The name John Lasseter has long been associated with films that feature hand-drawn computer animation. From the 1995 blockbuster Toy Story to more recent releases, Lasseter has almost single-handedly made the animated film industry what it is today.
Lasseter earned an Academy Award for Toy Story, which was the highest-grossing film in 1995. After the wild success of this film, he went on to direct fan favorites A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Cars, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo.
How John Lasseter Came to Work for Skydance Animation
David Ellison launched Skydance Productions in 2006. For the first several years of its existence, Skydance worked in collaboration with Paramount and other big-name studios to produce films. Eventually, Ellison wanted the company to produce its motion pictures.
Ellison’s decision to expand his company led to the creation of separate television and animation divisions. Realizing that he needed an executive with a proven history at the helm of the animation division, Ellison offered Lasseter a position as head of animation. Lasseter accepted the position in January 2019, and Skydance Animation has enjoyed tremendous success ever since.
Lasseter’s Role as the Head of Animation
John Lasseter is responsible for operations, production, strategy, and growth at Skydance Animation. Some of his noteworthy successes in this role include initiating the production of Luck and Spellbound, both feature-length films, along with the short film, Blush. Each of these movies attracted big-name actors and actresses, including Whoopi Goldberg and Jane Fonda. Lasseter has also secured a well-known director, Vicky Jenson, for Spellbound.
Lasseter’s success does not stop with films. He also procured several streaming services and branded toy deals for the organization. Lasseter has obtained toy licenses on behalf of Skydance Animation for the movie Spellbound, and he has tasked others with creating branded items like keychains, t-shirts, games, and stuffed animals for each film that the studio releases.
John Lasseter Assembles an All-Star Management Team at Skydance Animation
Lasseter’s connections in the entertainment industry run deep, and he has convinced three of his former colleagues at Pixar and Disney to join the Skydance Animation team. Rich Moore, an experienced filmmaker, accepted Lasseter’s offer after spending 10 years at Disney.
Fans of hand-drawn computer-animated films will recognize Moore’s work in the movies Frozen, Tangled, Moana, and Zootopia. Just as Lasseter had done two decades earlier, Moore’s Zootopia received recognition as the best-animated film of 2017. Rich Moore has committed to a multi-year deal with Skydance Animation. He oversees the production and development of new animated features and will showcase his talent in the upcoming movie Luck.
Alan Menken is a songwriter, music director, composer, and producer of top-label records. Some of the most popular shows on television feature musical scores written by Menken. He has taken home Academy Awards for songs that were written by him and played in the animated films Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, and The Little Mermaid. He is currently working on creating musical scores for Skydance Animation’s upcoming production of Spellbound.
Filmmaker Brad Bird wrote and directed The Incredibles, parts 1 and 2, and Ratatouille while employed by Pixar. The Incredibles 2 was the highest-grossing animated movie ever, while the other two films earned him Academy Awards. Bird was in the process of writing and directing Ray Gunn, which he will continue to do with his new employer. Bird also has 40 years of experience as a voice actor.
Skydance Animation will only get better under the direction of John Lasseter. He is innovative, unafraid to take risks, diligent, and has the leadership skills needed to attract the industry’s most talented individuals to help propel the future of animation forward.