Ed Catmull on Internship Programs

Ed Catmull, one of the co-founders of Pixar, wrote in his book Creativity Inc. the importance of the internship program at Pixar:

In 1998, Catmull wanted Pixar to start an internship program, but production managers were reluctant because of the time and money it would cost. Their reaction was a form of protection, I suppose, motivated by a desire to protect the film and to aim every dollar at making it a success,” Catmull wrote. But not bringing in interns meant not bringing in fresh energy and potential talent, something that wasn’t benefiting the company as a whole even though it was making it easier to allot funds for individual projects.

Catmull went ahead with the plan but made the program a corporate expense rather than something that had to be added to a film’s budget. After a few years, the production managers recognized the benefit of having interns on the crew and were willing to add it to their budgets, taking it off of Catmull’s list of responsibilities, and since then the program expanded to have 100 interns last year. It needed protection to put down its roots, then engagement to grow.
December 17, 2021

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