Magicians at Work – Jennifer Zeidan
Behind the scenes: Jennifer Zeiden | Media Systems Engineer
ILM San Francisco
I’ve been at ILM for a year and a half as a Media Systems Engineer and have supported movies from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What is a media systems engineer you ask? Good question; I’m still trying to figure that out! All kidding aside, we support everything from editorial to motion capture - building machines, creating global workflows and everything in between.
My role specifically is lead editorial engineer across the ILM and Lucasfilm family. I make technical recommendations and implementations for best editorial practices.
I’ve literally had a video camera in my hands since the age of two. I love art in all its forms, so it only made sense to follow my passion into the entertainment industry. What really solidified my interest in entertainment was a live studio television class I took in college. Sitting in the director’s chair cutting a live show was exhilarating. I knew from that moment I would never give up on chasing my dreams. I joked with my parents that my name would be in the credits one day; ten years later it became a reality.
I think the thing I enjoy most about my job is being able to interface with so many different people and divisions within not only the Lucasfilm family, but the greater Disney family. My role has afforded me the opportunity to work on a multitude of projects within different divisions where I am able to meet some really amazing, smart and passionate people. I love learning about the different pieces of the entertainment industry puzzle and meeting the people that truly make the magic happen.
I would tell my younger self that networking is extremely important and to get involved in film and television organizations as early as college. It would make choosing a career path and finding mentors so much easier. It would also provide a deeper understanding of the complexities of the entertainment industry.
Every Friday we have a program called “Friends & Family” when employees can invite guests for a tour of our facility as well as watch a demo reel of some of our more recent movies, which breaks apart the visual effects of a movie from green screen to final shot. I try to make it a point to watch the demo reel once a quarter and am always amazed. We sometimes lose sight of the big picture because we are so wrapped up in our day to day tasks, but watching this reel reminds me of how much work we put into making movies and how much talent there is at ILM. That reminder is what keeps me inspired and excited to work here.