Let’s Hear 74 Rounds of Applause for John Lasseter

John Lasseter Applause

Semi-disturbing fact from an interactive John Lasseter graphic in the Wall Street Journal: He received 74 rounds of applause in the course of a single day at the studio! According to the paper, “During the day’s five half-hour-long and two hour-long meetings, each time Lasseter signed off on a scene the room erupted.” I usually get one round whenever I leave a room, but dozens every day is just plain nuts.

It obviously begs the question, What happens if you don’t clap?


  • http://www.ronnieraccoon.com Ryan J. Smith

    “What happens if you don’t clap?”

    Tinkerbell doesn’t come back to life.

  • anonymous

    you direct cars3

  • http://kandjcomic.com/ John S

    They take away your Xooter, unless you are wearing a vintage Hawaiian shirt, in which case you are safe…for now.

  • Jorge Garrido

    You get attached to direct a movie you wrote. Then we all know what happens next.

  • Murray Bain

    what happens? you aren’t showing the appreciation of the hard work put into the sequence by the artists. I think it’s classy.
    Amid, really? you spin it as if the room is applauding Lasseter himself!!
    maaan I wish I worked on something good enough other artists applauded the boards. I got choked up
    during the last reel of the animatic of iron giant in ottawa ’99. standing O for that one.

    • Katie M.

      yeah… Amid’s really been reaching when it comes to Pixar lately… Give it a rest!! The applause is for the finished scene and the artists who made it, not Lasseter himself. I’m really tired of seeing these kinds of articles on CB all the time.

      • Dang

        Yeah, wasn’t that article taking place when they were approving finals of everything? Certainly seems like something that would get a lot of applause.

  • HAH

    Sounds pretty normal to me… what I wanna know next about Mr. Lasseter is how many pairs of Hawaiian underwear he owns! now that would be an article I would love to read.

  • 2011 Adult

    Not once in my life have I ever attended any kind of meeting where people felt the need to applaud at the end of it. Maybe that’s just a huge coincidence.

  • Karl Hungus

    You don’t get an invite to his vineyard if you don’t applaud. And ILM will be sent an email to cut back the previously approved salary the two companies are willing to pay you.

  • Ethan

    “What happens if you don’t clap?”
    I have no idea, but I’d wager Brenda Chapman, Chris Sanders and Glen Keane know the answer.

  • Bruce Wright

    I think the reporter didn’t understand that the applause is for the artists who worked on the scene.

    Every ‘final’ gets applause. It’s not the crew applauding the director.

  • MC

    Well, that explains a *lot*.

  • Jason

    They force you to watch the film Cars.

  • http://www.caricaturesbydave.com Dave Stephens

    Artists clapping for other artists who have successfully completed some challenging art has NOTHING to do with John Lasseter and EVERYTHING to do with showing their fellow artists some well-deserved respect…

  • http://MrFun'sBlog Floyd Norman

    We’ve turned a professional business into high school.

    Can you imagine Walt and the old men putting up with such nonsense?

    • Amy

      They did the same sorts of things. Sans internet. It’s human nature.

    • The Gee

      As for “putting up with such nonsense”, you mean people outside the studio giving them grief for how they went about business in the studio?

      If the item had been about how there was applause following each time someone walked down a runway wearing a different Hawaiian shirt then yeah…that’s a fair thing to ridicule or to consider as being curious behavior.

      When Walt approved scenes, did he blow smoke rings? Or, when he shot ‘em down, did he blow smoke out of his nose?

      • Scarabim

        From what I understand, the compliment Walt used most often was “That’ll work” and that’s it. He was sparing of compliments because that made the artists try harder, and he knew it. The results of his approach are little films like “Pinocchio” and “Fantasia”.

        I’m not dissing Lasseter’s approach, though. It seems to work for him.

    • http://thisisonlya.blogspot.com robcat2075

      It’s a professional business based on talking mice and dancing flowers.

  • Bobby Ushiro

    This post is misleading, like someone mentioned earlier, the applause is not for Lasseter but because they scenes were signed off on and production moves forward.

