A 2002 M.F.A. graduate of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, Gil Kenan won UCLA's Spotlight Award with his thesis film entitled The Lark. The short was then screened at the Directors Guild Awards. Kenan obtained representation and met with Robert Zemeckis, who hired him to make his feature film directorial debut with an animated horror flick called Monster House (2006). The film was executive produced by Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg.
Starring Steve Buscemi, Jon Heder, Catherine O'Hara, Kathleen Turner and Fred Willard, the film was shot on a stage with 200 infrared cameras capturing the actors' movements. The performers wore wetsuits with dots on them and when filming was completed, the frames were distilled and turned into animation.