LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin native worked on the movie that won the 2015 Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film Sunday night.
David Polk, who graduated from Stephen F. Austin University in 2001, worked as a background character and cycles animator on DreamWorks Animation's "How to Train Your Dragon 2."
Polk, who graduated from Lufkin High School in 1995, said the opportunity to see moviegoers react to the film firsthand was "the real thrill" of his professional work, according to a story that appeared on the SFA Website.
"It's amazing to think that the stuff that I've touched goes on the screen and then travels around the world," Polk said in the SFA story.
According to the SFA story, Polk chose to study computer graphics instead of choosing to work with pastels and paintbrushes because he thought "Websites, films, and other computer-driven works would offer the best employment opportunities in an increasingly digital world."
Dr. Michael Roach, a veteran art professor, worked with Polk through an intensive four-semester program that allowed Polk to focus on "illustrative and interactive media," the SFA story stated. Although SFA had no structured format for teaching computer animation at the time, the seed was planted.
"Dr. Roach introduced us to a professional world out there I wanted to know more about, and that was the springboard for me wanting to pursue," Polk said in the SFA story.
After studying for 18 months with Animation Mentor, an online academy for animators, Polk landed an apprenticeship with Rhythm & Hues in Los Angeles, the SFA story stated. The Oscar-winning company does character animation and visual effects for feature films, commercials, and theme parks.
While he was with Rhythm & Hues, Polk got a chance to work on the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" movie franchise in 2007, according to the SFA story. Over the course of the news few years, he worked on the "Resident Evil 5" video game and three movies: "G-Force," "Arthur Christmas," and Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas."
According to the SFA story, DreamWorks hired Polk from a pool of hundreds of candidates in 2012. He worked on "Turbo," and then got the assignment to work on "How to Train Your Dragon 2."
'There's no denying [Dragon] was the biggest project I had been fortunate enough to work on," Polk said in the SFA story. "When you fight for so long in this industry, it's fun when you get to work on the big projects you know will be seen by millions of people. That's energizing stuff."
According to boxofficemojo.com, "How to Train Your Dragon 2" was the 16th highest grossing movie of 2014. It earned $177 million at the box office, and almost caught Christopher Nolan's sci-fi epic, 'Interstellar."