Sunday 15 December 2013

The hidden costs of closed words (in reference to Disney/Pixar animations)

I just watched the Disney movie Frozen (with the kids), which is basically a re-cast of the characters and technology used on the Tangled movie.

What I really found interesting was how the kids (8 of them) really had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned "...well ... they grabbed the same Software and Character's Programming used in Tangled, added a change of clothes and programmed a new story..."

Basically the concept that there is a HUGE amount of programming and technology behind these movies (Pixar, Dreamworks Animation, Walt Disney Animation, etc...) is completely alien to them.

And this got me thinking of the amazing ideas, techniques, tools and genius that goes into each of these movies that never gets exposed and is forever locked away in some company's digital vault.

Part of the reason for the lack of sharing, is the common "this is proprietary information", "we don't want to help our competitors", "nobody can decide to open it" reasons that are given on closed/proprietary worlds (i.e. non Open Source,  Creative Commons,  Open Access or Open Content).

And that is such a shame and tragedy! Since the rest of the world (and me, you and even their own colleagues) are not able to learn about all the challenges and solutions that occurred during the creation of these movies.

And what is the real gain for these companies to close down this information and ideas?

A couple years of competitive advantage?

Maybe, but I actually think that they lose a lot more, since the artists that create these movies (and I include the programmers in the 'artist list') would love to talk about what they did, would learn a lot from others ideas and would be less likely to move on into other jobs (since there is a massive job satisfaction in being able to talk and 'geek out' on the topics that they are passioned about).

Ultimately we all lose, because a lot of great knowledge and ideas never fulfil its true potential (i.e. they are only used a couple times, by a selective group of individuals/projects)