Tuesday, May 12, 2020

In Pursuit of a Dream

I've volunteered leading a senior high 'worship band' at the Christian School my kids have gone to for the last 6 years.  The first year I was there I had a young man who could play piano fantastic, but just wanted to sing with us.  'Josh' (name changed to protect his identity) had a dream to be an computer animator - making movies at a company like Pixar.  He was a gregarious, well-mannered, eloquent leader in the band and in the school....  and an average singer.

The school itself is rather small, and at that time didn't offer any computer programming or design courses.  Josh being the guy that he was did his own research online.  He downloaded software so he could program and do computer animations at home to learn and practice.  He'd sometimes post his efforts on Facebook.

At one point towards the end of his grade 12 year, I asked him what he was going to do after high school.  He told me his plan was to get a computer science degree and pursue computer animation for movie production.  Duly impressed, I remarked that I was working in the computer science field, but of course, not focused on computer animation.  I asked him which university he was planning to attend.  He told me his plan and the university he planned to attend, and he followed that plan.... for the next two years.

I'm not entirely sure what happened at that point.  He must have gotten inspired/encouraged to submit an internship application to Pixar (likely along with a demo movie animation he made, I'm assuming), because the next thing I know he's let all his friends know that he's going to be the youngest intern Pixar has ever had.  Talk about following your dream!  He interned at Pixar that summer, and then leveraging his experiences and new knowledge gained from there, he got a full time job a Sony Animation Studios being a computer animator.  He subsequently returned to Pixar to intern as an animator the following summer, and has been working in London, England for various Film animation companies since then!

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