Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I was born in Canada, grew up outside Montreal, in Halifax and Ottawa, went to university at the university of Waterloo and ended up with a degree in drama with a minor in chemistry and music, and my highest marks in computer science. As you can tell, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I spent my first 10 years out of university in Toronto trying to make a living as an actor. I wasn’t exceptionally successful in that endeavour and had to make ends meet working as a computer consultant, and more often as an office worker at the university of Toronto department of chemistry. After 10 years I decided to make a change and put my interest in computers and drama and animation to work. I went back to school at the international academy of design for animation, then came to Los Angeles and started working at Rhythm and Hues. From there I spent 10 years at Sony Imageworks, then back to R&H then over to Disney, where I work now. My hobbies are photography and doing stuff in the great outdoors such as climbing, canyoneering, cycling, kayaking, cycling …. On a normal week I will spend 9 hours a weekday at disney in front of the computer, go out and play ultimate frisbee at lunch 3 times a week, go to the climbing gym a couple of times a week, go home and cook, read, be with my girlfriend etc, and on the weekends I try to get outside to see new places, be with friends, have fun and take pictures. My favorite place is Zion National Park, but other national parks of all types are great as well, and the mojave desert, San gabriel mountains, pacific ocean, Sierra Nevada and other locations are my regular playgrounds.
What one thing are you proud of so far in your 50 years?
Going back to school and changing the entire direction of my life was probably the hardest thing to do. I had been living in Toronto working as an administrative assistant (a secretary) at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto while I tried to make a living as an actor. I was doing plenty of amateur acting but not much professional work, and I had to admit to myself that I didn’t want to act enough to make the necessary sacrifices and work as hard as I needed to. I figured my background in computers and theatre, and my interest in animation would suit me for a career in the visual effects industry, so I found a local school where I could learn the upper tier of software and create a demo reel and buckled down to 8 months of 14 hour days. I found being more mature made me a much better student then my first foray into post-secondary education, and my experience was all directly applicable to what I was learning. When I was finished with school I headed down to Los Angeles, did some interviews, got a job, and the rest is history.
What one piece of advice would you give you 10 year old self?
Time is fleeting. Make the most of it.
What challenges do you think you’ll face over the next 50 years?
Saving enough money for retirement, getting older and not being able to do the things I love doing now.