Vanessa Morrison, Fox Animation Studios President, took a brief respite from preparing for the launch of Ice Age Collision Course to talk about her involvement with the ICE AGE series and her animation career. As president, Morrison oversees the development, production and marketing of family-friendly movies. Films produced under her tenure include: “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!,” “Rio” and “Peanuts.”
How do your earliest memories with animations and cartoons inform you in your position right now and help you to lead this franchise with Ice Age?
Well I have always loved animation; I’ve always loved family movies. I think probably my first favorite movie was Sleeping Beauty. I actually started in my career working in live action and I always gravitated towards family movies. And when I started out working I started working on movies like Dr. Dolittle, Cheaper by the Dozen, Garfield, and so my passion from childhood always kind of carried into my professional life working in the movies. And the passion for live action translated into an interest in animation, career wise, so I think from the beginning I’ve always had an interest in animation and family movies that I never lost.
What would you tell a nine year old to get to what you have achieved today?
Well, I love meeting kids interested in animation and filmmaking because I was that nine-year-old kid as well. I always loved movies and also always loved story telling, and I’m always quick to point out that movies are good extensions of story telling and really literature also. For me, I didn’t know anyone in the film industry, I didn’t know any filmmakers, animators, screenwriters, anything. My parents I think, and they were both teachers, were just focused on the importance of a solid education obviously. The importance of being able to know how to write and to know how to read and know how to translate what you read to your own analysis of things. And to me I think the whole notion of storytelling really began, especially since I didn’t have anything to do with the film industry, I didn’t know anybody, I didn’t know anyone in Los Angeles, the notion of learning how to write well and a passion for stories in general and a passion for literature in general. Kids now are so lucky that they can get that kind of foundation, but then they can broaden themselves through, you know, kids can make their own animation on their personal computers now, and have experiences that I never would’ve imagined being able to have because for me I really was kind of an English major basically, and then, actually I was specifically a ureteric major, which is a crazy major, but it was basically English. That’s what allowed me to kind of read stories, and tell stories, and then when I could go to film school, I had some sort of foundation. So for me I started very early too, and I really encourage kid to take those interests very seriously, you know, people tend to just dismiss kid’s interests sometimes, but I think those are seeds of what you can become.
Is it safe to say that if it wasn’t for Scrat, then the evolution of earth as we know it would have gone in a completely different direction since he’s basically, the Forest Gump of our generation?.
Lol, I love the idea that he’s the Forest Gump of our generation. I never thought of it that way, but we love Scrat. He’s of course one of our favorite characters, and really like our mascot for Blue Sky Studios. What we love about him is that in him pursuing his nut he has made all these profound changes to the universe. So in our mythology, Scrat’s misadventures, we love to start out with those misadventures and they’re always what kind of triggers the catalyst of our story. In this story, yes, Scrat has a profound impact on the universe through just trying to get that acorn.
FULL INTERVIEW IN THE UPCOMING ISSUE OF 2LOUD MAGAZINE
Shangri Llama Clip