Teddy Newton was born in Encino, CA, but grew up in Dana Point, along the California coastline. He was inspired by the drawings of Al Hirschfeld and early Warner Bros. animation. Teddy dropped out of CalArts in the early 90s and spent some time at Disney doing story sketch work on Pocahontas, Fantasia 2000, Runaway Brain, Mulan and Hercules. Teddy opted to leave Disney to pursue more creative opportunities.
Teddy conceived the characters for DreamWorks Interactive’s Cooper McQ Breaks Thru. Other early works include writing and storyboarding an entire episode of the Emmy-nominated television show Dexter’s Lab and doing inspirational boards and story development for Nickelodeon’s first animated feature, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales.
Teddy formed a partnership with composer Michael Giacchino to make animated films, but they did not have the capital to see it through. Teddy then moved on to Warner Bros Feature Animation and he partnered with Brad Bird on developing the story and characters for The Iron Giant.
He co-wrote and produced the live action feature The Trouble with Lou which was screened at the Slamdance Festival in 2001. This was followed by the animated (and very adult) Boys Night Out, which Teddy wrote, co-directed and handled the art direction. It paid off as Boys Night Out received an Annie Award nomination for Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Short Subject.
In 2002, he joined Pixar and became the character designer for Brad Bird’s The Incredibles. Here’s what he said, as part of the production notes, about creating these now iconic characters “Brad would simply describe the characters to me-he wouldn’t use too many adjectives, but he would often do an impression or a voice for them. Sometimes the voice alone would put enough pictures and ideas in my head. It’s like when you listen to the radio and you start to imagine what the person would look like. You get inspired and everything starts to take shape.”
Teddy stayed in the world of The Incredibles as he co-wrote the Jack-Jack Attack short based on one of his drawings of Jack-Jack that Brad loved.
He partnered with Brad Bird again on Ratatouille and helped with character design on the amazing end credits (with production design by Nate Wragg and Bob Scott/Scott Morse on backgrounds). This continued on Your Friend the Rat, as Teddy came up with all the gags and keyed out a lot of the animation for the hilarious short.
Most recently Teddy designed Alec and Presto for Doug Sweetland’s 2008 short Presto. The decision was made that the characters would have an iconic look that viewers would immediately recognize and Teddy delivered on this promise in spades. Teddy also contributed character designs to Peter Sohn’s 2009 short, Partly Cloudy.
Teddy wrote and directed the Oscar nominated Pixar short, Day & Night, which played theatrically with Toy Story 3. The short also won both a VES and an ANNIE for outstanding short.
Teddy is currently working on a full length feature film at Pixar.
- 2 Stupid Dogs (1995) (storyboard artist)
- Donald Starring in Maui Mallard (1995) (concept art and character development)
- Dexter’s Laboratory (1996) (storyboard artist)
- Loose Tooth (1997) (visual development artist)
- The Iron Giant (1999) (storyboard artist, visual development)
- Osmosis Jones (2001) (visual development artist)
- The Trouble with Lou (2001) (screenplay, producer)
- Boys Night Out (2003) (director, screenplay, art director)
- The Incredibles (2004) (character designer)
- Jack-Jack Attack (2004) (original story)
- Ratatouille (2007) (additional character design, design lead: end titles)
- Your Friend the Rat (2007) (character designer)
- Presto (2008) (character designer)
- Up (2009) (development artist)
- Partly Cloudy (2009) (character designer)
- Day & Night (2010) (writer, director)
- Teddy also illustrated the Presto and co-illustrated the Your Friend the Rat Little Golden books.
- Teddy has also done various voices including roles in The Incredibles, Cars and Ratatouille.
- His directorial debut, the animated Boys Night Out, also features Pixar story artist Lou Romano.
- Teddy helped create the idea of a Babysitter character in The Incredibles.
- A drawing of Jack-Jack on fire was the initial inspiration for the Jack-Jack Attack short.
- Teddy came up with the term “Buy n Large Corporation” for Wall-E. Director Andrew Stanton was intrigued by the term and he was able to truncate it to the acronym of BnL.
- Here’s a few stills from Boys Night Out: