Andrew Stanton is one of the main driving forces behind computer animation powerhouse Pixar Studios, and his contributions to such modern animated classics as Toy Story and Finding Nemo are second only to that of studio founder John Lasseter. From director (Finding Nemo) to producer (Monsters, Inc.) to story artist (Toy Story and A Bug's Life) and frequent voice actor (his voice can be heard in some capacity in near every Pixar production), Stanton has had a hand in virtually every aspect of production. His family-friendly sensibilities and keen writing skills have resulted in films that can truly be appreciated by young and old alike -- a true rarity in the realm of so-called "family entertainment."
A native of Rockport, MA, Stanton received his BFA in character animation from the California Institute of the Arts before working as an animator for Kroyer Films in the 1980s. As the decade drew to a close, Stanton also worked as a writer for animation legend Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse, the New Adventures. In 1990, the talented writer/animator became the second animator to join Lasseter's fledgling Pixar Studios. His relationship with Lasseter was cemented with work as an animator in the Luxo Jr. short films Surprise and Light and Heavy, and the duo's harmonious sensibilities were brilliantly realized when Stanton served as writer and character designer for Pixar's 1995 freshman effort, Toy Story, which went on to became the runaway family hit of the year. In addition to writing the Pixar feature A Bug's Life, Stanton also joined director Lasseter in the director's chair, and though his contributions to subsequent hits Monsters, Inc. and Toy Story 2 mainly consisted of writing work, Stanton returned to the director's chair in 2003 with what was perhaps Pixar's most popular film to date, Finding Nemo. The film was inspired by a fleeting moment of realization in which Stanton observed that his overprotective fatherly instincts were preventing him from properly bonding with his son. It tells the tale of a young clown fish who is whisked from the ocean to a dentist-office aquarium and his father's quest to bring his son back home safely. As with Stanton's other writing efforts, Finding Nemo offered the kind of compelling and sympathetic characters not usually present in animated fare, and with his experience as a father providing the emotional heart of the film, almost everyone could find something to relate to in Finding Nemo.