The Allan McKay Podcast

When Oscar®-nominated, Emmy® award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay teams with some of cinema’s most noted directors in the new HBO Max original docuseries One Perfect Shot, movie lovers will see dazzling, unprecedented views inside memorable shots from film history. The series provides a never-before-possible perspective on filmmaking, allowing directors to step into their favorite shots and take viewers on amazing 360º views of their visions. DuVernay and her production company, ARRAY Filmworks, selected CBS VFX (www.CBS-VFX.com) to produce these visually breathtaking moments.

Created for television by DuVernay and inspired by a popular Twitter account of the same name, each episode of One Perfect Shot arms one acclaimed director with an arsenal of visual tools to pull back the curtain on their most iconic shots. Filmmakers share their obstacles, challenges, lessons and triumphs as they detail the road to their one perfect shot. The series features prolific filmmakers Patty Jenkins, Aaron Sorkin, Kasi Lemmons, Jon M. Chu, Malcolm D. Lee and Michael Mann, as well as blockbuster films including Wonder Woman, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Harriet, Crazy Rich Asians, Girls Trip and Heat.

Making the incredible images in One Perfect Shot required CBS VFX to use more than 25 years of visual effects innovation. Much of the work integrates the visual effects company’s proprietary Parallax virtual production system, which brings three-dimensional technology and an intricate level of detail to virtual locations. Combining Parallax with new tools in the Unreal Engine from Epic Games – including real-time rendering and ray tracing – led to remarkable production flexibility.

The digital production techniques from CBS VFX incorporated into One Perfect Shot represent an evolution of the work the visual-effects studio has done to replicate real-world locations in virtual sets and improve virtual production – which has been particularly important during the challenges of the pandemic.

CBS VFX has developed groundbreaking technology and created visual effects for multiple series across many networks, including Apple TV’s upcoming Roar, The Offer for Paramount+, This Is Us on NBC, Netflix’s Dead to Me, and Big Shot on Disney+. CBS VFX maintains a dedicated virtual production soundstage, and its team is available to television production professionals for live demonstrations of virtual production, digital set extension and realtime pre-viz technologies.

In this Episode, Allan McKay interviews Craig Weiss, Executive Creative Director at CBS VFX and Jim Berndt, Head Virtual Production at CBS VFX about their work on One Perfect Shot created for HBO Max by Ava DuVernay, the creative process and challenges of short deadlines, the promise of virtual production and realtime — and the future of VR; as well as their work on some technologically innovative projects.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/351/.

Direct download: EP351_CBS_VFX.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:05am EDT

Mike Price is a Writers Guild Award and three-time Emmy Award-winning Writer and Producer. He is the Executive Producer and Showrunner of the acclaimed Netflix animated comedy series F is for Family, which he co-created with series star Bill Burr. 

He is also a Writer and Co-Executive Producer on The Simpsons, having written over 20 episodes of the show – and served as a script consultant on The Simpsons Movie.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews Emmy Award-winning Writer, Producer and Showrunner Mike Price about his work on The Simpsons and F is for Family, the influence of improv on his work, the dread of the blank page and how COVID-19 has changed the writers’ room.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/350/.

Direct download: Ep_350_-_F_is_for_Family_-Mike_Price.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:05am EDT

Kemer Stevenson is the Character Effects Supervisor at Blur Studio in Los Angeles, California. With more than 15 years of experience in feature film, marketing and communications, he has previously worked for DreamWorks Animation, Rhythm & Hues, Republic Studios. His credits include: Trolls, Penguins of Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon franchise; Monsters vs. Aliens, The Incredible Hulk.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay and Blur Studio’s Head of Character Effects Kemer Stevenson talk about the importance of learning, the humility of not knowing; the outcomes of COVID-19 and working remotely.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/349/.

Direct download: Ep349_-_Blur_Studio_-_Kemer_Stevenson.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:05am EDT

DNEG (www.dneg.com) is one of the world’s leading visual effects (VFX) and animation studios for the creation of feature film, television and multiplatform content. DNEG employs nearly 7,000 people with worldwide offices and studios across North America (Los Angeles, Montréal, Toronto, Vancouver), Europe (London) and Asia (Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Mumbai).

DNEG’s critically acclaimed work has earned the company six Academy Awards® for Best Visual Effects and numerous BAFTA and Primetime EMMY® Awards for its high-quality VFX work. Upcoming DNEG projects on behalf of its Hollywood and global studio and production company partners include Dune (October 2021), No Time To Die (October 2021), Ron’s Gone Wrong (October 2021), Last Night In Soho (October 2021), Ghostbusters: Afterlife (November 2021), The Matrix 4 (December 2021), Uncharted (2022), Borderlands (2022), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022), The Flash (2022), and Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023).

Chris Keller is a Filmmaker and Visual Effects supervisor with VFX credits that include Pacific Rim Uprising, Assassin’s Creed, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Man of Steel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Netflix’ Triple Frontier. Most recently, he supervised Foundation for Apple TV+.

Chris has written and directed several award-winning short films. His new horror short Father was released in October 2018 after more than 40 screenings. The Last Dance, a touching Sci-Fi love story which was produced with support by DNEG, has recently completed its festival run. It is his most ambitious film to date.

In 2015, Chris released his horror short 20 HZ which has been praised for its atmosphere and assured direction. His film Life External won 3rd prize out of 217 submissions at the renowned Sci-Fi London 48hr Film Challenge 2014. The year before, his romantic short Valse garnered numerous awards, most notably Grand Prize at the 2013 Movie Machine Digital Cinema Festival. In 2012, he won the “Million Hits Viral Competition” with a spec beer commercial.

In 2016, Chris published a series of carefully designed viral videos showing a giant sea monster in the river Thames that received dozens of millions of views and generated massive hype in the UK’s capital.

At present, Chris is in post production with his next short (a live action / animation hybrid), and is developing more short, TV and feature scripts to direct in the future.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews Chris Keller DNEG’s VFX Supervisor and Filmmaker about his work on Foundation, his own short films, the importance of making your own work, the imposter syndrome and how to get out of a creative rut.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/348/.

Direct download: Ep_348_-_Foundation_VFX_Sup_Chris_Keller_-_DNEG-.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:05am EDT

Perfection is our inability to balance out our priorities or see the big picture. We get so fixated on everything being perfect, we fall behind our responsibilities, eventually failing to deliver anything at all. This is a huge problem for a lot of junior artists who make this mistake which stops them from succeeding.

Borrowing from what Allan McKay has learned as a VFX Supervisor, Producer in film, as well as a Studio Owner, he talks about:

  • How to manage projects successfully and how to grow as a creative;
  • How to complete projects faster and become a better artist;
  • How to think bigger and where to put your time;
  • How to know how to make the biggest impact and earn a reputation for nailing projects.

Perfectionism is not the pride in our work – it’s the downfall of us! The faster we iterate, the faster we improve. Once we release a product, we can always do a postmortem: what worked, what didn’t and where you can improve the next time. Meanwhile, with perfectionism, nothing is good enough. And because of that – nothing is ever done!

In this Podcast, Allan talks about the danger of perfectionism, how to not find yourself stuck in the cycle of endless iterations and move forward to becoming a better artist – and gives actionable tools to avoid the dangerous space in which nothing is good enough and nothing gets done.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/347/.

Direct download: Ep347_-_Duke_Nukem_-_Perfectionism_is_the_Enemy.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:05am EDT

DNEG (www.dneg.com) is one of the world’s leading visual effects (VFX) and animation studios for the creation of feature film, television and multiplatform content. DNEG employs nearly 7,000 people with worldwide offices and studios across North America (Los Angeles, Montréal, Toronto, Vancouver), Europe (London) and Asia (Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Mumbai).

DNEG’s critically acclaimed work has earned the company six Academy Awards® for Best Visual Effects and numerous BAFTA and Primetime EMMY® Awards for its high-quality VFX work. Upcoming DNEG projects on behalf of its Hollywood and global studio and production company partners include Dune (October 2021), No Time To Die (October 2021), Ron’s Gone Wrong (October 2021), Last Night In Soho (October 2021), Ghostbusters: Afterlife (November 2021), The Matrix 4 (December 2021), Uncharted (2022), Borderlands (2022), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022), The Flash (2022), and Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023).

DNEG’s VFX Supervisor Tom Proctor talks about leadership and relationships skills, fine arts versus craftsmanship in VFX, the impact of virtual production on pipelines – and discusses his work on iconic titles like The Matrix, Justice League, as well as most recently, Last Night in Soho. For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/346/.

