Travis Knight

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Travis Knight
Travis Knight (30000495292).jpg
Born (1973-09-13) September 13, 1973 (age 45)
EducationJesuit High School
Alma materPortland State University
OccupationAnimator, film producer, film director
Years active1995–Present
Spouse(s)Donna Knight
Children3
Parent(s)Phil Knight
Penny Knight

Travis Andrew Knight (born September 13, 1973)[1] is an American animator, film producer and film director, who has worked as the lead animator for stop-motion animation studio Laika, and directed the films Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) and Bumblebee (2018).

Early life[edit]

Knight was born in Hillsboro, Oregon,[2] a suburb of Portland. He is the son of Penelope "Penny" Knight and Phil Knight (co-founder of Nike), and grandson of publisher William W. Knight. He attended Jesuit High School, near Beaverton, Oregon. He is a graduate of Portland State University.[3]

Career[edit]

Music career[edit]

Knight began his career as a rapper under the name "Chilly Tee". Utilizing a recording studio built in his father's mansion, Knight self-produced a five song demo album.[4][5] The demo caught the attention of Bernie Singleton, president of MCA, who passed the demo to producer Hank Shocklee, who liked the demo and agreed to produce Knight's debut album with his production team, The Bomb Squad.[5]

Knight moved into his parents' Manhattan penthouse for six months while recording the album.[4] The Bomb Squad helped him develop fleshed out choruses, as Shocklee felt that Knight was very skilled at writing verses, but his choruses were weak.[5]

In 1993, Knight released the album Get Off Mine. According to Knight, the record did not sell well and he disliked performing.[3] According to Shocklee, "One of the reasons why it didn't catch on was because it was one record that came out of nowhere, and rap is about building momentum."[5] However, Shocklee is proud of the album, saying, "this record still holds up. You can play it now and it doesn't sound dated."[5]

Animation[edit]

After Travis Knight graduated from Portland State University, Knight's father had become an investor in Will Vinton Studios, and persuaded the company to hire Travis as an intern.[4][6][3] He worked on the television series The PJs for Fox Studios and Gary & Mike on UPN, as well as television commercials and promo spots.

By 2003, Phil Knight became a controlling shareholder in Will Vinton Studios, which had been losing money due to poor management, and Travis Knight was promoted to the board of directors, despite having no management experience himself.[4] Following the departure of Vinton, the Knights began to reorganize the failing studio, which was rebranded as Laika.

Since 2005, Travis Knight has served as Laika's vice president of animation. He was a producer and lead animator for Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012) and The Boxtrolls (2014).[7] He also sits on the Laika board of directors.[8] Along with Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable, Knight was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards, for The Boxtrolls.

He is the current president and CEO of Laika, along with serving on the board of directors of his father's company, Nike, Inc., a position he assumed in 2015.[9]

Directorial career[edit]

In 2014, Shannon Tindle pitched to Knight a fantasy project based on samurais, which Knight, a fan of fantasy films, approved for development.[10] The film was announced in December, 2014, as Kubo and the Two Strings, while Knight was revealed to be producing and directing the film, marking his directorial debut.[11] The film was released in 2016.[12] Along with Arianne Sutner, Knight was again nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards, for Kubo and the Two Strings.

On March 2, 2017, Knight was revealed to be directing the live-action film Bumblebee,[13] a reboot of the Transformers film series,[14] marking Knight's first time working on a live-action film, and his first time working in a film without acting as a producer.[13] Knight, a fan of the G1 version of the franchise, used many elements from the G1 version in the film.[15] Bumblebee was released in December 22, 2018, to a positive reception from both critics and Transformers fans, with many calling it the best film in the franchise.[16] His next project is an adaptation of Six Million Dollar Man starring Mark Wahlberg.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Knight is married to fellow PSU graduate Donna Huyssoon and they have three children.[18][19]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Director Producer Notes
2012 ParaNorman No Yes
2014 The Boxtrolls No Yes
2016 Kubo and the Two Strings Yes Yes Directorial debut
2018 Bumblebee[13] Yes No Live-action debut
2019 Missing Link No Yes
2020 The Six Billion Dollar Man Yes No

Television[edit]

Year Title Director Producer Notes
2019 Random Acts Yes Yes Anthology miniseries

Animator[edit]

Year Title Notes
2000 Boyer Brothers TV movie
The PJs Episode: "Haiti and the Tramp"
2001 Gary & Mike
2002 Día de Los Muertos Short film
2005 Moongirl
2009 Coraline
2012 ParaNorman
2014 The Boxtrolls
2016 Kubo and the Two Strings

Awards[edit]

