I’m in the middle of reading Creativity Inc., written by Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull, and there’s this one anecdote early on in the book that really hit the spot.
Catmull writes about his time at Lucas Films in the 80s, where he and a small team were making the first ever short film animated entirely on a computer.
Their computer department was loaded with the sharpest tech talent, but what they lacked was storytelling chops.
It was at this time that John Lasseter (who would later go on to co-found Pixar with Catmull) came on board from Disney and made a couple of suggestions:
– he made small tweaks to the main character, Andre.
– he added a second character – a bumblebee named Wally – for the main character to interact with.
The plot was simple – Andre wakes up in a forest, and finds Wally hovering just above his face. He gets scared and runs away, with Wally chasing him down. “Frankly we weren’t as focussed on the story as we were on showing what was possible to render with a computer,” Catmull writes.
Unfortunately, they underestimated the time it would take for the computer to render the entire file (this happens even now!), and they ended up showcasing a rough version, where parts of the film were unfinished wireframes.
Catmull writes about how, on the night of the premiere of The Adventures of Andre and Wally B., the team watched mortified as the scratch version played out on screen. They were in for a big surprise though: a majority of the people didn’t notice anything wrong.
They were so caught up in the emotion of the story, Catmull writes, that they hadn’t spotted the flaws. “This was my first encounter with a phenomenon I would notice again and again, throughout my career: For all the care you put into artistry, visual polish doesn’t matter if you are getting the story right.”
This is something we believe in very strongly at ChopChop. Don’t get me wrong: we work hard every day to improve the visual appeal of our output, and have set ourselves some insane targets in this department (more on this later!).
But honestly, without top-quality storytelling, it doesn’t matter what tools you’re using to create your video.
ChopChop is a video-creation tool storytellers love. Our building blocks help creators focus on narrative and impact, without worrying about design or technical skills. It’s perfect for media, marketing and communications professionals.