Direct download: Ep_346_-_Tom_Proctor_-_DNEGs_VFX_Sup_V02.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:05am EDT

TEHMINA BEG is a New-York based VFX supervisor currently working at Molecule VFX. She has previously worked at Zoic Studios, The Mill, MPC. Tehmina’s credits include Homeland, Quantifco, The Blacklist, And Just Like That, Modern Love and many more. She is a self-taught artist and photographer.

MAGGIE OH is currently a Sr. Technical Program Manager for Machine Learning and Computer Vision on Google's Project Starline. Her previous roles include TL, Lighting TD, Lead Technical Artist, and programmer on projects such as Stadia, Mandalorian, #LiveCGX (AR Fashion Show at London Fashion Week 2018), Hololens, Halo 4, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, and Cars. She holds a Masters from Harvard and a BSci from MIT.

ERIN RAMOS is Head of Effects Animation at Walt Disney Animation Studios. As an award-winning VFX Supervisor she’s also worked for Weta, Rhythm & Hues. Her credits include Moana, Frozen II, Ralph Breaks the Internet, The Hobbit and many more.

CONNIE SIU is a Virtual Production Manager at Eyeline Studio (Scanline VFX / Netflix). Her credits include How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, Rise of the Guardians.  She is also a Writer and Director of short film Jeffrey which was shot using virtual production in 2020 (www.allanmckay.com/277). 

In this Podcast, Women Leaders and VFX Artists discuss the importance of representation, business mindset in artists, give advice on how to find mentors and provide resources to women starting out in visual effects.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/345/.

Direct download: EP345_Women_in_VFX_final.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 4:05am EDT

JINKO GOTOH is an Animation Producer and Consultant whose credits include The Little Prince; the Academy Award nominated The Illusionist; the Academy Award winning Finding Nemo. Jinko also serves as Vice-President of Women in Animation dedicated to advancing women in the field of animation.

NELL LLOYD-MALCOLM is the Founding CEO of Xydrobe, a new luxury NFT platform. Previously, Nell has worked as a VFX Producer and Coordinator at Framestore, Double Negative, ILM, Sony, Untold Studios; on titles like Aladdin, Mowgli, Bohemian Rhapsody, Ready Player One, Star Wars, as well as The Crown on Netflix.

KAITLYN YANG is the CEO of Alpha Studios, the first Woman-owned visual effects company in the U.S. She is a VFX Artist turned Supervisor whose titles include The Shrink Next Door, The Good Doctor, Absentia, Modern Family, Robot Chicken, Gangster Squad, and many more. Kaitlyn is a list maker for Forbes 30 Under 30 in Hollywood & Entertainment — and a Founder of 1IN4, an intersectional coalition of disabled creatives currently working in Hollywood.

In this Podcast, Women Leaders in VFX discuss the statistics of representation, talk about the impact of #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, give advice and provide resources to women starting out in visual effects.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/344/.

 

Direct download: EP_344_women_in_leadership_final.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 4:05am EDT

Tehmina Beg is a New-York based VFX Supervisor currently working at Molecule VFX. She has previously worked at Zoic Studios, The Mill, MPC. Tehmina’s credits include Homeland, Quantico, The Defenders, The Blacklist, Modern Love and most recently And Just Like That. She is a self-taught artist and photographer.

In this Podcast, Allan and Tehmina talk about balancing creative and technical skills, courage to learn and ask questions, benefits of gaining experience as a generalist and a freelancer – and why 2022 is the best time to be a VFX artist!

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/343/.

Direct download: EP_343_Tehmina_Beg_final.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 4:05am EDT

DNEG (www.dneg.com) is one of the world’s leading visual effects (VFX) and animation studios for the creation of feature film, television and multiplatform content. DNEG employs nearly 7,000 people with worldwide offices and studios across North America (Los Angeles, Montréal, Toronto, Vancouver), Europe (London) and Asia (Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Mumbai).

DNEG’s critically acclaimed work has earned the company six Academy Awards® for Best Visual Effects and numerous BAFTA and Primetime EMMY® Awards for its high-quality VFX work. Upcoming DNEG projects on behalf of its Hollywood and global studio and production company partners include Dune (October 2021), No Time To Die (October 2021), Ron’s Gone Wrong (October 2021), Last Night In Soho (October 2021), Ghostbusters: Afterlife (November 2021), The Matrix 4 (December 2021), Uncharted (2022), Borderlands (2022), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022), The Flash (2022), and Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023).

Dan Glass is an acclaimed VFX Supervisor with numerous accolades over the course of his 25-year career, including a BAFTA nomination and two Visual Effects Society awards. He is a long-time collaborator of the Wachowskis and Terrence Malick, and production VFX Supervisor on films such as Jupiter Ascending, Cloud Atlas, Tree of Life, Batman Begins, The Matrix sequels, Deadpool 2, and many more.

In addition to his impressive list of film credits, Dan also served as VFX Supervisor on two seasons of Netflix’s sci-fi cult hit Sense8, while directing two episodes himself; and previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer for Method Studios.

In this Podcast, the acclaimed VFX Supervisor for The Matrix: Resurrections Dan Glass talks about the underlying message of the film, shares some behind-the-scenes, and discusses technological innovations throughout the franchise’s history.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/342/.

Direct download: Ep342_-_THE_MATRIX_RESURRECTION_1.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 4:06am EDT

The WHAT IF? Scenario: It’s an addictive concept for all of us. What if you give up on a career before you ever got started? Fear is just your mind trying to prevent you from change because change is unknown. It doesn’t want you to risk safety for something new. But the big growths and breakthroughs are on the other side of that fear. 

If you aren’t willing to put in the extra work and see what it would lead to next, if you weren’t willing to leverage one experience to the next, none of that would be easy. We always get tested! It’s easier to take the lesser path. But we get to choose that Sliding Doors moment -- or we get to choose to have it all.

In this Podcast, Allan reflects on the choices he’s made throughout his career that lead him to face his fears, take huge risks and to have his dream job (which would eventually lead to his night at the Oscars).

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/341/.



Direct download: Ep._341_-CRUSHING_Your_Bigger_Goals.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:05am EDT

Zoic Studios is a VFX company of accomplished artists and producers with a deep understanding of story, process and relationships. With offices in Los Angeles, New York and Vancouver, the company has prided itself in partnership, integrity and enthusiasm as the key founding principles. Their projects are born in think tanks, where every idea has value and potential. Dynamic ideas are fleshed out, and a plan for crafting a visual representation of the idea is set early in the creative process. 

Since 2002, Zoic’s team has a proven track record of success. They are masters in their fields of 3D, Compositing and Production Management. Their reputations, in turn, attract additional talent and foster a strong work ethic.

They built a robust digital infrastructure, which is flexible and strong to support the staff. It is a “liquid” pipeline, designed by their team for rapid expansion and contraction. This custom pipeline is resolution-independent and changeable based on project needs. Leading visual technology firms provide additional support and insight to the latest methods. 

Zoic has worked on a variety of high-end productions, both in film and television: Many Saints of New York, Judas and the Black Messiah, Mother!, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Legends of Tomorrow, Breaking Bad, Homeland, See, The Underground Railroad, The Boys, Fargo, and multiple more.

In this Podcast, Andrew Orloff, Executive Creative Director / Co-Founder of Zoic Studios, talks about the change in the industry with introduction of streaming content and virtual production, how Zoic has incorporated Unreal Engine into their pipeline – as well as gives tips to up-and-coming artists and VFX supervisors alike!


For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/340/.

Direct download: EP_340_-_Andrew_Orloff_-_Final.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Perception is an Emmy nominated design lab pioneering the visionary process of Science Fiction Thinking to architect the future. They divide their time equally between the parallel worlds of science-fiction—working with trailblazing filmmakers and science-fact—collaborating with the world’s most innovative technology brands.

Drawing upon their vast experience of conceptualizing and developing future tech for the biggest sci fi blockbusters of the last decade, they’re able to inspire and guide the most cutting edge tech leaders across the globe. Using Science Fiction Prototyping, they create futuristic, forward looking experiences that look and feel as authentic as possible in order to open the minds of corporate leadership and stakeholders to the wondrous potential of what their technology is truly capable of.

The list of titles that Perception (http://experienceperception.com/) has worked on includes: Black Widow, Spider-Man: Far from Home, Black Panther, Thor Ragnarok, Captain America, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, and many more.

