Those who believe that cartoons are kids’ stuff need to stop and take a look around them. Animation is big business, and it appeals to adults just as much as kids. It also features strong competition and a lot of innovative minds. It seems that the latest serious player on the block is Skydance Animation, led by John Lasseter.
Skydance Animation, an animation studio that’s a division of Skydance Media, is led by John Lasseter, and the studio is attracting several highly recognized talents to its team. Lasseter was drawn to art even as a child and was inspired to pursue animation after he watched a film about the making of the 1938 Disney classic, “Sleeping Beauty.” He trained to be an animator at the California Institute of the Arts. His first professional animation work came on “The Fox and the Hound.” He developed a strong interest in computer animation, which led to his butting heads with his superiors and getting fired in 1983. He started working for Lucasfilm Ltd. and eventually started directing short films and commercials for Pixar. He was working with Disney again when he directed the original “Toy Story” in 1995 and would go on to be involved with several other Disney projects as well. He was eventually named chief creative officer of animation operations for Disney and Pixar. In 2017, he left Disney and on January 2019, he was the head of Skydance Media’s animation division.
In preparation for several larger upcoming projects, Skydance Animation has made a name for itself by working with Apple TV+ as well as Netflix, and they have also produced highly acclaimed shorts, such as “Blush,” which premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival.
Skydance Animation’s creative community is based in both Los Angeles and Madrid and blends art with technology. They have recently hired several top actors and animators as they prepare for more growth and strive to be increasingly competitive. Some of the notable names that have joined the team include Rich Moore, Brad Bird, Ray Gunn, and Alan Menken.
Rich Moore is well-known for winning the “Best Animated Feature” Oscar in 2017 for “Zootopia.” He was also nominated for “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” and served on the Story Trust for “Tangled,” “Frozen,” and “Moana.”
Writer/director Brad Bird is known for his work on several Pixar films, including both “Incredibles” films, as well as “Ratatouille” and “The Iron Giant.” Recently, Bird secured the rights to “Ray Gunn,” a retro-futuristic detective story set to be produced by Skydance Animation as a feature film.
As good as the artwork and animation are likely to be with all the top-rated talent hired by Skydance Animation, good music is just as much a part of any film’s success story. Coming up on the Skydance Animation docket is a musical fantasy called “Spellbound,” and Alan Menken has signed up to work on the score. Menken has worked on several popular scores for both stage and screen, including “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Newsies,” “Pocahontas,” “Aladdin,” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
The fact that all these highly talented professionals will be working together after being connected with other studios shows how much dedication it takes to get the right people together to work on the right story. Millions of fans are anxiously waiting for what they will produce next and in the next chapter.