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Livingston grad helps create movie magic

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Livingston High School graduate Austin Goddard is part of something many only dream of. He goes to work each day in a place that creates magic for children of all ages.

Those that do not know that Emeryville, California, has been creating entertainment since 1986 may recognize the name Pixar Animation Studios.

Goddard was recently a part of the new hit Disney movie “Finding Dory.”

 “I work at Pixar, which is not the same as Disney, but my title is a production office assistant,” Goddard said. “I support the producers and directors directly and a big role for me was building and maintaining the morale of our crew. I support the artists and their needs on a day-to-day basis. I maintain schedules and handle the more logistical side of filmmaking.”

Before attending college, Goddard was an employee at the Polk County Enterprise, where he mainly focused on photography, but also found time for design and layout.

Soon after he would travel to College Station, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University.

 “I pretty much went into Pixar immediately after school,” Goddard said. “I had a job for a month or so out of school, but then went to Pixar. I studied visualization, which covers graphic design, video game design, and computer animation.”

After completing a sequel to a successful movie, Goddard is now working toward the completion of another film that has had thriving predecessors.

"Right now, we are working on ‘Cars 3,’” Goddard said. “The movie comes out next June, so we are less than a year out. We are working pretty much in the peak of production, as far as how busy we are.”

Goddard said it is not a quick turnaround on many of the company’s productions. There is a long line of objectives that must be met before they appear on the big screen.

“Most Pixar films are in production for about five years,” Goddard said. “The early stages of that is figuring out the story. Once that gets settled, we begin production on actually creating the characters and environments. Once we have those assets created, we can go in and start animating, lighting and rendering the movie. It is scheduled out to the day. I don’t necessarily do the scheduling at this point of my career, but I am the one that is helping execute that schedule. I have to react to changes as they come in.”

Though Goddard said he tries to make time to visit family that is still in the area, the former Lion does not get back to Polk County often these days. He now has a day-to-day schedule to keep and others to keep on schedule.

07-12-goddardPRODUCTION ASSISTANT — Livingston grad Austin Goddard now works for Pixar Animation Studios and was involved with the film “Finding Dory.”