyptic day of wrath, and has been used as the soundtrack to the end of life for 40 human generations — from the dark ages to Star Wars and The Lion King.

Song-of-Death

Kevin Spacey on why taking risks gets him out of bed in the morning

Tasha Robinson interviews Kevin Spacey about his latest documentary about the production of Richard III and working with director Sam Mendes both for the screen and theater.

Kevin Spacey Risks

The Dissolve: Why the decision to make a documentary about your production of Richard III, rather than filming the production itself?

Kevin Spacey: Part of it was, I was sitting next to Sam Mendes in the first year of The Bridge Project. He had directed The Winter’s Tale and The Cherry Orchard. And we were in the Epidaurus theater in Greece, and I was watching Simon Russell Beale onstage doing Winter’s Tale, and I went [whispers] “Whatever we do next, we have to come here.” And then we started talking that night about what a remarkable, unique, rare thing it is nowadays to bring a troupe of actors around the world. It’s ambitious and crazy and expensive. Somehow, we thought, there’s a way to capture what that is, and maybe there’s a way to capture…

You know, people look at me slightly like a puzzled dog when they ask, “So, you moved to London to run a theater at the moment your film career was at its peak? And you do plays? Don’t you get bored? Isn’t it all the same?” So we did the film partly to answer some of those questions, for people who just don’t get theater, who don’t understand why it means so much to those of us who call ourselves “theater rats.” I wanted to introduce an audience to a company, to what a company is. That was pretty much the motivation.

The Dissolve | Read the Full Article

How To Edit Underwater Photos with Photoshop & Lightroom

A detailed step by step tutorial for complete post processing of underwater photography by professional commercial photographer JP Danko. Start in Adobe Lightroom for initial edits, then into Photoshop for more advanced processing and back to Lightroom to finish off the image. Photography editing techniques include white balance correction, denoise, sharpening and detail enhancement, contrast enhancement and final touch ups for underwater photography with this Adobe Lightroom tutorial and Adobe Photoshop tutorial.

Underwater Photography

An Introduction to Hive Lighting’s BEE Plasma Flood

During this year’s NAB show, Jon Miller of Hive Lighting stopped by Abel Cine to talk about about the new BEE light. The BEE is a flood light that uses Hive’s proven plasma technology. The benefits of plasma lighting include high output, low power consumption and low heat. One the most interesting features of this light is the Daylight Dial, which allows a fully tunable color temperature from 4600K – 7000K, as well as the ability to shift to a deep blue moonlight

Bee-Light

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