Key Player: John Lasseter

Executive Creative VP, Pixar Animation Studios

Exec Trivia: Lasseter was the second student accepted into the start-up animation program at CalArts, launched with Disney funding.

The Basics: Lasseter emerged as a creative pioneer in the world of computer animation after accepting an invitation to join the graphics’ unit at Lucasfilm, which became Pixar in the mid-’80s. There, he produced award-winning CG shorts like the famous “Luxo Jr.” He was, of course, director of the seminal “Toy Story” and has been involved in all of Pixar’s CG films since in one capacity or another. He’s currently directing the next Disney/Pixar feature, “Cars.” Before joining Lucasfilm, Lasseter served Disney’s feature animation department for five years.

Rep: Lasseter has largely kept out of the business fray during Pixar’s rise and current negotiations over its Disney partnership. His focus has steadily been the art of computer animation.

POV: “At Pixar, we pioneered making movies with computer animation. But it’s not the technology that makes a movie entertaining to an audience; it’s what you do with the technology. You never hear someone say, ‘I love that movie-the new film stock they used made it so emotional.’ Or ‘those new camera lenses made that film so funny.’ Of course not. Well, it’s the same with computer animation. Just as Walt Disney believed, it’s the story that makes the characters entertaining.”

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