We had the good fortune of connecting with Shawn Ewashko and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shawn, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I spent most of my childhood in Queens New York. Splitting my early years between Brooklyn and Queens and then being entered into the foster care system around 13 years old. I think being placed in the system at that age is what really helped shape who I have become. Even prior to entering the system my family had dealt with homelessness and other circumstances that forced me to grow up emotionally at least much faster than most of my peers. I went on to learn so many lessons the hard way and through “tough love” which gave me the base I needed to deal with so many different people, personalities and situations. I am so comfortable being uncomfortable that I find I can thrive in any environment no mater how stressful or chaotic it may become. So many years of feeling under pressure and out of place makes it easy for me to navigate those feelings as an adult. I find those are some of the most used skills or skills I lean on the most. While most people around me in my experience are unable to really be effective in those situations I find my calm in those moments and am able to execute complex solutions because of it.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I always find it hard to talk about myself career wise. I think because visual effects is a very much behind the scenes aspect of filmmaking it makes it a little difficult for me to explain what I actually did as an artist without being overly technical. After many years as an artist though I wanted to utilize my background which were in operations, logistics and management. So as a project manager it does come a little easier. I think what set’s me apart form others would be my ability to motivate teams and connect with people on a human level in a way that gets the most out of people. Not as a supervisor or manager/employee but as a person to person management perspective where I do not see myself as below or above anyone just a part of the whole that gets a positive end result. I pride myself in being as genuine as possible. As well as being the guy who will do and has done everything by example. I never ask anything of anyone that I have not done or do myself. No job is too small for me. I will literally take the trash out and mop the floors if that is what is required that day. I like to think of the way I manage like a quarterback manages their team on the field in football. Everyone has different talents and its part of my job to make sure they are set up for success and they are being utilized in the correct way as to make the best use of their specific individual talents. I learn and grow almost daily in this position.

Today I am the project manager for multiple Star Trek shows in the Star Trek universe. Something I would NEVER had thought I would be able to say ever. I owe so much to SO many people who helped me to get to where I am in ways they probably do not even realize. From senior artists taking me under their wings to make me a better artist to facilities (visual effects houses) where I got exposed to the business side of visual effects. all the way to now with Jason Zimmerman trusting me to oversee his projects. I think what I most would want people to know about my story is that just like in the Star Trek universe, It doesn’t matter who you are, what your background is what you look like etc. You matter. You can be impactful, successful, happy. Whatever you want to be. I came from literally nothing. I probably shouldn’t be here right now. A lot of kids didn’t and don’t make it out of the system or at all where I am from.

I am so proud to be apart of the shows I am involved with. I think what I want people to take away form this at least when it comes to my current position and brand I am working for/with is that Star Trek is for EVERYONE and although I may work on non Star Trek shows occasionally and in the future THIS is what I am most proud of. The work I do here to help in this show getting made to look as good as it does for some of the most passionate fans in existence and for them to be happy with it is tremendously satisfying. No mater what I work on in the future this will always be looked upon as some of my favorite moments/times in visual effects.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well! This is kind of a hard question for me. Being in quarantine this past year has been amazing! I have gotten so much reading done and have really jumped back into music. If I had someone visiting me I would probably take them to my favorite craft beer spot (Valley beverage on Ventura blvd) pick up a bunch of beers and then listen to hip hop records the entire time! BUT, if we are talking pre or post coronavirus then of course we would have to catch an LAFC game at the Banc of California stadium. LAFC has been my family’s go to for entertainment the last few years. It really is the best in live sports in all of LA across all leagues. There are also a few Valley staples I enjoy mostly eateries. Mulberry street pizza for some of the best pizza in the Valley, Blu Jam café for brunch (They have some great vegan options). If they have never been here before then of course a trip down to Hollywood for some sightseeing as well as getting in a few hikes. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are two people who can be directly linked to my continued success. First and foremost my wife Eileen Ewashko who has stood by me for over 20 years (starting from high school sweethearts) and has supported me without exception. She is an incredibly hard worker, an amazing mother and probably one of the smartest people I know. I undoubtedly would NOT even remotely be where I am without her by my side.

Second would be Jason Zimmerman whom I have a hard time describing. I can call him my department head, or boss or supervisor but none of those things actually describe him or our relationship. Jason is more than even just my mentor professionally. He is my best friend, My family. He is one of the most selfless people I have EVER known and professionally his work ethic is unmatched. He constantly challenges me to be better. Continually pushing me and encouraging me and helping me grow and not just professionally but personally as well. I look to him often as an example of how I want to be and how I should conduct myself both in business and in life. The metaphor “steel sharpens steel” directly applies to this friendship that has evolved and lasted over ten years now.

I am eternally grateful to them both.

Instagram: @vfxshawn

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shawnewashko/

Twitter: @shawnvfx

Image Credits
Me.

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