Despite being a relative newcomer to the digital animation industry, Skydance has established itself as one of the fastest-growing companies in the industry. David Ellison started Skydance Media in Santa Monica, California, which has been producing non-animated films since 2006, including Mission Impossible: Fallout, True Grit, Top Gun: Maverick, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, and Jack Reacher. It has now concentrated its efforts on cinema and television, especially animated features.
Skydance Animation, launched in 2010, is Skydance Media’s animation company, which John Lasseter now leads. The company’s goal is to provide “animation like you’ve never seen before.” Skydance Animation aims to create memorable characters for movies, TV shows, and short films. It is also very keen to hire the best artists in the industry to build up a competitive team. One of the notable additions to the company is John Lasseter, who has found a new home after his exit from Pixar and Walt Disney, where he was serving as the CCO. Former Disney all-star team members, including Alan Menken, Rich Moore, and Brad Bird, have also joined Lasseter at Skydance Animation.
High-Profile Additions to Skydance Animation
Rich Moore, an Oscar-winning writer, and filmmaker has inked a multi-year exclusive agreement with Skydance Animation, where he will play a significant role in the establishment, conceptualization, and production of the company’s animated films. He worked for Sony Pictures Animation for a short time before moving on to Walt Disney Animation, where he stayed for over a decade. At Disney, Moore was a member of the Disney Story Trust and counseled on films such as Tangled, Moana, and Frozen.
Rich Moore is most well-known for his work on Zootopia, for which he received an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2017. With Skydance Animation, Rich Moore will produce the animated film Luck, a story about Sam, the world’s unluckiest person, and the luck she discovers when he meets a cast of delightful mythical creatures. It is directed by Peggy Holmes (who previously collaborated with John Lasseter on a pair of direct-to-video “Tinker Bell” animated movies) and will launch on Apple TV+ on August 5, 2022. Spellbound is another project by Rich Moore featuring new music by Alan Menken. It was directed by Academy Award winner Vicky Jensen.
Brad Bird’s long-time pet project, Ray Gunn, will also be animated by Skydance Animation. Brad Bird has contributed to The Iron Giant and other Pixar masterpieces, including The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2, and Ratatouille. Brad Bird spent a lot of time working with John Lasseter at Pixar, so when Skydance Animation bought Ray Gunn’s rights, it was no coincidence that the two brilliant storytellers reunited.
Adding to the family of Skydance Animation is composer, lyricist, musician, and record producer Alan Menken, whose name graces some of television’s most celebrated soundtracks. He has received two Academy Award nominations for his work on Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, and Beauty and the Beast. He will now compose the music for Skydance Animation’s forthcoming musical fantasy, Spellbound. Glenn Slater (Tangled) and Chris Montan (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen) will collaborate with him on these unique compositions. Meanwhile, the creators will include John Lasseter, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and David Lipman.
About John Lasseter
John Lasseter is a well-known animator, director, producer, and writer in the film industry. His interest in animation began as a youngster when he made drawings of the chapel he visited with his mother. His mother was an art teacher and had the sense of identifying emerging talent. She pushed him to follow his gift for animation, and he went on to study at the California Institute of Arts.
After graduating, John Lasseter landed a job as a Disney animator. He worked on several early films, including The Fox and the Hound and The Black Cauldron. When he came to Lucasfilm (now Pixar) to work on computer graphics imagery (CGI) projects, he created Toy Story, the company’s first feature-length movie produced with digital animation. He became a CGI leader and is highly recognized for Pixar’s success. He became Pixar and Disney’s chief creative officer, where he collaborated on some of the world’s greatest animated films, including Cars, Frozen, A Bug’s Life, Brave, Finding Nemo, Up, and Inside Out.
Skydance Animation recruited John Lasseter as its director of animation in 2019, and he is still bringing fascinating tales to the screen for people all around the globe.