Torin Jessie
of Navarro County, Texas


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5/1/2004 Top of His Game: CHS graduate making mark in world of animation


By DEANNA PAWLOWSKI/Daily Sun Staff

From Corsicana High School art student, to executive producer of a full-length animated feature film.

Torin Jessie, born and raised in Corsicana, is working with Marlon Jackson (of the Jackson family) on the film. Jessie has his own company called Tactical Graphics, Inc., which does traditional advertising, interactive media, web design, 3-D animation and television commercials. Jessie has designed logos for Jackson, Evander Holifield, Chris Tucker, MBC Entertainment and Zales, among others.

After designing some logos for Jackson's company, Vabritmar Entertainment, Jackson e-mailed photos of some animated characters he'd been developing.

"I read the background on the characters, which Marlon had developed about 10 years ago," Jessie said. "Marlon asked me if we could do a full 3-D, feature-length movie like 'Toy Story.' "

After many sketches and color sketches, Jessie put the lead character in 3-D model, and drove the presentation to California himself, because he didn't trust putting it on a plane.

"We have six films now -- two are mine, and four are Marlon's," he said. "The loose title is 'Kid Koolin & The Crew,' and I'm the executive producer."
Jessie was born in Corsicana, and raised by grandparents Lucion and Gussie Jessie. His parents, brothers, sisters, aunt, uncles and grandparents still reside in Corsicana.

"My Uncle Lucion Jessie III is the person who supported me in my business ventures," Jessie said. "When I needed help or consulting, he would give me advice."

After graduating from CHS in 1984, Jessie was a graphic communication major at University of Texas at Arlington. There, he met wife Cassandra, and they are the parents of Temassia T. Rooks, who attends Tyler Junior College; Jasmine, 10 years old; Celeste, 7; and David, 11 months old. The Jessies reside in Cedar Hill, and Cassandra is employed by Tax Saver Plan in Dallas.

"I got into advertising by chance," Jessie said. "While I was at UTA, I saw an ad in the paper for Ash-Allmond Associates in Arlington, and went to work for them. I then hired on with Meyer & Johnson in Dallas, where they started me at an intern level. I had my own team within two years, which taught me I could do anything I wanted to do."

While at Meyer & Johnson, Jessie learned to communicate with clients, learned what they expected, and went from traditional print advertising to more complex advertising.

"I learned at the company, but I'm mostly self-taught," he said.

Jessie started Tactical Graphics in 1993, then incorporated and franchised. He established a relationship along the way with a company called Computer Animated Technology out of Dallas, which had a 3-D program called Lifeway. The company has since changed its name to McJammin Films, and has the capability to make the complete animated movie in-house, do the music in-house, and make a toy of the lead character in-house.

"I've had a relationship with this company the last six years," Jessie said. "I am the conduit between McJammin Films and Vabritmar Entertainment. My company is the contracted agent for McJammin Films."

And while Marlon Jackson is working on the animated feature film, animated features normally take two to three years to complete.

"If you try to get it done within a year, you're pushing it," Jessie said.

"It's cool -- I like it. It's going the way I want it to. I'm just working to make the business grow -- and now am dealing directly with the owners."

Jessie's very first commercial was for the cartoon "DragonBallZ," which he shot in two weeks, and aired on the Cartoon Network. Marlon Jackson now wants to start a software company with Jessie at some point in the future.

Jessie's uncle, Ben Jessie, also in his CHS graduating class of 1984, has signed up for the 20-year reunion this month. Torin Jessie is non-committal regarding the reunion at this point.

"I might attend the reunion," he said. "Film production begins soon."
 

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Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox