John Textor, former Digital Domain CEO, discusses the program at FSU
9:57 AM, Jan 13, 2013
STUART, Fla. -- The former Digital Domain CEO, John Textor, is speaking out on the heels of a big announcement for some former Digital Domain employees.
At Friday's board of trustees meeting, Florida State University leaders seemed to favor keeping West Palm Beach's Digital Domain program in South Florida, despite the failure of Digital Domain Media Group and the closure of its Port St. Lucie animation studio.
The government-subsidized animation company filed for bankruptcy four months ago, on September 11.
"The characters involved have changed, but the vision for West Palm Beach remains the same," said Textor, of the Digital Domain animation program at FSU.
Textor would not go into detail about the closure of the Digital Domain Traditions studios, but he defended the company's intentions.
"More than anything in reflection over the last few months, we at the company did a very good job of focusing on our promises to the taxpayers," he said. "They gave us grants, they wanted us to train locals. 80% of our employees in our Port St. Lucie studio either had direct ties to Florida or were from the local community, and so we did that very well."
It was announced Friday that two of those former employees, Chuck Williams and Jonathan Stone, would join the faculty at the West Palm Beach-based FSU animation program.
"That's one of the nicer things to come out of this mess over the last several months, is that the artists that we brought to town have chosen to make lives here," said Textor.
Textor said his involvement now is only as a citizen, who hopes the program will remain in West Palm Beach as long as possible, unlike what happened in Port St. Lucie.
"The problem becomes trying to deliver on your promises to the community that's not always consistent with what the short term whims of an investor market might want," he said. "So I would say one of the most difficult things that we realized was trying to balance community goals with Wall Street goals."
"We did a great job of delivering on training and our promises while we were open to the community, but sometimes the goals of the investor crowd and community development are not aligned, and that's unfortunate."