Jason Dengler

Jason Dengler is a Technical Director at DreamWorks Animation, located in Glendale California. His primary job is artist (technical) support, development of new tools, and integration of new tools and software into the pipeline. He works primarily with the Layout department. This is the part he can get a little more into himself for a better explanation.

Education

Jason graduated from John Carroll in 2010 with a B.S. in Computer Science. While here, he was awarded the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award and Award for Academic Achievement in Computer Science for his work on swarm computing research. He then pursued his Master's in Computer Graphics and Motion Technology at DePaul University in 2012. While there, he worked IT Support.

Movie Studios

A movie studio is divide into many different departments. There is layout, animation, lighting, etc. Each with their own job and specialties. Jason will go into more details during the class discussion.

Movie-Making

Jason has worked on:

  • Me and My Shadow (cancelled)
  • How To Train Your Dragon 2
  • Penguins Of Madagascar

Getting Into DreamWorks

The best way he could describe how it felt when he started was overwhelming. Most of the tools they use is proprietary as well as their entire pipeline. It took him quite a bit of time to learn how everything works.

Jason's Resume is uploaded below. Click on Files.

Post-Interview Update

Q + A

  • So why not the video gaming industry?

Originally, Jason was interested in the video gaming industry. Due to low pay, relatively low stability and lack of company loyalty (no matter how good you are), Jason was deterred away from the video gaming industry. For all the programmers reading this, Remember this: the gaming industry is not the way to go unless you don't mind working in relatively bad conditions and earning bad pay, along with possibly disrespect from the higher ups. He also said there was more money and promise working in the movie industry.

  • Elaborate please on this concept of a "pipeline"

So the pipeline is a nickname for the path of data flow through the differing departments at DreamWorks. For Jason's place of work we are going to assume it refers to the transport of various software throughout the company. Outputs between different departments generating different files using different kinds of languages. What makes this funneling of software difficult to manage is the various code and software development tools used in creating said software in the first place, then being moved between departments after its creation. One can only imagine the amount of work and communication that goes on at DreamWorks.

  • Interview Process?

For Jason, the interview process was as follows:

It took a month of multiple interviews, a bunch of phone interviews, puzzle questions, and some technical questions. He talked about how Sony just gave programmers that applied there a piece of paper and a pencil to write out programs on paper. He mentioned how frustrating that would be to do again based off of personal experience. A programmer should prepare for phone and personal interviews definitively, and expect technical interview questions.

Misc-Information:

  • There are some proprietary Development Tools built in-house, of which Jason could not get into.
  • The Work Environment is very artsy with beautiful fountains, trees inside the building, and very beautiful. Essentially, the place more so reminds one of a college campus rather than a studio.
  • Communication is completed through the implementation of a ticket system.
  • Jason decided senior year at JCU to go into computer graphics and motion technology.

Advice From Jason:

  • Know your math.
  • Learn the math aspect of Computer graphics.
  • Things are very technical in this industry.
  • Avoid the gaming industry.