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Hear the Black Sheep

Director Brad Bird had a problem when he was developing his first project at Pixar, The Incredibles.

The problem was – everything.

Every aspect of the movie demanded a level of computer-generated animation that had no precedent.  Hard stuff like human characters, hair, water, fire, and a massive number of sets – all in the same movie.

The Pixar crew determined that this project would take ten years and a massive budget to complete.  It was, in other words, impossible.

, was “give me the black sheep.”

“I want artists who are frustrated.  I want the ones who have another way of doing things that nobody’s listening to.  Give me all the guys who are headed out the door.”

The “black sheep” were up to the challenge.  And in the end, The Incredibles cost Pixar less per minute than its previous films and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Picture in 2005 and to become the highest-selling DVD of that year.

I think one of the great lost opportunities of the media industry is to marshal the talents that lurk in the shadows.  The folks who have never been called on to do more than hang a banner or push some pencils.

Not every wallflower is a “black sheep,” to be sure.  But the black sheep are there.  Listen closely and you can hear them “baa.”

And to you “black sheep” I say this:  Pitch your hearts out.  If they don’t listen at this gig, they will at your next.

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