Interview with Jason Schleifer of Weta Digital

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Old 09 September 2002   #1
Thumbs down Interview with Jason Schleifer of Weta Digital

Yours truly has just posted an interview with Jason Schleifer, Senior Animator/Creature Technical Director, Lord of the Rings, Weta Digital.



Old 09 September 2002   #2
Quote: I came to the conclusion that while there's a time and a place for festivals which cater to the art of animation (which is extremely important), there hasn't really been a festival that I've seen which just caters to the joy and entertainment of it. I think that most audiences would love to go to an animation festival which was really full of good quality, funny stories which are short, to the point, and make you laugh.

<---likes the way he thinks
Old 09 September 2002   #3
Wow............................................... ..........
i will try my best to make my dreams come true.
My latest thread
The quick brown fox jumped over the slow lazy dog.
My gallery

Last edited by facial : 09 September 2002 at 06:23 AM.
Old 09 September 2002   #4
Whoa, I almost broke my neck doing a double-take. For second there I thought that was Beau "Beelzabeau" Cameron. I'm sure we'll be reading about Beau in a similar light some day.
-Brandon Davis
Old 09 September 2002   #5
ooo! who's beau beelzabeau cameron? do I look like him? freaky!

gotta appologize for those photos.. my dad took 'em in the harbor here while the america's cup was in town. Goofin around as usual.

jason schleifer
Animator -
Co-Founder -
Old 09 September 2002   #6
I can't belive this... I can't believe Im reading this... Wow..
This story is almost excaclty the same as mine, though it didn't come to the happy ending just yet, because Im waiting for my greencard. Here is a story. I moved to states to Santa Barbara and I live here now, I was going to be science major but I was doing 3d for 6 years now, I found there was a Maya cources here in SB and I took those. A close friend of mine thought that I was doing good, grubed me an took me to AW to show them my reel and resume, so in a week I got a call from them that hey want me to work in QA and test Maya3.5 for mac and 4.5, So I worked there for about 6 months and now they are closed. While working there I made alot of friends and met a really good person later Eric Hanson while I was doing some stuff(many of you might seen a thread Moscow 2375) I met with him and he introduced me to a creative director Judos Crow of DD and another guy who is also russian like I am at Weta - Sergey. After a while I met a director of photography for sfx in ILM Vence Piper, but now I dont know if im gonna get a greencard. In case if I will I hope I end up in some fx house... im really working my a%% of to get there but my greencard is in question because of really good lawyers my famaly hired.

jschleifer: I know its alot to ask but I'd really dont want to be throughn out of this field just because of some stupid issues. Im really glad I red that interview and saw some parts of myself there. But I would greatly appreciate any help with Weta. I know they will be looking for reels around Jan2003 but still ... I dont know.... how hard is to get there?
Old 09 September 2002   #7

sounds like you joined A|W JUST at the wrong time.. too bad about the SB office.. it was such a beautiful place! I do miss santa barbara... <sigh>

as for getting into Weta, we will indeed most likely be hiring towards the end of film 3.. march.. april.. may.. around that time. Since you already know serge, then it should be a bit easier for you to get in..

for those of you who don't know serge (heh), but still want to work at weta, the best thing I can say is to submit your reel, fill out the online form, and keep your fingers crossed!

The great thing about this industry is that you can go from country to country working.. and the more you work, the more people you meet.. and the more people you meet, the easier it is to get a job somewhere else.. where you can meet more people.. and get more work.. you get the idea.

jason schleifer
Animator -
Co-Founder -
Old 09 September 2002   #8
Yeah... I just loved that place, all the co-workers became really good friends and now most of the people are spread all over the place, mostly in Dreamworks though.

Also the thing is that .. I dont know if it is a coincidence but everyplace I worked in got closed.. I hope thats not me though=)
There was a really interesting story with AW. SB office sent me to the presentation of XSI 2.0 in LA and I wrote a huge paper on it comparing it with Maya. After the office shot down I got a reference letter from my "boss" Peter Miller which said that my paper led to restructurizing in managment of AW, I dont know if it has something to do with closure of SB office, but after I read the letter I was in total shok for about two day. I was just an intern basically working in QA .. damn I hope I didnt write anything bad .

Santa Barbara got even nicer now. I bet you miss frieday nights on State St. =) or Wild parties at IV that got even wilder now

Last edited by DSedov : 09 September 2002 at 08:45 AM.
Old 09 September 2002   #9
Ha! peter as your boss.. why, I remember before that young whipper snapper ever worked at the SB office! (okay, so he's older than me.. but I can still call him whipper snapper! peter.. if you're listening.. :P)

Yep, lots of good folks there in SB.. the developers, qa, and assist were all top notch.

aw poop.
jason schleifer
Animator -
Co-Founder -
Old 09 September 2002   #10
LOL.... Even I could call em that way =))) and im 20 now. He is really a fun guy. Ahhh.. CS .. CS =))) He was also making weird animal noises.... lol.... im really loughing hard now.. damn I miss AW.

BTW. why are you hiring after the 3rd film? What will be the next Weta's project. I bet last one is a secret =)))
Old 09 September 2002   #11
Nono..we'll be hiring FOR the 3rd film.. as we hit crazy production deadlines, we'll need to ramp up bigtime. thus, we'll be hiring like crazy around that time.
jason schleifer
Animator -
Co-Founder -
Old 09 September 2002   #12
Now I have even more insparation to do some good animations for demo reel.. Im gonna work on two project now. Damn I will finish them both before you guys will be hiring =) Finally I will have a team to work with. Gonna be lighting and rendering TD.

BTW please, if you'll have some time look at my last project screenshots. If you can, please tell me does this kind of quality good for demoreel or it has to be something a little more production quality stuff? I just dont know what to show and how to show my work if I never worked in production house before and hence, dont have film quality imagery.
Old 09 September 2002   #13
all the sweet stuff is on page 4
Old 09 September 2002   #14
This is some really sweet work! I'd follow all the comments given (especially those about dirtying it up... adding variation.. etc).

beautiful stuff!

If you want to get into weta, it'd be really helpful to do some more natural environmental stuff as well.. trees, dirt, mountains, etc. Those are what LOTR's about, and having that type of stuff on your reel will really help..

but seriously nice work. I don't think you should have much of a problem getting a job with things like that on your reel.. render it out to 1 or 2k, make it moving.. add things like papers flying about, make sure it doesn't break down at a really high resolution.. and vavoom. nice!

jason schleifer
Animator -
Co-Founder -
Old 09 September 2002   #15
nice, just the kind of interview i like to read

can't wait to see the towers

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