Who is James Heltibridle?
Born on 29e November 1988, in North Carolina, USA, James Benjamin Heltibridle was a production designer and art director known for his work on the popular AMC series “The Walking Dead”. James’s untimely death at 10e November 2016 shocked his colleagues and ended his promising career after four years in the industry.
While there is no information about James’ high school education, we do know that the filmmaker graduated from North Carolina’s School of Arts† Notable alumni include actors Ryan Ashton, Susan Batten, and Matthew Ashford.
In 2013, James received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Production, specializing in Art Direction and Production Design. Soon after, he also took specialized courses in Visual Merchandising, SketchUp Modeling and Precision Driving.
James’ first project came in 2012, when he worked as art director on a low-budget short film shot in his home state near the city of Asheville, working under the production designer. It wasn’t a glamorous job, with the entire art department working out of a rented truck and moving to different locations, but it turned out to be infinitely valuable as a way to gain experience.
In November 2013, James moved to Annapolis, Maryland, and began working at Crate and barrel as a part-time merchandise employee, maintaining merchandise in the warehouse and store. The home furnishings retailer is a relatively small business, with approximately 5,000 employees in the United States. A hard worker, James launched his own website and posted a job role to more easily showcase his talents and network in the industry. In 2013, he also posted an art direction reel on YouTube, which has been viewed several thousand times. April of the following year brought another career switch, when James began working as an interior design intern.
His responsibilities included using 3D models and volumetric designs to facilitate communication between architects and clients, and generating research drawings that would later be sent to local permit offices. James left Maryland in May 2015 and moved to the small town of Senoia, Georgia, and spent six months as a production assistant for Stalwart Films LLC, where he assisted by working with a small crew on special effects makeup. While separating from family and friends was difficult, the move brought James one step closer to doing what he loved for a living. Things started looking up for the production designer when he was hired by Netflix in February 2016, where he worked for the teams Creature Effects Inc and Spectral Motion Inc.
At the time, James lived in Atlanta’s metropolitan area and had many more professional opportunities; unfortunately he couldn’t enjoy it for a long time because of the fatal car accident that cost him his life.
James had little social media presence and no Instagram profile, although he was active on Twitter and used the platform to discuss topics like work and politics. We also know that the art director was a big fan of gaming and technology, often entering online giveaways hoping to win 3D movie projectors, PS4s and MacBook Pros.
Geek out and left my date in the dust for a minute to take a selfie with @ChloeBennet4 on #TWDSason6Premiere With thanks pic.twitter.com/tQaIAX0p3G
— James Heltibridle (@HeltibridleCo) October 12, 2015
Just months before working with the cast of “The Walking Dead,” James attended the season six premiere and took selfies with actors Norman Reedus and Chloe Bennet. James even captioned his selfie with Chloe: “Geeked out & left my date in the dust for a minute to take a selfie with @ChloeBennet4”, referencing a possible love interest. James’ other interests were racing as the artist attended the Import Alliance Spring Meet which took place in Hampton, Georgia in April 2016. The versatile creative was always looking for new things to do, and in the months leading up to his death, he perfected the casting and casting skills that may have helped him land a job at Netflix.
Friends were also important to James, as photos from 2012 and 2013 show the art director going to breweries and archery with his friends.
After leaving the set of “The Walking Dead”, James lost his life in a fatal car accident just weeks before his 28e birthday. His former university posted about the heartbreaking incident days later, inviting fellow alumni to post online condolences to James’ family in the comments section, and provided a link to his obituary, and another to make memorial donations. Relatives and fans of James’ work posted kind messages on the tribute wall and comforted James’ mother, Susie, during the difficult time, while the crew of “The Walking Dead” devoted the ninth episode of season seven, “Rock in the Road”. . ”, to their colleague.
The episode, which aired in February 2017, sparked confusion among fans who didn’t know who James was. An article from the same month explained the significant role James played in the show, adding: “The filmmaker, who also served as production designer for short films Memoirs and Death and the Robot in 2012 and 2013, was branded one of the series”. “unsung heroes.” A Facebook group called Michael Jaegers Officially Undead Fan Site was one of the first places to announce James’ demise, posting the following: “RIP to James Heltibridle, one of our unsung heroes on “The Walking Dead” and part of our family from the film industry.
James worked at the Props Dept and was killed in a car accident last night.” Other tributes include an Instagram post from Michael Rooker, who played Merle Dixon in previous seasons of the show, with one comment from an additional reading of the series: “Damn it. James was a nice guy and a hard worker who was dedicated to his craft and worked so hard on TWD. He will be missed”.
It is difficult to calculate James’ net worth at the time of his death, but reliable sources estimate that the production designer was worth $50,000 when he worked at Netflix. Production assistants working for the streaming giant earn between $15 and $24 an hour on average.