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Director and story artist Steve Hickner has been in the animation business since Lou Scheimer headed up Filmation (where Steve got his first animation job) and Disney Feature Animation in the Time Before Jeffrey.
Steve has worked at DreamWorks Animation since its founding. In a way, he was at DreamWorks Animation before it was DWA ...
In the early days of his career, Mr. Hickner never allowed grass to grow under his feet. At Filmation, he worked his way up the corporate ladder to become board supervisor. At Disney, he lobbied for a spot on the animation crew of Who Framed Roger Rabbit ... and got it. Later, when he heard that director Steven Spielberg was forming an animation studio, he interviewed for a job in the new studio twice before landing the gig.
Steve remained with Amblimation from its inception to its merger with DreamWorks' animation division several years later. During his time there, he found himself in management positions (something for which, by his own admission, he had minimal training). Later at DreamWorks, he was in the pilot's chair yet again when he co-directed Prince of Egypt, and later Bee Movie.
The leadership roles left a strong impression on Mr. Hickner, which inspired him to write a book about them:
A few of the things Steve has learned from his decades in the cartoon biz are: 1) Never stop learning, 2) Never dodge a challenge, and 3) Every job you have is one more opportunity to improve your skill set.
Remember the drill around here: Today half the audio version of the interview; tomorrow the other half, plus the interview as video, which will (unfortunately) will be missing the last several minutes because of glitches with a newer camera.