Animation Elite 2012: Genndy Tartakovsky

A background in the quick-turnaround world of television animation helped “Samurai Jack” creator Genndy Tartakovsky turn Sony Pictures Animation’s troubled “Hotel Transylvania” into a much-needed hit for the studio, scaring up $270 million worldwide and counting.

The project had already been through five directors and years of pre-production when Tartakovsky came aboard in February 2011, giving the director just 18 months to get the film into shape for its projected pre-Halloween release date.

“They’d done the designs and backgrounds, so my challenge was to give it a tone and direction and have it make sense with all these existing different assets,” says Tartakovsky, who added the father-daughter dimension to the high-concept “hotel for monsters” idea. He also had to win over the film’s very hands-on producer and star, Adam Sandler. “Adam’s used to working with his regular team, so I had to prove myself,” he says.

Time served in the trenches at Hanna-Barbera and the Cartoon Network gave the brain behind such shows as “Dexter’s Laboratory” the confidence he needed to accept the challenge. “I’d made so many mistakes over the years, I now had the training and experience to handle this,” says Tartakovsky, who’s now set to direct a 3D animated version of “Popeye” for Sony. “I’m also developing an original idea: a family comedy I’ll write and direct.”

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