In this Podcast, Perception Co-Founders Jeremy Lasky and Danny Gonzalez talk about their growth from a startup (21 years ago) to becoming a frequent collaborator of Marvel, as well as the influence of their concepts on today’s technology.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/339/.

Direct download: EP_339_-_Perception_-_Final.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Louis Castle is a prolific American video games designer. He is known for co-founding Westwood Studios and for his work on the Command & Conquer real-time strategy series. In 2017, he became the Head of Amazon Game Studios Seattle. 

Most recently, Louis joined GreenPark Sports as Chief Product Officer.

As the co-founder of Westwood Studios, Louis was instrumental in the launch of the C&C series, one of the leaders in the 1990s RTS boom. He co-founded Westwood Studios in 1985. After its purchase by EA in 1998, he held various senior positions at that company. In 2008, he collaborated with Steven Spielberg on the Boom Blox and Boom Blox Bash Party video games for the Nintendo Wii console, based on Spielberg’s design ideas. Since 2010, Louis held a number of roles, including at GarageGames and Zynga.

Louis Castle is a BAFTA and GDC Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

In this Podcast, Louis shares valuable insights on how to start a business, how and when to sell your business; the importance of risk and lessons of failure; how to look for new opportunities, negotiate your salary and raises, give and receive criticism and so much more!

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/338/.

Direct download: EP_338_Louis_Castle_final.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

There's such a shortage of visual effects people right now. It's insane how many projects have been greenlit. And even for a 3D artist, there's so much stuff out there – and that's a good thing! Visual effects in general is such a healthy industry, but it's also about where there’s room to grow. There's always going to be new territory to cover. 

It's about training your brain to know what you want and then to see the opportunities to connect the dots. So, look for your opportunities! And when you start to pick up on it, you start to see that there are opportunities everywhere. It might simply be someone you meet and they mention that they're doing a certain thing. But if you were just to mention what you do and what you're interested in – or ask more questions about what they're doing – that could be your next gig. That could be your next way to break into the industry. 

You never know what opportunities are around the corner, but you've got to be aware that they exist. And the best way to do that – is to start figuring out what you want. Be more observant in identifying those opportunities, those omens that are hiding just around the corner.

In this Podcast, Allan shares his personal experience of looking for a recent staff position, how to determine what lifestyle you want and how to train your mind to look for opportunities that are meant for you.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/337/.

Direct download: ep337_-_My_Experience_staff_job_-final.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

Cinecom is a YouTube channel and a media organization from Belgium founded in 2014 by Jordy Vandeput. The goal of the channel is to provide educational content for filmmakers and video editors around the world.

Jordy Vandeput graduated from a film school in Brussels, Belgium in 2012. Right after, he started working as an independent freelancer for various video-productions. One of his clients at the time was Envato for whom he made online courses about various aspects of filmmaking and video editing.

After founding the Cinecom in 2014, Jordy expanded his team. By December 2018, the YouTube channel reached 1 million subscribers. By the summer of 2019, the team started their second channel Premiere Basics.

In this Podcast, Jordy talks about starting Cinecom Belgium, the secret to going viral, how and when to grow your team, the importances of deadlines — as well as some of his projects as a filmmaker. 

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/336/.

Direct download: EP336_Cinecom_updated.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Richard Edlund is a four-time Academy Award visual effects winner for Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. He is VFX Supervisor, Producer and Cinematographer. Richard was also nominated for Poltergeist, 2010, Ghostbusters, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, Die Hard and Alien 3. He’s won three Academy Technical Awards, the British Academy Award for Poltergeist and Return of the Jedi. He earned an Emmy for creating the visual effects for the original television miniseries Battlestar Galactica and another nomination for Mike Nichols’ Angels in America. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored him with their John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation in recognition of his contributions to the Academy. And the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) presented him with their esteemed Presidents Award in 2008. He has also received top accolades from the Visual Effects Society, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, and numerous other organizations.

In 1975, Richard was one of the first visual effects artists to join fellow VFX enthusiast, John Dykstra for a startup he called Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). This team of filmmakers began their work on a movie called Star Wars. When the new technology and Star Wars franchise clicked, Richard moved to Marin County to supervise visual effects for the next two episodes of Star Wars, as well as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and Poltergeist

In 1984, he took over the equipment amassed by Doug Trumbull’s Entertainment Effects Group and retooled the 65mm visual effects company, renaming it Boss Film Studios. Boss Films became a star in the visual effects world, when company simultaneously produced the comedic visual effects for Ghostbusters, created a hybrid technology integrating NASA’s digital images of Jupiter into a key sequence in 2010. Boss’s pioneering VFX technology went on to create stunning imagery for over 40 features, including Die Hard, Ghost, Poltergeist 2, Alien3, Species, Multiplicity, Air Force One. Masters of the Universe, Cliffhanger, Batman Returns, The Last Action Hero, Waterworld, Heat, Starship Troopers and a slew of other high profile projects, including pioneering Bud Light Superbowl spots. The company achieved ten Academy Award nominations over a fourteen-year period.

Richard is a twenty-two year Governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, founding member of the AMPAS visual effects branch and is chair of the Branch Executive Committee, also chairman of the Academy’s Science and Technology Council. He also serves as a board member of the VES and on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Cinematographers. 

Richard is a frequent lecturer at industry organizations and universities across the world including USC and Chapman film schools. His 1977 Oscar for Star Wars is currently on display at the newly opened Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.

In this Episode, legendary Oscar-winning VFX Supervisor, Producer and Cinematographer Richard Edlund talks about his work on some of the most influential films and their groundbreaking VFX sequences: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ghostbusters and Die Hard.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/335/.

Direct download: Ep335_RichardEdlund_Part_02.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Activision Blizzard’s history goes back more than 40 years. Two incredible gaming brands Activision and Blizzard Entertainment merged, bringing together the best creative talent in gaming. The acquisition of King in 2016 further strengthened the company’s vision to bring the world together through epic entertainment. Their professional gaming properties include the Overwatch League™, the Call of Duty League™, Hearthstone® Grandmasters, and the World of Warcraft® Arena World Championship, among others. Activision Blizzard Esports also operates Tespa™, the leader in collegiate esports.

In this Episode, Activision Blizzard’s Senior Director of Creative Talent Acquisition Robin Alan Linn discusses his three decades of experience in VFX, from starting out as a maquette sculptor at Hanna-Barbera Cartoons to working at Sony Picture Imageworks, Third Floor, Riot Games, Netflix; shares his expertise on building a successful reel and talks about the importance of following your dreams.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/334/.

Direct download: EP334_Robin_Alan_Linn.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

DNEG (www.dneg.com) is one of the world’s leading visual effects (VFX) and animation studios for the creation of feature film, television and multiplatform content. DNEG employs nearly 7,000 people with worldwide offices and studios across North America (Los Angeles, Montréal, Toronto, Vancouver), Europe (London) and Asia (Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Mumbai).

DNEG’s critically acclaimed work has earned the company six Academy Awards® for Best Visual Effects and numerous BAFTA and Primetime EMMY® Awards for its high-quality VFX work. Upcoming DNEG projects on behalf of its Hollywood and global studio and production company partners include Dune (October 2021), No Time To Die (October 2021), Ron’s Gone Wrong (October 2021), Last Night In Soho (October 2021), Ghostbusters: Afterlife (November 2021), The Matrix 4 (December 2021), Uncharted (2022), Borderlands (2022), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022), The Flash (2022), and Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023).

In this Podcast, No Time to Die VFX Sup Charlie Noble and Special Effects Sup Chris Corbould talk about some of the most memorable sequences in the film, usage of virtual environments and digi doubles and the balance of achieving invisible visual effects in the James Bond franchise.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/333/.

Direct download: EP333_No_time_to_die.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Founded in 1996, Foundry is a visual effects software development company headquartered in London, with over 300 employees and a presence in the US, China, Japan, Australia and Europe. 

They have been developing creative software for the Digital Design, Media and Entertainment industries for over 20 years. Their products -- like Nuke, Mari, Katana, Flix, Hiero, Modo -- are used to create breathtaking visual effects sequences on a wide range of feature films, video-on-demand, television and commercials. 

Their clients and partners include major feature film studios and post-production houses such as Pixar, ILM, MPC, Walt Disney Animation, Weta Digital, DNEG, and Framestore as well as automotive, footwear, apparel and technology companies such as Mercedes, New Balance, Adidas and Google. They partner with these companies to solve complex visualization challenges to turn incredible ideas into reality. This is why our software has been integral in the making of every VFX Oscar-winning film, award-winning TV shows and commercials for more than a decade.

