Joel Fletcher


Character Animator, painter, sculptor, photographer, and artist

Bio Summary
Joel Fletcher is an artist and character animator creating works
for feature films, commercials and video games. He has worked in the fields
of stop-motion and computer animation, time lapse, 3-D stereo photography,
painting, sculpture, model making, and visual effects.

Early Life/Family
Joel was born in Madison, Wisconsin. He has always been very
talented in the arts. As a child he loved drawing. When he was a teenager
he became very interested in painting, both acrylic and oil. He had the
goal of becoming a book illustrator. Then during high school, he made a
Super 8 film for an assignment and became intrigued with film and
animation. It was powerful enough for him to change his priorities and
decide to pursue a career in animation. After high school he started of
his journey as a starving artist, painting and creating short films. To pay
for his independent movie making and living costs, he held odd jobs such as
a carpenter, a picture framer, and a waiter. “By 1981, he had accumulated a
body of work impressive enough to convince the University of Wisconsin
Board of Regents and their affiliated PBS television station to give him a
special filmmaking grant.” (Official website)

Joel is a self taught artist and animator. He is gifted with
natural talent in art, and is autodidactic.

Career Outline:
After receiving the much-needed grant, Joel worked extensively for
two years on a half-hour production in a 16 mm format. It was a combination
of life action and stop-motion animation. Once completed, it became
apparent to Joel that it would be nearly impossible to find filmmaking
opportunities in Wisconsin. So, he packed up and moved to Los Angeles.

During the time he was in LA, 1985, it was extremely difficult to
break into the movie industry without previous experience and connections.
But with persistence he was able to find work as a model maker, set
builder, prop fabricator, and finally, as an animator. “He contributed
both animation and model-making expertise to movie adaptations of
children's books for Churchill Films under the direction of John Matthews.
These films included Frog and Toad Together, Stanley and the Dinosaurs, and
Runaway Ralph.” (Official website) In 1986, he became extremely interested
in 3D stereo photography. The sets of stop-motion projects proved to be
perfect subjects for his photography. He continued working in the industry,
now on several commercial and television specials. In 1989 he was nominated
for an Emmy for the title sequence of Pee Wee’s Christmas Special. Then, in
1992 Joel moved to San Francisco to work on his first feature film. It was
as a stop-motion character animator on Tim Burton’s Nightmare before
Christmas. In years following he worked under the late David Allen at Full
Moon Productions in Los Angeles. There he animated stop-motion creatures
for several features.

Joel knew that the animation industry was changing; he saw the
future using more and more technology. So, he went out and bought a
computer in 1984. He sat down and taught himself digital character
animation. Because of this, he was one of the first to convert to CG
animation and offered a position at Walt Disney Feature Animation. His
first project was animating for the Dinosaur test project. It soon was
backed and became a full feature production. Joel was asked to be the
supervising animator and mentor. He continued working for Disney for 6 more
years, and then he wanted to try his hand in video gaming. He got involved
in game cinematics; animating the short story driven movies between game
levels. After that, he moved his wife and daughter to New Zealand in 2005
to begin work for Weta Digital. He animated for Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

“Since returning to Los Angeles, Joel has continued working on
various projects using computer graphics. He has also been giving more
priority to the fine arts, "brushing up" on his drawing and painting
talents. His ultimate goal is to make the transition from digital back to
analog, thereby coming full circle with a return to the traditional art of
painting.” (Official website)

Comments On Style:
His own personal style comes out most in his painting. There is a
strong pattern of depicting being at one with nature. It feels very flowing
and peaceful. Throughout his animation work, you see an excellent ability
to imitate and adapt to the overall theme of the film. He is a chameleon
with his craft. He also is “well known in the industry for quickly and
efficiently nailing the character’s performance.” (LinkedIn)



Introverted, with a dry, wacky sense of humor. Calm, patient, stoic, and a perfectionist, particularly with his art. An INTJ in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.



Visual effects (18 credits)
2015 *Pan* (Previsualization artist and Animator)
2012 *Mockingbird Lane* (TV Movie) (character animator - uncredited)
2006 *X-Men: The Last Stand* (character animator)
2005 *King Kong* (senior animator)
2004 *Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders* (Video Game) (character animator)
2004 *The Karate Dog* (TV Movie) (senior character animator - uncredited)
2004 *Home on the Range* (digital artist)
2000 *Dinosaur* (supervising animator: Neera)
1996 *Oblivion 2: Backlash* (animator)
1995 *Magic Island* (Video) (stop motion animation)
1994 *Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter* (Video) (stop motion animator)
1994 *Dragonworld* (stop-motion animator)
1994 *Oblivion* (stop motion animation)
1994 *Bloodlust: Subspecies III* (Video) (stop-motion animation)
1992 *The Amazing Live Sea-Monkeys* (TV Series) (stop-motion animator)
1991 *Land of the Lost* (TV Series) (stop-motion animator)
1991 *Muppet*vision 3-D* (Short) (stop-motion animator)
1988 *Moonwalker* (stop-motion animator)
1988 *Rambo III* (effects sculptor: Introvision - uncredited)

Animation department (15 credits)
2015 *The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water* (stop-motion animator)
2014 *Iron Man and Captain America: Heroes United* (character animator)
2012 *Kinect Star Wars* (Video Game) (animator)
2011 *Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure* (Video Game) (senior character animator)
2010 *Splatterhouse* (Video Game) (character animator)
2010 *Piranha 3D* (animator)
2009 *Resident Evil 5* (Video Game) (animator: Studio Nouveau Inc.)
2009 *Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard* (Video Game) (animator)
2002 *The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers* (Video Game) (animator)
1996 *The Stupids* (animator)
1995 *The Dark Eye* (Video Game) (animator)
1993 *The Nightmare Before Christmas* (animator)
1991 *Uncle Elephant* (Short) (animator)
1988-1991 *ABC Weekend Specials* (TV Series) (animator - 2 episodes)
- Ralph S. Mouse (1991) ... (animator)
- Runaway Ralph (1988) ... (animator)
1989 *Stanley and the Dinosaurs* (Short) (animator)
1988 *Christmas at Pee Wee's Playhouse* (TV Special) (animator: opening)
1987 *Frog and Toad Together* (Short) (principal animator)

Art department (3 credits)
*ABC Weekend Specials* (TV Series) (mouse sculpture - 1 episode, 1991) (special props - 1 episode, 1988)
- Ralph S. Mouse (1991) ... (mouse sculpture)
- Runaway Ralph (1988) ... (special props)
1989 *Stanley and the Dinosaurs* (Short) (character sculptor)
1987 *Frog and Toad Together* (Short) (props)

Special effects (1 credit)
1987 *A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors* (effects sculptor)

1989 *Nominated* Primetime Emmy Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design and Title Sequences Christmas at Pee Wee's Playhouse (1988)
Shared with: Prudence Fenton (animation producer/director)

Related Links:

Bibliographic References:

Contributors To This Listing:
Ariel Kasperovich
Joel Fletcher

Animators Hall of Fame