The Allan McKay Podcast

Brad Alexander is a co-founding partner at HALON Entertainment, a full-service visualization company that provides a state-of-the-art platform of cutting edge technology, to bring their clients’ creative vision on screen. Brad has worked on such legendary features as War of the Worlds, Transformers, World War Z; as well as spent 4 years as a CG Supervisor on James Cameron’s Avatar

Prior to co-founding HALON, Brad studied at Full Sail in Florida; but before graduating, he was recruited by George Lucas work on previs for Star Wars, Episodes II and III, as well as the George Lucas Director’s Cut of THX 1138 at JAK Films. Since then, Brad has collaborated with world-class filmmakers across the industry to help create some of cinema’s most compelling stories.

Brad has partnered with Ang Lee as the primary Previs Supervisor on the Academy Award winning feature Life of Pi. He has supervised Snow White and the Huntsman; previs and postviz supervised Star Trek Into Darkness with J.J. Abrams. When work started on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Brad again teamed up with Abrams to supervise both the U.S. and U.K. teams. More recently, Brad has supervised on Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

In this Episode, Brad talks about the importance of passion in one’s career; as well as his experience of working and collaborating with directors like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Ang Lee. 

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/145/.

 

Direct download: ep145_BradAlexander_mixdown.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Founded in 2002 by partners Berj Bannayan, Allan Magled and Mike Mombourquette, Soho VFX began as a boutique studio. From the beginning, the studio's specialty was the production of high quality photo-realistic visual effects. In 2005, Soho VFX landed itself a leading visual effects role: the creation of the elastic Mr. Fantastic in Marvel's The Fantastic Four. Since then, Soho VFX has helped superheroes come to life in several other Marvel productions.

In 2007, Soho VFX expanded its facilities again in order to take on almost 200 shots for The Incredible Hulk. The studio's success on this blockbuster project propelled it to become a world-renowned visual effects house. 

Since then, Soho VFX has continued to produce top-quality visual effects, contributing to many box office hits, including: Logan, Tomb Raider, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Revenant, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and many more. *

In this Podcast, Berj Bannayan talks about his background in computer science and software development; the launch of Soho VFX and the lessons they’ve learned along the way -- and the massive projects they’ve tackled.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/144/.

 

* Bio Written By: Soho VFX

Direct download: ep144_BerjBannayan_mixdown.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Ivo Klaus is a VFX Supervisor who has been working at Scanline VFX in Munich, Germany for over 13 years. He has worked on and supervised such large budget feature films like Tomb Raider, Transformers: The Last Knight, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Snowpiercer, Looper, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, 300 -- and many, many more.

In this portion of his interview with Allan McKay, Ivo talks about the importance of having a generalist background, scripting experience, problem solving and other skills essential for a successful VFX Artist.

To listen to the other Episode with Ivo, please visit www.allanmckay.com/136/.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/143/.

Direct download: ep143_ivo_mixdown_revision01.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Over the course of her decade long career in visual effects, Katharine “Kat” Evans has worked for large studios like ILM, Tippett Studio, Giant Killer Robots and several others. Her credits include films like Hellboy, Matrix Revolutions, Fantastic Four, Transformers, Rango, Lucy and the Iron Man franchise. 

Kat received her MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She began her career as a Roto Paint Artist, then moved on to Match Moving and Camera Layout. Since 2017, Kat has been focusing on a new career in User Experience Design (UX). 

In this Podcast, Kat talks about her career in visual effects, as well as shares her insight on how to break into the industry, how to avoid working overtime and how to communicate with clients.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/142/.

 

Direct download: ep142_KatEvans_mixdown.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Adam Holmes is a Senior Layout Supervisor, Director of Photography and Editor. He has worked for a variety of international studios, such as Lucasfilm Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Digital Domain, Disney, Warner Bros, Imagi and several others. His credits include large budget films like Alice in Wonderland, Superman Returns, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Elf, Freddy vs Jason and many more.

Adam has 20 years of experience in VFX. While working at Imagi Studios, Adam helped build a team of artists and technicians to produce new CG animated films with smaller budgets but blockbuster results. He was handpicked as a Senior Previs Artist for a CG feature film project at Lucasfilm where he collaborated daily with the Directors, Producers and George Lucas himself.