In 2019, the London Stock Exchange named Foundry one of the “1000 Companies to Inspire Britain.” They’re regularly featured in The Sunday Times’ Tech Track as one of Britain’s fastest-growing private technology companies.

In this Podcast, Jen Goldfinch, Senior Director of Industry Marketing at Foundry, shares her 20-years of experience, talks about the company’s history, tools and learning resources, as well as its investment in diversity and inclusion.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/332/.



Direct download: EP_332_Jen_Goldfinch_final.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The more we see the result of the success people are having, the more we can get inspired and model our goals after that success. Which is why I think it’s important to follow other successful people: to see what their habits are and if you can apply those habits to get similar results. I also believe you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I want to be surrounded by better people because it inspires me. I want to learn from them. 

But the problem is that a lot of us want to blame external forces, rather than put in the work that it takes to get better. You’ve got to be in it to win it! You’ve got to be willing to try. But you can’t do any of this if you’re just blaming everyone else. 

Nothing is instant! You’ve got to work on it. You’ve got to put in the hard yards! If you run away from your fears, then you’re held captive by them. How will you grow then? But what if you turn the fear into excitement, and it becomes non-negotiable and you lean into it. And that is everything!

In this Podcast, Allan tackles the topic of negativity, resistance and fear -- the things that get in the way of your growth -- and how to use them as fuel for your success!

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/331/.



Direct download: EP331_Crushing_your_success__Final.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Eran Dinur is VFX Supervisor, Composer and published author. His career in visual effects began with a fascination for creating 3D natural scenery. Through his early years, he became well known as a VUE expert and innovator. When he joined ILM Singapore, he created visual effects for films such as Iron Man, Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Terminator Salvation.

After moving to New York, Eran worked at Framestore on Salt and Clash of the Titans. He joined Brainstorm Digital and became a VFX Supervisor in 2011. In this capacity, Eran won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Effects for Boardwalk Empire and two VES Awards for Outstanding Compositing and Outstanding Modeling (for Boardwalk Empire as well). Eran has been leading Brainstorm Digital on numerous films and tv projects, including The Wolf of Wall Street, The Greatest Showman, The Lost City of Z, Hereditary, Boy Erased and many more.

In April 2017, Eran published The Filmmaker’s Guide to Visual Effects, a practical guide to VFX for directors, producers, editors, cinematographers and other film professionals, as well as film students. He has also been teaching at the School of Visual Arts and online courses at FXPhD.

In this Podcast, Eran talks about his latest book The Complete Guide to Photorealism and the topic of photorealism in VFX and other artforms.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/330/.

 

Direct download: EP330_Eran_Dinur.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Richard Edlund is a four-time Academy Award visual effects winner for Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. He is VFX Supervisor, Producer and Cinematographer. Richard was also nominated for Poltergeist, 2010, Ghostbusters, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, Die Hard and Alien 3. He’s won three Academy Technical Awards, the British Academy Award for Poltergeist and Return of the Jedi. He earned an Emmy for creating the visual effects for the original television miniseries Battlestar Galactica and another nomination for Mike Nichols’ Angels in America. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored him with their John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation in recognition of his contributions to the Academy. And the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) presented him with their esteemed Presidents Award in 2008. He has also received top accolades from the Visual Effects Society, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, and numerous other organizations.

In 1975, Richard was one of the first visual effects artists to join fellow VFX enthusiast, John Dykstra for a startup he called Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). This team of filmmakers began their work on a movie called Star Wars. When the new technology and Star Wars franchise clicked, Richard moved to Marin County to supervise visual effects for the next two episodes of Star Wars, as well as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and Poltergeist

In 1984, he took over the equipment amassed by Doug Trumbull’s Entertainment Effects Group and retooled the 65mm visual effects company, renaming it Boss Film Studios. Boss Films became a star in the visual effects world, when company simultaneously produced the comedic visual effects for Ghostbusters, created a hybrid technology integrating NASA’s digital images of Jupiter into a key sequence in 2010. Boss’s pioneering VFX technology went on to create stunning imagery for over 40 features, including Die Hard, Ghost, Poltergeist 2, Alien3, Species, Multiplicity, Air Force One. Masters of the Universe, Cliffhanger, Batman Returns, The Last Action Hero, Waterworld, Heat, Starship Troopers and a slew of other high profile projects, including pioneering Bud Light Superbowl spots. The company achieved ten Academy Award nominations over a fourteen-year period.

Richard is a twenty-two year Governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, founding member of the AMPAS visual effects branch and is chair of the Branch Executive Committee, also chairman of the Academy’s Science and Technology Council. He also serves as a board member of the VES and on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Cinematographers. 

Richard is a frequent lecturer at industry organizations and universities across the world including USC and Chapman film schools. His 1977 Oscar for Star Wars is currently on display at the newly opened Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.

In this Episode, legendary Oscar-winning VFX Supervisor, Producer and Cinematographer Richard Edlund talks about being one of the first artists to join ILM -- to work on the 1977 film Star Wars -- his work on Return of the Jedi and Ghostbusters, as well as gives some insight on being a pioneer in the visual effects industry.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/329/.

Direct download: Ep._329_-_VFX_Legend_Richard_Edlund.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

David Adan is an FT TD Lead at Cinesite whose list of credits include Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, American Gods, Mindhunter, Godzilla: King of Monsters, Terminator: Dark Fate, Lost in Space and many more.

David’s journey began in 1994 in Cuernavaca, Mexico, when at the age of 16, he started working as an intern at a local PR film. There, he discovered one of the first 3D softwares for PC and immediately started teaching himself how to use it. The local college didn’t offer any studies in visual effects or animation. There were no internet tutorials either. So while studying Photoshop, editing and illustration in class, David learned animation on his own. Every night after school, he poured over any possible books or manuals he could find.

Three years later, David decided to go seek training in the U.S. He found himself studying at Digital Hollywood in Santa Monica. He came back to Mexico City with a different perspective and began producing for television. In 2004, he sought his AutoDesk certification; and that same year, opened his own studio -- Studio 3D -- where he began teaching. Right around that time, David came in contact with Allan McKay, at the CG Workshop.

In 2010, David decided to take his family abroad by accepting a contract with an architectural firm in Qatar. In the meanwhile, David started taking the FXTD Mentorship with Allan McKay. During this time, David had a chance to work on a couple of films: an Austrian student film called Herbst and a German low-budget production Timebreakers. It gave him an opportunity to utilize all the techniques he was learning in the Mentorship. 

In 2014, David decided to make a change in his career by moving back to Mexico and pursuing visual effects. It took a few months of struggle and a dozen job interviews, including with Sony, before he was offered a full-time position at Flipbook Studio where he would finally get to create visual effects for films and television. In just 3 months at this new job, he’s been involved in 6 television shows. 

Most recently, David accepted a position at Cinesite, in Vancouver, where he became an FX TD Lead.

In this Podcast, David talks about his journey as an artist, business owner and a family man; the career changes that took courage -- yet led him to his dream job; the skills he gained in other fields but ultimately used as a VFX artist; and the importance of following your passion.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/328/.

Direct download: Ep298_DavidAdan_V02.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In the beginning of your career as junior artists, it’s fight or flight. You will either leave the industry because it’s too hard or you’ll work hard on as many jobs as you can. You need that exit strategy, however, otherwise you will burn out. 

It’s the fear that keeps you small. You are afraid of losing jobs if you raise your rates. A lot of the time, you also undervalue yourself. If you put your brand out there and it’s cheap -- even if it’s great quality work -- the clients will still view you as a cheap brand. It’s just pricing psychology. It’s all about the perceived value. 

In this Podcast, Allan talks about how and when in your career to raise your rates, pricing psychology and creating a premium brand.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/327/.



Direct download: Ep327_-_Pricing_Strategy.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

There is nothing worse than burnout. As artists, we work hard, we work long hours, chase tight deadlines. As the expression goes in Blade Runner, “The candle that burns twice as bright, burns for half as long.”  So how do you avoid hitting rock bottom?

A lot of the time, burnout is that invisible pressure that comes in a form of stress. It’s not about if you’re going to crash. It’s about when you’re going to crash. There needs to be a break to rest and catch up. 

This Podcast was recorded for one purpose: to help you understand the importance of mental health and help you manage yourself when you experience a burnout from time to time. Some of the pointers you’ll find here address:

  • Why it’s important to stay in tune with yourself and know when it’s time to take a break.
  • How to come back from it by taking breaks or doing things that ignite your passion.
  • Why it’s important to identify the light at the end of the tunnel. 

