A native Californian, David Tanaka attended the University of California at Berkeley where in 1989 he earned his bachelor's degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Film Theory. Upon graduating, he worked for post-production facilities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, quickly gaining experience through corporate advertising and industrial documentary assignments.
In 1990, he joined Industrial Light & Magic, Lucas Digital Ltd., and served as a Senior Visual Effects Editor for fifteen years. His credits include Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump and Star Wars. In 2005, he accepted a Staff Post-Production Editor position for Pixar Animation Studios, handling trailer, international and marketing post-production pipeline matters on Cars, Ratatouille, WALL•E, Up, Toy Story 3, Cars 2 and Brave.
In his spare time, David freelance edits on film productions and documentaries in collaboration with colleagues from the independent filmmaking scene, as well as major institutions such as the UCSF Medical Center. He is also an established commercial filmmaker in his own right, having produced and directed several public service announcements for non-profit foundations, such as Swords to Plowshares: A Veterans' Rights Organization and the Slide Ranch nature conservancy. In 2012, he also directed and co-produced the Mill Valley Film Festival's 35th Anniversary trailer.
In addition, he is a Group Directed Studies instructor for the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, where he mentors graduate students from the School of Motion Picture and Visual Effects Production, lending his professional and personal guidance to the next generation of aspiring filmmakers and visual effects artists.
In 2007, David was elected to the board of the Visual Effects Society's Northern California Section. In 2011 he was elected as Sectional Chairman and sincerely looks forward to the social and professional opportunities the Visual Effects Society provides for his fellow colleagues in the entertainment industry.
Father of two (Mitchell, age 13, and Benjamin, age 10), he loves sharing the craft of film production, editing and visual effects with his family in the form of personal video projects and online challenges. Over the past few years, they have won international acclaim for internet competitions sponsored by Dreamworks Entertainment, Paramount Pictures and the Pepsi Corporation. All in the name of fun, David enjoys exposing his sons to not only the rewards, but also the hard work associated with his craft, while they together explore the ever-evolving frontier of multimedia.
In addition to the Visual Effects Society, David is also an honorary member of Swords to Plowshares: A Veterans' Rights Organization for his psa producing contributions.