SUU Alumnus Works on New Tolkien Series

Published: March 03, 2022 | Author: Abbie Cochrane | Category: Academics

Alumnus works on Tolkien projectEveryone and their grandparents grew up with the tale of the courageous Hobbit, Frodo Baggins written by J.R.R. Tolkien. Everyone watched the story come to the big screen in Peter Jackson’s epic The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Twenty years later, Amazon has taken on the project of shooting a The Lord of the Rings series following the story of how the Rings of Power were forged, thousands of years before Bilbo Baggins made his journey with Thorin Oakenshield and Frodo Baggins traveled to Mordor. Set to be released on Prime Video this fall, Southern Utah University alumnus Jordan Youngberg was one of the lucky ones to be involved in the revamping of one of the most famous sagas in literary and cinematic history.

Youngberg was raised in a little town called Mapleton, located outside of Provo, Utah. With a photographer mother and an engineer father, Youngberg developed his artistic interest through the technological aspect of creativity.

“My parents were very supportive of my artistic interests,” Youngberg said. “I think it was quite natural to pick a career path that referenced both.”

As he reached college-age, Youngberg wanted a place where he could intently focus on learning for the next four years of his life without distractions. SUU met the criteria and led Youngberg to earn his degree in Graphic Design and on to working in film production.

“I like working in the art department specifically because it comes early in the process to establish the vision for the production,” said Youngberg. “Film is wonderful because it allows you to get passionately involved in a short-term project. It all comes down to variety for me.”

Youngberg got involved with the latest adaptation of The Lord of the Rings for his love of movies, skills behind the camera, and having a network of contacts in the entertainment industry.

“It comes down to timing,” he said. “Developing a network within the industry is critical.”

For this project, Youngberg worked as a researcher for the art department. Since the series is based on a novel and has the reputation of the previous movies to live up to, getting key details about the fictitious world correct is of utmost importance. Researchers like Youngberg spent hours studying and piecing together all the facts about the fantastical land of Middle-earth as a reference for a production designer to figure out what they want this new rendition of the world to look like. Youngberg excelled at this due to his background in graphic design.

“I was able to use some of my knowledge in that field to work directly with the graphic artists and set designers on some of the things they were developing,” Youngberg said. “It has been a whirlwind. This was my first big production and I don’t know that I’ll see its equal in scale anytime soon.”

A project of this magnitude is something that doesn’t come along very often, and Tolkien fans everywhere are anxiously awaiting the release of The Lord of the Rings the series on Amazon Prime Video.

Students can look on the SUU Events Calendar for information about upcoming events held by the SUU College of Visual and Performing Arts. Visit the SUMA website for information about current or soon-to-open exhibits. For current or prospective students who are interested in degrees in film, theater, art, or music, check out the SUU College of Visual and Performing Arts website to learn more.


Tags: Student Alumni College of Performing and Visual Arts

Contact Information:

David Bishop
davidbishop@suu.edu