In this Podcast, Allan McKay discusses a highly important and timely subject of artistic burnout: how to detect it, how to maintain the symptoms, how to recover from it -- and most importantly, how to avoid it in the future.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/326/.



Direct download: Ep326_ArtistBurnout.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Sam Wickert is a director and VFX supervisor who has worked closely with many clients such as Epic Games, Google Daydream, AMD, BlackMagic Design, Universal Orlando Resorts, Redbull, and Discover. 

The most exciting projects he has enjoyed working on is the content featured on his YouTube Channel, SOKRISPYMEDIA, which has accumulated over 1.6 Million subscribers and 400+ million views - most notably recognized from its web series, Chalk Warfare.

In this Episode, Allan and Sam talk about the journey of being a content creator, imposter syndrome and cycles of creativity, taking pride in your work, the importance of relationships and having your own creative community. 

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/325/.



Direct download: ep325_-_Becoming_a_Content_Creator_-_Sam_Wickert_Pt.2.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Erika Burton brings over 25 years of senior-level experience to her role at DNEG. Most recently, she led as EVP, Global Features & Streaming VFX at Method Studios. Prior to that, she held senior leadership positions at major studios, including Walt Disney Animation Studios, PDI / DreamWorks Animation, Digital Domain and Rhythm & Hues. 

Erika Burton is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the Producers Guild of America and the Visual Effects Society.

DNEG (www.dneg.com) is one of the world’s leading visual effects (VFX) and animation studios for the creation of feature film, television and multiplatform content. DNEG employs nearly 7,000 people with worldwide offices and studios across North America (Los Angeles, Montréal, Toronto, Vancouver), Europe (London) and Asia (Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Mumbai).

DNEG’s critically acclaimed work has earned the company six Academy Awards® for Best Visual Effects and numerous BAFTA and Primetime EMMY® Awards for its high-quality VFX work. Upcoming DNEG projects on behalf of its Hollywood and global studio and production company partners include Dune (October 2021), No Time To Die (October 2021), Ron’s Gone Wrong (October 2021), Last Night In Soho (October 2021), Ghostbusters: Afterlife (November 2021), The Matrix 4 (December 2021), Uncharted (2022), Borderlands (2022), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022), The Flash (2022), and Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023).

In this Podcast, Erika Burton speaks about her career, her experience and her role as the President of Global VFX Production at DNEG, as well as the importance of paying your dues and the path to becoming a supervisor.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/324/.

Direct download: ep323_-_DNEG_EVP_VFX__Global_Head_of_Studios_-_Erika_Burton_v3.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Paul Lambert is a Visual Effects Supervisor. He is also the inventor of IBK Keyer in Nuke.  Over the course of his over-two-decade long career, he’s worked on such titles as Gone Girl, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, TRON: Legacy, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, I, Robot, Mission Impossible II, Lost in Space and many, many others.

Paul has won two consecutive wins for Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects: one for the 2017 film Blade Runner 2049 at the 90th Academy Awards, and one for the 2018 film First Man at the 91st Academy Awards.

DNEG (www.dneg.com) is one of the world’s leading visual effects (VFX) and animation studios for the creation of feature film, television and multiplatform content. DNEG employs nearly 7,000 people with worldwide offices and studios across North America (Los Angeles, Montréal, Toronto, Vancouver), Europe (London) and Asia (Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Mumbai).

DNEG’s critically acclaimed work has earned the company six Academy Awards® for Best Visual Effects and numerous BAFTA and Primetime EMMY® Awards for its high-quality VFX work. Upcoming DNEG projects on behalf of its Hollywood and global studio and production company partners include Dune (October 2021), No Time To Die (October 2021), Ron’s Gone Wrong (October 2021), Last Night In Soho (October 2021), Ghostbusters: Afterlife (November 2021), The Matrix 4 (December 2021), Uncharted (2022), Borderlands (2022), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022), The Flash (2022), and Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023).

DNEG was the lead vendor on Denis Villeneuve's Dune, along with Rodeo (https://www.rodeofx.com/) and Wylie Co (https://wylie.co/.)

In this Podcast, Paul talks about Dune -- from its conception to completion -- the value and advancement of AI and virtual production and importance of creating authentic relationships for creatives.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/323/.

 

Direct download: Ep323_PaulLambert_v2.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

A lot of the time, artists feel like clients do them a favor by hiring them. The more you understand the ecosystem, the more you start seeing this as a service-based industry: You’re delivering value to your client, they’re delivering value to theirs -- and it goes up the latter. Each step in that latter is a much bigger profit margin. They need their problems solved. They need you as much as you need them. 

It’s not just about raising your rates. It’s also about what it is that you’re doing that’s aligning with the client’s needs. How do you give them value? That’s always the trick to communicate. You need to be self-aware about what services you provide.

This is the big thing we need to get over: the money friction.  A lot of us get resistance in the beginning. We’re afraid that if we raise our prices too high, we’ll lose our clients. “Raise your rates and scare away your clients” is an absurd idea. Instead, you can raise your rates and if the clients get alienated, they’ve identified themselves as cheap. It’s okay for them to go! 

In this Podcast, Allan McKay talks about how to raise your value, both as a brand and a business, and how to communicate it to those premium clients that will meet your worth.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/322/.

Direct download: Ep322_-_Raise_Your_Value_-_Raise_Your_Rates-.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

The Harmon Brothers is a marketing firm based in Provo, Utah, that has a history of making viral advertising videos. Founded by brothers Daniel, Neil, Jeffrey and Theron Harmon and CEO Benton Crane, the company creates marketing campaigns that are usually the length of an infomercial — but with a distinct sense of humor. Their campaigns for Squatty Potty and the Purple have more than 100 million views. They have also created campaigns for Poo-Pourri, FiberFix, Camp Chef and several others.

Since then, the company launched the Harmon Brothers University where through online courses, Daniel Harmon and Lead Writer Dave Vance share their insight on how to create successful marketing videos. With writer Chris Jones, they also co-wrote the book From Poop to Gold: The Marketing Magic of Harmon Brothers that “reveals the behind-the-scenes magic including their innovative business model [and] one of the biggest secrets behind their success”.

In this Podcast, Daniel Harmon the CCO of Harmon Brothers and CEO Benton Crane talk about their company’s creative process, pipeline, how to meet and relate to clients, the impact of COVID-19 on businesses; and the content they teach at Harmon University.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/321/.

Direct download: Ep321_-_Manufacturing_Hit_Commercials_-_Harmon_Bros-.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

You need to be ultra specific in how you define yourself when you’re applying for jobs as an artist. It’s the difference between being front-of-mind and standing out -- or blending in with all the other applications. And it’s something that none of us do. By not niching down -- by not being a specific brand -- you’re missing out on an opportunity to make yourself the ideal candidate for the job.

So what are you doing to stand out? How do you make sure your reel doesn’t blend in in the hundreds of other reels? You have to be ultra specific on how to categorize yourself. Because you need to set context for the positions for which you’re applying. It also helps to have your name anchored to the solution to their problem. 

The more you’re able to clearly define yourself and associate your skills with something -- the easier it is for your name to resonate when that something is needed. That singles you out as a go-to person.

In this Podcast, Allan talks about finding your niche, how to have different niches for different audiences; but most importantly, why having a niche is so crucial for getting hired for the jobs you want.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/320/.

Direct download: Ep320_-_Niche_Down_To_Stand_Out-.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Peter Chiang is co-founder of DNEG and a prolific and critically acclaimed Visual Effects Supervisor. He is one of the leaders in his field with over 30 years experience in the industry.

Starting out as a graphic artist, animator and later visual effects art director, he moved quickly into visual effects supervision on films including Pitch Black (DNEG’s first project), Chronicles of Riddick, Flyboys, The Bourne Ultimatum, Green Zone, John Carter, Total Recall, Pacific Rim: Uprising, as well as Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings and Justin Lin’s Star Trek: Beyond.

DNEG (www.dneg.com) is one of the world’s leading visual effects (VFX) and animation studios for the creation of feature film, television and multiplatform content. DNEG employs nearly 7,000 people with worldwide offices and studios across North America (Los Angeles, Montréal, Toronto, Vancouver), Europe (London) and Asia (Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Mumbai).

