INTRODUCTION :::: UNDERGRAD AT THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY :::: (#2 WORLDWIDE) NBBJ :::: (#1 WORLDWIDE) GENSLER
Born on December 6th, 1974, after Brent J. Zorich graduated St. Charles Preparatory High School in 1993 as a scholar athlete, he went into the industrial design department ranked in the top five nationally at The Ohio State University (accepted directly out of high school based on portfolio without a collegiate department submission), was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (the nation's largest fraternity), and graduated as the undergraduate design school student body president with a thesis project rebranding Nike retail. From early childhood, he enjoyed playing video games on the computer (Karateka), as well as on the Nintendo console; making a video game on his Apple IIC with his dad for eighth grade science fair at St. Pius X Elementary- eventually gaming on the Sega Genesis in high school, and then both on the Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo Wii during undergrad and graduate school at The Ohio State University. For a brief couple of years, Brent switched his major to Pre Allied Medicine with the hopes of eventually becoming a strength coach in the NFL; writing workout routines and training collegiate football players in the weight room. He was a walk-on hopeful for The Ohio State University's Buckeye Football team but failed to make the squad in Winter Quarter of 1994 due to bronchitis during tryouts. At the peak of training in his teens, twenties, and early thirties, he could bench press 365 pounds, squat near 500 pounds, leg press 1000 pounds, do hammer curls with 85 pound dumbbells in each arm, and rep 405 pounds on shrugs in sets of 20 with a forty hand time of about 4.9 seconds. To enhance further athleticism, when Brent was in his early twenties he practiced Jeet Kune Do (The martial art of Bruce Lee). He had been informed by his family growing up that on his Italian father's side he is the distant cousin of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. After switching back to Industrial Design, in 1997, as a young entrepreneur, Brent mocked up a prototype industrial design concept of a Reebok Golf Sandal incorporating the brand of Greg “The Shark” Norman, and presented the concept to the office of the CEO of Reebok, Paul Fireman, for production. During undergrad in industrial design that concentrated in retail store planning, Brent worked in store sales and visual merchandising for Tommy Hilfiger. While a student in the design department, Brent had a summer design internship doing illustration work for a nationally ranked luxury SUV design facility named Custom Coach in Columbus, Ohio. There he worked on transportation design for their client, John McConnell, owner of the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets (note: other clients of Custom Coach included John Madden’s “The Madden Cruiser”; Deion Sanders; President George H. Bush; and Minister Louis Farrakhan- The Leader of the “Nation of Islam”- who Brent met in person while on site). Afterwards, Brent completed an internship doing corporate interior space design at Continental Office Furniture (Herman Miller) in Columbus, Ohio. Once graduated from The Ohio State University, Brent worked at the architectural firm ranked number 2 in the world, NBBJ, as a post graduate architectural intern with the client being the “Republic of China”. He was fortunate enough to be in several “crit” sessions while on The Beijing Hotel for The Republic of China with the Chairman of Global NBBJ, Friedl Bohm. Brent then moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to work for Gensler, the architectural firm ranked number 1 in the world as an interior architect, focusing on retail design for Gensler Fortune 500 clientele. These projects included both design documentation and construction documentation for one of Gensler’s premiere clients: Volkswagen. Brent was lucky enough while working in the studio to attend a firm practices session and meet and greet with M. Arthur Gensler, considered by many to be the most powerful architect on the planet. The key lesson he learned from Mr. Gensler was to be humble in business dealings. Arrogance is the quickest way to lose a client.
THE ACCAD GRADUATE PROGRAM AT THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
He left Atlanta and went back to the Ohio State ACCAD program, where computer graphics were invented in the 1960s by Professor Emeritus Charles Csuri, to complete a masters in computer graphics/ technical direction. Note: key alum of this program had made the liquid alloy T-1000 in “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; the velociraptors in the original 1993 “Jurassic Park” directed by Steven Spielberg; the founder of FOX Blue Sky Studios who created “Ice Age”, “Horton Hears a Who”, and “The Peanuts Movie”; and the Chief Technology Officer of PIXAR Animation Studios. Of the 50,000 plus students at The Ohio State University, only approximately ten to fifteen students had security access to this ACCAD graduate program building. Graduate admittance into this program is determined by portfolio, and professional and academic achievement.
During Brent’s tenure at ACCAD, the facility received a research grant through Brave New Pictures to develop a nationally televised one hour documentary on a newly discovered nano tyrannous dinosaur in Hell Creek, Montana. This one hour documentary, entitled “The Mystery Dinosaur”, aired prime time on both The Discovery Channel and The Science Channel. Brent was key in both modeling and rigging on this feature. As apart of this grant, ACCAD was in full collaboration with The Burpee Museum in Rockford, Illinois, who were having weekly discussions with this ACCAD research group on physiology, anatomy, and biomechanics. Paleontologists from this museum had worked with Dr. Robert Bakker who was the Steven Spielberg paleontologist consultant on Jurassic Park. ACCAD alum of this project went on to work at studios such as PIXAR, Walt Disney Feature Animation, EA Sports, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Dreamworks Animation, and Activision; with Brent ending up at Lucasfilm. The ACCAD producer on this feature was the former department head of computer animation at The Ringling College of Art and Design. Note, Brent’s graduate thesis was entitled “Rigging A Prehistoric Animal” where he automated the rigging process in python.
DREAMWORKS SKG OUTREACH PROGRAM AT ACCAD
Finally in graduate school, he was in a DreamWorks SKG Outreach program being trained by Dreamworks supervisors in animation; and was also fortunate enough to be in a lecture session with Jeffrey Katzenberg. During the lecture, Mr. Katzenberg was asked what the most key role was in the production pipeline; his response was “the rigger.” Brent altered his CGI focus from modeling to rigging upon hearing that. This outreach program duration was 20 weeks, with supervisors in the industry who were currently working at DreamWorks Animation bringing such previous film experience to the ACCAD students as “Spider-Man 2”, “Finding Nemo”, “Shrek”, “Shark Tale”, and “Madagascar”. Brent was also asked to give a lecture, while as a student, to the College of the Arts at Ohio State student body at the Wexner Center for the Arts. There were a total of seven guest lecture supervisors from the program that went into extensive CGI techniques with each of the students on an individual basis. This gave Brent access to a professional pipeline in early development in his computer animation career that is still applicable to the types of work he is doing today. In these sessions, one of the people that he shadowed was the DreamWorks Animation SKG Rigging Supervisor that went over advanced rigging techniques, and first introduced Brent into the power of programming and scripting for automation. This particular supervisor, was the lead on Finding Nemo from PIXAR and who first taught Brent about “proxy rigging.”
TAKE TWO INTERACTIVE (NBA 2K) IN SAN FRANCISCO AND EA SPORTS (MADDEN NFL) IN ORLANDO
Afterwards, Brent went on to work in San Francisco, California, on Take 2 Interactive “NBA 2K”, working with the data of Shaquille O’Neal (TTWO market cap September ‘18: 15.2 billion) (note: they are also the makers of the top selling IP on the planet, Grand Theft Auto) and then on to Orlando, Florida, for EA SPORTS, where he worked on “Superman Returns”, “Tiger Woods PGA Tour”, and as a rigging technical director lead on “Madden NFL” (which is the top grossing video game in North America) (EA market cap September ‘18: 34.8 billion). While on Madden NFL, Brent was key in breaking new ground in the character setup aspect of the digital football players by working with the Central Football leads in changing the player bodies to be anatomically correct. Previously, the digital players in Madden NFL and NCAA Football had elongated arms to exaggerate a more Disney style art direction. Brent played a key role in converting the players of the top selling title in North America to bio mechanical accuracy with the entire 10,000 volume EA SPORTS Central Football animation library retargeted to his rigging setup. Lastly on Madden NFL, Brent was key in adding 15 to 20 additional leaf joints to the animation rig to add hyper realism in regards to bicep and hamstring flexing. At EA SPORTS, Brent was in bi-monthly global meetings with EA VANCOUVER, EA ORLANDO, and EA LONDON, analyzing and recommending improvement on rigging assets of characters for ELECTRONIC ARTS top titles including “FIFA”, “NHL”, “NBA Live”, “Facebreaker”, and “EA Harry Potter.” In these meetings, best practices with the ELECTRONIC ARTS BODYSHOP, global technology, global work flow, and global tools were explored.
