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Sarah Sweeney

CG Lighting & Compositing Artist

Years as a camper: 5 (1982-1986)

Current profession and title/years in role: CG Lighting and Compositing Artist at Sony Pictures Imageworks for 25 years

Can you provide a brief overview of your job responsibilities? I do lighting and compositing for visual effects and animated feature films. The past few years, I have solely worked on animated movies.  Lighting and compositing sit at the tail end of production. I am responsible for lighting the characters and environments after they've been set up by the other departments (such as rigging, animation, layout, cloth, texturing, etc.) and then compositing each element together like a puzzle to create the final image. 

Can you tell us about how you were first exposed to lighting design as a career possibility and what that path looked like for you? I went to film school not really knowing exactly what part of filmmaking would be my goal.  After moving to Los Angeles and working some odd jobs in the industry, I fell into a compositing role at a small animation company. From there, I worked as a compositor at a few places until I landed at Sony Pictures Imageworks, where I've worked for 20 years. At Sony, the compositors also do lighting, so I was able to learn lighting as I first started working there. My first project at Sony was the first Harry Potter movie. Most recently, I worked on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Mitchell's vs. The Machines, and Vivo. My current project, called The Sea Beast, will be out next year on Netflix.

What do you believe have been some of your greatest personal and professional accomplishments? Is there a goal toward which you are currently working? I feel I've been successful both personally and professionally. I met my husband while working at Walt Disney Studios, and we have a teenage daughter. She keeps us busy! Professionally, I am proud of the fact that I have a job that wasn't really even around when I went to college, so I learned as I went and, I think, have a pretty good reputation for doing well at what I do!

How do the values or skills you learned at Camp show up in your everyday work and/or personal life? I think the values from Camp show up every day in the things you do just as part of who you are. For example, working well with others as a team or even with other family members, having to live in close quarters and respecting each other's space. I wish I could get my daughter to keep her room clean. She needs to go to Camp Seafarer and have daily inspections!

Is there a person or a situation that had a huge influence on you while you were at Camp? How and why did they impact you? One person I remember gravitating towards when I was at Camp was Lynn Moss. She was head of Camp 3 when I attended, and she was always so happy and friendly. I also liked when she brought out her guitar and we all sang songs.

Favorite Camp food:  I liked the oven-baked toast at breakfast and the cookouts we had at the cabin twice a week.

Favorite mess hall entry song: I can't remember much about the entry songs, but I think I remember We Are Family. I also loved all the songs we sang in the mess hall. Today is a favorite.

Favorite special event at Camp: Long Cruise was always fun, and I loved the jeep rides through the muddy trails and stopping for a cold soda.

The devotion you best remember from Camp: I don't remember a specific devotion, but I do like the words we sang with Taps at night.

Three words that best describe you: Introverted, goofy, considerate