DNEG’s critically acclaimed work has earned the company six Academy Awards® for Best Visual Effects and numerous BAFTA and Primetime EMMY® Awards for its high-quality VFX work. Upcoming DNEG projects on behalf of its Hollywood and global studio and production company partners include Dune (October 2021), No Time To Die (October 2021), Ron’s Gone Wrong (October 2021), Last Night In Soho (October 2021), Ghostbusters: Afterlife (November 2021), The Matrix 4 (December 2021), Uncharted (2022), Borderlands (2022), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022), The Flash (2022), and Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023).

In this Podcast, Allan and Peter talk about the beginning of DNEG, the projects the studio has worked on, the rate of technological innovation, adapting to the challenges of COVID-19 and their most recent work on F9: The Fast Saga.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/319/.

Direct download: Ep319_-_Fast9_VFX_Supervisor_-_Peter_Chiang.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Knowing when to raise your rates is really critical. A lot of us get the resistance in the beginning. We’re afraid that if we raise our prices too high, we’ll lose our clients. But that’s kind of the idea! 

A brand is our position in the market: How people perceive us and whether our clients are willing to pay higher rates. In the beginning, we’ll be taking on lower-paying clients because we’re desperate to get a job after job, after job. But to be profitable in that situation, we’ll have to take on a lot more work. The worst part about it is that cheaper clients are the ones that try to squeeze us for everything or to micromanage us.

That goal changes over time, later in our career. The difference between being a successful artist versus an unsuccessful artist is that the artists without a brand are frustrated because they aren’t getting the result they want. 

In this Podcast, Allan McKay talks about stages of an artist’s career: from the initial goal when starting out -- to creating a successful brand that eventually attracts better paying clients and the type of work you already enjoy doing.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/318/.

Direct download: Ep318_-_How_to_raise_your_prices.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Imagine the world where the global space race never ended. For All Mankind is a thrilling “what if” take on history from Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica, Outlander) spotlights the high stakes lives of NASA astronauts and their families.

Jay Redd is a VFX Supervisor on For All Mankind whose extensive resume also includes titles like Contact, Men in Black 3 and Monster House. Todd Sheridan Perry is an On-Set Supervisor on the show with a diverse background in video games, film and television. He’s worked on titles like Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers to Final Destination 5, The Immortals, Total Recall, Resident Evil 5 and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Todd has also worked as a CG Supervisor on Marvel’s Doctor Strange which was nominated for a Best Visual Effects Oscar.

On this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews VFX Supervisor Jay Redd and the On-Set Supervisor Todd Sheridan Perry about their work on For All Mankind, making smart decisions on set, balancing between artistry and tech skills, VFX in film versus television and the future of virtual production. 

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/317/.

Direct download: ep317_-_For_All_Mankind_-_VFX_Supervisors.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Linus Tech Tips is a passionate team of professionally curious experts in consumer technology and video production which aims to inform and educate people of all ages through entertaining videos. They create product reviews, step-by-step computer build guides and a variety of other tech-focused projects.

Taran Van Hemert is a Senior Video Editor at Linus Tech Tips. He is also a Writer, Host and Camera Operator.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay and Taran Van Hemert talk about the art of being an efficient editor, the importance of scripting, automation and customized tools, and other tips for successful artists.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/316/.

Direct download: Ep316_-_LinusTechTips_Editor-_Taran_V02.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

A Technical Director handles the technical side, builds scripts, automates tasks or supports their team. Sometimes, they’re the ones handling tricky shots. Sometimes their job is about problem solving. Other times, a TD comes up with a solution when production hits a wall. At the same time, a TD is also an artist. 

There’s a huge demand for TD’s because they’re the ones building solutions for projects. A programmer will build a tool thinking about how it should work. But a TD will be a tool knowing how an artist will want it to work. There is a massive difference there! Which is why TD’s are irreplaceable. They do their own job and help others with theirs. 

TD’s allow for everyone to do their jobs much better. Which is why they get paid better and why they’re higher in demand. Most of what VFX artists do is problem solving, on budget and on schedule. Part of the reason TD’s are higher in demand is because there’ll always be productions that need a TD to solve a problem. 

In this Podcast, Allan breaks down the job of a Technical Director, the skillsets it requires, its pros and cons, as well as the path to becoming a TD and therefore -- becoming an artist in demand.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/315/.

Direct download: Ep315_-_How_to_Become_a_Technical_Director.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Wren Weichman is a VFX Artist and a YouTube Host at Corridor Digital. 

Corridor Digital is a Visual Effects Studio based in Los Angeles. They’re best known for creative short-form viral videos, as well as producing and directing the web Series Rush and YouTube Red’s Lifeline. They company has also created tv commercials for companies like Google and Machine Zone.

Founded in 2009 by Sam Gorski and Niko Pueringer, the company now produces five YouTube Channels, including VFX Artists React and the Corridor Crew which consists of behind-the-scenes content and has almost 5 million subscribers (as of 2021).

In this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews VFX Artist and YouTube Host at Corridor Digital Wren Weichman (AKA @sirwrender) about creating viral content for YouTube, perfectionism versus creativity, inspiration as a muscle and the importance of finding your creative community online.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/314/.

Direct download: ep314_-_Corridor_Digital_-_Wren_Weichman_1.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In the beginning of our career, we just want traction: those quick wins that will validate us. When we get to that elite level, there are tidbits of advice from everyone else that sound stupid. But most of the things we think are stupid -- at the elite level -- are the biggest breakthrough of all. At the beginning of a VFX career, we all get technical. Instead, we should put our attention on that one thing that’s getting traction. Everything else is a distraction.

Technical skills can only get you so far. We will be picking all kinds of new software when we go to work at different studios anyway. Most of us are missing out on the metrics. We need to look at the problem that the studio we want to work for is trying to solve: Is it explosions? Is it character rigging? The more micro we get into that problem solving, the more we’re going to stand out because our message will be more laser focused.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay addresses the different advice artists need to hear at certain parts of their career, and compares technical skills to skills that give you a bird’s-eye view of your career -- and propel it upward.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/313/.

Direct download: ep313_-_Shit_I_Wish_I_Knew_When_I_Was_Younger.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

Dottie Starling is a Visual Effects Supervisor, CGI artist and digital modeler. Through both her freelance VFX career and her work with production houses such as Cinesite, Asylum, and Wildfire VFX, Dottie has worked on countless blockbuster motion pictures including Titanic, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, 007's Die Another Day, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Ocean’s Thirteen and Tropic Thunder.

Dottie has also worked with digital effects on the Academy Award-winning 12 Years a Slave, Oldboy, Selma, and the New Orleans-filmed television series Scream Queens. She has recently finished supervising Amazon’s original series Underground Railroad directed by Barry Jenkins.

In this Episode, Allan McKay interviews VFX Supervisor Dottie Starling about the path to becoming a Supervisor, the most crucial skill for the job, the challenge of creating visual effects that support the story (and the director’s vision), as well as her experience supervising Amazon’s original series Underground Railroad directed by Barry Jenkins.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/312/.



Direct download: Ep312_-_Underground_Railroad_VFX_Supervisor.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

As artists, we all have a fear that if we do too much of the same thing, we’re going to be known as a one-trick pony and get pigeonholed. But the big mistake we make when we let our careers run its own course. Successful artists have their hands on that wheel so that they don’t fall into that trap because they choose how they want to position themselves and their messaging.

The idea is not to tie ourselves to one niche. The idea is to eliminate competition. By niching down, we can attract clients and position ourselves as the go-to person. In addition, how we niche down -- is up to us! We don’t have to be the number one in the world. We don’t even have to be the number one in our city. We just have to be the go-to person in our clients’ rolodexes.

In this Podcast, Allan talks about the difference between niching down and getting pigeonholed, how to continue evolving, how to create several niches in different markets -- and how to become the go-to person on your clients’ rolodexes.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/311/.

Direct download: Ep311_-_How_To_Land_Projects_Through_Your_Brand.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Sam Wickert is a director and VFX supervisor who has worked closely with many clients such as Epic Games, Google Daydream, AMD, BlackMagic Design, Universal Orlando Resorts, Redbull, and Discover. 

The most exciting projects he has enjoyed working on is the content featured on his YouTube Channel, SOKRISPYMEDIA, which has accumulated over 1.6 Million subscribers and 400+ million views - most notably recognized from its web series, Chalk Warfare.

In this Episode, Allan interviews Sam about his creative process for the Chalk Warfare franchise, the innovations he uses on the most recent installment and the challenges of making his own content.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/310/.

Direct download: Ep310_-_Chalk_Warfare_Director_-_Sam_Wickert__02-.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

A lot of the time, we don’t care about building relationships. We just want instant results. We just want to get a response from the first person to whom we reach out. We don’t want to introduce ourselves to a client and make us the priority. We don’t even want to concern ourselves with the value we can give to them. This is called a transactional relationship. We don’t even realize how many people are doing the same thing: They fire out result oriented emails.

There is that naivete about the job approach. A lot of us don’t think about other people. We’re so focused on our needs, we’re creating more space between us and that other person. The key thing here is: The more we build connections, the more we build relationships, the stronger they become. You become more favorable and dependable. 

In this Podcast, Allan McKay deconstructs the main reason why you may not be getting the response you want -- from your clients or potential employers -- as well as how to avoid transactional conversations and how to stand out in your outreach emails.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/309/.

Direct download: Ep309_-_Why_youre_not_landing_clients-2.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Stuart Lippincott is a motion graphics designer and NFT artist. He is known as @Stuz0r on social media. 

In this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews motion graphics designer Stuart Lippincott about NFT’s as a side hustle, establishing the rates you’re worth, attracting better clients, working remotely and how your brand determines your prices.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/308/.

Direct download: Ep308_-_Stuart_Lippincott_-_Landing_Work_Through_Social_Media.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Clinton Jones is a Director, Content Creator, VFX Artist and Photographer. He has worked at Rocket Jump and at Corridor Digital. On his YouTube Channel, where he is known as Pwnisher, he launches challenges for his community, as well as creates tutorials. His YouTube Channel has a massive following of over 557K subscribers, while his Instagram has 110K followers.

Currently, Clinton is working on co-writing his first feature film, creating content and making art.

In this Podcast, Allan and Clinton talk about the importance of getting out of your comfort zone, how to know when to pursue new opportunities, how not to burn bridges; as well as answer the burning question: Is an official diploma important for an artist’s career?

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/307/.



Direct download: Ep307_-_Clinton_Jones_-_Leaving_Corridor_Digital.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Taking pride in your work and in your process is so critical! You want to have people want to work with you again. If you don’t get it -- if you still don’t care -- that is an issue for any Supervisor.

This seems like simple stuff. It goes back to the idea of self-management. You have to anticipate the notes. You have to know how to evaluate if the shot is good enough before you show it to the rest of the team. The more you take pride in your work, the more you’re able to take an initiative, the more wins you get. 

In this Podcast, Allan shares his experience working with junior artists as a Supervisor and the initiative that was missing in their work -- potentially costing them jobs -- and gives advice on how to get the wins you want!

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/306/.

Direct download: Ep306_-_Taking_pride_in_your_work.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

Tarsier is an independent game studio situated in Malmö, Sweden. They are the developers of Statik and the award winning Little Nightmares franchise. 

Founded in 2004 as Team Tarsier, the team eventually changed their name to Tarsier Studios when they released their first two projects involving SCE properties in 2009. They’ve shipped the following games: Little Big Planet (1, 2 and 3), Rag Doll Kung Fu, Tearaway Unfolded, Little Nightmares (1 and 2), Statik, The Stretchers.

In this Podcast, Tarsier’s creative team talks about the inspiration behind their award winning Little Nightmares franchise, adapting production to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the future of games in VR.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/305/.

Direct download: Ep305_-_Tarsier_Studios_-_Little_Nightmares.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

Wes Ball is a Director, VFX and graphic artist. He’s directed The Maze Runner trilogy and currently has several projects in development, including the next installment of the Planet of the Apes franchise.

Wes graduated from the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts. In 2003, his short film A Work in Progress won a Student Academy Award  from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His animated short Ruin got the attention of executives at 20th Century Fox and earned him his first feature directing job: The Maze Runner. After the success of the film, Ball started his own production company OddBall Entertainment.

In this Podcast, Allan interviews Wes about the passion, perseverance and courage that it takes to be an artist, the importance of building and maintaining authentic relationships, and offers an inside look into his creative process and the vision for the future of filmmaking.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/304/.

Direct download: Ep304_-_Maze_Runner_Director_-_Wes_Ball.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dottie Starling is a Visual Effects Supervisor, CGI artist and digital modeler. Through both her freelance VFX career and her work with production houses such as Cinesite, Asylum, and Wildfire VFX, Dottie has worked on countless blockbuster motion pictures including Titanic, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, 007's Die Another Day, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Ocean’s Thirteen and Tropic Thunder.

Dottie has also worked with digital effects on the Academy Award-winning 12 Years a Slave, Oldboy, Selma, and the New Orleans-filmed television series Scream Queens. She has recently finished supervising Amazon’s original series Underground Railroad directed by Barry Jenkins.

In this Episode, Allan McKay interviews VFX Supervisor Dottie Starling about the path to becoming a Supervisor, the most crucial skill for the job, the challenge of creating visual effects that support the story (and the director’s vision), as well as her experience supervising Amazon’s original series Underground Railroad directed by Barry Jenkins.

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

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

Kode Abdo -- AKA BossLogic -- is a graphic artist from Melbourne, Australia. He first started drawing when he was 6 years old. After transferring his skills to a digital platform, BossLogic was able to expose his work to a wider audience, a move that came with great success. As an artist, he has his own style of visual stories. His thirst for knowledge is something that never goes away, so he keeps challenging himself and building the building blocks to get to where he needs to be. He loves doing collaborations with other talented people, learning from their take on design.

BossLogic has created official posters for some of the biggest blockbusters like Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far from Home and Aladdin; for studios like Marvel, Disney and Warner Bros. He has collaborated with the Russo brothers, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jim Lee. After a shoutout by Jake Gylenhall on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, he ended up creating a poster for Gylenhall’s Broadway Play Sea Wall / A Life.

In this Podcast, Allan and BossLogic talk about the power of the origin story, the permanence of the imposter syndrome in every artist’s life, perfectionism as the destroyer of creativity and hustling for a good cause.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/303/.

 

Direct download: ep303_-_BOSSLOGIC.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Matthew Encina is a content creator, educator and creative director with over 15 years of experience of directing, designing and animating. 

He previously served as the Chief Content Officer at The Futur and a Creative Director at Blind. He has taught through video content, articles interactive workshops, and as well as speaking engagements, helping grow The Futur YouTube channel to over 1 million subscribers. He focuses on the subjects of creativity, organization and process. Matthew studied Graphic Design at the Art Center College in Pasadena, CA.

In this Podcast, Allan and Matthew talk about embracing growing pains, leaning into your fears and surrounding yourself with mentors that challenge you to get out of your comfort zone.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/302/.

Direct download: ep302_-_The_Courage_to_Level_Up_-_Matt_Encina.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

How do you land your dream job at your dream studio? You start by having a killer reel. The more you look at the history of the studio, the more you can understand who they’re looking to hire. If you look at what this studio does a lot of, that’s going to dictate what their needs may be. Your reel needs to reflect that.

Be the one person that’s 100% aligned with the type of work that your dream studio does, so you can stand out. When you put yourself in the shoes of the person hiring, you make yourself memorable. So research the place you want to work for. If this is your dream job -- you have to align your work with them 100%.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay breaks down the science behind a great reel that can land you your dream job, at your dream studio.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/301/.



Direct download: Ep301_DreamJob_PUB.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Michael Janda is an executive level creative leader with more than 20 years of experience in both in-house creative departments and agencies working with some of the greatest brands in the world. In 2002, he founded the creative agency Riser, a nationally recognized agency creating high-profile work for clients including Disney, Google, ABC, Fox, Warner Bros., NBC, TV Guide and numerous other notable companies. The company’s 3 year growth rate of 235% in 2013 resulted in a ranking on Inc. 5000 (#1657). Riser’s work quality and successful business practices yielded some of the most coveted awards in the industry including Webbys, FWA, Awwwards, AIGA and Addys.  

After selling Riser in 2015 and becoming its Chief Creative Officer, Michael orchestrated a rebrand of the agency as EKR. In collaboration with the other partners, he successfully migrated Riser’s clients and acquired new notable clients including Google, National Geographic, ABC, Intel and Netflix.

In addition to his robust experience managing creative and marketing teams, Michael is the author of the book Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff They Don’t Teach You in Design School, but Should. Since its publication in 2013, Burn Your Portfolio has been one of the top selling books in the industry and has been published in English, Russian, Chinese Traditional and Chinese Simplified. Burn Your Portfolio’s success has resulted in opportunities for Michael to be a keynote speaker at AIGA, Advertising Federation and University events across the nation, as well as at other events.

