Joe Dante was studying to be a cartoonist at Philadelphia's College of Art when he met aspiring producer Jon Davison. Together, they compiled seven hours of stories from 1950s movies, The Movie Orgy, which was distributed to college campuses. With this and a student film behind him, Dante set his sights on a career in the movie business. After moving to Los Angeles, Dante began working as a trailer editor for Roger Corman's New World Pictures. He made his directorial debut in 1976 with Hollywood Boulevard, a thinly disguised spoof of New World Pictures, produced for $60,000 in ten days. The next year, Dante directed Piranha, which became one of Corman's biggest hits. During his tenure at New World, he edited Ron Howard's Grand Theft Auto and co-wrote the original story for Rock and Roll High School.
After leaving New World, Dante directed the highly praised werewolf thriller, The Howling and has since directed such popular films as Gremlins, Innerspaceand Matinee.Most recently, Dante directed the animated feature Small Soldiers.