The Wrap has an interview with John Lasseter held to celebrate 90 years of Disney Animation. He discusses the circumstances surrounding his getting fired from Disney and what he has changed since coming back. He also discusses Frozen‘s chances of winning the Best Animated Feature Oscar and Pixar’s current dry-spell in winning the award. Here is an excerpt:
Have you brought other elements of the Pixar sensibility to Disney?
One thing that Ed Catmull and I brought from Pixar is the philosophy of making it a filmmaker-driven studio, not an executive-driven studio. An executive-driven studio is where you have layers of development executives who give the director mandatory notes. And when I came in to Disney, the term I heard from filmmakers was that they felt like they’d lost their compass. They spent most of their time trying to address mandatory notes, and a lot of them were contradictory, instead of focusing on what’s going to make the movie best.
Back in the second heyday of the Disney Animation Studio, when “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” were made, they kind of fell into a rut. Those films were great, but they felt like every film had to be that way.
And so we instituted what we have developed at Pixar, which is a filmmaker-driven studio. Each movie is screened internally roughly every three months, and then we get together and give notes. And none of these notes, including mine, are mandatory. It’s just a group of peers around the table, and the director knows that everybody is helping them make the movie the best it can be.