Born February 1, 1972, in San Francisco Ca. Durant currently lives and works in the Bay Area. Occupation/Title: Visual Effects Artist in animation for Industrial Light & Magic a George Lucas Company, working there from 1995 to 2003. Freelance effects artist from 2003 to 2013. He is currently course manager (coach) at Udacity an online school, teaching programs and data science from 2013 to present. Bio Summary:
Studied at MIT, his major contributions to the animation industry are, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 2012 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Black Pearl, Avatar 2009 Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace, 1999 Working on Star Wars was a life long dream for Durant. Durant made a career change in December 2013 and is teaching at Udacity.
Early Life/Family: Durant spent majority of his childhood in central California moving from place to place. Raised by a single mother he and his sister excelled in school. Durant was valedictorian at his small high school, a graduating class of 300. This would open the door to MIT.
Education/Training: Studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) he stated that he worked “his ass off at MIT” just to keep his head above water. He lived, worked, ate and breathed MIT for the four years he was there. After working in the animation industry for 8 years and 3 years of traveling the world Durant went back to school and gained a masters in Economic and Social Development 2007 to 2009.
Career Outline: after graduating from MIT, Durant answered a newspaper add his father saw in the Sunday newspaper. I assumed that he and his estranged dad still talk, I didn’t ask. He was hired by other MIT graduates and worked the nightshift as a renderer, eventually working his way up to the day shift and lighting technical director at Industrial Light & Magic. Over worked, bored, burnt out and fierce competition he left animation because he saw an end of animation, as he knew it, jobs where being sent to China, India and Canada. With the glory days of the digital dawn behind him he quit animation, lived out of a suitcase and travel the world for 3 years with money he saved while working for major animations studios both on the payroll and freelance in Los Angles. Durant is currently working at Udacity celebrating his 1 year employment there in December.
Comments On Style: Durant worked as a lighting director in the motion performance capture era and had a dramatic style that changed with each film.
Influences: his teachers throughout life and the original Star Wars movie influenced Durant.
Personality: Personable, friendly and outgoing he did a similar interview project in graduate school and this is why he granted an interview with me. We Skyped, when I asked him about his childhood he became guarded and fought back tears.
Anecdotes: Durant is a conga dancer and loves to travel.
Miscellaneous: Durant left animation because he felt the boom years were coming to an end. He witnessed many jobs going overseas to China, India and Canada. He said he is surprised to see animation in the United States still going strong but happy with his decision to pursue a new career.
2012 the hobbit an unexpected journey (lighting technical director Weta digital)
2011 super 8 (digital artists: ILM)
2011 Rango (visual effects artist digital artist)
2009 Avatar ( lighting artist technical director)
2006 Flushed Away (lighting technical director)
2006 Over the Hedge (lighting technical director)
2004 Spider-Man 2 (digital artist)
2003 The Matrix Revolutions (digital artist)
2003 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (digital cloth simulation: ILM)
2003 Hulk (digital artist)
2002 Men in Black (computer graphics artist: ILM)
2001 Jurassic Park III (digital artist: ILM)
2001 The Mummy Returns (digital artist)
2000 The Perfect Storm (digital artist)
1999 Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace (visual effects artist:ILM)
1997 The Lost World: Jurassic Park (digital effects artist)
1996 Mars Attacks! (digital effects artist ILM)
1995 The American President (CG technical assistant)
Honors: Durant was high school valedictorian and laughed uncomfortably at this question because the company he worked for had numerous awards before he was hired but none while he worked there. He said this was a good question.
http://propiro. com/ www.imdb.com/name/nm0774806
Facebook and LinkedIn
Skype interview and the Internet.
Contributors To This Listing:
Animators Hall of Fame