From script to screen - and everything in between - the sixth annual Industry Giants 2007: Everything In-Between computer graphics, animation and gaming forum explored what it takes to cultivate and keep an animation and gaming industry in Texas. The third annual Masterclass featured Digital Domain technical director Jens Zalzala presenting behind the scenes work on The Day After Tomorrow and Sony Pictures Animation animation director David Schaub discussed Surf’s Up.
Veteran television animator and Emmy Award winner Gerard Baldwin talked about his work for Bullwinkle, Mr. Magoo and the Smurfs. Reel FX joined us for the second time through animation supervisor Bryan Engram’s presentation. Another leading Dallas-based studio, Janimation, was represented by founder Steve Gaconnier. President and CEO of Gearbox Studio, Randy Pitchford, discussed his studio’s strategies for developing successful games. Katy Daiger, with the Texas Film Commission, discussed her office’s support for the animation, game and visual effects industries in the state.
Master Class 2007
Sony Pictures Imageworks Animation Director David Schaub will lead a presentation on his work for Surf's Up as part of the Masterclass on Friday, June 8th. He is currently finishing work on Sony’s second animated feature, Surf’s Up. Schaub’s credits include work on the feature films The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and the award-winning Polar Express. Additional credits include the Academy Award nominated films Hollow Man and Stuart Little.
Digital Domain Jens Zalzala is a technical director at Digital Domain who will lead our June 8th Masterclass, Procedural Techniques In Visual Effects Production. He has just finished work as an effects lead on Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Other films he is credited with working on are Flags of Our Fathers, Stealth, The Day After Tomorrow, Star Trek: Nemesis, and Time Machine. Jens has worked at Digital Domain in Venice, California since 2001 and received his degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Jens has been a regular column contributor to 3D World Magazine.
Gerard H. Baldwin
With more than 55 years experience as an animator and director, Gerard Baldwin has made an estimated 600,000 drawings! Although thedrawings have disappeared, evidence of Baldwin's art can be seen on television every day. Hundreds of animated films have been shaped by his hand. He is the recipient of numerous awards including eight Emmy nominations and three Emmy Awards. Gerard Baldwin is the only surviving director of Mr. Magoo, Bullwinkle, and George of the Jungle.
Bryan is Animation Supervisor at Reel FX Creative Studios. He is currently finishing commercial spots for Dreamworks’ Shrek the Third. Bryan has previously served as layout artist and layout supervisor and animator with the studio. His credits include the feature films The Wild, Everyone’s Hero, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the shorts Blue Sky’s Aunt Fanny’s Tour of Booty and game cinematics for Halo 2 and Transformers :The Game. With studios in Dallas and Los Angeles, Reel FX Creative Studios creates visual effects, animation, design and creative editorial with a portfolio that includes nationally broadcast commercials and critically acclaimed theatrical films.
Steve Gaconnier is CEO and Chief Creative Director for the Dallas-based company Janimation, Inc., an animation and special effects company Gaconnier launched with a staff of one at the age of 23. Today, Janimation, Inc. has a staff of 25, and produces national commercials and animation for feature films. Among their credits, Janimation, Inc. has created advertising campaigns for clients including Fox Sports, Nokia, Pennzoil, Miller Brewing, McDonalds, Subaru, Pepsi, Adidas, Midway Entertainment and many more. Their work on feature films includes Spy Kids II, Spy Kids 3D, The Ringer and have two other feature films currently in various stages of production.
Elizabeth Hitt began her career at the award winning visual effects house Dream Quest Images with work on such films as Deep Rising and Mighty Joe Young (Academy Award Nominee 1999). Her industry credits include Hollow Man (Academy Award nominee 2000) and Spider Man (Academy Award nominee 2003). Ms. Hitt is currently employed at Academy Award winning visual effects house Digital Domain with credits on Stealth, Zoom, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, The Hitcher, and the upcoming Transformers. She has co-written and produced an independent feature about a day in the life of production assistants at a visual effects company.
Randy Pitchford is president and CEO of Gearbox Software. Under his guidance, Gearbox has developed into a leading independent game development studio with titles that have sold over 12-million units worldwide. Pitchford directed, produced and/or was executive producer for Half-Life, Opposing Force, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 and Halo: Combat Evolved PC. In March of 2005, Gearbox launched the franchise Brothers in Arms with publisher Ubisoft Entertainment on three platforms to achieve record sales and critical acclaim making it the best selling WWII action game released on the Xbox system.
Rita Street is the president of Radar Cartoons, a producer’s representation firm specializing in the development and sales of original animation content. Radar has placed numerous shows into development including Ruby Gloom for YTV and Nelvana, Frankenstein’s Cat for the BBC, France 3 and McKinnon & Saunders, and Hero: 108 for Gamania Digital Entertainment, Mike Young Productions and Cartoon Network Europe. Rita is working on her first animated short, Mock ‘n Boyd with Dainty Productions. Additional credits include work as publisher of Animation Magazine, editor of Film & Video Magazine and author of the Rockport Publisher hardback, Computer Animation: A Whole New World. Rita is the founder of the international non-profit organization, Women in Animation.
Katy Daiger with the Texas Film Commission, a division of the Governor's Office, will lead a presentation about the commission and its role in supporting the media industries in the state. Along with J. Schuh, they will present a showcase of animation, games, and visual-effects being produced in Texas. Don Stokes will discuss the latest developments of the Texas Motion Picture Alliance, a state-wide advocacy organization for the film, video, interactive, and digital media industries. The TXMPA is building a network of industry professionals, educating the public about the media industry in Texas, and helping create competitive economic incentives. The Texas Animation, Games, and Visual Effects Showcase was collected by the Short Guys and the TX Film Commission, and edited by Don Stokes of Post Asylum