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If you look in the credits of several Pixar films, you might start to notice a pattern: namely, how some of the same crew or cast members keep appearing. Listed here are some of the recurring directors, writers, and other notable people behind some of the best CGI films ever made.

Directors, Co-Directors, and Writers

John Lasseter

John Lasseter has been with Pixar since the early days at Lucasfilm. Originally a Disney animator, Lasseter was inspired by Tron to try to make a computer-animated feature film, but was fired while trying to adapt The Brave Little Toaster. At Lucasfilm, he created its first four short films, including his most famous short, Luxo, Jr. He also directed Pixar's first feature film, Toy Story, for which he got a Special Achievement Award at the Oscars. After Toy Story 2, he stuck to executive producing Pixar's films for a while, though he still provided creative input into the companies' films. He returned to directing with the film Cars, which, despite performing weaker and not being as well received as the other Pixar films, still got more good reviews than most other animated films that year and made a truckload of money, particularly through merchandising. His latest directorial effort, Cars 2, has been given a rather tepid reception by critics, however.

John's eye for quality is no doubt the reason why, when Disney merged with Pixar back in 2006, he was not only made Chief Creative Officer of both Pixar and Disney Feature Animation, but also Principal Creative Advisor for Disney's Imagineering department, meaning he even has creative say in theme park rides. While his decisions at Disney did cause a bit of behind-the-scenes drama (his insistence on changes for Bolt led director Chris Sanders (of Lilo and Stitch) to leave the company), general consensus is that he's doing the studio a huge favor. After becoming Chief Creative Officer, he cancelled all of the Disney sequels in production and greenlighted The Princess and the Frog. Lasseter has since opted for DisneyToon Studios to produce more original properties and spinoffs, such as the Tinker Bell films and the upcoming spinoff from Cars, titled Planes. Somewhat ironically, the hope for Disney to continue creating traditionally animated feature films largely lies with him; despite playing a large part in computer animation becoming more dominant, he's expressed interest in bringing 2D animation back.

He is also a good friend of famed Anime director Hayao Miyazaki, and has overseen the English dubbing of some of his films.

Shorts and features he's directed:

He also served as executive producer for both Princess and The Frog and the recent Winnie the Pooh movie. Winnie the Pooh, incidentally, currently has a Tomatometer rating of 90% so don't think he's lost his touch yet.

Andrew Stanton

Andrew Stanton joined Pixar in 1990, after briefly working on the 1980s Mighty Mouse cartoon. He worked as a writer for the Toy Story films, Monsters, Inc., and A Bug's Life (which he also co-directed) before directing Finding Nemo. For the next few years, he worked on his next film as a director, WALL-E. Like Finding Nemo, WALL-E was a critical and financial success. Also like Nemo, it ranks as one of Pixar's most... er... emotional films, so tissues are highly recommended.

Like other Pixar crew members, Andrew Stanton has provided voice work for many Pixar productions. He most notably voiced Crush the turtle in Finding Nemo and Zurg in Toy Story 2.

His first live-action project was the Live Action Adaptation of John Carter of Mars for Disney. Expect this to have destroyed his Protection From Editors.

Shorts and features he's directed/written:

Pete Docter

As of this writing, Pete Docter has directed two feature-length films, his most recent being the 2009 release Up. Docter has worked on the scripts for the Toy Story films and WALL-E, but he is most famous for directing Monsters, Inc.. He was also picked by John Lasseter to take care of the English dub of Howls Moving Castle while Lasseter was busy working on Cars.

Shorts and features he's directed/written:

Brad Bird

One of Lasseter's old friends at Cal Arts, where they were in the same character animation class in Room A113. A latecomer to Pixar, Bird already had some directing experience before coming on board. His most notable pre-Pixar works are the "Family Dog" episode of Amazing Stories and the 1999 Warner Bros film The Iron Giant. He also worked on The Plague Dogs (1982), a dark and gritty British animated film based on the sequel to Watership Down; co-wrote Steven Spielberg's Batteries Not Included; and directed two episodes of The Simpsons (both centered around Krusty the Clown), as well as the music video for Do the Bartman.

After the financial failure of Giant, Bird moved on to Pixar, where he pitched a little idea he had for a feature film about superheroes. The Incredibles became a huge hit, and Brad was later asked to take over the then-in-production film Ratatouille after the original director, Jan Pinkava, was unable to bring it to a satisfying conclusion. While Ratatouille wasn't as big a financial success, it still did very well at the box office and with the critics.

As well as directing, Brad Bird sometimes does a little voice work for his films. You may remember him as the voice of the scene-stealing Edna Mode in The Incredibles.

Currently, he is working on a live-action film titled 1906, jointly produced by Disney, Pixar, and (you read that right) Disney's old rival Warner Bros, which centers around the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. This project may be on hold, however, due to his directing Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

He has also famously threatened, from The Incredibles DVD Commentary, to punch out the next person who calls animation a "genre", as he believes it is a medium that can tell any kind of story, instead of just one thing.

Shorts and features he's directed:

Lee Unkrich

Lee Unkrich has co-directed and edited films since he joined the team in 1994. Originally an editor on Toy Story and A Bug's Life, he's co-directed three other Pixar films. His first directing project was Toy Story 3. He is also quite fond of Twitter and spent the first few days after Toy Story 3's release reading through fans' tweets and reviews that were sent to him, in many cases replying to them individually thanking them for the support. You can follow him here.

Oh, and he really likes monkeys. And The Shining, imagine that.

Films he's directed:

Gary Rydstrom

Gary Rydstrom is probably most famous for his sound design work on films like Jurassic Park, Titanic, and Saving Private Ryan. His first work for Pixar, in fact, was the sound design for the first five Pixar Shorts directed by John Lasseter. He then became the go-to guy for sound design and mixing from the first Toy Story movie to Finding Nemo. He made his directorial debut with the theatrical short Lifted.

Shorts and features he's directed:

Joe Ranft (1960-2005)

Joe Ranft worked on scripts and storyboards for many animated films, both Pixar and non-Pixar. After doing story work on The Brave Little Toaster, Ranft worked on several Disney films, from Oliver and Company to Beauty and The Beast to The Lion King. He joined Pixar in 1992, and did story work on Toy Story (the most famous scene he storyboarded being the "Army Men" scene in that film). Ranft went on to write and storyboard other animated films, including most of Pixar's, and also voiced a few characters in several films, including Heimlich the caterpillar in A Bug's Life, Wheezy the penguin in Toy Story 2, and Jacques the shrimp in Finding Nemo. He was later made co-director of Cars

Sadly, Joe Ranft died in a car crash in August 2005 and those who knew him were struck hard. Both Cars and Corpse Bride (which he helped produce) are dedicated to his memory. Henry Selick put his caricature into the design of one of the Ranft brother characters, moving furniture, in Coraline.

Films he wrote/directed:

Bob Peterson

Bob Peterson has mainly worked on storyboards and scripts for Pixar. Originally an animator on Toy Story, he moved on to do story work on A Bug's Life and Toy Story 2. He then became a co-writer on the script for Finding Nemo, and worked on the story for Ratatouille. He was the co-director of the film Up, and provided the voices of Roz in Monsters, Inc.., Mr. Ray in Finding Nemo and Dug in Up.

He will make his feature directorial debut with the upcoming unnamed Pixar movie about dinosaurs.

Films he's written/directed:

Mark Andrews

Films he's directed:


Randy Newman

Randy Newman was, of course, already a well-established, singer, songwriter, and composer by the time he was hired to work on the score for Toy Story (despite the skepticism of Disney executives). Since then, he's done the score for five Pixar films, and he can thank the studio - or, more specifically, Monsters, Inc. - for finally getting him an Oscar in 2002 (for Best Song) after being nominated fifteen times. He's also responsible for probably the most tear-jerking song in the Pixar Canon: "When She Loved Me (Jessie's Song)" from Toy Story 2.

Pixar features and shorts he's written and performed music for:

Randy Newman also composed the music for the Lasseter-produced Princess and The Frog, the 49th film in the Disney Animated Canon.

Thomas Newman

Like his cousin, Randy, Thomas Newman already had experience as a composer before he was hired by Pixar. He was first hired to write the score for Finding Nemo, which he got an Oscar nod for. Perhaps not so coincidentally, his second work for Pixar was another Andrew Stanton film, WALL-E.

Pixar features he's written music for:

Michael Giacchino

Michael Giacchino was a fairly unknown composer for video games and TV shows when Brad Bird asked him to do the score for The Incredibles. The jazzy, James Bond-esque score won him two Grammy nominations, and his later score for Ratatouille got him his first Oscar nomination. Up won Best Original Score. Even as he gets more work in feature film scores, he's still writing music for Pixar films and shorts.

Pixar features and shorts he's written music for:

Voice Actors

John Ratzenberger

Of course, this page would not be complete without Pixar's "lucky charm", John Ratzenberger, who has done a voice for every single feature film Pixar has made. Many may know him as Cliff from Cheers, and it was this role that resulted in him being cast for Toy Story. Since then, he's always had a role, however minor, in every feature produced at the studio, to the point where Andrew Stanton just decided to name Ratzenberger's role after him in WALL-E, and the practice was lampshaded in a credits sequence in Cars.

The characters he's voiced include:

He was also cast as Ani-yaku (Assistant Manger) in Disney's English dub of Spirited Away.

Behind the Scenes

Ed Catmull

Ed Catmull was recruited by George Lucas in 1979 to head up a group to bring computer graphics and digital editing to film. There, he developed digital image compositing technology for blending multiple images and computer-graphics algorithms such as the Catmull-Rom spline and the Catmull–Clark subdivision surface. When Steve Jobs bought Lucasarts' digital division and founded Pixar, Catmull was appointed Chief Technical Officer, where he was a key developer of Pixar's RenderMan film rendering system.

Ed currently serves as president of both Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

After he was fired from Apple and founded NeXT, Steve Jobs bought Pixar off of Lucasfilm in 1986 for $10 million, largely on the strength of John Lasseter's belief in the future of computer animation. Jobs continued to pour money into Pixar even as it failed to profit as a medical imaging software company, and allowed it to find its footing producing computer-animated commercials. Jobs' tenacity was ultimately vindicated by the subsequent success of Pixar, and he was the largest shareholder in both Disney and Pixar, with 7% of the shares.

Word of God is that Steve Jobs was fairly hands-on during the production of Toy Story, holding daily reviews and making suggestions to John Lasseter, which resulted in Jobs being credited as "Producer". After Toy Story, Jobs tended to be more of a hands-off leader who trusted the Pixar staff to guide things—though he did intercede from time to time, such as the renegotiation of distribution agreements with Disney, and the design of Pixar's expanded Emeryville studio.

Sadly, Steve Jobs passed away in 2011 of pancreatic cancer.

Darla K. Anderson

Producer of A Bugs Life, Monsters, Inc., Cars, Toy Story 3, and several Pixar Shorts, Darla has also received special thanks for her involvement with almost every other Pixar project, starting from Toy Story onward. Currently holds the Guinness World Record for having the highest average gross per movie for a producer ($221 million per movie) though given the company she works for that's hardly surprising. The character of Darla was named after her by Stanton as revenge for all the practical jokes she's played on him.

Recently appeared in a tear-jerkingly, awesomely heartwarming video for the It Gets Better project, where she and other gay members of the Pixar family offered words of encouragement to gay teens and by extension just about anyone who feels like they've been Driven to Suicide.

Bud Luckey

John Lasseter calls him "the true unsung hero of animation", so Bud Luckey may not be as new a name as many would think. You seen that "10 Tiny Turtles" hand-drawn sequence featured in the earlier episodes of Sesame Street? That's his animation. Now, his low, elderly, but comforting voice allows him to be a returning voice actor and employee of Pixar. He was a character designer there from the beginning, on Toy Story, where he originated Woody's look. They eventually gave him the opportunity to produce the short "Boundin'", which he composed, wrote, sung, voiced, designed, storyboarded, and directed all himself, and is inspired by his Montana upbringing and the myths that came with it. He also illustrated over 100 children's books.

Pixar titles he was involved with:

  • character designer on all Pixar films
  • produced and directed the short "Boundin'"
  • Voice of Rick Dicker in The Incredibles and the short "Jack Jack Attack"
  • Voice of Chuckles the clown doll in Toy Story 3

He voices Eeyore in the Disney canon film Winnie the Pooh in 2011.