Cheat Sheet: John Lasseter
Date of Birth:
12 January 1957
Place of birth:
Hollywood, CA, USA
Directing and Producing
What you probably already know:
Well having seen what films he has been involved with we would like to think that you know that John Lasseter is one high flyer at Pixar. Having worked his way through college, 15 years later he finally hit the big time with Toy Story, which needless to say was a HUGE success (winning and being nominated for various awards for various different departments, from acting to the musical score).
Since then Lasseter’s talents have been widely recognised and he has now been sitting pretty near the top of Premier’s Power 50 list since 2004, he is the vice president of Pixar, and having been the executive producer for over forty titles; he has won various awards (including the Academy Award for special achievement for his work on Toy Story) for his films including family favourites Toy Story 2, Cars, Ratatouille and A Bug’s Life.
He also loves to wear tropical Hawaiian shirts. It’s kind of his thing, and we think that’s quite cool.
What you might not know:
John Lasseter is good at what he does, we know this. But he has been good at this long before Pixar and Academy Awards came along. It all started when he won his first award ($15!) at the age of five from the Model Grocery Market in Whittier, California, for a crayon drawing of the Headless Horseman. Following that, while he was attending the California Institute of the Arts, he produced two animated films, which both went on to win the Student Academy Award for Animation. The films in question were Lady and the Lamp in 1979 and Nitemare in 1980.
And then the big boys came out to play. He managed to become a member of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm Ltd. (which was later sold and became the all too familiar Pixar), where he designed and animated the computer-generated Stained Glass Knight character in Steven Spielberg’s film Young Sherlock Holmes (1985). Now he not only produces films, but a lot of the time he directs, writes and even has a hand to play in the modelling and animation development.
John Lasseter quote:
“If ever a child anywhere in the world leans over to their daddy during one of my movies and asks, “How many letters are in my name?” I’ll quit.”
What to say at a dinner party:
“I love Pixar films! Not only is the CGI fantastic, but the stories are so incredible and creative. God knows what they’ll think of next, but I can’t wait. You know who’s behind it right? John Lasseter. I mean coupling meaningful tales with superb acting talent and supreme animation is simply genius. For him to create these feature films shows that he has a god given talent to entertain!”
What not to say at a dinner party:
“Oh you must be the guy who did Shrek. I LOVE that film.”
Whether or not you like animated films containing the careful use of CGI (and if you don’t, what the hell is wrong with you?), there is no denying that the Pixar greats would not be what they are without the contribution of John Lasseter. And what makes his films so great is his knowledge that it still the story that makes them, as opposed to simply relying on fantastic digital effect. He really is the heart and soul of Pixar.