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Get a Glimpse into the World of a Technical Director - Dave Scarpitti

Tags: News Harmony Storytelling Artist Profile

11 Questions with Dave Scarpitti


What is your artist background?

I have been in the business for over 15 years using Harmony long before it was Harmony. I have worked on commercials, TV and Feature Films and always found that Harmony/Opus/USAnimation was the best tool for the job. On all of my projects I've tried to make sure none of my work is ever noticeable so that the audience is never pulled out of the story. The best TD Compositing work will never make itself known it will just feel like it should be there.


What's your favorite artist quote?

This is at best a paraphrased quote but the sentiment stuck with me for the rest of my life. In 1993 at a Disney Gallery signing at Disneyland above the Pirates of The Caribbean I had the absolute honor to meet Marc and Alice Davis when he was signing his "Stretch" Painting from the Haunted Mansion. Marc was an amazing class act and gave everyone at least a few minutes of his time to talk. My talk was about how much I dreamed of making future Classic Disney films but had absolutely no artistic skill with a pencil. This next part is paraphrased from what he told me (my head was in the clouds with Mr. Davis sitting 18 inches away from me) but the meaning is there. He thought for a moment and then said "You realize there are a lot of artists needed to make a movie come to life who don't draw. Learn about those careers, find one that you can get really good at and then make your Dreams happen." Both Marc and Alice then wished me the best of luck and I moved off with my artwork and great advice. Years later I found out about 2D Compositing and jumped in with both feet. In 2009 my Dream was on the big screen.


How did you get started in Animation?

When I was young I saw Pinocchio for the first time and decided that is what I wanted to do with my life! After many years of struggling to draw I realized that's not going to happen so I took my career into Game Design and Virtual Reality. Later I got the luckiest break in the world and tripped into Compositing and was instantly hooked. I could live my dream but not have to draw. I was able to take artwork from great artists and add a little bit to bring it all to life. I've never looked back!


What work do you most enjoy doing?

From a TD Compositing standpoint I love Camera work and EFX building in Harmony. There is nothing more fun for me than taking a stack of elements and making the entire scene come to life and then enhance it all with EFX.


What was the first animated movie you ever saw?

Pinocchio. It felt like the perfect movie to me. Everything just felt right with it. The artwork, the camera work, the effects just magic on the screen. I still try to watch it every year to remind me.


What is your favorite animated movie?

I know it should be a Disney classic or a movie I worked on but by a long margin I have to say The Iron Giant. I've watched it more times than I can count and to this day I am still entranced with it. The ending ALWAYS gets me.


Why do you work in Harmony?

Because it smoothly does everything I need it to do. By and large I can do my entire work pipeline with in the software. Pretty much my entire IMDB was 100% done in Harmony (and it's predecessors).


What is your favorite part of your day job?

The ability to not have intrinsic drawing ability but still being able to create beautiful art that moves people when they see it.


What is your dream project?

There is a legend in the industry about Brad Bird finally doing Ray Gunn. I would move heaven and earth for a chance to work on that film.


Professionally, what's your goal?

To be able to continue doing what I love to do and help create wonderful stories for people to enjoy. To be a part of a much larger team with the single vision to make something that will far outlast all of us to entertain and hopefully move people far in the future.


What do you want to do when you grow-up?

Honestly I choose not to...


Dave has worked on Rick & Morty: