Monday, May 4, 2009

May 04: New Guy in Pixar Town

On this day in 2000, Pixar Animation Studios announced that writer-director Brad Bird had joined the company.
Born in Kalispell, Montana in 1957, Bird knew at a very young age that he wanted to be an animator. At just 14-years of age, he was mentored by one of Disney's Nine Old Men Milt Kahl (after Bird sent Disney an animated film he had been working on since he was 11)! After graduating from the California Institute of the Arts, he began working for Disney. Bird's Disney days were brief and he only worked on the 1981 The Fox and the Hound.
Bird next ventured into the world of animated television series. He created an episode for Steven Speilberg's Amazing Stories, helped develop The Simpsons from one-minute shorts (on The Tracey Ullman Show) into a hit series of 30-minute programs, and worked on such shows as The Critic and King of the Hill.
His next project The Iron Giant, an animated science fiction feature (through Warner Brothers) received glowing reviews from critics ... but did not initially do well at the box office. The film, which tells the story of a lonely boy who discovers a giant iron man from space, did impress Bird's old friend John Lasseter (founder of Pixar).
Bird pitched his next animated idea - about a family of superheroes - to Pixar, and so was born The Incredibles and a new career opportunity. The film became a financial success and Bird won his first Best Animated Feature Oscar.
Bird went on to direct Ratatouille - which earned him a second Academy Award.

Click HERE for more May 04 Disney history.

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