John Lasseter: My Hero

To my future self: If you’re ever feeling unmotivated in your journey to become a computer animator, look back on your hero’s perseverance and everything he went through to get to where he is today. John Lasseter has paved the way for the entertainment industry with his idea of computer animated graphics, being used to tell a story. This was not easily accomplished for your hero, he so heavily believed in computer animation he actually got fired from Disney because he pushed the idea of it so hard(Charles S, 2006). He so to speak rolled the dice with his career because he went against the conventional ways of animation and stood up for what he thought was the future of the industry. Remember who you want to be and how to achieve it. Stop at nothing to achieve your dream and ask yourself why John Lasseter is your inspiration. Never forget to stay true to yourself, just like your idol did to create computer animation.

This is a reminder to you of everything he went through to become who he is today. John studied at California Institute of the Arts for four years and was the second person to be chosen for for the nascent character animation program(Charles S, 2006). He studied with many legendary Disney artists(Charles S, 2006). While he was studying there he won two student academy award for his animated films ”Lady and the Lamp” and ”Nitemare.” After graduating in 1979 John went on to work at Disney where he worked on ”The Fox and the Hound” and ”Mickey’s Christmas Carol”(Charles S, 2006). During this time he also did a test suggesting that 2-D animation could be combined with a computerized environment(Charles S, 2006). In 1984 John left Disney to work for Lucasfilm where he worked in the computerized graphics department, shortly after he made his first computer generated short called ”The Adventures of Andre and Wally B”(Charles S, 2006). In 1988 his computer animated short “Tin Toy” won an oscar and next he would go on to make Toy Story in 1995(Charles S, 2006). Now that John has made computer animation big through Pixar, he is now looking to bring back 2-D animation again. After getting fired from Disney Steve Jobs offered him a job at Lucasfilm that would later get turned into Pixar. This was John’s break through, he got the opportunity to prove everyone wrong and also prove to himself that computer animated graphics is the future.  Especially since the world barely even knew what computer animation was, but he took a leap of faith and made Toy Story in 1995 and man did he deliver! John is now the overseer of three studios since Pixar and Disney are together as one company now(Tom J, 2011).Remind yourself why you got the passion for computer animation, if it wasn’t for John and his creation of Toy Story; would you even be here right now?

What can you tell yourself about the heart of John Lasseter to remind yourself of who you are? His reasoning for his storytelling is to find the boy in every man and to help the boy become a man in the process of watching his films(Tom J, 2011). John takes pride with the boy in himself, he doesn’t want to be corrupted by money and power. He wants to stay young at heart and innocent, from the looks of his films I would say he doing a great job! Through John’s perseverance he has gone on to create the biggest hit movies the entertainment industry has ever seen. John truely is a great person and family man at heart. Even at his job he likes to celebrate often. Everytime he calls a final to a scene he pours a shot for him and his animators. But also don’t forget what it takes to get there. John Lasseter tells us the foundations every animation student needs in order to be successful in the field. He talks about knowing the basics for instance basic drawing, storytelling, design, fundamentals of animation, and grammar; he says you need to study these things because he relies on the basics everyday of his career(Disney-Pixar, 2009).

So what can you take from this to persevere throughout your journey to become an animator? You need to remember who you are and to not be afraid to think outside the box; never lose that boy in you and to stay true to who you are. Everyday you wake up remind yourself what your dream is and to persevere through tough times. Tell yourself it won’t be easy, tell yourself you can do it, and don’t let people limit you. Study the basics so you can have a solid foundation for your craft and never stop exploring your creative mind in the process. Think about John and how his outside the box idea has revolutionized the entertainment business and changed the world forever. He has sparked fires in our hearts for years now and he has created a burning passion for yours. So everytime you see a new Disney-Pixar film remember what it took for John Lasseter to accomplish it, be bold!


Charles S (2006,January 25).Pixar Creative Chief to Seek to Restore the Disney Magic.

      Retrieved from

Tom J(2011, May 30).  How John Lasseter Raised the Children of

       America Retrieved from

Disney-Pixar(2009,Sep 14) John Lasseter Q&A Any advice for aspiring animation student?

      Retrieved from


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