Snapshot: Brian Jackson
Occupation: I’m a software engineer, and my specialty is in DevOps. I work for Lucasfilm in a department called ILMxLAB and have been there a little over two years. ILMxLAB is the immersive entertainment group bringing Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound together to create storytelling experiences in virtual reality and mixed reality. Some of the most recent projects I’ve worked on are Droid Repair Bay, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, and the Oscar-winning Carne y Arena. I grew up wanting to be an electrician like my dad, then wanted to be an astronaut, but when I was 15, Jurassic Park came out, and I decided I wanted to work for ILM, which is the company that created those special effects. I went to college for web design/development, but fast forward 20 years later, my wife and I moved out to California, and I got a job working for Apple. Being out in San Francisco allowed me to be closer to ILM, and after working for Lucasfilm for about a year, I told my boss that my family and I would rather be in Connecticut. They were supportive and let me move back. Since then, I’ve moved into a management position and manage a small team in the specialty that we do.
Family: I have two kids. My daughter, Penelope, is the oldest. She’s 12. My son, Walter “Wally” is 9 — going on 10. My wife, Meridith, and I have been together since 1996, but we’ve been married since 2001.
Pets: We have a small parakeet named Shield. He’s been with us about five years now.
How long have you lived in Newtown? We moved to town in 2007 but moved away for two years, so it’s a total of about 9 years living in Newtown. My wife and I grew up in New Milford and graduated from New Milford High School, so being in the area close to family was important to us.
What do you like to do in your free time? I’m a hobby woodworker and like to build furniture. We have a mudroom that I created cabinetry for and a bench. Along with woodworking, I play video games to relax and have fun, both with my kids — my son loves Fortnite, my daughter loves Minecraft — and by myself. My favorite game of all time is BioShock, and I’m looking forward to Red Dead Redemption 2.
What is your favorite travel destination? We are Disney people. We go about once a year. We’re looking forward to the new Star Wars land, Galaxy’s Edge, that’s going to be opening up next year.
What is the best part about Newtown? I love the community. Some of our closest friends are folks here in Newtown.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My parents. They taught me that no dream is impossible. They fostered my dream to be an astronaut, then when I shifted gears and wanted to work for ILM they didn’t miss a beat. I’m now looking to instill that support to my own children.
If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? My dad. I love hanging out with him. Our thing is to go watch the latest movies. I think my love of movies, which is what brought me to ILM, is from him.
What is your favorite musical genre? On any day I’ll be listening to movie soundtracks. I love the music of John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, and other movie composers. My other go-to is Harry Connick, Jr.
Do you have a favorite TV show? A must-see for my family every week is This Is Us. We also like Parenthood and Friday Night Lights. I love Stranger Things on Netflix, too.
What is something you cannot live without? Disney. I love the parks, resorts, and cruises. My parents brought me as a kid, and if I thought I could never go to again I’d be crushed.
What is your proudest accomplishment? Personally, it’s being a father. I love my kids and would do anything for them. Professionally, it’s been getting the job that I currently have working for ILMxLAB, because it’s a combination of all things I love.
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