Last Saturday Pixar’s Pete Docter delivered the commencement address to the graduating class of Animation Mentor, “the online animation school by animators for animators” (see our prior writeup). The following press release summarizes his inspirational remarks:

For Immediate Release


Pixar Director Pete Docter Delivers Commencement Address

Berkeley, CA – January 14, 2008 —, the online animation school® by animators for animators®, celebrated its third commencement Saturday, January 12, in San Francisco. Legendary Pixar Animation Studios filmmaker Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc. and the upcoming 2009 release, Up) delivered the inspirational address, and was joined on stage by distinguished animators from ILM, Pixar Animation Studios and DreamWorks/PDI, all of whom teach at the school. The graduating class was comprised of students from 20 countries and an equal number of states. Animation Mentor propelled more than 80% of its first four classes into coveted studio positions.

Speaking from the heart, Docter urged the graduates, “to be open to whatever life throws at you,” and that “whatever you do, make it your own.” Docter expressed his belief that an animator’s job was to “find a truth in the world that no one else has found and bring it to the screen.” He also emphasized the importance of story, because “without a good story, you’ve got nothing.”

“Pete is a visionary whose artistry helps set the standard for an entire industry,” said Animation Mentor President/CEO, Bobby S. Beck. “His appearance at our graduation with our great professional mentors speaks volumes about the world in which Animation Mentor lives and to which it aspires.”

A three-time Academy-Award® nominee, Docter began his association with Pixar Animation Studios in 1990, working as the supervising animator and a member of the story writing team on the groundbreaking computer-animated film Toy Story. He was a storyboard artist on A Bug’s Life and the storywriter on Toy Story 2. Docter made his directorial debut on Monsters, Inc., the fifth highest grossing animated feature of all time. He is currently in production on the motion picture Up, scheduled for release in 2009.

Animation Mentor’s nontraditional graduation ceremony included an award ceremony that honored the Best Forum Ninja, Biggest Personality in a Live Q&A (real-time, online class), Best Dialogue acting and more. Graduates earned a Certified Diploma in Advanced Studies in Character Animation from the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education.


Based in Berkeley, California, is an online animation school at which top working professionals teach character animation to students worldwide. Opened March 2005, the school offers an eighteen-month program built from the ground up by its founders, Bobby Beck, Shawn Kelly and Carlos Baena, whose combined credits include Ratatouille, Finding Nemo and Transformers.’s California-certified curriculum includes professional mentoring; expert, rich media lectures; live, real-time, interactive Q&A sessions (classes); eCritiques® and 24/7 creative community. More information at:


Pixar Animation Studios, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is an Academy Award®-winning film studio with world-renowned technical, creative and production capabilities in the art of computer animation. Creator of some of the most successful and beloved animated films of all time, including Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, and most recently, Ratatouille. The Northern California studio has won 20 Academy Awards® and its eight films have grossed more than $4 billion at the worldwide box office to date. The next film release from Disney•Pixar is WALL•E (June 27, 2008).

Director Peter Docter (Monsters, Inc.), who calls himself the World’s Tallest Animator, delivers the inspirational address at Animation Mentor’s graduation Ceremony Saturday, January 12 in San Francisco.