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David Siegel & David Wolgemuth — Exceptional Minds

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The big wide world can be a scary place for neurodiverse people — but Exceptional Minds can help them find their place. Founded in 2011, this remarkable non-profit training academy trains individuals on the autism spectrum to become visual effects and animation professionals. It also runs its own studio, which has put graduates to work on Black Widow, Loki, and a whole animated segment for Sesame Street.

In this podcast, Exceptional Minds’ Executive Director David Siegel explains how his six-year-old son inspired him to join the academy. He also describes how he works with studios and software companies to give students the knowledge they need for a career. Joining him is VFX Studio Supervisor David Wolgemuth, who discusses finding common ground with students and helping them make the most of their skillsets.

Links:

Exceptional Minds’ website >

Exceptional Minds on YouTube >

Exceptional Minds on Facebook >

Exceptional Minds on Instagram >

Exceptional Minds on Wikipedia >

Ryan Lowry’s letter on LinkedIn >


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Chapters:

4:53 How David S was inspired by his six-year-old son

10:30 Bad Robot and Marvel: David W’s backstory

12:57 Exceptional Minds’ mission

17:13 Staggering statistics on autism

23:47 David W’s experience with the school

30:26 Funding the organization

35:01 How you can help

40:08 The benefits of working with Exceptional Minds

44:57 Working through the pandemic

49:11 What’s coming up next



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About the author

Christopher Nichols

Chris is a CG industry veteran and Director of Chaos Labs. He can also be heard regularly as the host of the CG Garage podcast which attracts 20,000 weekly listeners. With a background in both VFX and Design, Chris has worked for Gensler, Digital Domain, Imageworks and Method Studios. His credits include Maleficent, Oblivion and Tron: Legacy.

Originally published: October 4, 2021.
© Škoda Design

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