TOY STORY 2
A Visionary Director
With three feature films to his credit, John Lasseter has established himself
as one of today's most original and successful filmmakers. As a pioneer in
computer animation for the past seventeen years, he has also helped to expand
the boundaries of the art form. For the cast and crew involved with the making
of "Toy Story 2," Lasseter's dedication and vision proved to be a
Thomas Schumacher notes, "John Lasseter is a brilliant leader, a
brilliant artist and a brilliant collaborator. He carries on a vision that great
directors have of trying to do things that have never been done before. His goal
is to take audiences to new and exciting places and he does that beautifully. He
is an inspired filmmaker with a tremendous sense of passion and
"What I love about John is his vision and his ability to be completely
focused on the moment," says producer Karen Robert Jackson. "He knows
exactly how things are going to link up. He so values the artist that he's
completely there for them. He never tires of telling the story or inspiring the
crew. He has the ability to zero in on something and make the artist feel so
valued. It tells them what they're doing is so important at this moment. It may
be a screw, it may be a shader on a vent. John has the ability to tell an artist
exactly when that thing in the show will be of the most importance and why it is
so valued and why it is important for them to be working on it."
Lasseter's ability to communicate extends to the actors on the film as well.
In recording sessions, he was able to bring the voice talents up to speed and
give them a sense of what is going on in the story. The actors had nothing but
praise for his talents as a director and storyteller.
Lasseter explains, "The most important thing we look for in casting our
films is great actors. We don't ask them to put on voices. We want them to be
themselves. As I direct the actors, what I look for is believability, a natural
performance. Everything has to feel right. They become the character. Since
these films take years to make, we have the opportunity to adjust the
personality and the design of the character to fit with the voice. The voice and
the animation have to work together.
"The same thing is true with our creative team," adds Lasseter.
"What I try to do is hire the best and most talented people we can. And we
let them do what they're really good at. With every task in the production, I
try to let people have a little creative ownership. I don't tell them how to do
their job. I tell them what is needed and then let them put their own creativity
into it. That's the way to get people invested and really enjoy what they're
doing. In the end, the most important thing to me is that everyone is creatively
"I love what I do. I have the best job in the world here at Pixar. And I
believe that the corporate culture of any place — the morale, the emotion —
comes down from the top. So that gives me license to be the biggest nut, the
biggest kid here because I have so much fun with what I do. I believe in honesty
and just having so much fun with what I'm doing and finding humor in everything.
If you're having fun and you love what you're doing, the work that ends up on
the screen is going to reflect that."
Lee Unkrich observes, "I think working with John is the closest we can
come in our time to working with Walt Disney. I really don't think that there's
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