No doubt this will be covered in further detail elsewhere (and to my shame I can’t remember which blog I spotted it on) but this story, buried in the comments on a thread on Metafilter is amazing.
The short version is that, opening viewing one of the first trailers for Wall-E, a girl found herself bursting into tears as she was so moved. She video’d herself doing this, posted it on YouTube, and some Pixar staff found it and emailed her (this was all on a personal basis, not driven through the company at this point). Apparently word got round Pixar and ultimately ends up with the girl and her boyfriend being invited to the staff premiere screening, flown out and put up in a hotel, and then, before they showed the movie, being introduced to the staff as, by that point, everyone knew her story.
Schmaltzy? Yes. But to me it demonstrates the passion Pixar have for their movies.
Having read To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios the story certainly fits with the ethos that powers the studio and is a touching insight into how Pixar operates. Yes, of course they have a cold, heartless, business side, but there is no real reason why they did all of that other than because watching the girl’s video touched THEM. Pixar have given this story zero publicity (and yes you cynics, I’m sure they are happy it’s been revealed but they aren’t making a play on this I don’t think).
I never did write up my thoughts about that Pixar book but suffice to say if you enjoy their movies, and are a bit of a geek like me, you’ll LOVE it. It covers everything from business decisions (including why Steve Jobs got involved) through to their commitment to make good movies, regardless of technological barriers.
They are a unique company in many ways, as this story only goes to show.