He was raised in outer suburban New York. His mother and father divorced when he was eight years old. His father remarried and had another son while his mother had a boyfriend who had a daughter of his own. Having a family that was not together made him feel rather uneasy, but after he discovered that these kinds of families were more common than he thought, he was inspired to create Sofia the First.
He graduated from University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. His career skyrocketed after he entered a screenwriting showcase at his school, which led to a major Hollywood studio displaying his first screenplay. He has also won awards for directing his comedic short Film Time and won Best Narrative Short at the Sonoma Valley Film Festival and Best Digital Short at the Sedona Film Festival in 2003. Before branching off into childrens television, Craig Gerber previously worked at Pixie Hollow Games and wrote screenplays for Rogue Pictures, Radar Pictures, and Intrepid Films.
His inspiration for Sofia came about when he was approached by Nancy Kanter, a major crew member at Disney Junior, asked him for an idea for a childrens show revolving around a princess during her childhood. He was determined to give a modern spin of the classic fairy tale element of the pitch. When he was stuck in traffic while driving in Los Angeles, he immediately looked at his childhood and found inspiration with his own home life to create a show with a family that many children could identify with.
As for Elena Of Avalor, with a heavy focus on exploring Latin and Hispanic culture, magic, mythology, folklore, music, food, and customs, he then created the series following his success with Sofia the First. He was aware that there had been many Disney princesses of color, but not one of Hispanic roots. He was careful not to state what country she is exactly from, but rather incorporate the influence of the location. He stated What Disney really does well is create fairytale kingdoms, he explained. It makes it very inclusiveyou dont have to pick just one nationality. No one really asked if Arendelle was Norway or Sweden, its just inspired by a Scandinavian country. The idea for us was that we wanted Avalor to be more broadly accessible.
When Sofia the First had first launched, there was some confusion as to whether Princess Sofia was the first Latina Disney princess or not. This derived from Sofias mother, Queen Miranda, appearing to be Hispanic with darker skin and features. This was a false statement made by a producer which has since been disproven by Craig and a few more members of the Sofia the First crew. He explains in an interview with ABC news: What the experience from Sofia showed me was what a demand there was a for a Latina princess, he said. That a misstatement that was made by a producer could snowball virally into this announcement that was never made. And Sofia was not Latina and never meant to be the first Latina princess. But it did really illustrate the fact that people really wanted a Latina princess, and I think it certainly bubbled in my mind and was part of what inspired me to come up with this idea.
On November 27, 2018, he signed an exclusive deal with Disney to produce content for them.
Craig Gerber's most notable works include:
- Sofia the First (2012-2018) (creator, co-executive producer, writer, occasional voice actor)
- The Disney Fairies film, "Tinkerbell And The Pirate Fairy" (2014) (co-story writer)
- Elena of Avalor (2016-present) (creator, co-executive producer, writer, occasional voice actor)
- Elena and the Secret of Avalor (2016) (crossover movie between Sofia The First and Elena Of Avalor) (co-writer)
Craig Gerber's works follow these tropes:
- Adored by the Network: His shows get plenty of airtime even when reruns were reduced in later years.
- All-Star Cast: His works have a very strong cast of notable voice actors and notable on camera actors.
- Canon Welding: Sofia The First is connected to Disney Animated Canon due to the Disney Princess appearances, Merlin, and the Three Good Fairies. Given how Merida also appeared, Pixar also counts. By extension, Elena also counts since her origin also involves Sofia.
- Children Voicing Children: For many of the young characters , they're voiced by actors who either start voicing them as kids or teenagers, or end up being replaced by a younger actor due to puberty.
- Creator Cameo: He voiced some minor characters on Sofia.
- Girl-Show Ghetto: While the target audience of his major projects are young girls in the Disney Junior audience, he avoids this by also not being afraid to branch out to a wider crowd.
- No Hugging, No Kissing: While his shows have some romance, they're not put to the forefront, and any romantic plots are for minor, recurring, or one shot characters , not the main cast.
- Periphery Demographic: Both of his shows manage to gain large fanbases outside of the Disney Junior audience.
- Production Posse: His works share a few voice actors like Jess Harnell, Grey DeLisle Griffin, Mick Wingert, Keith Ferguson, Carlos Alazraqui, and Kari Wahlgren, among others. Sam Riegel is also his go to voice director.
- Real-Life Relative: His sons have some done some voice work in his shows, notably Maximilian as Zingo, one of Migs' kids, on Elena.
- Role Reprisal: Almost all of the appearances of Disney Canon characters on Sofia have their original and/or current voice actors reprising the role.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: His works are not afraid to go to darker places, but are still idealistic and hopeful at the end of the day.
- Voices in One Room: It's not always the case when the actors are busy, but this trope applies when schedules align.
- Write What You Know: His inspiration for Sofia came from his own life growing up. Likewise, his inspiration for Elena was due to family trips to places like Mexico and Spain.