Stuntman And Lover Of Cheese

by Dan Bostonweeks

One Dozen Years

Today, 3 February 2009, marks my twelfth year of gainful employment after graduating from university. I’ve been fortunate to have stumbled into a remarkable industry that has afforded me the ability to develop my mental skills and branch out to areas that were once unfamiliar to me. In my studies for forestryforestry the professors not only taught what we needed to know about forests, but they also prepared us for life in the business world. We were prepped on how to interview and that we should always wear a suit to an interview to show respect, unless informed otherwise. It was with that preparation, and a bit of dumb luck, that I ended up in Harrison, New York to interview with Blue Sky Studios. While studying for forestry I worked in the GIS lab assisting with classes, managing the workstations, and programming. As I was getting ready to graduate I contacted a friend from high school that was working at Blue Sky. She got my resume in front of the right person and before I knew it I was being flown to New York for an interview. Predictably I wore a suit and tie to the interview. That certainly made an impression, but when I accepted the job my soon-to-be boss told me that if I wore a tie again he’d make sure he cut it off. To this day I’ve only worn ties to formal or celebratory company events. That was in January of 1997. I had interviewed a few other places and I kept pushing them off waiting to hear back from Blue Sky. Once I got the offer from Blue Sky I accepted, packed up, and moved to New York. I really had no idea what was in store for me, but I jumped in feet first and started working. I couldn’t imagine a better course of my life. I worked at Blue Sky for six and a half years with a small three month stint at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). I worked on many projects between those two places: Bunny, Ice Age, Fight Club, and Alien: Ressurection to name a few. ((You can see my full credit list at IMDB.)) After those formative and fortunate years at Blue Sky learning more than I ever had in university I decided it was time for me to head west to California. I think I had always wanted to live in California, I certainly did like visiting there. As with Blue Sky and ILM I got my next job at Wild Brain through people I knew and had worked with before. The idea was that Wild Brain would be starting up on producing an animated feature and they needed people to help develop a pipeline. That was a fun three years with a very tight-knit group of people. In the end the movie never materialized and I decided it was time for me to move on. Proving once again connections are key, I finally got my foot in the door at Pixar Animation Studios. I was in the Production Engineering group at Pixar. The group that supports the software tools used to (thus far) make every film there. I worked through the release of two films there, Ratatouille and Wall•E. ((With the long production times and overlapping production schedules at Pixar I actually did work for Up and Toy Story 3 as well.)) That was a great time and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but it lead me to my latest adventure. Taking an opportunity to transfer within the Walt Disney Company I decided to embark on a new adventure at ImageMovers Digital (IMD). Getting to stay in a large and stable company like Disney was important, but at IMD we’re working to build the studio from the ground up while working on our first feature. Moving here also gave me the title of Senior Production Engineer. It’s something I was ready for and brings much more responsibility and learning with it. I’m getting to direct software projects and I’m finding out what people relying on you means with some long, but fulfilling, hours. I don’t know what the future will hold. I’ll be at IMD for a while because it’s so challenging here I want to keep doing it. I often find myself drifting towards the possibility of indie work, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to strike out on my own just yet. Whatever may come in the next dozen years I hope it will be as awesome as the last twelve.