And it was – I spent my Before time having breakfast in Peet’s, and walking around the Ferry Building, and my After time shopping in Urban Outfitters.
By Before and After, I mean, of course, my visit to Pixar.
Pixar Animation Studios is in Emeryville, and in classic moongirl fashion I had no idea where that was, so I took the Bart for the first time from Embarcadero to MacArthur. The Bart was, as my brother in law described it, just like any other subway that wasn’t taken care of, but it was very easy to use. My gracious host Ronnie picked me up from MacArthur and took me to Pixar.
(Three things you should know about Ronnie: 1) He is responsible for making stories like Finding Nemo come to life onscreen; 2) He is one of the nicest people on the planet; and 3) You should never, ever let him borrow your camera.)
Thus ensued a private walking tour of Pixar – the quiet but pretty green grounds, with sports areas and an amphitheatre with great acoustics; the lobby, with Ratatouille-decorated food areas and the overhead footbridge I recognized from their videos on the Disney Channel; facilities like the gym, theaters, and an unlimited supply of all types of cereal; and, of course, the famous animation floor, with CRAZY personalized work areas (not cubicles, more like well-decorated shacks with couches, toys, and neon signs) that made me want my own. And they do use scooters to get from one point to another.
Ronnie, of course, would ask me to pose in the funniest places. I owe most of the photos to him, because I was too thirsty for information that I barely took any myself. Over lunch, Ronnie and I talked about story, and I was struck both by the similarities in writing story across different types of media (including games), and the stark difference in that storytellers in Pixar must know how to draw, because they draw their own boards and pitch them, and that’s how the story is told. I cannot draw. Oh well.
I went home with a loot bag that Ronnie’s officemate Veronica made – a Ratatouille DVD, a Pixar cap, and a Cars pen and notebook. Visiting Pixar was a dream come true, but it was also very rooted in reality – it struck me as a great but real place to work in, and not some Disneyland (no pun intended) where you don’t actually get any work done. Kudos to a company like that where story really matters. I would like some story on my plate too, yes indeed.