LUCASFILM BEST PRACTICES REVIEW COMMITTEE & EXECUTIVE TRAINING IN SINGAPORE AND SAN FRANCISCO
Brent left the United States and moved to Singapore to become senior/ executive trainee/ best practices review committee of Lucasfilm, working with the former Chief Technology Officer of Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital in Wellington, New Zealand (The Lord of the Rings). Three years full time out of graduate school in 2009 (although he began in March of 2008) based on hours worked, he was on track to earn $170,000. There at Lucasfilm, he worked on “Star Wars” intellectual property (showing work directly to George Lucas), “Indiana Jones IP” for Steven Spielberg, was brought in to work on monthlies prep on “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” (sequence includes Harry Potter and Professor Dumbledore that was a timed sequence to the song "Eulogy" by Tool), color correction on “The Clone Wars” (shots including Cad Bane and Obi-Wan Kenobi), and dailies shot critiquing on “Transformers Revenge of the Fallen” at Industrial Light and Magic research and development meetings (shots include Devastator and Optimus Prime), while also frequenting the Skywalker Ranch for research in Marin County in San Francisco, California. The Best Practices Review Committee was a hand selected panel by the former Chief Technology Officer from Weta Digital consisting of approximately ten people. Brent had a strong vocal presence in these meetings where the goal of each was to set the digital standard in modeling, rigging, and rendering, for LucasArts, Lucasfilm Animation, and Industrial Light & Magic. While in Singapore, before being promoted and relocated to the home office in San Francisco, Brent was in a small research group of about six people focusing on film game convergence. In that group, the graphics researchers optimized an environment that was inhabited by Master Yoda from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”, as well as Anakin Skywalker’s Jedi Apprentice, Ahsoka Tano, from that same series. Brent combined the underlying engineering rigging aspects of the young Jedi with Jango Fett from ILM’s Oscar Nominated “Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones.” The team used those assets to create a playable level in the Unreal Engine on the XBOX 360, which was shown to Mr. Lucas in Singapore. Before this film game convergence research began, Brent was doing additional exploration in the Autodesk Maya files of such Star Wars characters as General Grievous, Kit Fisto, Anakin Skywalker, Padme Amidala, Jar Jar Binks, and a few others. He was analyzing their character technical direction and looking for ways to improve the control set ups to build out universally within Lucasfilm. In San Francisco, executive training within Lucasfilm Corporate was administered to Brent by the consultancy Engaged Leadership LLC. One of his personal highlights in addition to creating the character technical direction on Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett was setting up the character code named Ultimate Evil, who was the cover character of Star Wars The Force Unleashed Ultimate Sith Edition. For both spinal research of Jabba as well as biomechanics of Boba he worked with the library of the Skywalker Ranch frequenting the facility in Marin County. Brent’s initial goal was to become a creative studio executive at Lucasfilm. Worldwide published magazine, 3D ARTIST MAGAZINE, did a two page worldwide feature on Brent at Lucasfilm.
