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Derrick Nau

1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?

I am a texture artist at Nickelodeon Animation Studio. I have been at Nick for about three years.  Before that I worked in advertising as a CG generalist and a senior lighting and shading artist.

2. What was your first job?

My FIRST job was at a pizza place in small town Athens, Ohio.  My first job in my field was at a photography/video/CG studio in Cleveland, Ohio called TRG Reality.  I learned a lot there about practical lighting, cameras, and the ins and outs of the advertising industry.  

3. Where did you complete your formal education?

I have a degree in Biomedical Art from the Cleveland Institute of Art.

4. How did you first get involved with ACM SIGGRAPH?

I have an older brother Lee, who is a software engineer who specializes in GPU and accelerator technology.  He was a student volunteer in 2006 (Boston, I think) and he encouraged me to apply as an SV in 2012.  I was wait-listed, but somehow, I got in. I immediately fell in love with SIGGRAPH and all the SIGGRAPH-y people that make the conference what it is.  I have been volunteering every year since then in various capacities.  I've landed in production sessions, the program most near and dear to my heart,  I'll probably do that for a while.

5. What is your favorite memory of a SIGGRAPH conference?

I think this is common for a lot of SIGGRAPH attendees, but my favorite memory is my first SIGGRAPH in 2012.  Being from the Midwest, I thought the work being demonstrated at SIGGRAPH was done by magical people from faraway places (which is kind of true).  At SIGGRAPH I realized I could be one of those people.  I was exposed to world I never knew. I had found my people. 

6. Describe a project that you would like to share with the ACM SIGGRAPH community.

I collaborate with a good friend of mine, Frank Tedeschi, the founder of a boutique gaming company, Dead Box Games.  We are developing original board games, D&D 5E content, and a video game. Dead Box Games is currently in development of a 5E compatible adventure entitled Adventurers Guild Admissions Office, planned for a Winter 2018 release. Additionally we are launching a new goblin themed tabletop game on Kickstarter in Summer of 2019. Follow these projects by finding us on IG @deadboxgames, and by heading to DeadBoxGames.com.

7. If you could have dinner with one living or non-living person, who would it be and why?

I would have breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper with J.R.R. Tolkien if I could.  I'd love to just listen to the man talk about his motivations, thoughts, and reflections on his world(s) that we hold so dear.  Maybe I'd also invite Frank Herbert.

8. What is something most people don’t know about you?

In my misspent youth I was in a professional heavy metal band.  I was a lot cooler back then. 

9. From which single individual have you learned the most in your life? What did they teach you?

This is a really difficult question!  Without hesitation I learned the most about being a human from my mom and dad.  As a professional I'd have to point to my department chair and instructor Amanda Almon at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and my mentor, Lane Cooper, also from CIA.

10. Is there someone in particular who has influenced your decision to work with ACM SIGGRAPH?

I have worked with Emily Hsu for the past three or so years at SIGGRAPH.  She didn't necessarily influence my decision to work with SIGGRAPH, but she did show me how to do it like a BOSS. Mikki Rose has also been a huge inspiration and mentor for me and I can't thank them both enough for their guidance, kindness, and friendship. 

11. What can you point to in your career as your proudest moment?

 I suppose this would be the first time I saw a show I worked on reach completion.  I am not sure the feeling of satisfaction after seeing all your (and your peers') hard work come together ever goes away.  I guess this is kind of cheesy, but its the best I've got. :D