Our Amazing & Creative Alumni: Jason Wesche '92

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Digital artist for animated movies

By Nadine Fiedler

From the Summer 2011 Caller

A love of theater, film, and architecture led Jason Wesche ’92 to a career in the movies.
Jason’s interest in theater flourished at Catlin Gabel, and he thought he’d pursue a path as a performer or director. But the film world called to him, and after college he moved to Los Angeles to work in the film industry. He worked for a feature film director, and then in the writer’s office of a TV show. When the show ended, Jason pursued his interest in design by earning a graduate degree in architecture. He used that experience to get a job designing not buildings, but movies, working in previsualization first at Pixel Liberation Front (on Iron Man and others) and now at Dreamworks Animation on films such as Megamind and Madagascar 3.
As it turns out, architects—and people with design backgrounds— are just the ones to work in previsualization. Previz, as it’s called, is a part of filmmaking that brings spatial reality into the 3D computer environment to efficiently plan shots and special effects. It creates a sort of low-resolution version of the movie.
It is an immensely creative phase of movie-making, appealing to people with many different skills. “I like it better than doing the final product,” says Jason. “We start with a storyboard, or sometimes just a general concept that we brainstorm. We set it up in the computer, animate the shots, try different things, show it to the director, and fine-tune the sequence—we get to go down a lot of paths before it goes into final animation.”
“It really fits how my creative process works, I feel likes it’s the perfect convergence of all my skills and interests.” he says. “We love feeling that we’ve helped make the movie better. If we can stand back and look at a final scene and see even one moment or beat that we’ve added, we feel very proud.”

"Catlin Gabel gave me space to explore and a foundation to build on. I can still trace a lot of my creative inclinations to my time there. My graduate school thesis grew out of interests I developed my freshman year in Robert Medley’s class."