Animation evolution

According to Pixar’s two-time Oscar-winning director John Lasseter, the key element to an animated film’s success is heart. “Walt Disney always said for every laugh there should be a tear,” Lasseter says. “I have always believed in that.”

Lasseter, chief creative officer for Walt Disney and Pixar animation studios, clearly kept that in mind with “Bolt,” the first animated feature to be conceived and produced at Disney under his guidance. In the story of a dog who thinks he is a superhero out to rescue his girl, Lasseter melds all the sweet family film elements of the golden age of Disney with the personality and intelligence that are the hallmarks of Pixar’s successful films.

“I believe in a filmmaker-led studio,” says Lasseter, who directed such animated hits as “Toy Story” and “Cars,” and executive produced Pixar’s other blockbusters, including the Oscar winners “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille.”

“So, instead of me dictating what’s in every movie, I am collaborative,” he says. “I love great people and sort of inspire them to make films they want to make. I really push them and am honest with them when things are not working.”


“Bolt” directors Chris Williams and Byron Howard, Lasseter says, have an innate sense of appeal. And, he adds, “they have huge hearts.”

-- Susan King