Hitting the Ground Running
At DreamWorks Animation, Russell Dumornay helps put the sizzle in today’s hottest movies. For Russell Dumornay BS '99, MS '05, generating a building collapse is all part of a day's work.
As a technical director for DreamWorks Animation, the studio behind such computer-generated films as Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, Dumornay works with a lighting and rendering team on a range of technical and creative tasks.
"When something breaks, or when there's a problem, my job is to step in and fix it," Dumornay explains. "Recently, for example, I was at work late at night, working on a building collapsing. Finally I found a way to break it out. My supervisor liked the idea, and it worked."
Dumornay says he appreciates how well the Watson School prepared him for the rigorous, fast-paced environment of an animation studio. "I liked the fact that academics at Watson were very competitive," he says. "When I started shopping my stuff around to companies, some of them were shocked by how well prepared I was. I was ready for everything they threw at me.
"When I interviewed at DreamWorks, for example, I was asked a lot of questions about programming and optimizing algorithms," Dumornay continues. "Not only could I answer their questions, but I went to the whiteboard and showed them how to improve the answer. Watson really had me ready to hit the ground running."