By Rachel Ambelang
Baylor alumnus Doug Rogers came to speak with Baylor theater, film and digital media and art students Sept. 15, recounting his incredible life story.
His journey encompasses everything from playing roles in the Shakespeare Festival in Los Angeles, to a dream job at Dreamworks Animation Studios, to designing the new castle for the first Disney park in Shanghai, China.
Roger’s passion for art design and theatre began at Baylor where he took classes in both. After graduating, Rogers went on to receive his Master’s Degree from Yale University in theater. Rogers said his experience at Yale helped shape him as an artist; his professors there pushed him to think outside the box..
Rogers credits his experience in theatre as what set him apart from others with more experience when Dreamworks approached him with a job offer: to become the Art Director of the (then) new film, Shrek. The studio was looking for someone who knew how to make the setting look like a theatrical stage.
Terry Roller, professor of art, said of Rogers’s good fortune, “The fact [is] that he had a love for theater and a love for art and the two came together.”
Rogers has worked with Dreamworks and Disney, two companies that defined the typical 90s childhood, in addition to collaborating with big names like Steven Spielberg and John Lasseter.
When one student asked how Rogers got the opportunity to work with Disney, he laughed and said he was not sure why, but Disney asked to work with him. Rogers quickly became a hero to each of the students in the room as he spoke casually about working on well-known movies.
He acted as the art director, responsible for the literal “look” of different settings for films such as Shrek, Shark Tale, The Princess and the Frog, and Tangled. He also worked on the new movie Puss in Boots, which is to be released on Nov. 4th of this year.
The students had the opportunity to listen as Rogers explained the ideas for the movies’ settings developed from his incredible drawings to the computer generated images we see in the completed film, offering students a crash course in moviemaking.
During the presentation, Rogers showed his mischievous side by revealing that in one of the scenes of Shrek he placed a series of numbers across a sign in the background that, when decoded, spells out “I hate the University of Texas.”
Rogers advised the students to cherish their education. He refers to his Baylor education as the greatest gift he ever received, much better than a school specializing in theater or art.