Fritz the Cat is an independent animated feature from 1972, directed by Ralph Bakshi and based on the eponymous comic strip by Robert Crumb. With a budget of $850,000 and a gross revenue of $100M, Fritz the Cat is the most successful independent animated feature as of today. This is quite impressive, all the more so that during this era, the animation industry was collapsing, and Disney was steamrolling what was remaining of it.
Now what is the link with Google? Well, as I was looking up some information about Fritz the Cat and how they made it, I found a real gem. I stumbled upon an informal talk with Ralph Baskshi at the San Diego Comic-Con of 2008. In this video, Ralph Bakshi explains how and why he made the film, but also how young animators today are all trying too hard to get into those big studios instead of making their own films in their garage with a bunch of friends. I thought back to this article by Chris Dixon that I had read one year ago, Every time an engineer joins Google, a startup dies. During the whole video, it was so obvious that by replacing the words “Disney” by “Google”, and “animation” by “software”, Ralph’s words would be applicable to the software industry as it is now.
The video is only ten-minute long, and is a tremendous source of inspiration. Note that I have nothing against Google, I could have equally referred to Facebook, Amazon or Microsoft. I just found the similarity between the software and animation industry interesting. Enjoy now 🙂