From the Bayou to the Big Screen: How Local Startup Pixel Dash Went National


When Jason Tate began Pixel Dash Studios with his co-founder Evan Smith ten years ago, he couldn’t have predicted the growth and success of his startup. Pixel Dash recently completed work on a project involving two house-hold names: Scoob! and the Masked Singer. The advertisement, starring everyone’s favorite cartoon canine, features Pixel Dash’s 3D recreation of the Masked Singer set.

A decade of dedicated work skyrocketed Tate’s tech startup to higher and higher profile projects. “We had no idea where we would end up when we started,” Tate says. “But now we’re working with well-known brands and have clients on the national stage.”

Here’s how connections and community propelled Pixel Dash to the national level.

Identify Your Path Forward

Pixel Dash began as a team of two, but Tate knew how he wanted his company to grow. They spent time working on their own video game passion projects and supplemented it with work-for-hire from local companies. “Most of our work before this project was local to Louisiana,” Tate says. Over the years, Tate and his team built out an impressive portfolio consisting of video games, simulations and 3D animations.

But Tate knew he wanted to get into the VR and film space. “Louisiana has a large film industry, but they’d never crossed over into interactive media,” Tate says. “That was a space we wanted to get into.” Tate was persistent in building industry connections and gained diverse experiences from his work-for-hire projects. “As we built our portfolio and expertise over the years, we were able to level up,” Tate says.

Seek Out the Right Connections

The nature of Pixel Dash’s work lends itself to making connections across other industries. Tate and his team provide the digital component to larger projects. For the Scoob! and Masked Singer project, Pixel Dash collaborated with Dan Clifton of Top Right Corner

“Being part of a very small industry, we know everybody,” Tate says. He met Dan Clifton, a movie producer who splits his time between Hollywood and New Orleans, a couple of years ago. “His big idea is to bring virtual reality and other interactive media to film and television,” Tate says. This single connection fostered Pixel Dash’s move into interactive media and brought them to the national level. 

Tate and his team were excited to work with Clifton, who helped bridge the gap between their existing work and the interactive media space they wanted to get into. Their first collaboration with Clifton and Top Right Corner was on the Child’s Play 360 VR Experience, released last year. “That went very well and led to the next opportunity with the Masked Singer,” Tate says.

Create Your Own Community

Tate and his team don’t just make connections: They create community. Tate spends his spare time advising video game and digital media companies at Tech Park, heading up the local chapter of the International Game Developers Association, and helping universities grow their digital media programs.

“Our goal from the start was not just growing as a company,” Tate says. “It was about building the local industry and making Louisiana a place where people want to do this type of work.” Ultimately, Tate’s goal is to unite the graphics and VR industry players across Louisiana. “Even being a small market, it’s interesting how well connected Louisiana can be to the larger industry,” Tate says. “By having all these connections in the state, we’re able to expand nationally.”

MS Scoob VFX/Virtual Set Breakdown from Top Right Corner on Vimeo.

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