Neil's Open Road

There are no excerpts for this Leader.

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Glendale, CA

NEIL OKAMOTO

Director of Research and Development
Dreamworks

“If your passion is science and mathematics, realize that there's science and mathematics in a lot of different areas-even ones that maybe you didn't expect. So it's OK to have multiple passions.”

INTERESTS:

Film Science

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Education Hard Work Success Support & Encouragement Struggle

FOUNDATION:

Being Creative

TAGS:

animation, computers, creativity, curiosity, Disney, engineering, internship, math, MIT, movies, problem solving, science

BIOGRAPHY:

  • As a kid, he spent a couple of hours each week in the principal's office...because that's where the only computer was.
  • Looking back, he feels incredibly fortunate that his teachers recognized his talent for computer engineering and fostered that.
  • Says one of the best experiences of his life was participating in MIT's intern program, which allowed him to get real-world engineering experience.
  • After school, one of his fraternity brothers got a job with Disney, told Neil, "I think this is something you'd really like."
  • He got a job with Disney Animation in 1994; he thought it was a weird detour on his road, but his mom reminded him he'd always loved movies.
  • Now, at DreamWorks, he builds the software that the animators use to bring their movie's characters to life.
  • He points out that although he's always had a talent for science, he's also been interested in the arts-one of his hobbies is drumming.
  • Says there are thousands of ways that arts and sciences overlap, so if you have multiple interests, you can easily combine them into one perfect career.

Send us your feedback

(all fields are required)