Growing up in Bloomington, Minnesota, Peter was born to Dr. Dave and Dr. Rita Docter. He, however, would not pursue the doctorial title that makes his parents' name somewhat comical.
Instead, Docter focused his interests in animation after making his first flip book at age 8.
He soon found himself studying character animation at CalArts, where he produced several student films including Winter, Palm Spring and Next Door. Following school, he started working for a number of different companies including Disney, Bob Rogers and Company and Reelworks, creating hand-drawn animation.
In 1990 he was hired by Pixar where he directed commercials for Tropicana Fruit Juice and Lifesaver Holes.
He also began working on the full-length feature Toy Story. After writing the story for the film, he took the role of supervising animator.
The film was a hit around the world, temporarily landing into the top ten films of all time, and garnered Docter an Annie award as well as an Oscar nomination for best screenplay.
With the first such a success, it was not long before a sequel was made. Docter again wrote the story for the computer animated film, and although the original intent for the film was to go straight to video, the studio felt the film too good not to give it a run in theatres. A good move, since Toy Story 2 surpassed expectations and even had a better box office showing than the first film.
The sequel also won him his second Annie Award for Best Writing in an Animated Feature.
With two big blockbusters in his belt, Docter decided to try directing the next Pixar computer animated feature, Monster's Inc.
Monster's Inc. (2001)