As If You Cared
My Story

Resumé | Journal

Maybe the web will never work as a narrative form. Maybe the most one can ever hope from it is the flavor of narrative meaning, not the substance; or does that, in fact, bring it closer to the way we really live — not along a cleanly-crafted through-line, but wading through a morass of distractions? The web pushes you away at every turn, every path crisscrossed with interuptions and tangential links that may or may not ever bring the unwary viewer to the goal desired by theweb author.

But which has more to do with your real life, the TV movie or the scattered commercials?

Just the same, this is my bio page — and you, gentle reader, expect a brief narrative. Very well, then...

  • I was born in the very last week of the 50's, accidentally avoiding the draft by a mere six days.
  • I have lived in Fargo North Dakota; Boston Massachusetts; Minneapolis Minnesota; New York City (Upper East, Upper West) NY; Los Angeles (Santa Monica, Valencia, Hollywood, Topanga) and around Southern California; home of the guillotine, Paris France; and in lovely Mill Valley in Northern California, across the Golden Gate from San Francisco. I spent the past few years in Kailua, Hawaii, nestled near Olomana Peak on the windward side of Oahu, though now in 2002 I've returned to the Bay Area and live in the Silicon Valley.
  • I first learned BASIC at age 9.
  • I first learned to process film at age 11.
  • Like many people in the animation business, I attended CalArts (and a few other schools along the way). Unlike most of them, I studied live-action filmmaking and theatre. Animation was a hobby, hacked-out late at night on a borrowed Apple ][, a Sinclair Spectrum, and the library's new-fangled IBM PC (Oooo, 16 colors and a cassette-tape drive!) while my day jobs ranged from lighting TV puppet shows to producing TV talk shows to industrial chemical analysis (a job I did with my pal Jim Bumgardner, who later created The Palace). I then (1984) went on from school to full-time animation at studios such as Digital Productions / Robert Abel & Associates (makers of The Last Starfighter and many many many commercials), Kroyer Films (makers of the Oscar nominee Technological Threat and the feature Ferngully), Klasky-Csupo (makers of commercials and series such as The Simpsons), R/Greenberg Associates, deGraf/Wahrman (doing theme park rides and digital puppetry), Acteurs Auteurs Associés (makers of many French features, including Trois Hommes et un Cofin), Lightmotive (makers of everything from The Killing Fields to Super Mario Brothers), Pixar (on both Toy Story and A Bug's Life), and Square USA, where I supervised various camera and lighting-related departments while making the feature Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and the short The Matrix: The Final Flight of the Osiris. I've had the privelege of gaining a cabinetful of Clios and other American and International animation awards, and having my work and credits written-up in publications ranging from the L.A. Times to Computer Graphics World and American Cinematographer. Today, I'm developing next-generation applications and helping developers at NVIDIA.
  • Yes, that was my daughter in Pixar's (now discontinued) Typestry ads. I'm a happily devoted single dad.
  • Diane Arbus once pointed out that while still photography and movies use essentially the same methods, in terms of film and lenses and so forth, we have a pair of opposed implicit assumptions about them: we assume that the motion picture is generally contrived, while the photograph is generally real. When we see a couple in bed in a film, we know that at the end of the day each goes back to their own home. Yet we accept still photos, no matter how outrageous, as testimony of unstaged reality.

    As a practitioner of both forms, this distinction has great personal resonance. Animation in particular is the most "false" of all film forms, where characters exist only as pen strokes or pixels; where rabbits wisecrack and starships glide. Yet I became involved in filmmaking because of photography; some of my first film jobs were as production photographer and location scout.

    Even production photography has a greater credibility than the movies — when we see a publicity still, it's presented with the names of the actors, not the characters they play — the photo exists in a more objective reality than the story depicted.

    These two poles move progressively further apart for me as time passes. My photos become plainer, and less fictionalized, as my animation work becomes freer, less constrained. I wobble here at the locus of their mutual orbits.

    Updated Sept 2002 Feedback Home

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