Whistle While You Work: Branding, Critical Reception and Pixar’s Production Culture

Richard Mcculloch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contributionpeer-review


Through a case study of Pixar Animation Studios, McCulloch offers an exploration of the relationship between screen narratives, branded production cultures, and cultural value.

The chapter analyses the representation and mediation of the company’s Emeryville campus across a range of paratextual materials (primarily journalistic exposés and DVD bonus features), before comparing this to the critical reception of its films. McCulloch discusses the legitimating implications of ‘behind the scenes’ narratives more generally, and demonstrates the potential for commodified production cultures to frame their output (and those who consume it) in very particular, culturally valuable ways. In Pixar’s case, Emeryville acts as a physical space for the reification of intangible brand values – a nexus point for the conceptions of creativity, fun and artistry that purportedly distinguish its films from those of its rivals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStorytelling in the Media Convergence Age
Subtitle of host publicationExploring Screen Narratives
EditorsRoberta Pearson, Anthony N. Smith
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan UK
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781137388155
ISBN (Print)9781349481927
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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