Creative Exec Behind 'Frozen' Shares Inspiration Secrets

Ed Catmull, head of Disney Animation and Pixar, talks about how "Toy Story" and others came to be.
5:53 | 04/23/14

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Transcript for Creative Exec Behind 'Frozen' Shares Inspiration Secrets
Ever find yourself watching movies like "Toy story 3" or "Frozen" and having thoughts how do they make these things? Who comes up with this stuff? Tonight meet the guy behind Pixar who will show you how they engineer creativity around their office. It involves, graffiti, tiki hut cubicles and something called a love lounge. Here's ABC's David Wright. ♪ Here I stand ♪ Reporter: The number one animated movie of all time. Disney's "Frozen." ♪ Never bothered me anyway ♪ Reporter: Number two, Pixar's "Toy story 3" one common denominator, the same executive in charge of both companies. So nice to meet you. Nice to meet you. Reporter: You are the woody of Pixar? Ed cap? Well may not be a household name. But you have seen his movies. He helped create the entire field of computer animation. You are a computer guy? Yes. As a child my hero for Walt Disney and Albert Einstein. I basically wanted to be an animator. But when I left high school I didn't know how to proceed. There were no schools for it. Reporter: He found a job with George Lucas looking for a special effects for his "Star wars" movies. He believed technology would change the industry. No studielieved this at the time. Reporter: The first time computer graphics were used in a movie in a largely forgettable film. The 1976 movie "Future world." That its ed capwe'll hand, animated through a piece of ked he wrote as a student. A building block to much more memorable effects later on. The first time we actually had something of significance was in the second "Star wars" movie. The fly-by over the planet. And that really caught people's attention. Reporter: In his book, creativity inc., he describes Lucas' management style as being yoda-like. Do or do not. There is no -- Reporter: If Lucas was yoda there was an equally powerful force who would soon take his place. When Steve came and acquired Pixar from Lucas film it was just after he had left apple. What was his goal in running Pixar? Seems a change from apple. Steve believed in passion. He saw this amazing passion in us. He responded to that. Reporter: Steve jobs helped them achieve their dream of making the first feature length computer animated movie ever made. The birthday party is today. Reporter: It took a wheel to get there. Their first big success this animated short that won an academy award. A giant statue at the company headquarters. The most common question people asked was, was the big lamp the mother or father? Itch you can make somebody thing an inanimate object can think then you are doing animation. That's "Toy story." Reporter: "Toy story" started as a short, no woody, no buzz, a tin toy trying to escape a baby. Later a feature length story about the latest, greatest doll, old-fashioned doll and conflict between them. Woody was the villain. He was unlikable. All the films they begin they don't work. We have to go through the process figuring out how to make them work. Reporter: Everything at Pixar head quarter, Steve jobs building is designed to promote creativity. This is our animation area. Looks fun. Remarkable things. Tiki huts. Including the cubicles. One here is designed to to be look from Indiana Jones. This is a place where everything is possible. Shows us a little door behind one person's work station. Let's go in there. A cozy nook they call the love lounge. Over the year, just a lot of people have come through here, signed it. It's been remarkable. You encourage graffiti you are telling sunny. We do. We encourage the unexpected. Disney bought Pixar put him in charge of both companies. Noticed that the offices at Disney were different. The cubicles barren. Oh, no, this is a disaster. You don't want cleaned out cubicles. You want them to be personalized. The same was pretty much true of the movies, Disney was releasing. Animation, the core of the company hit a bit of a slump. Seems like when you merged with them. They were like, Mr. Incredible at the beginning of the movie. Enormously popular character, best days were behind him. That's right. Reporter: Their first big hit. Hugely popular reworking of rapunzel. Tangled was the biggest. They earned the confidence of the marketing people. And a big success. And now "Frozen" the biggest animated film of all time. ♪ ♪ A golden age of animation. Walt Disney 2.0. The results speak for themselves. Finding memo, the incredibles, wall-e. I'm David right for "Nightline" in emoryville, California. ♪ ♪ We should say that Pixar and the Disney animation are owned by our parent company Disney and creative inc. Available in the bookstores now.

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