I just got back from, Droidmaker: George Lucas and the Digital Revolution. Michael Rubin is on tour promoting his latest book of the same name. Droidmaker is essentially the first true and complete account of how Lucas and Coppola basically revolutionized not just the film industry, but our technological generation. After watching the presentation I was reminded of just how many of todays modern luxuries can be attributed to these two film makers.
It was a good show, and Rubin was very energetic and entertaining. He’s a great storyteller, as he ought to be, promoting a book and all. He was accompanied by Dr. Alvy Ray Smith, one of the founding fathers of the Lucas Film Computer Division that eventually became Pixar.
The best part about these presentations is learning about personal relationships and stories of struggle and adversity, with pay offs. That’s an understatement in the case of George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola, not to mention Smith, Catmull, Lasseter, and all the rest of the Pixar founders. It was quite an immersing experience, and I recommend you take a look and see if Rubin is on his way to your home town in the near future.
I was already familiar with about 80% of the content of this presentation, which is why I didn’t buy the book (which you should buy if you are not familiar with this story as I was). But a couple of things I wasn’t aware of was the survival of Pixar (financially) because of Steve Jobs inability to admit failure publicly, how Dr. Smith and his colleagues came up with the name Pixar, and how they reluctantly ended up giving their new company (separated from Lucas Film) the same name. And can you guess how Ross Perot is connected to all this? Check out the book and you’ll find out…