Thursday, May 7, 2015


There's been many chances for some celebrity sightings on campus.  From walking past Paul Giamatti before learning he was cast in Turbo, to seeing Prince and his huge entourage led around campus by Katzenberg himself.  My favorite still is walking past Steven Spielberg as he got himself a soft-serve ice cream cone in the commissary. 

But the most epic had to be the Kung Fu Panda 2 press day on campus.  Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, and Gary Oldman spent the entire day in and around our building.  Walking outside to go get a soda, I saw a crowd of employees starting to look down at the lagoon area, only to see these to starting the meet and greet with reporters.  Later in the day, while walking out of the building, I stepped aside to let Jack Black and his DW guide walk past to another press event (taller than I imagined).  My lunch group also held the door open for Oldman.  The best story was my boss, Allen, who went to use the restroom before lunch, and was at the urinal next to Oldman.  Not everyday you get to pee next to Sirius Black himself....

Friday, May 1, 2015

Leaving Los Angeles

Jon Jackson's work "Adios LA"
The title is a bit misleading - we're actually leaving all of California!

Around the end of April I went to Clarksville, TN to interview at Austin Peay State University. I had actually applied way back in Jan when I could tell DreamWorks was in for a rough spell. Well, the University reached out recently and it was followed by an on-site interview.  The job is Assistant Professor of Animation within the Art Department.  What's really exciting is that they want to create a brand new animation program, so this role also comes with the chance to create this from the ground up.

Heather and I have been looking to escape the industry for a while.  We love our co-workers, and have each landed at great companies...but it comes at a cost.  Both our kids are in daycare 9 hours a day, we don't eat dinner till after 7, and we are so exhausted from it all we don't want to go out on the weekends.  And this is being at the two most "family friendly" companies in the industry.  It's a tough world out there these days - and if we were younger and didn't have kids (or a dog), it'd be a great adventure to be had.  But when the focus shifts from career ambition to a quality homelife - something has to give.  It's a frustrating industry in many ways.  We see the flood of old co-workers who have to sacrifice all their homelife and move away from their kids to another country for months at a time.  We don't want to ever be stuck in such a situation - so it's time to get out while the getting is good.  Something we actually see many former colleagues doing...

Heather's family is in TN, and will be just about 2 hours away.  My family is a (long) day's drive away.  So this means our two kids will see their grandparents more than a few times a year.  It means we can have a night off of parenting here and there.  It means our kids will get a giant backyard filled with trees.  It means Heather can stay home with the boys (never an option in crazy-housing-market LA) and I can be home for lunch each day with them.  It means being able to take family vacations.  It means a good life that we never have figured out how to have in Los Angeles.

I've always aspired to go into teaching full time.  It was always my 10 year plan...we are just bumping up the timetable a little bit.  And Heather and I always are up for a little adventure!