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Alex Jaeger

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Alex Jaeger
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Alex Jaeger

Birth name: Alexander M. Jaeger
Gender: Male
Date of birth: 22 March 1973
Place of birth: Clarion, Pennsylvania
Roles: Visual Effects Art Director

Alexander "Alex" M. Jaeger (born 22 March 1973; age 41) is a long-time employee at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). He has worked on two Star Trek films thus far. First, he was the Visual Effects Art Director for concept design and animatics on Star Trek: First Contact. Over a decade later, he served as ILM's Visual Effects Art Director on 2009's Star Trek.

Having studied Automotive Design in Detroit for two years, Jaeger transferred to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, after he got acquainted with the visual effects work of movie production illustrators like Syd Mead, Ron Cobb and ILM's Joe Johnston of Star Wars fame, very much wanting to combine the two crafts and wanting to work in the motion picture industry. He later recalled, "What I knew then of an artist was somebody who lives in a cruddy old loft in New York trying to sell a painting here and there. When I discovered the field of industrial design, I thought here’s a field that allows me to not only do artwork, but it’s practical artwork. I looked around, and didn’t just go into it blindly and said, hey, I’m going to be an artist. I actually looked for fields that would utilize the skills that I would need." [1] Graduating in December 1994, he was hired as model maker and concept/storyboard artist at ILM less than two months later. After being shown Jaeger's designer portfolio, Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll appointed Jaeger less than a year later as Visual Effects Art Director for the upcoming First Contact feature.

Jaeger had only just turned 22 when he was offered the lofty position, one of the youngest to achieve such, and for some time has been very self-conscious of this fact, "Now First Contact was my very first Art Directing job, before that I was a model maker in the ILM model shop. I was also only 22 years old at the time and was jumping head first into an already rich world deep in traditions fine artists and some hard science, so I was fully aware there were many eyes watching me very close. Waiting for me to fail…" [2], and at a birthday party a year later, "It was definitely a trial by fire, because I knew there were a lot of people who had gone through the proper channels and slaved their way up, and were looking at me with these heated eyes, saying, "Who are you and why are you doing this? We’re just waiting for you to fail!" Mark Moore, my art department manager, saw the "2" and the "3" on the cake and said, "Hey, aren’t those backwards?" and I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "Aren’t you 32?" I told him, no, I was 23, and he said "You are so fired!!"" [3]

On First Contact, Jaeger was principally responsible for the Borg battle at the beginning of the film. He designed several new CGI models for the film, including the Akira-class, Steamrunner-class, Saber-class, and Norway-class, the first one being his favorite. [4] Jaeger was interviewed for the special feature "Industrial Light & Magic: The Next Generation" on the 2009 DVD release of Star Trek: First Contact.

When Jaeger first joined ILM, he worked as a model maker on such films as Congo (1995) and Mission: Impossible (1996). First Contact was his first project as a Visual Effects Art Director. Jaeger's other credits in this role have included Starship Troopers (1997), Galaxy Quest (1999), Pearl Harbor (2001), and Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002). More recently, he worked on The Island (2005), Mission: Impossible III (2006), and Transformers (2007), all of which were written by Star Trek scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.

Jaegar has also worked as a concept and storyboard artist for ILM on films such as Men in Black (1997), Spawn (1997, produced by Todd McFarlane), and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003). In addition, he was lead concept designer on the 2003 film Hulk, which, like Star Trek, starred Eric Bana.

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