Escape Studios Appoints VFX Veteran Tad Leckman as L.A. Campus Academic Director

Category: Student/School News
Los Angeles, Calif. - Escape Studios has announced the appointment of Lucasfilm training legend Tad Leckman, who created the Jedi Masters Program, as academic director for Escape Studios’ new Los Angeles campus.

Leckman’s appointment demonstrates the talent, investment, and enthusiasm going into the CG academy’s new presence in the U.S., says a representative.

As academic director, Leckman, one of many recent hires, will oversee curriculum development, student training, and program quality. With more than 15 years of experience in both visual effects production and training, Leckman offers a wealth of industry knowledge, technical expertise, and teaching acumen.

Before joining Escape Studios, Leckman was the director of training at Lucasfilm for their Singapore studio, where he developed and managed the Jedi Masters Program. He was responsible for animation, visual effects, and video game artist training, as well as educational outreach for the company. Prior to that, he was the chair of visual effects for the School of Film and Digital Media at Savannah College of Art and Design. In this role, Leckman oversaw the department, which included updating the program, adding new classes and of course training new talent.

Leckman’s students have gone on to work for companies such as ILM, Pixar, Dreamworks Animation, Lucasfilm Animation, Digital Domain, Rhythm & Hues, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Animal Logic, MPC, Tippett Studios, Weta Digital, Blue Sky Studios, Laika, Blizzard, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Matte World Digital, Radium, DNA Productions, Stargate Digital, Electronic Arts, and Factor Five.

Leckman started his formal teaching career at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University. While there, he pioneered the School of Animation and Visual Effects curriculum as a lead professor. Leckman has also worked within the industry in various roles. Working for ILM, he specialized in the field of previsualization and animatics by forming and supervising the company’s previz team. He also created and managed ILM’s "Rebel Mac Unit," which used off-the-shelf hardware and software to create CG elements and final shots. Leckman has worked on such movies as Men in Black, Star Trek First Contact, Space Cowboys, Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines, Planet of the Apes, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Gangs of New York, The Mummy, Hulk, Minority Report, Van Helsing, and Peter Pan.

“I am thrilled to welcome Tad to our L.A. campus,” says Dom Davenport, CEO and founder of Escape Studios. “Tad’s background, talent, and industry knowledge make him a key addition to Escape Studios. With Tad on board, our students will receive the best possible training and career guidance that we’re known for.”

“I am excited to be a part of Escape Studios and look forward to preparing students for careers in visual effects and animation,” says Leckman. “This is a tremendous opportunity to shape new talent for an ever-changing, creative industry.”



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