Meet the Winner of the 2011 Digital Media Student of the Year Award, Justin “Jay” Trumbull

Justin “Jay” Trumbull discovered the FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising during a whirlwind trip to Los Angeles from New Mexico with his girlfriend in 2008. Three years later, he found himself on stage at the Staples Center, accepting the Digital Media Student of the Year Award at FIDM’s 2011 graduation ceremony. Read about the path that led Trumbull from his previous career as a hotelier, to a recent graduate of FIDM’s Digital Media program, and current Games Coordinator at The Ant Farm, a leading entertainment and advertising agency.

(Watch Jay’s demo reel below)

Justin "Jay" Trumbull Headshot( Tell us about your professional background.

(Trumbull) “Previously, I was a hotelier, managing hotels for 15 years. I had become very successful in this industry, and had traveled to many places, saw some amazing things and met some very interesting and amazing people.  I had always wanted to attend art school, but it was not an option financially.  Local college with traditional degrees is what I settled for. This was a mistake–never settle!  I had done well at a traditional college, graduating Cum Laude, and went on to have my hand in almost every brand-name hotel, touching almost every department.  Although I was doing very well for myself, I just was not happy.  I had been putting away money since I graduated high school, giving myself a [financial] goal.  When I reached this goal, I would move to the city of my choice and attend the school of my choice. In 2008, I was near reaching this goal and decided to just do it.”

How did you hear about FIDM? What made you interested in the Digital Media program?

“I had never heard of FIDM until 2008.  My girlfriend had wanted desperately to go to a fashion college and we took a four-day weekend trip from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Los Angeles– nonstop with no sleep for the first 48 hours to visit FIDM… (she was just so excited to get here).  I did not take this trip very seriously until we were meeting with a FIDM Admissions Advisor who noticed an old Ricoh SLR camera hanging around my neck. She took me down to meet with the Director of Digital Media, Gene LeBrock, and he quickly picked up on my passion for the field.  I talked in detail with him about what was entailed and immediately found my purpose.”

Jay Trumbull Quote

How does it feel after earning your degree?

“It feels very rewarding knowing I did this all on my own for reasons that are mine.  Knowing the intensity of the program, I feel damn good that I completed it and very proud graduating with the honors I did. But, sad at the same time knowing that a large part of my life– the reason I’m even in this town– is over.  I will miss every aspect of FIDM, with the exception of the all-nighters due to slow render times, and new viral videos posted on certain networking cites that distracted me.”

Trumbull Reel SamplesWhat were some of the most valuable skills that you learned in the Digital Media program?

“Mostly technical, however my favorite skill was being able to give back.  Learning the material well enough to teach it back to my fellow classmates that needed the additional assistance was the most valuable.”

What area would you like to pursue career-wise?

“I am sooooo new to the industry and I love every facet of this field. I really don’t know where I want to go ultimately.  I do know I love watching my visions come to life, so creative director seems suitable for me.”

How did it feel to earn the Digital Media Student of the Year award?

“I was extremely surprised and very honored to accept this award.  My particular group of peers are the most talented group of individuals I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, and working next to, therefore any one of us were a great candidate for this.”

Are there any websites or designers that inspired/inspire you?

“I tried to pull inspiration from myself.  I always have my eyes open absorbing everything I can.  Christopher Guest is an inspiration to my storytelling and editing. His smart, subtle humor reaches out to me.  Pixar is another inspiration for my visual techniques.  I try to make every moment very crisp, and clean with lots of detail.  Of course, I fall short of these greats, but it feels good to know my work is pointing their way.”

Congratulations, Jay!

Justin "Jay" Trumbull Reel

Watch Jay’s editing, sound and motion graphics skills in the video below:

Questions/comments? Email the editor, Mani O’Brien at mo’




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Author: Mani O'Brien

Mani O’Brien is the Online Editor for the FIDMDigitalArts Blog and the Social Media Marketing Manager for FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 2006, and Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design (Professional Designation) at FIDM in 2010. When she’s not brainstorming social media marketing ideas or writing about the graphic design and digital media, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading magazines, and hanging out with friends and family in Los Angeles.

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