With more than three decades of experience in filmed entertainment, filmmaker JOHN STEVENSON brings a full and varied skill set to every project, all of which bear the stamp of his keen eye and unending creativity.
Stevenson co-directed “Kung Fu Panda”, which starred Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie. Released in the summer of 2008, “Kung Fu Panda” has grossed over $600 million worldwide.
Stevenson has a few projects in development including, “The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break,” based on Steven Sherrill's 2000 novel about the mythological creature — half-man, half-bull — who survived Theseus' attack in the labyrinth and walks among us today. He's a short-order cook in a Midwestern diner not far from his trailer-park home and he falls for an epileptic waitress named Kelly. Mike Jones wrote the screenplay.
Prior to the release of “Kung Fu Panda”, Stevenson held the post of Head of Story at PDI/DreamWorks serving as story artist for the DreamWorks worldwide blockbusters “Shrek, “Shrek 2” and “Madagascar.” While there, he also created storyboards for the animated features “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” and “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.” A core member of PDI/DreamWorks’ creative review committee, Stevenson had input on a variety of projects and also taught classes on the story process to artists at PDI and the San Francisco-based Wild Brain Productions.
The mid-to-late ’90s saw Stevenson working between multiple feature and television animation projects. John provided the lead voice for the pilot of the series “Mr. Baby”; designed characters for DreamWorks Television’s “Toonsylvania”; and worked as a storyboard artist and character designer for DreamWorks/PDI’s “Antz,” Pixar’s “Toy Story 2,” and Nickelodeon’s “Fathead.” During this period, he also acted as an independent creative consultant to CBS, NBC, Walt Disney Productions, Colossal Pictures and Protozoa Pictures. He worked with Henry Selick as head of story/creative development for Twitching Image, Inc., puppeteering the animatronic rhinoceros in Disney’s “James and the Giant Peach” (also drawing storyboards) and directed an episode of Film Roman/CBS’s “The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat.”
As Staff Designer/Director for Colossal Pictures from ‘91 to ‘95, Stevenson worked in multiple capacities on the animated series “Back to the Future” and “Moxy—Pirate TV Show”; created advertising spots for Cheerios, Little Caesars and Parker Bros.; and developed show formats and concepts for Nickelodeon/CBS. He served as art director, character designer and storyboard artist on England’s Central Television series “The Dreamstone.”
His previous freelance career as an artist, illustrator, character designer and art director exposed him to myriad projects in nearly every medium, working on theme parks, museums, album covers, commercials, and various feature films and television shows. Stevenson’s entrée into entertainment began with character/product design, storyboarding, show concepts and background puppetry on the seminal “The Muppet Show” for Jim Henson Productions.