Anthony Christov is an art director currently designing the look for films at award-winning Pixar Animation Studios. He most recently art directored WALL•E. He worked in a similar capacity for the successful Finding Nemo animated feature and was the set designer for Cars and The Incredibles.
My Definition Of Success | I think success is having a stable and loving family, and being able to live up to your responsibilities towards them. That has never changed for me. In that regard I am not as tolerant as I am in everything else in life. I have a hard time respecting a person who isn’t living up to his/her family responsibilities, professional achievements notwithstanding.
I Am Driven By | The well-being of my family is probably my strongest motivation, then the chance to work and interact with people I respect and make those incredible films that will stay in the world’s culture and history, through the memories of so many people.
My Highlights | My children and the people I work with.
The Difference Between Good And Great | It’s a good question. People that are great are the ones that are inspired. People that try to do things differently and don’t fall victims of our collective habits. People that are not afraid of failure. Fear of failure paralyzes creativity.
A Key Talent | I would have to say flexibility, though I still see my success as work in progress. It’s hard to tell people step by step, as every one I’ve made many mistakes too, but I think the key is to surround yourself with people who you think are better than you in what they do. It’s not always the most comfortable place, but it’s far better than the alternative, as it allows you to grow, and teaches you to be humble.
Critical Skills I Develop | Well, I am still learning. I think the art of leading and listening at the same time is very difficult to master, but extremely important. Some people are too stubborn and will pile on past mistakes, by being immovable, others will linger between various opinions and advice, unable to decide.
I’ve tried to always find that balance between the two.
How I Use My Mind | I personally focus on my work, and not on my goals and ambitions. I think people feel uneasy around a person driven exclusively by their goals and ambition. Trying to be inspired at what you do, will bring you results on the success and ambition front, but that is the result of your professionalism, not the other way around.
Lessons I Have Learnt | The world does not revolve around you. Everyone around you is too busy worrying about themselves, and they are not judging you constantly as it may seem at times to a younger person.
Dealing With Doubt | Doubt is normal, but I think the key is not to connect your professional standing with your sense of self-respect. You should learn to love and accept who you are, and that will allow you to focus on what it is that you are doing. Too many people mix those and that too has a paralyzing effect.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I am a history fan and read a lot of historic publications. As such I have realized that often what looks like a disappointment turns out to be a positive development, so history has taught me not to despair in the face of failure, but mobilize your mental capacity to deal with it.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | I just want to keep learning.
On Inspiring Others | I just make sure that their goals are the same as mine – that we all want to make these films better and better.
I Am Inspired By | My family inspires me, but my role model has to be Peter the Great of Russia.
He was a reformer, he drove people really hard to reform and change the way they had done things for centuries, yet he was not afraid to get dirty himself. Peter learnt everything that he expected other to learn, from ship building to navigation, to architecture, to warfare and so on, and his curiosity was endless.
He took his work seriously but he didn’t take himself seriously which is what made him great.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I want my grandchildren one day to really enjoy the films we are making.