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Did you know what your career path would be in high school?  I know that I didn’t.  At the time, I was determined to become a famous Hollywood actor, complete with fast car, posh house, fame, and paparazzi entourage.

Not a lot of forethought went into that decision.  I didn’t know the statistics of breaking into the Hollywood Scene. And even if by some twist of fate my impressive talents were discovered, I had no idea what it took to become a Hollywood actor:  Finding the right agent, the long hours of patiently waiting on the set, the months of character study and rote memorization.  My decision was not very well informed.

But here in the greater Portland area there is a program whose purpose is to give students the opportunity to discover their career path.  The School to Work Job Shadow Program helps to connect High School students with workplaces in order to allow them exposure to real life work environments.

It was thanks to this program that on January 27 a very special guest visited Hinge Digital.  Jessephine, a junior at Hillsboro High School, arrived early for her appointment to tour the studio and job shadow our artists.  She visited with each department in order to get a feel for what was involved in daily life at a CG animation and visual effects studio.

I can only imagine that walking into a workplace where you know no one and the job descriptions of those within had yet to be defined would be daunting.  It takes a certain amount of bravery to take that first step into the unknown, and Jessephine handled it with great grace and initiative.

In the course of the tour we had discovered that Jessephine’s true passion lay more in the drawing and design elements of animation.  She asked pertinent questions and maintained an attentive, patient demeanor.

Throughout the tour, Jessephine was engaged and excited about the experience.  Her enthusiasm was apparent, especially during the interview.  We learned that she draws inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh, and she mentioned that she was hoping to attend art school here in Portland after graduating from high school exploring her opportunities at community college.

One of our core values at Hinge Digital is to help grow the animation production industry in Portland, and throughout Oregon. We do this through speaking engagements, studio tours, as guest lecturers at art school critiques and portfolio shows, and through the studio’s internship program. The School to Work Job Shadow Program allowed us to reach young aspiring artist, and help inform her career path.  Although we didn’t bust out the Nerf guns that we can occasionally use around here to release tension, we had a really good time.  What we got out of it was an opportunity to inspire, that good feeling that comes with opening the eyes of a bright young mind, and perhaps a little nostalgia for an artistic youth that could have been any of us a decade (or a few) ago.

by Marc Leuschner

If you would like more information on the Job Shadow Program, you can contact the Hillsboro School to Work Program at

One Comment

  • miriam chantland says:

    I would love to do a job shadow with you because I’m looking for a place to do my physical application required for my senior project. I need a game plan and I was hoping I could job shadow for film acting. When I saw film acting I mean acting on camera instead of in a theater performed live.

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