Director-animator Ash Brannon has made a name for himself working on a number of highly successful entries for Disney's Pixar brand. As a student, the determined Brannon figured out his goals very early on, studying TV and film at Jacksonville's Douglas Anderson School for the Arts and, later, at the California Institute for the Arts in Valencia, where he excelled in the Character Animation program. Brannon wasted little time putting all that training to use--he was hired as an animation trainee on Disney's 1989 blockbuster, "The Little Mermaid." During the early '90s, Brannon managed to find work in creative capacities other than film: One noteworthy project was directing the Nike "Hare Jordan" ad that ran during the 1992 Superbowl. But as Disney emerged mid-decade with their new Pixar brand of computer animation, Brannon found himself back in the feature film game, this time working with more authority. In 1995, he served as a story artist and directing animator on the seminal Pixar project, "Toy Story," which went on to become both a box office smash and a critical favorite. From then on, Brannon worked on a number of additional Pixar projects, serving as a story artist on 1998's "A Bug's Life," co-directing and animating "Toy Story 2," and (most notably) co-directing and co-writing the well-received 2007 animated mockumentary "Surf's Up."