Our VidAngel engineers are the backbone of the company! They are the ones behind the scenes making VidAngel better every day. They create and update our apps, improve the quality of our product, design new features, and iron out any bugs.
Learn more about some of our talented engineers: Jarom, Jason, Ian, Derrick, and Blake. And get answers to the burning question all our customers have: what are VidAngel engineers currently working on?
How did you hear about VidAngel?
Jarom: I was working as a professor at BYU, and VidAngel’s founder emailed me out of the blue (based on a blog post I’d written) and asked if I’d be interested in doing some programming work on an idea he had for filtering YouTube… the rest is history.
Jason: From a family member of the original founders who let me know they were looking for engineers.
Ian: I worked under Jarom (with Derrick, actually) in the Digital Humanities department at Brigham Young University. Among many other projects, one thing we did was build software that filtered content for BYU’s International Cinema program as well as for in-classroom use. Jarom eventually left to work for VidAngel. Sometime later he came across a relevant, fledgling Github project of mine and reached out to me about doing some consulting. That eventually turned into a full-time position.
Derrick: Ian told me.
Blake: I first heard about VidAngel from a friend, years ago, who wanted to use the service for a group date movie night. I thought it was neat that we could “tone down” the show so everyone would be comfortable watching. Later I became Team VidAngel during the lawsuit because the argument seemed reasonable and logical to me. Fast-forward a few more years and I became re-aware with The Chosen. Most recently, “they” called me to interview for an Engineering job and the rest was history!
How long have you been at VidAngel?
Jarom: Since 2013.
Jason: Since October of 2015
Ian: I believe the first work I did for VidAngel was back in early 2017. It hasn’t been constant by any means–for example, after Angel Studios budded off into its own company I, by default, ended up with them for a time.
Derrick: A little over a year.
Blake: Just over one year.
Why did you decide to take the job at VidAngel?
Jarom: I see VidAngel as having the ability to have a wide range of positive influences on the world. There is an enormous amount of acclaimed and impactful movies and shows, both old and new, that can be opened up to people who may otherwise want to avoid them because of certain content… I think we can have more people participating in the media landscape and it will benefit all of us culturally and creatively.
Jason: I really liked the people, the culture, and the focus of the company. I still do, by the way!
Ian: VidAngel was solving interesting problems and its employees were treated like human beings.
Derrick: Seemed like a great opportunity.
Blake: I was looking for an interesting engineering challenge with a good work/life balance. During the interview, I spoke with Bill (CEO) about how I empathize with the VidAngel mission of allowing users the choice of how they want to consume the media they own. As an avid moviegoer, I knew that I’d enjoy helping others watch the same movies I like, the way they want to see them. As a bonus, everyone I met seemed super cool and the office was right down the street. 🙂
Favorite and least favorite movie/show? Why?
Jarom: Favorite movie: Field of Dreams. Favorite TV show: Mad Men.
It’s hard to say least favorite, because I generally just completely avoid or stop watching if I really don’t like something. But most overrated movie: The Dark Knight. Most overrated tv show: The Walking Dead.
Jason: I like the early Disney classics (Mary Poppins is at the top), Saving Mr. Banks, Hook, Shawshank Redemption. Movies where the director has an inspiring message in mind in making the film. As a kid I loved Wishbone. Still love Winnie the Pooh.
I’ve never thought about [my least favorite]. Can’t say I know.
Ian: Favorite: The Swimmer (1968), starring Burt Lancaster, follows a man traveling from one neighborhood swimming pool to another on his way home. As the movie progresses, reality corrodes the facade of his relationships and standing in the community, and we see the protagonist as he truly is. It’s a dreamlike, somewhat bleak portrayal of the lies we tell ourselves and the impotent desire for constancy.
Least Favorite: A film following a silent horse from battlefield to barn and back again–War Horse (2011)–was an unnecessary addition to Hollywood’s oversaturated World War catalog. It might have had a different effect on me if I had ever in my life had an emotional bond with an animal or if I hadn’t already been desensitized to movie explosions and angry British men.
Derrick: Everything Everywhere All at Once, Barbarian, and Nope are recent movies I’ve enjoyed. I found them original and surprising.
I didn’t care for The Christmas Bunny. Not enough focus on the bunny.
I tend to steer clear of shows that would give me nightmares. The last show I watched that kept me up at night was The Black Phone!
What’s your favorite thing you’ve done at VidAngel?
Jarom: I created the original filtering engine, and still wish I could spend more time working on the streaming pieces… getting better video quality, a wider variety of filters, better experience watching a movie with filters (so it feels more seamless but still preserves the narrative), etc.
Jason: I’ve been enjoying trying to tackle the TV clients (Roku when we had it, Android TV now).
Ian: Mostly internal stuff–stuff that has never seen the light of day. If it has to do with trying to make VidAngel more reliable or faster, I have fun working on it.
Derrick: Making the phone app more user-friendly.
Blake: I really enjoyed rewriting and optimizing the filter engine server. Since it’s our core product I had a sense of pride in making it as good as possible, making changes that were the same or better as the version that carried VA up to this point.
What projects are you currently working on?
Jarom: Adding more streaming services.
Jason: All of it… But I’m most excited about some changes we’re working on to bring out better film quality and a much faster, leaner service.
Ian: My main focuses right now are new features and platforms for TV and mobile apps.
Derrick: Working with app stores to get our app updated.
Blake: Real High Definition captures with consumer streaming devices.
Our VidAngel engineers work every single day to make your experience with VidAngel better. We are excited for our customers to see what we have in store this year!