    Anyone who works in a production environment knows how frustrating it is to rework a scene over and over.

    Let’s not forget that John Lasseter has to sit in 5 half-hour meetings and 2 one-hour meetings.. that’s a total of 4 and a half hours of John Lasseter sitting at these meetings, with waves of production staff coming and going with the beginning and end of each meeting. The applause is necessary because these talented artists need to maintain their (and John’s) enthusiasm and energy… can you imagine sitting at meetings every day for 4 and a half hours without anyone being invested or committed to the mission?

    Not only is being a skilled artist necessary, but you also need to be a team player when working at a studio that demands attention to detail and hard work, especially a place like Pixar. Anyone who digresses probably wouldn’t find Pixar a good fit for their sensibilities.

  • Was My Face Red

    Every symbol on that shirt is the imprisoned soul of an animator who didn’t want to join in a wacky ‘behind the scenes’ video.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com Frank Panucci

    Sounds like an Amway meeting.

    or

    Lasseter Jong-il says all must clap now.

  • tim

    can we talk about that photo? good lord is it busy…..its like a magic eye painting…..i feel like if i crossed my eyes while staring at it Bambi might pop out at me.

  • Cyle

    So, is this what you were looking for when you asked where the interesting Pixar stories were? Because to me this is as boring as the abject praise people have been complaining about. I don’t know if what others have said about the applause being for the artists is true, but the infographic states that they did so in response to him signing off on their scenes. That certainly sounds like artists celebrating and congratulating each other to me. The way it’s listed in the graphic with other things related to Lasseter seems misleading, but considering the lack of care that usually goes into reporting about animation, that’s not a surprise. That’s not the point though. Shouldn’t the interesting stories be the ones about the artists and their work? Let’s talk about cartoons.

    • Ergo

      Yes. Please God, yes! This article is an utter joke.

      • chris

        To be honest, 74 rounds of applause in a speech sounds a bit like a joke. Pixar is good, but really?

  • http://www.wallcollective.com/cogspa/wall/ joe micallef

    I’m clapping right now. Even as I type this.

  • http://exclusive-cheese.deviantart.com/ Taco Wiz

    If Pixar stories aren’t interesting, just stop doing stories on Pixar, rather than stretching the truth to make John Lasseter seem totalitarian.

  • Vic

    Can we agree that Pixar can be both a place of artistic daring and triumph and a cliquish, slightly creepy personality cult?

    Whether one is dependent on the other is the 7 billion dollar question.

    I’ve seen it first hand, it’s not just sour grapes from those not in the inner circle, it’s a real phenomena. The thing is, as long as the movies continue to be critical and financial successes, do you think the powers that be really care if it’s turning into a religion? Wouldn’t be the first Bay Area organization to go in that direction.

  • Kevin Koch

    As many people have pointed out, the clapping is for the artist getting their shot approved, not for the director who is doing the approving. What hasn’t been mentioned (that I noticed) is that it’s the norm at pretty much EVERY big studio. Get a shot approved, and you get applause from your peers, whether you’re at Pixar, or DreamWorks, or Blue Sky, or R&H, or you name it.

  • Ryoku

    And soon we’ll have 74 comments saying “As others have said but I’ll repeat anyway, they’re applauding for the artists”.

  • http://www.stringstornasunder.blogspot.com Chris Powell

    wow…look at all those toys in that picture! Just imagine…at night, when all the people leave, they ALL come to life! It must get confusing (Jessie! No not you, the OTHER Jessie) just sayiinnnn………

    and yeah judging from people who’ve been in meetings like that, it sounds like the applause is for boosting the morale of ALL the artists, including the director, though there may be some Lasseter praise in there too, it cant all be about him….

  • Billy Batz

    it’s cool, the crews clap because finally scenes are approved , they can stop revising the one they have been working on forever and move on to some new scenes. I’d clap too!

  • Lahro

    They are clapping because they still have jobs.

