'Kubo and the Two Strings' director Travis Knight on the 'magic' of animation

creators travis knight
creators travis knight

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Travis Knight on the 'magic' of animation 02:54

(CNN)An animator and director, Travis Knight may have made his directorial feature-film debut with 2016's "Kubo and the Two Strings," but this "Creator" has been in the business of imagination for a long time.

How it started:
As a kid living in a farm town outside of Portland, Oregon -- "the armpit of the Pacific Northwest," he joked -- Knight never knew anyone who was a professional artist. But he always knew he had a particular love for animation and stop motion. He remembers being enchanted by the old Rankin/Bass holiday specials (like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer") and captivated by the work of visual effects legend, Ray Harryhausen, who worked on "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad" and "Jason and the Argonauts." His local independent TV station would air matinees that he was "glued" to every weekend. "I loved them," he said. "I thought they were so cool."
Legacy of trailblazing:
    "I think the Knight boys have a long history of disappointing their fathers. My grandfather, my dad's dad, he was a lawyer. He was a state legislator. He was the publisher of Oregon's second largest newspaper. He was a pretty amazing guy. When his son told him that he wanted to make fancy little running shoes for a living [Knight's father, Phil Knight, is the co-founder of Nike], it broke his heart. It devastated him. He couldn't believe that his son was throwing his life away. Then you fast forward 30 years, and I tell my old man that I have a deep and abiding passion for playing with dolls for a living, you can see, 'Oh, okay. The acorn doesn't fall far from the oak."