The owner and creative director of Blind Squirrel Digital, Inc., makes a difference on screens large and small – and has as much fun as he creates.
Now Resides: near Newton, N.C.
Degree: B.F.A. graphic design; M.F.A. computer art / 3D animation, ’01 Savannah College of Art & Design, Savannah, Ga.
Why I came to Tech? Its graphic design program.
Why did you choose this career? I became interested in graphic design after working at a screen printing company in Monroe.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Five years is a lot of time in the digital media industry. It is my goal to have over 25 employees at Blind Squirrel Digital, Inc. producing interactive media and games for augmented reality, mobile applications, large multitouch surface installations, and who knows what else.
Can you recall your favorite ‘special effects’ movie/program as a child, and how do you compare those effects with what you are able to do now? My favorite effects films as a child were “Planet of The Apes,” “West World,” and “Close Encounters of The Third Kind.” These films still hold up for the most part, and the story or concept is the main reason. If the story is good, the effects can help sell it. If the story is awful, the effects cannot save the film.
Best memories of Tech: The friends I made being a part of KLPI, as well as having one of the art studios in Hale Hall. Nothing but good times.
What advice can you give a Tech freshman? The only good advice for freshmen that I have is to be determined, stay focused, set your goals, and plan how to get all of the parts in place to achieve them.
To those Tech students who want to get into 'showbiz,' any advice? For those looking to get into the game or film industries, I encourage you to apply to those companies working in those industries. They all have places for good graphic designers and other types of visual artists and animators. The trick is to work to be the best at what you do, learn to improve from constructive criticism, and don't give up. Place yourself in a location that best suits your goals, and start building your network now.
Which project that most of us would recognized have you been most pleased with? I have been fortunate and very happy to have been part of some of the most recent visual fx films such as “Spider Man 3,” “Pirates of The Caribbean 3,” and “Hulk,” but each project has its own rewards, and certainly being able to make a living doing what you love is its own reward. I would like to be a part of a visual effects Oscar winning team at some point, but only the future will tell. I don't write the films, but I do enjoy working on them regardless.
What are some EA games you worked on and how do you rate yourself as a video game player? Strengths and weaknesses? I was an intern at EA Sports' Tiburon Studios in Orlando in 2001 working on the environments team developing stadiums for NCAA Football 2003 for PS2. It was a great experience, and it’s where I met my business partner, Jeremy Cooper. I love gaming of all kinds from Unreal Tournament to ZORK to driving games. I wouldn't rank myself in the top of any of the games I've played, but I enjoy the 3D environments and the artistry that game development has yielded in recent years. It's only going to get better.“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s …”: to persevere and try not to compare your work with the work of others. Be the best at what YOU do.