TEMPORARY MEDICAL INJURY
NOTE: IN 2009, BRENT WAS A WORKPLACE STALKING VICTIM THAT LED TO TEMPORARY MEDICAL INJURY CAUSING HIM TO LEAVE LUCASFILM WITH THE PERPETRATORS REPORTED TO THE FBI. PEOPLE FROM BRENT’S HOMETOWN OF COLUMBUS, OHIO, WERE SHOWING UP AT HIS PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT IN SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, AND BRENT HAD A NEAR FATAL ALLERGIC REACTION FROM PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE GIVEN TO HIM DUE TO THIS SITUATION ONCE THESE PEOPLE WERE BEING SPOKEN ABOUT BY HIS COWORKERS IN STAR WARS MEETINGS. BRENT HAD NEVER TAKEN MEDICINE LIKE THIS BEFORE, AND THIS REACTION LED TO TEMPORARY CONFUSION WHICH CAUSED A RAISE IN BLOOD PRESSURE, AND LED TO HEART PALPITATIONS, DIZZINESS, SHOOTING PAINS IN THE LEFT WRIST, AND CHEST CRAMPING, ULTIMATELY COLLAPSING WHILE WALKING TO HIS CAR AFTER WORK. ABLE TO MAKE IT TO HIS CAR AND BEGIN TO DRIVE, ON APRIL 8TH, 2009, BRENT HAD TO PULL OVER ON THE SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY IN MARIN COUNTY, SAN FRANCISCO, ON HIS WAY HOME FROM WORK, AND DIAL 911 FROM HIS AUTOMOBILE THAT LED TO SIX WEEKS OF HOSPITALIZATION WITH FOUR MONTHS OF EXCRUCIATING PAIN AND SUFFERING; FORCING A DEPARTURE FROM THE WORKPLACE WITH THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT REVIEWING THE CASE AND ISSUING A MONTHLY WORKPLACE INJURY STIPEND. THIS SAME GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT VIOLATED FEDERAL LAW IN 2009 AT LUCASFILM WERE REPORTED IN 2003 TO HR AT THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, SIX YEARS PRIOR, FOR APPROACHING BRENT PSYCHOTICALLY AT A GYM IN COLUMBUS, OHIO, IN REGARDS TO BEING INTRODUCED TO GUEST LECTURERS AND ALUM OF THE ACCAD PROGRAM WHILE BRENT WAS A GRADUATE STUDENT. NO ARTIST, ARCHITECT, ENGINEER, OR RIGGING TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, SHOULD EVER BE HARASSED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN THEY ARE EITHER CONCEPTUALIZING OR EXECUTING PORTFOLIO CONTENT. INEXCUSABLE. AS AN UPDATE, IN 2020, INDUSTRIAL LIGHT & MAGIC REQUESTED BRENT’S AVAILABILITY IN REGARDS TO REJOINING THE SAN FRANCISCO STUDIO.
BZP PRO ::::: SIGGRAPH & GDC BOOTHS ::::: OUTPENETRATING FACEBOOK PRE SERIES A ::::: ACQUISITION REVIEWS FOR 20 MILLION
In 2010, Brent parted ways with California and Singapore and cofounded an animation software company in Columbus, Ohio, named BZP Pro with investors in the banking industry that are alum of Harvard and Yale from Chicago, Illinois. BZP Pro is engaged with accelerator REV1 VENTURES. The LLC had booth representation at both The Game Developers Conference (GDC) and Siggraph. The animation rigging software he wrote, called The Smart Skinner, had a university penetration of 250 universities on 6 continents (due to BZP Pro’s partnership program), made the cover of a world wide magazine, and was under acquisition review several times; the last time working with a Harvard investment banker formerly from Goldman Sachs. Brent was advised to not sell the formula below 20 million dollars by an affiliate of one of the founders of ILM. With the investment banker, they were in acquisition negotiations with a Silicon Valley headquartered company worth over 100 billion dollars. Note, (Mark Zuckerberg) FACEBOOK LLC, according to reports, was at approximately 85 schools pre “Series A” investment; BZP Pro outpenetrated FACEBOOK in university acceptance in the pre “Series A” investment stage with a “freemium” business model similar to FACEBOOK LLC: “free-to-play” for collegiate users with sales through “add-ons”.
