Making a splash at Universal Studios Japan

Making a splash at Universal Studios Japan

Pérez was normally intrigued in the carrying out arts as nicely as the sciences, but he didn’t think entertainment was a feasible vocation selection when he was in substantial faculty. MIT modified his intellect.

Growing up in Miami as a first-era Cuban-American, Pérez considered it an act of insurrection to leave Florida. He hunted for a free of charge system a person summer and transpired upon Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science, MIT’s six-week science and engineering application for soaring high school seniors. “I liked Boston, Cambridge, MIT. So soon after that, I considered I’d undoubtedly go to MIT, absolutely turn into an engineer,” he claims.

He began studying civil engineering as an undergrad, but soon he was spending all his absolutely free time in MIT’s theater groups—Musical Theatre Guild, Shakespeare Ensemble, Dramashop, and Teatro Latino, a team he spearheaded that developed plays in English and Spanish.

“Dan threw himself into just about every possibility in theater at MIT that came his way—be it doing, developing, or creating,” suggests Sara Brown, an affiliate professor of Music and Theater Arts. “By subsequent his curiosity, he uncovered a unique way to deliver jointly his passions in theater and engineering.” 

Brown encouraged Pérez to pursue the arts far more critically, and he ended up double-majoring in civil engineering and theater arts—fields with some surprising overlaps. “Both are about people who are professionals in their fields coming together to do a project that betters humanity in some way,” says Pérez, regardless of whether the ultimate merchandise is a bridge or a parade. “In one particular you’re chatting about steel and concrete in the other, lights or costumes or glitter—but it is nevertheless identical.”

After graduation, Pérez went to Yale’s University of Drama and acquired a master of good arts diploma in complex style and design and manufacturing. Then he took a occupation at Hudson Scenic Studios, a theatrical automation and surroundings production shop. Whilst at Hudson, Pérez had the opportunity to get the job done on topic park projects all over the world—including Asia—and in 2016, he joined Universal Studios Japan as innovative supervisor.

Just a number of decades afterwards, having said that, the pandemic struck a devastating blow to the amusement business. Universal Studios Japan closed for numerous months, and when it reopened, Pérez and his group were tasked with incorporating new protection protocols at the park—for instance, altering horror sights to avert deal with-to-facial area screaming. 

Thankfully, Pérez—who was promoted to vice president in March 2022—enjoys getting on novel difficulties. “That’s how I ended up in this job path,” he suggests, circling again to his time at MIT. “Because I received to try out new factors in performing arts, I was capable to uncover this area of interest for myself.”

Pérez is a extensive way from Florida now, but he says he hopes his career provides him back there 1 working day. “I’ve experienced so much chance to do so quite a few amazing jobs all over the planet, but I nevertheless come to feel I have not supplied back again to my group, to my roots,” he suggests. “My desire is to make anything like the Cirque du Soleil of Miami—something genuinely excellent and wonderful in my hometown.”