Thurston County Man Finds Success in Film Industry


Jared Potter, a Yelm resident for nearly 20 years, has found success in the film industry. 

Whether it’s animation or effects work in television shows, movies or commercials, Potter has done it all.

He recently completed his work for the movie and television remake of Beavis and Butt-Head. 

“Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe” was released to Paramount Plus’ streaming service on June 23. Potter said most of his work on the movie included 3D modeling, animation and compositing work. 

“That was a blast. It was a lot of work, but really, really fun,” Potter said. “It was a tough job, but it was super rewarding. Everything is a niche audience these days, but when Beavis and Butt-Head was marketed, it was marketed all over the place. That was super rewarding.”

Prior to his work with the movie, Potter found his big break in the film industry while he worked as a visual effects artist and later as the supervisor for the television series “Z Nation.”

The show originally appeared on the SyFy Network. The zombie series, produced in Spokane, lasted for five seasons and 68 episodes. 

“I found out about it on a Craigslist ad and I wanted to see if I could work for those guys,” Potter said. “And five seasons later, I’d say we had a blast.”

His work with Z Nation was Potter’s first “legit” project, but he got his footing with smaller jobs like local video shoots and commercials.

Potter described the work he did for Z Nation as complicated, or made of “high concepts,” which he said were challenging, yet motivating. 

“I mostly did the artwork and effects for the show,” Potter said. “There were a lot of really ridiculous, and fun visual effects, and I got to do a lot of the big, over the top stuff.”

All of the projects Potter takes on have been completed at his home office in Yelm. This year, he hopes to expand into an office space in the city and hopes to become more involved with local projects. 

In the past, he’s done a commercial for Shiplap Coffee and a video for the Nisqually Valley Barbecue Rally. 

While most of his work is completed at home, Potter said he travels to different locations for various jobs and projects as needed. He planned to leave for Arizona on Jan. 4 to work on a commercial with a credit union.

The commercial is another “high concept” project. It will feature a battle scene that “you’d see in the movies,” Potter said. While he’s in Arizona, Potter said he will supervise the set and complete the effects work later on.

At the end of January, Potter is set to travel to Utah to attend the Slamdance Film Festival as one of the representatives of a short film titled “Tooth.” He will participate in a question and answer session on the production. 

“I’ve never had this experience before, so I think it will be a lot of fun,” Potter said. “We’re all flying out there to sort of reminisce and represent the film.”

His love of movies, television and visual arts as a child have served as an inspiration for him.

“I’ve been into this field since I was a kid,” Potter said. “It was a childhood love of mine. I went to school for it and it’s been a constant for me.”

He finds a lot of his inspiration from the people he works with.

“The people that I work with, seeing their work come out almost serves as a healthy competition for me,” Potter said. “It’s fun to see the people that I work with succeed and it keeps me wanting to learn new things or meet new people. I really get hyped up about the work my friends do and the people I meet along the way. That keeps me going for sure.”

He added that a lot of what he does with his job is problem solving. People will go to Potter with a “crazy” idea, which he typically accepts without hesitation. 

“Almost every time a crazy idea comes across, I’ll say ‘yeah we’ll do it,’ or ‘yeah we’ll figure it out.’ By the time we get to my part, I’ve figured out how to make their concepts work,” Potter said. “That’s my favorite part. I love learning new skills and figuring out how to make people’s ideas come to life. I love the creative thinking.” 

Potter thanked his family who has provided him support along his journey. 

“I’ve been here for 20 years now and they’ve always been very supportive,” Potter said. “My mom, my brother, and my wife now — they’re all very, very supportive. I love that and I like to do the same for them.”