The initial marketing strategy was that universities would receive the “freemium” software for three years to be fully integrated into their curriculum. Then, upon the fourth year of the universities requesting an upgrade, they would be charged an annual subscription thereafter; with students in the classroom being able to purchase additional individual licenses. The Smart Skinner automates 80 hours of advanced character technical direction into about 20 minutes of labor with minimal cleanup at the technical level of the companies Brent was previously employed, including Industrial Light and Magic’s Oscar winning Block Party Rigging Software. Upon purchase, The Smart Skinner perpetual license is active for the current year of Autodesk Maya. When Autodesk Maya upgrades annually, the customer would need to repurchase a new Smart Skinner license. BZP Pro froze the business operation when they were under the last acquisition review with the Silicon Valley company worth over 100 billion dollars and is currently in the process of relaunching. NOTE: Brent took an extended leave of absence to take care of his terminally ill mother who passed from pancreatic cancer, as well as make his father’s house ADA compliant who is wheelchair bound with multiple sclerosis. Afterwards, while also updating the Smart Skinner pipeline and adding a pose library, Brent completed rigging prototyping work for both Sony Pictures as well as Walt Disney Feature Animation; working with his partner studio in Los Angeles. Most recently, Brent went under NDA with ADOBE, INC (Market Cap November ‘19: 142 billion) where, as an illustrator, was beta testing their design ecosystem (Photoshop) for APPLE’s IPAD PRO 2 (APPLE Market Cap November ‘19: 1.17 trillion).
FUTURE ::::: AWARDED "ONE OF THE TOP 100 PEOPLE IN TECH" BY THE CONFERENCE SPONSORED BY FACEBOOK & AMAZON
While co-operating BZP Pro with his partners, Brent will be able to continue to work on visual effects and video game blockbuster titles, and is hopeful to pursue additional advanced degrees in Business and Engineering as relates to Entertainment Technology with him already taking classes at Stanford University. He is also in the beginning stages of conceptualizing more potential venture funded IP, and most recently was recruited to be on 'The United States Presidential Task Force' assisting with public opinion given to the Office of The President of The United States of America. In 2020, he became a winner of an award at The Intercon Conference sponsored by FACEBOOK and AMAZON where he was recognized as "ONE OF THE TOP 100 PEOPLE IN TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION." Brent looks forward to lengthening his technical direction and entrepreneurial portfolio. For fun, Brent enjoys going to four star steakhouse bars to watch ESPN (although he rarely drinks alcohol); lecturing at universities around the country on the topic of video game and visual effects development; and at Starbucks, daily, sketching Frank Gehry influenced deconstructive buildings on his iPad Pro 2 (with APPLE Pencil), or Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus (with the Samsung S-Pen), using the ADOBE Design Ecosystem software. He is a fan of Ohio State Football, pulls for the The Chicago Bears in the NFC, the AFC North (Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, and Cleveland Browns) in the AFC, and affiliations of Michael Jordan. His favorite movies are Spider-Man 2, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (that is his favorite movie actually seeing it over thirty times in the theater), The Fantasia Series, and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. His favorite video games are Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Battlefront II, all by Electronic Arts for the XBOX; Spider-Man, and God of War for the PlayStation 4; and The Batman Arkham Series by Warner Bros Interactive. His favorite music acts are Pink Floyd, Seal, U2, Frank Sinatra, and Metallica. Brent’s eventual goal would to be a Chief Visual Officer at a major animation, visual effects, or video game studio similar to someone like Doug Chiang, Hideo Kojima, or John Knoll, with Mark Pincus potential: who he had the pleasure of having a brainstorming session. Companies he had in mind were PlayStation (God of War, Drake's Uncharted Fortune, Last of Us, Spider-Man), Xbox (Halo), Rockstar Games (Grand Theft Auto), Warner Bros Interactive (Harry Potter, Batman ARKHAM SERIES, The Lord of the Rings), a return to ILM (Star Wars, Marvel), and a return to Electronic Arts (Star Wars). He looks to the creative visual guidance of Peter Jackson and JK Rowling work for inspiration. Brent hopes to write a memoir one day on his own reflections and professional practices stemming from portfolio experiences as well as collegiate lecturing similar to architect Simon Wyler in the movie "The Lake House"- aS A goal Brent would hope that every three years for three months he could take a sabbatical and lecture a studio class at Harvard University in design, animATIon, or engineering.