In this Podcast, Adam talks about his passion for visual storytelling, working in both VFX and on live action sets, having a plan and being open minded about your opportunities -- and taking ownership of your career.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/141/.

Direct download: ep141_AdamHolmes_mixdown.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Catherine Mullan is an Animation Supervisor at MPC. Over the course of her career, she has worked for studios like Framestore, Animal Logic, MPC. Her credits include big budget films like Guardians of the Gallaxy, The Hunger Games, Maleficent, X-Men: First Class, Clash of the Titans, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter -- and many more.

Right after graduating from Bournemouth University’s Computer Animation Course in London, U.K., Catherine joined Framestore as a junior animator. She has been working in visual effects for over a decade. Her work has earned a 2005 Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Special Visual Effects (for The Last Dragon) and a nomination from VES (for Outstanding Animated Character in The Chronicles of Narnia), in 2011.

In this Podcast, Catherine talks about her career -- from joining Framestore as a Junior Animator, through her current position as an Animation Sup at MPC -- the most hirable skills for VFX artists and the importance of your demo reel.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/140/.

Direct download: ep140_CatherineMullan_mixdown.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Ovi Nedelcu is an Author, Illustrator, Character Designer and Storyboard Artist. After studying at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, his very first job was at Warner Bros. Since then, he’s worked for such studios as Disney, Sony Pictures Animation, Bluesky and Laika Studios. His credits include Mary Poppins Returns, Coraline, Scooby Doo and many, many more. 

Ovi has illustrated and authored several books. His latest author illustrated book One Gray Mouse was released on April 24th.

In this Podcast, Ovi talks about building his portfolio while in art school, learning on his first job at Warner Bros; working remotely and the importance of being a well-versed freelance artist.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/139/.

Direct download: ep139_Ovi_mixdown.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

This Podcast is Allan McKay’s first ever AMA (Ask Me Anything) session.

A while back, Allan has posted -- on his social media -- to ask any burning questions that you want to have answered about learning or pursuing a career in visual effects. Out of hundreds of questions, he selected about ten that would benefit most listeners and artists. 

In this AMA Podcast, Allan covers the subjects like:

  • Creating your some-day goals -- and attacking them with URGENCY!
  • Questions to ask a client before taking on a new job;
  • Choosing the right training AND the importance of creating your own material.
  • Getting your foot in the door as a VFX artist and the importance of communication.
  • And a several other important questions!

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/138/.

 

Direct download: ep138_AMA_mixdown.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The most important thing you have to land your dream job -- is a rock-solid demo reel. But all it takes is one bad shot -- one unexplained element or any of the other traps that artists fall into every day -- to have your reel switched off and have your viewer move onto the next one.

I wanted to share my perspective as someone who has hired artists and has looked through hundreds of reels when hiring for my company CatastrophicFX. I have also reviewed reels inside my Mentorship or Reel Review Webinars. I’ve interviewed dozens of Supervisors, Recruiters and Leads at studios like ILM, Weta, Image Engine and every other big studio on the planet. 

And what we all agree on is that almost every artist is oblivious to the fact that one single shot on their reel can:

  • Cost them the job;
  • Cause for the potential employer to skip over their reel; 
  • Question if the artists did what they claimed they did because they weren’t clear about their ownership. 
  • Or: Their reel never got watched because some minor thing got overlooked that instantly caused for their reel to get thrown out. 

In this Podcast, you will learn how to avoid these common mistakes and create a reel that lands you the job, builds your brand and even goes viral. So here is it: 

5 Demo Reel Mistakes That are Costing You the Job -- and You Don’t Even Know It!

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/137/.

 

Direct download: ep137_DemoreelMyths_mixdown.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Ivo Klaus is a VFX Supervisor who has been working at Scanline VFX in Munich, Germany for over 13 years. He has worked on and supervised such large budget feature films like Tomb Raider, Transformers: The Last Knight, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Snowpiercer, Looper, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, 300 -- and many, many more.

In this portion of his interview with Allan McKay *, Ivo gives advise on professional tools for VFX artists, the do’s and don’ts of demo reels and some insider tips for anyone seeking employment at Scanline VFX. 

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/136/.

 

* NOTE: The second part of Ivo’s interview -- with more valuable information -- to be published at a later time!

Direct download: ep136_Ivo_mixdown.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT