Even as Pixar’s hardware and software product lines foundered, Jobs kept protecting
the animation group. It had become for him a little island of magical artistry that
gave him deep emotional pleasure, and he was willing to nurture it and bet on it.
decree deep spending cuts across the board. When it was over, Lasseter and his
animation group were almost too afraid to ask Jobs about authorizing some extra
money for another short. Finally, they broached the topic and Jobs sat silent, looking
skeptical. It would require close to $300,000 more out of his pocket. After a few
minutes, he asked if there were any storyboards. Catmull took him down to the
animation offices, and once Lasseter started his show—displaying his boards, doing
the voices, showing his passion for his product—Jobs started to warm up.
The story was about Lasseter’s love, classic toys. It was told from the perspective
of a toy one-man band named Tinny, who meets a baby that charms and terrorizes
him. Escaping under the couch, Tinny finds other frightened toys, but when the
baby hits his head and cries, Tinny goes back out to cheer him up.
Jobs said he would provide the money. “I believed in what John was doing,” he later
said. “It was art. He cared, and I cared. I always said yes.” His only comment at the
end of Lasseter’s presentation was, “All I ask of you, John, is to make it great.”
Tin Toy went on to win the 1988 Academy Award for animated short films, the first
computer-generated film to do so. To celebrate, Jobs took Lasseter and his team to
Greens, a vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco. Lasseter grabbed the
Oscar, which was in the center of the table,