Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Brad Bird interview

Readymade asks Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, "How did you get that f*&%ing awesome job?"

Secrets to success:
  • Send your stuff to your heroes: "My parents always said, 'Might as well send it to the people you admire most, and then work your way down.' Maybe there's only a one in a hundred chance that they'll like it or respond or whatever, but don't go to someone within easy reach; go to somebody who you respect. Shoot as high as you can shoot."
  • Find leaders who protect their people: "[Simpsons executive producer] Jim Brooks basically acts as a titanium shield that a lot of bad decision making bounces off of. Pixar has the same thing. There is this force field over this place held up by its success-it's a very protected environment to grow a movie in. All of the best experiences I've had have been in the shadow of 800-pound gorillas like Jim, with the exception of Iron Giant, where I didn't have any gorillas to protect me."
  • Avoid middle managers: "Oftentimes the people at the top are really fun and the people on your way up are really fun, but there's something about a lot of middle managers-people that don't have the power to say yes but do have the power to say no. . The ones who are just sitting there and making sure the paper clips are clipped on at a certain angle. ... They're responsible for a lot of bad movies."