Watch John Lasseter’s Raucous CalArts Commencement Speech

John Lasseter address CalArts class of 2014.

Pixar and Disney chief creative officer John Lasseter, who
became a doctor for the second time
last week, delivered the commencement speech to this year’s graduating CalArts class. Lasseter’s speech is a cross between a revival meeting and a rock concert, complete with rowdy audience members chiming in, like in this exchange:

John Lasseter: Even when we reached Disney, the one place we thought we would fit in, we were shut down by the people who took over the studio after Disney’s famous Nine Old Men had retired. They just wanted to maintain the status quo.

Unidentified audience member: FUCK’EM!

John Lasseter: Amen brother, amen! Let me go on because revenge is really sweet here.

Below is the complete 24-minute talk. If you don’t have the time to watch it, here’s a summary of the two most important things Lassseter learned during his four years at CalArts:

1.) Have faith in your own voice.
2.) You need others.

There, you just saved $200,000.


  • Guest

    Thank you for saving me $200,000.

    Not sure if I’m the only one who think this, but the speech wasn’t quite as rousing as I expected it to be (maybe Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech of 2012 has ruined all other commencement speeches for me). Still, interesting to hear Lasseter talk about his time at CalArts and his experiences when he was a recent graduate.

  • Middle Aged Balding Guys

    Parts of this reminded me of good ol’ Steve Ballmer:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc

  • Strong Enough

    “There, you just saved $200,000.”

    “bwawawawawawa”

  • http://www.animatorisland.com/ JK Riki

    They charge 200 THOUSAND DOLLARS?!? Do they throw in a LAW DEGREE??

  • Evan English

    Although Lasseter’s manner here is a little strange, he’s trying to appeal directly to the group of young people he’s addressing, and he has my respect for that. Furthermore, he delivered his message (which is overwhelmingly positive) without talking himself up at any great length.

  • Ryoku240

    I hope John Lasseter’s style doesn’t end up like the more recent doodly Calarts style, oui. $200 grand so I can learn how to imitate trash bin doodles?

  • Aaron R.R.R. Nance

    He had me at “I love cartoons!”

  • Lou

    When did Lasseter become Quentin Tarantino?

  • Myst AnimatorX

    You can save $200,000 or you can also build some really amazing memories, mentors, skills, technique, and friends you’ll treasure forever.

    • Ryoku240

      Or, you can do all that via the internet and tangling with the right people, and if you play your cards right you’ll make money in the process!

  • akira

    come on amid, someone’s got to keep levine fed!

  • bob

    I hope you are able to find a job and succeed in this industry.

    • Proud Student

      Thank you, sincerely. I will give it my very best.

  • Don’t worry about us

    I just graduated, CalArts class of 2014. YES it was expensive, but the education is literally unparalleled. The conservatory style of teaching threw me into my major my first class, none of that undeclared business. The alumni network is just the cherry on top, thanks to it I began interning my freshman year and am now supporting myself through regular paid film work. Wouldn’t have changed my experience for the world!

    • But I do worry!

      Even if I had the money to go to CalArts I wouldn’t. Charging over 40000$ a year (which, by the way, is more money than my dad makes) just ain’t cool and isn’t something to be supported!

  • Ryoku240

    Just make sure that they teach you how to draw limbs, looking at CNs Calarts works, limb drawing must’ve been an unpopular class.