Interview with Jason Brown
Executive Creative Director @ Global Animations

Jason Brown is the Executive Creative Director for Global Animations (USA) having worked for over 20 years in television, including Director/Technical Director, Promotions Director, Art Director and Creative Services Director for a variety of Television News and Networks. Brown has also worked for years in the Television and Film in the Visual Effects aspect with quite a few high profile Television Shows and Feature Films under his belt. His first was for Mr. and Mrs. Smith, doing visual effects work, then for the AMC hit Television Series "The Walking Dead" and just wrapped up work for the new AMC Series Developed by Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg called "Preacher."
Hello Jason, what led you into animation and special effects for film?
The question was what led me into animation and special effects or film. Probably goes back to when I was in high school, I actually worked at a TV station, local news station. A small market station. I kind of worked my way up from teleprompter, camera, audio, all the way up to being a director for the newscast 4 5 6 in 10 newscasts, and after you master something for a while it's kind of the same thing every day, it's assembly line work. It gets kind of boring, so one day I just happened to be helping the graphics guys, and I didn't really know what I was doing. Had them kind of shown me a few things in Photoshop, on one of the very earliest versions of Photoshop, and I enjoyed it and realized after I started doing it after a while it was kind of not the same thing every day. It was interesting. It's something new every day, so from then I just kind of sought out a lot of artists like the best artists that I could find, people that were doing stuff that I thought was really cool, and I would try to replicate their work and ask them Hey! where am I going wrong here, what am I doing wrong and have them help me, and then after a few years of that just kind of building those connections not burning bridges with those people and kind of getting my foot in the door, not only have I kind of built up you know, I still a great career in broadcast design for pushing graphics design but also a TV series, film, as well. So really it about goes back to the high school days, building connections and just kind of moving up the tree I guess and just training myself constantly to be better and better. That's the good thing about it is you can learn something new every single day. It's not really repetitive. There's always something and someone better out there.
Take us through your career, how did you end up where you are now?
OK. Take you through my career and how I ended up where I am now. I kind of touched on this a little bit on the last question I answered. I started off in broadcast television in high school, went from there, just kind of up to the ranks doing teleprompter, camera, audio, directing the newscast, was promotions director, art director, started a small market station moved up to the top 10 markets, built contacts on the way and that was kind of the most important one of the most important things, I guess to one of the two is building contacts, people that are good contacts to have that can take you places, and I guess the other most important thing that kind of got me to where I am now is probably, just daily training and never getting to that point to where I think I know everything and that I'm just perfect at this job because there's always somebody out there that can prove you horribly wrong at that, and there's a lot of times I look at other people's work and I think Wow I know nothing. But usually I contact that person if I can and say hey, I saw this I'd like to learn how you did this and a lot of times it's come through and it's led to jobs, in a lot of cases, I'll do things and leads to the next film or TV project, or next to motion graphics project that I get to do. So that's kind of where I've ended up now, and it's by no means you know, an end. It's kind of oh every day it's kind of a new beginning of where I'm I go, every day is different what am I gonna learn today. Or what different projects am I going to do today. So that's where I am now.
What past projects are you particularly proud of?
Products I'm proud of from the past. I guess I probably Westborough preacher was really cool, on AMC as well as Walking Dead, newer stuff, of course, I always look Jumper that was my favorite movie. Newer stuff would be like Avengers in game, just really cool, love Marvel so that was really neat to get to be a part of that. Then you went to one film as well. Other than that like, probably teaching people is you know, it's kind of a project of my own that I do and I'm pretty proud of it. I've seen a lot of people out there that try to do graphic design, visual effects work, and just, you know, lot of people can learn to use a software just by doing tutorials, but It's one thing to know the software, and another thing to have a good life or design too, so, it's hard to teach somebody that doesn't have that naturally, but you can, as long as that person has an open mind and is OK with constructive criticism so that's kind of a pet project of mine that I've been working on and I was lucky enough to have somebody teach me, when I didn't know anything about 3D animation, so I did kind of trying to pay that back ever since then. I guess that's probably the project I'm most proud of is just teaching others to kind of pass the torch along and you know, getting to see their work and sometimes surpass mine and that's a great feeling. Because I can learn from them too, so yeah it's probably my favorite, the one I'm proud most of.
What tools do you use? What programs do you prefer?
OK as far as tools and programs that I use. Everything I do, I start out storyboarding first, so good old fashioned pencil and paper. Usually, just make my storyboards drawn out. After talking with whatever client it may be, or talking with the project leaders, visual effects supervisors whoever it may be, and then as far as past that point, of course, the Adobe Suite for anything photo just Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects for compositing work with Premiere, sometimes for editing or Avid for editing. Illustrated mainly to do vector, mockups and translate it into cinemas 4D, for logo work or stuff like that, title sequence stuff. Sometimes some work in Maya and 3D compositing other than After Effects though sometimes Nuke other stuff. I use DaVinci Resolve for color correcting, as if you can get into it a Banshee suite it's better but you can use the software on any computer now. Audio, I use Pro Tools and actually surprisingly enough Adobe Audition is pretty hefty, it's come a long way you can do pretty much anything you do in Pro Tools in Audition now, so the availability, basically if you lose your dongle key for Pro Tools, you kind of can't use it so, the availability for Audition sometimes makes it easier to use. That's kind of scratching the surface of the software programs and tools that I use but everything goes back to you said the pencil and paper and goes from there and you slowly build in these applications and the end product. Usually, if you do it right turns out to be something you're happy with.
Do you have any advice for someone starting out in Motion Graphic Art?
Okay, so I have a lot of advice for people starting out, there's a lot of things to learn, secondly scratch the surface. First off you know, if you're starting out, look at something that you would like to do, something you've seen in a film, on the TV show, on a newscast, and try to recreate it, just try to learn how to do it, you'll maybe find a mentor or somebody that does it already and ask them if they can train you, ask if you can chat with them and learn what they do. Of course, you can do tutorials on YouTube creative cow or other sites like those, that's great, things like that, always be open to constructive criticism on your work. I've seen too way to many really great designers out there, basically lose their careers, clients, jobs, because they get too close to a product and can't allow any advice to come in, and from anybody else and doesn't usually go over well. You have to realize that you're doing a job for a client, and that client they may want something a certain way and you don't like it, but you may have to do it that way getting started, now as you do it longer and longer you can kind of pick and choose your clients and that gets less and less to be the case. What other advice. Oh, Try to remember there's always somebody out there that's you know, that's better than you always, there was always gonna be that and then use that to your advantage, look to that person's work for inspiration to try to give you motivation to be better at what you do as well, and that's what I do. There's probably a lot more that I could say, but unfortunately not much time. I would also say lower your expectations on your feedback so you don't have any vertigo but basically up, and you'll do well, and of course, practice practice practice.