A book about Brad Bird's journey from an apprentice to director of different animations.

Brad Bird

By Katrina Pugeda


1957 -

     I chose to write about Brad Bird because he was the director of Ratatouille and The Incredibles, two of my favorite films as a child.


     He can be considered a pioneer in animation because he created his own type of "superhero genre" when he created The Incredibles. His movie became Pixar's first film in which all the characters are human. 

The testing of Violet's hair, the way hair would physically move in real life. 

     Phillip Bradley "Brad" Bird was born in Kalispell, Montana on September 24, 1957. He decided to pursue his dream of being an animator as a young teenager at age 14. Starting off as an apprentice under Disney's wings; he worked with Ward Kimball, the creator of Cinderella, and Milt Kahl, the creator of Bambi


      Soon enough, he found himself directing his own animations, his first film being “The Iron Giant" in 1999. Through the critics of “The Iron Giant,” Bird was brought to the attention of Pixar Studios. (Pixar was created 13 years earlier, meaning that it was not as popular around this time).

    (Fact: Brad first had the idea of “The Iron Giant” in 1993, but was unable to bring the idea to light until he joined Pixar in March of 2000).

Background and The Start

      Eventually, he felt a yearning to try something new. After a few years of making just animated films, Bird decided to direct a live action film. What was that film? It was "Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol," starring Tom Cruise and Jeremy Renner. While casting the actors for their parts, Bird had realized that each actor had their own, individual aura that would pop the moment they were in front of the camera. “I’d bring them into test, and they’d just go ‘bam!’ when you put them on film.”

Live-Action Film

     Pixar had asked Brad to help complete the production of Ratatouille after they had spent 5 years working on the animation. The past years had been spent creating the rats as they walked on two legs. “We have to get them so that they walk on all fours. And Remy, the protagonist rat, has to be able to walk not only on all fours but up on two legs.” If the articulation (the way characters move), of the main protagonist could walk on both two and four legs while the other rats cannot, that is what will separate him from the other characters.


     In an interview, Brad talks about one of the most important steps of animation through the eyes of a director. Due to his personal experiences, he realized that one of the most important foundations when creating a film is the amount of morale you and your crew hold. If you have low morale, or low enthusiasm, every $1 you spend is 25 cents of value. If your enthusiasm is high, every $1 you make becomes about $3 of value. This is extremely easy for companies to overlook.


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