  • http://www.enigmation.de slowtiger

    “If you want to keep your job now clap your hands – if you want to keep your job now clap your hands!” SCNR. It’s just that eery similarity to sessions of the National People’s Congress of China that cracks me up.

    Of course it’s just about encouraging the team. I wish I had seen more of that, but in my experience it’s much more common to put down the work of others, even by directors who should know better.

  • http://pitchbibles.blogspot.com Steve Schnier

    I admire a corporate culture where people appreciate and applaud the work of their peers. As we know, corporate culture flows from the top down. Good on John Lasseter for instilling those values in his company.

  • Dave O.

    Pixar culture scares me.

    Get your free cereal. Clap.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com Frank Panucci

    I’d get fired from there because I’d complain my spoon is too big

    • Ergo

      As long as you did it in a weird voice I think it would be OK. And John Lasseter would yell back at you, “I am a banana!”

  • Sardonic Tuba

    That’s why Disney struggled post-Lion King. Not enough clapping.

  • http://MrFun'sBlog Floyd Norman

    For those who think the same thing went on back in the old days… the answer is no. Walt didn’t put up with such nonsense and he sure the hell didn’t give compliments.

    How do I know this? Some fan boy told me.

    • http://www.spitandspite.com really

      Hmmmm, interesting take. I think a lot of it has to do with the collaborative nature of digital animation studios. Your voice [as an animator], although still relatively small in the big picture is definitely a bit more appreciated (or tolerated). Maybe it has something to do with the fact that an individual artist can’t make his presence as felt (freddy moore style) and it builds comradery… good thing? Bad? I don’t know…

      In the end, I’m guessing most people were clapping because that footage being approved meant they’re one step closer to not having to work that weekend, and I’m guessing some people, maybe quietly, clapped at Disney when that happened, even back then.

    • http://adreamer49.wordpress.com/ Jacob

      Walt had his faults Mr. Norman. Compliments are not always a bad thing and some people deserved much more then they received from Walt.

  • http://none Drew Loosely

    Sounds like they all got the clap.

  • Bob

    Lasseter: Santo Subito

    I say NOT :)

  • http://MrFun'sBlog Floyd Norman

    Clap quietly? You don’t know much about old Disney.

    The crew went out and got drunk.

  • Ethan

    What if, Milt Kahl lived in this era and worked for John Lasseter instead of Walt Disney? I was re-reading John Canemaker’s book the other day, and I imagine a big fight. Who knows :-)

    • Bud

      I doubt that. Kahl thrived on strong direction. He was bored near the end with the same old claptrap and was VERY vocal about wanting stronger stories and stronger direction.

      • Ethan

        Sure, the leadership angle makes perfect sense, I wouldn’t know, but I was thinking about the opposite, whether Lasseter would have liked working with him.

        I can’t imagine him applauding 74 times in a single day… just because 74 shots have been approved and they won’t have to work on them again. Yay! Another shot is final! No more modifications! Congratulations everyone! Multiplied by 74!

        Was he someone who would applause that many times just because it’s procedure, or even because it’s respectful?

        (that is considering the 74 applauses story is even true)

      • Bud

        You obviously haven’t had the pressure of working on an animated feature with a very tight schedule.

      • Ethan

        I’m not going to tell you which companies I worked for, but I have had more than my share of sleeping 3 hours for weeks to the edge of my sanity (which I’m still missing), waiting for an exec to tell me if they’ll finally stop making changes, thank you very much. I even slept under my desk. We’re all happy when it’s over.

        The article above makes it sound like it was only mechanical and corporate, because it emphasizes the number of times in a day. That kind of clapping doesn’t mean much to me. So if it means a lot to you where you work, I apologize, I know that different companies work differently. We don’t clap 74 times in a day. We clap once at the end. But we take much more than one drink though, must be a canadian thing.

  • http://www.whereisolifant.com Doug Vitarelli

    i’m amazed that he can do all of that on less then 5 hours of sleep. it makes me feel like a sloth living on 7 hours a night.

  • Jesper Soelberg

    “What happens if you don’t clap?”

    The lights doesn’t turn on.