Meet Jayme LaFleur! Media Developer located at our Texas office.
Tell us about yourself!
I grew up in the small town of Manistee, MI which is located on Lake Michigan. At a young age, I absolutely loved coloring and I won first place in a coloring contest from our local newspaper, competing against kids 3 years older than me. Since I was five years old, I dreamed of being a doctor, but found throughout the years that I was terrified of blood and needles. At the ripe age of 13, I decided that being a doctor was probably not for me, due to my own fears. However, while visiting the doctor one day, I noticed the posters of illustrated anatomy on the office walls. I realized that someone had to be drawing these detailed scientific diagrams, and it was then that I decided to pursue the study of medical and scientific illustration. I had a wonderful art teacher in high school and incredibly supportive parents which really pushed me to follow my dreams.
I went to the University of Michigan and majored in Science Illustration, with a secondary study in Premed. While there, I went on a field trip to the Everglades and Okefenokee Swamp, where I hiked over 60 miles, and drew, photographed, and documented various species of plants and animals in the region. After college, I moved to Dallas to attend The UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Biological Communications program, which focused on Medical Illustration. While there, I studied and attended all of the same classes that the doctors did, and I was required to attend surgeries and draw the surgeries to help teach the doctors specific procedures or techniques which helped me conquer my fear of blood and needles. My biggest accomplishment was that I only fainted once in medical school, and I still can’t believe I did all that just to learn how to draw better.
How did you hear about Edmentum and the position?
In October 2010, I was working for another company and was contacted by a former coworker. There was a need for an artist on Edmentum’s creative team. I found out that three other coworkers, whom I had also previously worked with, were already working on the same team. Therefore, joining a team with people I already knew I worked incredibly well with was a no-brainer for me!
What are you and your department responsible for?
I am on the Creative Services team within Curriculum. It’s hard to drill down a specific thing we are responsible for because we’ve worked with so many groups within the company by assisting in audio production, animation, green screening and videography, creative writing and design, gaming, and even a graphic novel. We are probably best known for our work on the Study Island “Castaways” and “Channels Cruise” interactive cartoon lesson series, as well as our custom video lessons for Plato Courseware. Within those projects, I am responsible for the visual design of the cartoon characters, and set design, graphic design, as well as video production, special effects, and Plato Courseware’s animated openings. At some point, everyone on our team has gotten into the audio booth and done many voiceovers for both cartoon characters and general lesson narration. Our brain storming sessions can be very fun for us! However, while a lot of our work might seem purely a fun time to others, it can be a very demanding area of focus. It takes some real discipline to be able to switch back and forth from a right-brained perspective in order to go between different projects.
What interests you about the field that you are in?
I love being able to educate people through art. Teaching kids through fun cartoons and entertaining videos definitely seems a little removed from teaching doctors and the illustrating of scientific concepts that I studied towards, but I’ve found it to be a very rounding experience. It is also more rewarding! I really enjoy figuring out new ways to visually portray our projects and I am hoping that someday we can also bring some 3D animation into the mix!
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?
I recently saw some photos of kids in elementary school, standing next to life sized replicas of the characters I visually designed for the Study Island “Castaways” interactive cartoon video lessons. It feels good to know that kids are actually attaching to work I have done and it’s that important to them. I would say that takes a close second to working with the people on my team.
I have an amazing manager who really understands how to orchestrate the productivity of a creatively minded team. It’s hard to find someone who does this so well, because working from a creative stance is definitely a different dialect. Even creative people can have a hard time directing other creative people, but he has executed his position flawlessly, and understands how to let a creative mind flow without restrictions. My coworkers are very gifted creative writers and definitely bring the laughs out in all of us who work on the visual aspects of the videos which are composed from their scripts. From my 15 years of experience, it is very rare to find a creative team that blends with each other and compliments each other so well. We often already know what each other is thinking without asking many questions and you just don’t find this kind of collaboration every day. There is immense respect for each other and each other’s roles.
What activities are you interested in outside of work?
Baking is a passion of mine and I tend to bring lots of things into the Dallas office for people to eat. I love to bake because I enjoy seeing something small make someone smile. It’s an easy way to make someone’s day better and allows me to get away from doing just art as a creative outlet. One of the most fun things I baked was for a coworker’s birthday. He requested something in the theme of Elvis, so I made some banana cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, raspberry filling, and slices of candied bacon on top.
What are your professional goals?
I have a short term goal of trying to get the creative writers to do a lesson incorporating a Julia Child-like flair. I’d love to do a voice over imitating her! My ultimate goal is to one day open my own multimedia production studio, but that is well off into the future. However, if for any reason this art thing doesn’t pan out, I’d also be tempted to open a bakery.