Pixar Dailies: Regular Feedback for Better Work

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Creativity, Inc." by Ed Catmull. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What are the Pixar Dailies? How did these regular meetings help team members communicate for better results?

The Pixar Dailies are when artists and creatives on a project get together at the beginning of the day to present their work for feedback. It was essential to the process at Pixar.

Keep reading to understand more about Pixar Dailies and their impact.

Pixar Dailies and Frequent Feedback

When going through the development process, frequent feedback sessions allow your team members to get different perspectives on their work. This prevents your employees from becoming overly committed to their work and enables them to solve problems collaboratively. Frequent feedback also allows your team to fix potential problems early on instead of after they’ve put dozens or hundreds of hours into a project. 

For example, at Pixar, Catmull created a process called “Pixar Dailies.” At Pixar Dailies, artists and creatives on a project get together at the beginning of the day to present their work for feedback. It allows artists to receive feedback from the entire team throughout the creative process. These changes may range from the size of a stick in the background to an entire character model. Because everyone has a voice and candidness is promoted, Dailies allow artists to look at their work from a different perspective and make adjustments to create a stronger product.

Promoting Candor

Candor is willingness to be forthright about issues, concerns, ideas, and anything else on your mind. Candor allows teams to get straightforward feedback to improve their final product. This helps employees find flaws that they may have been blind to and get suggestions to move forward. 

To make employees feel comfortable sharing their opinions, develop a judgment-free environment that allows employees to speak up. At Pixar, Catmull used Braintrust Meetings, where members of Pixar sat down to watch reels and discuss issues with a project’s creative team.

To develop a respectful and comfortable feedback session, follow these tips:

  • Involve people from different departments. This will introduce a variety of perspectives.
  • Promote the use of “good notes,” which expose a flaw without attacking the person, being insulting, or making a demand.
  • In meetings, don’t abuse your higher position. Don’t make demands of your creative teams. Instead, offer suggestions on ways to move forward and allow the head of a project to find the best way to implement feedback. 
Pixar Dailies: Regular Feedback for Better Work

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  • How Pixar went from selling computers to successful animation studio
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  • Why George Lucas sold Pixar to Steve Jobs

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