I'm finally creating dreams for a living. Today I thought I would start the A113 Series off with an interview with Brad Bird. Bird being the driving force indirectly behind me re-establishing myself in the medium of animation. The interview above was conducted by Pixar's Andrew Gordon part of his Spline Cast Podcast. This an interview recorded on Monday, January 8, 2007, with Academy Award winning Animation director Brad Bird that lasts about an hour. Brad's next feature film will be Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles 2, due to hit theaters in the summer of 2019.
I consider Bird's directorial style a bit of a hybrid. I see a bit of Lucas' originality when it comes to story, flashes of Spielberg's ability to create excitement throughout a film, with the complex layering of Ridley Scott. However, he has made the stories in which he directs personal, much like an indie film. J.J. Abrams, another director I consider to be leading this charge back to captivation on the big screen, stated in an MTV interview back in 2011 about Bird's signature style of directing.
"It's so weird to watch scenes for a movie by a director that feels so of that director's style, and yet you realize you've never seen a live-action film by that director. You watch moments where you go, 'That's so Brad Bird!' And then you realize, oh, it's so weird to have seen a Brad Bird moment with actual flesh and blood actors. He's a filmmaker who has happened to use animation as a medium, but it's his filmmaking and his characters and his rhythm and his comedy, the action he can do, it's just the humanity that he's done that comes through in movies that have happened to be animated. Seeing that kind of nuance in a movie with people is just, I'm just so thrilled to be a part of it all. I haven't seen the whole thing, but what I have seen is mind-blowing."
The second part of this post is a link to an interview Bird gave to the McKinsey Quarterly titled Innovation lessons from Pixar: An interview with Oscar-winning director Brad Bird, given eight years ago in April of 2008. I paid $15.00 to download this interview when it came out and was surprised to see the interview in its entirety online, for free.
One major moment in the interview is when The Quarterly aske's "How did your first project at Pixar—The Incredibles—shake things up?" An except of that discussion is below:
Brad Bird:The Incredibles was everything that computer-generated animation had trouble doing. It had human characters, it had hair, it had water, it had fire, it had a massive number of sets. The creative heads were excited about the idea of the film, but once I showed story reels of exactly what I wanted, the technical teams turned white. They took one look and thought, “This will take ten years and cost $500 million. How are we possibly going to do this?”
So I said, “Give us the black sheep. I want artists who are frustrated. I want the ones who have another way of doing things that nobody’s listening to. Give us all the guys who are probably headed out the door.” A lot of them were malcontents because they saw different ways of doing things, but there was little opportunity to try them, since the established way was working very, very well.
We gave the black sheep a chance to prove their theories, and we changed the way a number of things are done here. For less money per minute than was spent on the previous film, Finding Nemo, we did a movie that had three times the number of sets and had everything that was hard to do. All this because the heads of Pixar gave us leave to try crazy ideas.
As for how these ideas apply to my work, it's quite clear that he and I enjoy the manipulation of cinema and its effects of allowing the viewer to step into the world looking for elements that best relate to oneself. For me, I pine for the stories that Bird's creations display of the family structure. In all of his four films The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Tomorrowland there is a common denominator weaved throughout. They all have a way of returning to an imagined or wished-for past. Here a great collage of Bird's work entitled The Works created by Joel Walden, enjoy!