Year Award Category Film Result[20]
2010 Annie Awards Character Animation in a Feature Production Coraline Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Shared with Trey Thomas
Nominated
2012 Awards Circuit Community Awards Best Animated Feature Film
Shared with Arianne Sutner
ParaNorman Nominated
2013 Annie Awards Character Animation in a Feature Production Won
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Animated Picture
Shared with Arianne Sutner
Nominated
Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
Shared with Arianne Sutner
Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Shared with Chris Butler, Sam Fell & Brad Schiff
Nominated
2015 Academy Awards Best Animated Feature
Shared with Anthony Stacchi & Graham Annable
The Boxtrolls Nominated
Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement in Character Animation in a Feature Production Nominated
Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
Shared with David Bleiman Ichioka
Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Shared with Jason Stalman, Mike Laubach & Kyle Williams
Nominated
Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Shared with Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable & Brad Schiff
Nominated
2017 Academy Awards[21] Best Animated Feature
Shared with Arianne Sutner
Kubo and the Two Strings Nominated
Annie Awards[22] Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated Feature Production Nominated
British Academy Film Awards[23] Best Animated Film Won
Chicago Film Critics Association[24] Most Promising Filmmaker Nominated
Producers Guild of America Award[25] Best Animated Motion Picture
Shared with Arianne Sutner
Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards[26] Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature
Shared with Steve Emerson, Brad Schiff and Arianne Sutner
Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ "United States Public Records, 1970-2009," database, FamilySearch (23 May 2014), Travis Andrew Knight, Residence, Hillsboro, Oregon, United States; a third party aggregator of publicly available information.
  2. ^ "The rise of Travis Knight, the son of Nike's founder who built an animation powerhouse – The Washington Post". Retrieved 2016-08-21.
  3. ^ a b c McNichol, Tom. 2009. "Hollywood Knights," Portland Monthly, February. Archived 2015-01-16 at the Wayback Machine Accessed: May 24, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d "How the Father of Claymation Lost His Company". Priceonomics.
  5. ^ a b c d e PALMEDO, About TREE. "Hotseat: Hank Shocklee On Travis "Chilly Tee" Knight". Willamette Week.
  6. ^ Ryan Ball, "Coraline Animator Travis Knight of LAIKA," Animation Magazine, May 7, 2007 Accessed: August 21, 2016.
  7. ^ Laika, "Travis Knight, President & CEO". Accessed: May 24, 2012.
  8. ^ Salter, Chuck (July 1, 2007). "THE KNIGHTS' TALE". The Fast Company. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
  9. ^ Linshi, Jack (June 30, 2015). "Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight to Step Down as Chairman". Time. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  10. ^ Lott-Lavinga, Ruby (September 9, 2016). "Kubo and the Two Strings: an epic film made on a 12-foot-long table". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  11. ^ Hammond, Pete (December 22, 2014). "Laika & Focus Begin Production On All-Star 'Kubo And The Two Strings' To Kick Off 3-Pic Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  12. ^ McNary, Dave (December 22, 2014). "Laika, Focus Teaming on Animated 'Kubo and the Two Strings'". Variety. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  13. ^ a b c "The Transformers Bumblebee Spinoff Has Found Its Director". 3 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Looks Like Bumblebee Is Officially The Start Of A New Transformers Movie Universe". CinemaBlend. February 17, 2019. Archived from the original on February 17, 2019. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  15. ^ https://io9.gizmodo.com/how-bumblebees-1980s-setting-turned-it-into-every-trans-1831159187
  16. ^ Campbell, Christopher (December 9, 2018). "Bumblebee First Reviews: Nostalgia-Heavy Prequel Might Be Series' Best Film". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  17. ^ Kroll, Justin (April 16, 2019). "'Bumblebee' Director to Tackle 'Six Billion Dollar Man' Adaptation for WB, Mark Wahlberg (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on April 17, 2019. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  18. ^ https://www.pdx.edu/news/giving-winter-2013
  19. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (February 8, 2013). "'ParaNorman's' Travis Knight: The Nike Scion Behind the Oscar-Nominated Film". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
  20. ^ "Travis Knight – Awards". IMDb. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  21. ^ Hipes, Patrick (January 24, 2017). "Oscar Nominations: 'La La Land' Ties Record With 14 Noms; 'Arrival' & 'Moonlight' Snag 8 Apiece". Deadline. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  22. ^ Flores, Terry (November 28, 2016). "'Zootopia' Tops Annie Awards Nominations, 'Kubo and the Two Strings' in Close Second". Variety. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  23. ^ Ritman, Aley (January 9, 2017). "BAFTA Awards: 'La La Land' Leads Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  24. ^ "The 2016 Chicago Film Critics Association Award Nominees". Chicago Film Critics Association. December 11, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  25. ^ Lewsi, Hillary; Lee, Ashley (January 5, 2017). "2017 PGA Film Nominees Include 'Deadpool,' 'Moonlight,' 'La La Land'; 'Westworld,' 'Stranger Things,' 'Atlanta' Among TV". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  26. ^ Caranicas, Peter (February 7, 2017). "'Jungle Book,' 'Game of Thrones' Dominate Visual Effects Society Awards". Variety. Retrieved February 27, 2017.

External links[edit]