Steve Jennings is Founder and Director at Grasshorse Studios, an animation, live action and visual effects business located in Eastern Iowa. He is an award-winning Director of animation and live action with an emphasis on visual effects.
Jennings’ unique combination of savvy advertising direction and technically challenging animation and visual effects work was formed through a combination of early career experiences. Immediately out of film school, Jennings became an assistant to controversial and iconic British commercial Director, Tony Kaye. Jennings assisted the Director during his infamous partnership with New Line Cinema in the making of American History X. Jennings got his first live action directing gigs for Plan B Skateboards and Max Factor while at Tony Kaye Films.
Resulting from the aforementioned events, when Tony Kaye closed his film company and was black-listed in Hollywood, Jennings was compelled to follow his other passions in visual effects and animation. Jennings worked in visual effects on Hollywood tent-pole blockbusters while working at such giants as Digital Domain and Sony Pictures Imageworks. He was trained as a compositor, managed technicians and gained intimate knowledge of studio operations, technical infrastructure and pipeline development.
Jennings opened Grasshorse in 2002 as a boutique, offering animation, visual effects and graphics services in Atwater Village, CA. Jennings pioneered hybrid animation techniques for Craig McCracken’s Powerpuff Girls television series by mashing visual effects with 2D animation aesthetics. Jennings further developed his style while working on Genndy Tartakovsky’s Star Wars: Clone Wars and the original show opener for Warner Bros. television show, Johnny Test.
Jennings was fortunate to be mentored in screenwriting and career development by Oscar and Emmy-winning Screenwriter and Producer, Barry Morrow. Through Morrow’s guidance, Jennings made an out-of-the-box choice to relocate his studio to Eastern Iowa, an area with a long-standing tradition of ingenuity, resourcefulness and storytelling -- where great work and great art are built on ideas.
Practicing Morrow’s advice, Jennings positioned himself to explore and further develop his experimental, avant-garde and whimsical style from a place “of comfort-ability” – establishing a solid base so risks can be taken in the development of great work.
Jennings was recognized as Graduating Film School Representative to California Institute of the Arts Board of Trustees which included television Director and Producer Michael Pressman and Director Emeritus of the Walt Disney Company Roy E. Disney. Jennings was the recipient of The Princess Grace Foundation Film Award from the Royal Family of Monaco. In 2010, Jennings was acknowledged for directing the Best Animated Short at Dragon Con, The Sacrifice.
Recently Jennings received multiple accolades for a spot celebrating Union Pacific’s sesquicentennial by the Iowa Motion Pictures Association and the American Advertising Federation, acknowledging his Excellence in Directing and Animation.