Published on Nov 26, 2012 (Fast Company)
Travis Knight makes his living playing with dolls.
Knight is the president and CEO of Laika, the animation studio famous for creating the stop-motion movies Coraline and ParaNorman (which comes out on DVD and Blu-ray today). This past summer we talked with him about how pushing the boundaries of stop-motion animation had also transformed his business.
Toiling away alone on a small curtained off set on his scenes---pose, shoot a frame, pose, shoot and so on---forced him to "see the minutiae and the big stuff." As an animator, he says, "you focus on one frame and then back up and see where it fits in the whole film." As CEO, when he backs up, he's thinking about the whole company, about 350 people on each movie and 150 more on the administrative and commercial (ad) side year-round. He's asking which movie ideas are worth the risk of the lengthy stop-motion production process. ParaNorman took three years, the shoot alone 18 months.