I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sonoma Film Festival

Process Talk. This last weekend we did a longer version of "Trust the Process" talk at the Sonoma Film Festival. Mark Andrews, Jim Capobianco, Jason Katz and myself had done a shorter version of this talk before at the Screenwriters Expo. We were guest speakers because our big boss, John Lasseter was being honored there.

For the past decade, the Sonoma Valley Film Festival has heard the refrains of "You've Got A Friend In Me" from John Lasseter, the creative force behind Pixar.

Now the festival is turning the tables and planning quite a bash April 11-15 in recognition not only of its 10th anniversary but in tribute to its friend and one of the region's most beloved filmmakers.

In addition to screening some 75 films from 12 different countries, the festival is hosting a day chock full of events honoring Lasseter, an animator, director, producer and the vice president of Pixar. When the Walt Disney Company purchased Pixar in 2006, Lasseter also became chief creative officer of Walt Disney Feature Animation and principal creative adviser for Walt Disney Imagineering, the division responsible for creating theme park attractions.

"It is our tremendous honor to pay tribute to John Lasseter, the world’s premier storyteller,” said Marc Lhormer, executive director of the film festival. “A longtime Sonoma Valley resident and a supporter and friend of the festival over our 10 years of incredible growth, John is a legendary creative force inspiring a whole generation of filmmakers."

Jim and I drove up together with Tess and Gerin. When we got there we were met with very familiar faces and wonderful energy of celebrating films. Mark Showed up wearing a kilt,"Why wouldn't I be wearing a kilt? It's national tartan day!" (it was that, but on April 6th. I guess that makes it tartan month). John introduced us to a very welcoming crowd and we launched into the joys and sorrows of being a story person making animated features. John himself was right in front and he joined in, expanding on the history of story at Disney, Joe Ranft, and general story work.

Thanks to the organizers of the Sonoma Film Festival for the honor and though my family and I couldn't stay for the rest of the day's festivities we had a grand time.

Sonoma Film Festival tribute to John Lasseter

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Anonymous Justin_P said...

Hi Ronnie,

I was lucky enough to attend this event and I really had a blast. Thanks for sharing your time and your insights!

7:57 PM

Blogger amelia said...

That was one of the best lectures I've seen! I think the whole audience really took in a lot about how the Process works, and now a little bit more of the world population understands what a "storyboard artist" does! Wish I could see something like this every weekend. I had a blast! Plus, what a treat to have Lasseter show up there as well.

9:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

dang, I wish that I knew about it. Well, I do not want to curse as your blog is family oriented so I can only say shucks!!!

It was a way that I could have gotten my MOMA book signed by lasseter.

9:51 PM

Anonymous mnmears@go.com said...


I just want to thank the six of you from Pixar for the shorts program, the "trust the process" talk and all the stuff John Lasseter said in introducing Leslie Iwerks' "The Pixar Story" on Friday.

I really thought it was nice how John huddled with you all Saturday and added his voice during the QNA. You've got a wonderful inspirational leader -- I can understand why people always want to give him their best. (I only wish my talent was like yours in emotionally moving pictures ... and each of your pictures is really worth more than 1,000 of my words).

It was a tough decision to see the documentary a second time and miss the "Toy Story" screening early Saturday -- but Leslie seemed to appreciate and respond to a few notes I gave her. If she adds or expands any material in the way I suggested -- or if she got similar notes from John -- I'll be so glad that I offered them up.

I am -- and will continue to be -- one of Pixar's most ardent supporters (even more so after this past weekend) because I respect the hard work and HEART you all put into your work.

It'll be a few weeks before I post some stories about this past weekend's activities ... and I hope people respond like I did to the words of John, Leslie, all of you at the story panel ... and to Glen Keane's, Bonnie Hunt's and the serious turn of Robin William's tribute.

Keep up the great work.


11:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your presentation, Ronnie. There were some strong messages in it that I can carry with me to my own job; such as "Trust the Process" and, well, you've got to stick your neck out and sometimes take risks and get shot down every now and then to succeed. We had no idea Mr. L would be there, so that was so cool. He's such a local hero. gosh, the guy could hardly walk 10' without getting asked for a photo or autograph!
I also loved Leslie Iwerks documentary-in-progress, "The Pixar Story." I didn't get to go to the Lasseter tribute or the gala, but The Press Democrat has a story and video at www.pressdemocrat.com


11:56 PM


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