PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- For more than two years, Aaron Blaise and Chuck Williams have led a team of 120 animators at the Digital Domain studio in Port St. Lucie.
"The last two years of our career have literally been the best two years of our career," said Blaise.
The former Disney animators came to the Treasure Coast for their careers, and together, were directing the latest Digital Domain Media Group animated film project, "The Legend of Tembo."
"We left Los Angeles to come back here," explained Williams. "Back to home, back to Florida to make films on the level of Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Bluesky, great films like those studios put out."
The two have decades of experience with Disney, working as supervisors of animation for such films as The Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. Both animators said working for Digital Domain was a dream come true, until Friday's news of a company closure blindsided them and the other 280 employees show who were let go. Williams said this is where they want to stay.
"I'm from Stark, Florida, up north, and Aaron is from Naples," Williams said. "So this is coming home. This is where our family is. I went to Florida State, he went to Ringling, and we brought a lot of Florida people back."
Williams said after starting with Digital Domain Media Group from the ground-up, he was shocked by the company's Port St. Lucie closure.
"We love this community," said Williams. "We're so sad that DD studio is temporarily, hopefully, closed down. But we love living here, we want to be a part of it, and our hope is to someday open up that studio again."
Blaise said they've been working the phones non-stop since Friday, trying to contact other animation companies who may want to work with them.
"It broke our heart when the doors closed, but we're going to find a way," he said.
Legend3D, another well-known media group, is looking to hire former Digital Domain employees with their specialized skills.
To apply, visit Legend 3D's careers website http://www.legend3d.com/careers , or for more information call Legend 3D's HR at 858-793-4420 (ext 125).