Friday, May 25, 2018
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Kirk Baird


Northview grad gives charge to 'Turbo'


Jacquelyn Dean


Turbo is the story of the little gastropod that could, as the blazing-fast snail for which the movie is named enters the Indianapolis 500. 

Turbo’s assistant editor and former Sylvanian Jacquelyn Dean describes the film as being “about finding the people in your life that motivate you to accomplish your dreams. [Turbo is] an ordinary garden snail who’s always dreamed of racing. He’s always been an outcast in the garden and when he has a freak accident [that gives him his speed], he then starts a journey to accomplish his goal, racing in the Indy 500. It really is a true underdog story.”

The hero’s underdog status is not unlike the film itself, which opened Wednesday in a summer movie season with two major animated hits already, Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University.

“It is a very crowded summer,” Dean said in a recent phone interview from her home in Los Angeles. “Usually there are two to three animated films. This summer it’s six. But Monsters University and Despicable Me 2 are sequels. What we have going for us is an original, fresh story and I hope people gravitate toward that.” 

Dean has been involved with Turbo since July 4, 2010, helping guide the film from initial storyboard phase and early sound recordings, through numerous script rewrites and cast voiceover sessions with stars like Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Samuel L. Jackson, and Snoop Dogg, and finally overseeing quality control of the movie in its digital, film, and international formats hours before its release.

“I’m the last man standing on the job,” she said.

Born in Toledo and raised in Sylvania, the Northview High School graduate, class of 2001, went to Columbia College Chicago to major in film. She left for L.A. at 21 and found work as a post-production assistant on Eli Roth’s 2005 low-budget horror film Hostel.

“I didn’t know anyone. I just took my chances,” Dean said. “I was really lucky to get that job.”

Her big break paid $500 a week and required 70-hour work weeks. Two years later, she was accepted into the Motion Picture Editors Guild, which led to better opportunities, including assistant editor on 2008’s Oscar-nominated drama Frost/Nixon and 2009’s Angels & Demons, the sequel to The Da Vinci Code. Both films were directed by Ron Howard.

“Working for Ron Howard was a little overwhelming at first,” she said. “He’s such a wonderful guy, he ran such a great crew. I was really blessed to be working with him.”

Next for Dean is a DreamWorks Animation project that she can’t talk about it, other than to say it will require another three-year commitment on her part beginning in September. She’ll also have a new title to go with the film: lead assistant editor.

Until then, there’s little for her to do but wait for audience reaction to Turbo. Oh, and plan a wedding.

Yes, in addition to the madness that comes with the final post-production months of a major summer release, Dean has been arranging her August wedding and honeymoon.

“It’s been really busy,” the 30-yearold said Wednesday. “Today is my last day on Turbo. I’m really struggling to finish and archive the show, and then I can focus on the wedding. But it will be good. I’m looking forward to it.”

Contact Kirk Baird at or 419-724-6734.

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