Allan McKay is an Emmy-Award winning Visual Effects (VFX) Supervisor and Technical Director. He is responsible for many visual effects sequences including hit projects like Transformers, Blade, The Last Airbender, Star Trek, Superman, Flight, The Equalizer, and dozens of other films, as well as many of the top video games worldwide including Halo, Destiny, Call of Duty, Bioshock, Prototype, Half-Life, Team Fortress 2, and dozens of others. 

Allan has over two decades of experience working in the visual effects industry for many leading studios such as Industrial Light & Magic, Pixomondo, Blur Studio, Atomic Fiction, Prime Focus, Ubisoft, Activision and dozens of others.

In addition to his VFX work, Allan runs many online courses, as well as a mentorship with over 1,000 members. Throughout the past two decades he has appeared as a speaker at events in over 15 different cities including Paris, Sydney, Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, Singapore, Helsinki, as well as master classes at SIGGRAPH.

His hit podcast is rated in the top 50 podcasts in the careers section of iTunes where he interviews many award winning artists and directors in the creative industry, focusing on both creativity and drive, as well as boosting your career and success within the creative industry.

In this Podcast Michael interviews Allan about his decades-long career in visual effects, the lessons of perseverance and failing up, the importance of communication skills, as well as some social network hacks to get the attention of VIP’s.  

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/300/.



Direct download: Ep300-Janda_PUB_v2.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Glenn Stearns was born to alcoholic parents, diagnosed dyslexic, and failed 4th grade. He fathered a child at the age of 14 and graduated high school in the bottom ten-percent of his class. While some of his friends lost their lives to drugs and alcohol, and others spent time in prison, Glenn's path intersected with mentors who gave him motivating examples of how to not meet the fate of his friends and instead take control of his destiny. He took that life-changing encouragement and ran with it. Glenn became the first person in his family to attend college and graduated with a degree in economics from Towson University. Inspired by stories of people who took risks and achieved their grandest ambitions, he then moved to California where he slept on the kitchen floor of a one-bedroom apartment that he shared with five other recent grads. While waiting tables, Glenn continued to search for new opportunities to rise above his humble beginnings. 

At 25, after working as a loan officer for 10 months, Glenn formed his own mortgage company Stearns Lending. By 2010, Stearns Lending reached nearly $1 billion a month in funding while experiencing record growth. Stearns not only survived the 2007 mortgage-lending crisis, it emerged as one of the top lenders in the country. Glenn attributes his resilience to putting “people before profit” and having transparent integrity in lending standards. Since 2010, Stearns Lending has funded over 150-billion dollars in loans, making the corporation America’s #1 Wholesale Lender in 2013. The company has helped nearly 1,000,000 families achieve home ownership. In 2014, Blackstone purchased the majority share of Stearns Lending for an undisclosed sum.

Glenn is also the founder of Anivive Life Science, Stearns Wholesale, Stearns Holdings, Stearns Ventures, Artemis Holdings, TriVerify, TriMavin, United Housing Services, Inc., and Mortgage Services Providers Holdings. He is an investor in Indi.com and Lender Price and the largest shareholder of California-based Infinity bank.

In 2011, he was inducted into The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. This Award is given to individuals in recognition of personal and professional success despite humble and challenging beginnings, in addition to personal initiatives and accomplishments in giving back to others. In 2013, he became the youngest Member elected to the Horatio Alger Association’s prestigious Board of Directors.

Glenn and his wife Mindy are very active in the community having been honored for their dedication to community service and philanthropy with Muhammad Ali’s Parkinson’s Foundation “Couple of the Year” Award, Starkey Hearing Foundation’s “American Couple of the Year,” Orange County’s “Giving is Living Award” and the Orangewood Children’s Foundation’s “Golden Heart Award”.

In this Podcast, Glenn shares his wisdom about getting out of your comfort zone and leadership, resilience and failure; his thoughts about “overnight success” stories and the boundaries between mentors and friends, as well as his definition of the American Dream.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/299/.



Direct download: Ep299_GlennStearns_PUB.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

When it comes to VFX Work, Bryan Hirota has seen a lot in his career, from his first VFX job at Visual Image to currently being a VFX Supervisor at Scanline VFX. He’s worked at studios like Pixomondo, Prime Focus VFX, CIS Hollywood, Blue Sky - VIFX. His projects include The Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Godzilla vs Kong, The Suicide Squad, Aquaman, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Green Lantern, Tree of Life, Watchmen, Tropic Thunder, Pirates of the Caribbean, X-Men, Armageddon, The Relic and many more.

In this Podcast, Allan interviews Bryan about his experience working with Zack Snyder on Justice League, reworking the film for the 2021 Cut for HBO Max, Scanline’s shots on Godzilla vs Kong, as well as Bryan’s advice for VFX Artists and Supervisors.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/298/.

Direct download: Ep298_BrianHirota_PUB.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Platige Image S.A. is a Polish VFX company that specializes in computer graphics, 3D animation and digital special effects. It was founded in Warsaw in 1997, by Jarosław Sawko and Piotr Sikora. The studio employs a staff of over 150 artists, including directors, art directors, graphic designers and producers. 

Over its 20-year history, Platige has built an impressive portfolio of short animations, cinematics, commercials and feature films with titles like Netflix’s Love, Death + Robots and The Witcher; Wonderwoman; Lars von Trier’s Antichrist and Melancholia; Cathedral, Fallen Art and many others. Their work has garnered numerous prestigious awards and distinctions, such as a BAFTA, an EFA, a Goya Award and SIGGRAPH Awards, as well as nominations for an Oscar, the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

In this Podcast, Allan interviews Platige’s VFX Supervisor Matt Tokarz and VFX Producer Krzysztof Krok about their experience working on The Witcher for Netflix and the fact that Platige owned The Witcher’s IP.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/297/.

Direct download: Ep297_-_Platige_-_The_Witcher.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

We have these barriers that we put on ourselves because we set our reality to be around these limitations. We tell ourselves we can’t do something. Or that art doesn’t pay. Or that the industry sucks. These are the constraints -- or excuses -- we put on ourselves to dismiss the possibility of what could be real. That becomes our reality. So how many things like this are you telling yourself? 

Most of you don’t want to step out of your comfort zone. But if you do get triggered, it might be good to lean into those uncomfortable spaces and pains. When you dismiss ideas, chances are you just don’t want to put in the work. 

It all starts with asking the right questions and setting the right goals:

  • What if it were possible?
  • What would it look like?
  • And what would I need to do to get those results?

In this Podcast, Allan talks about examining your limiting thoughts and resistance, setting higher goals, building winning habits -- and overcoming those barriers that once seemed impossible.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/296/.



Direct download: ep296_-_Blowing_Up_Your_Freelance_Prices.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In this Podcast, Allan McKay talks about the key takeaways from his interview with Hugo Martin, the Creative Director of DOOM and DOOM Eternal, about the benefit of getting out of your comfort zone, how to be a creative leader, and how to rise above the chaos -- and to succeed.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/295/.

Direct download: Ep295_-_DOOM_ETERNAL_-_Hugo_Martin.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Lotta (aka Charlotta) Forssman is a VFX supervisor based out of NYC. For nearly a decade, she has been part of Molecule VFX and has worked on shows like Ballers (HBO), The Good Cop, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Master of None (Netflix). She has been a Supervisor for Apple TV’s Dickinson since Season 1.

In this Podcast, Allan and Lotta talk about the path to becoming a VFX Supervisor, how to communicate with other creatives about visual effects; her experience as a woman artist in the industry and some of her projects, including DICKINSON for Apple TV+.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/294/.

Direct download: Ep294_-_Lotta_Forrsman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

The Unreal Fellowship is a 30-day intensive blended learning experience designed to help experienced industry professionals in film, animation, and VFX learn Unreal Engine, develop a strong command of state-of-the-art virtual production tools, and foster the next generation of teams in the emerging field of real-time production. 

During the program, Fellows learn Unreal Engine fundamentals, model ingestion, animation and mocap integration, lookdev, lighting setups, and cinematic storytelling.

Brian Pohl is a Technical Program Manager at Epic Games. He helps artists and clients get the training they need to integrate the Unreal Engine into their creative pipelines. Pohl also acts as the academic Dean for the Unreal Engine Fellowship Program.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews Brian about virtual productions and the tool Unreal Engine provides, as well as the Unreal Fellowship, a training program that teaches artists the fundamentals.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/293/.



Direct download: EP293_-_UNREAL_FELLOWSHIP_-_Epic_Games_-_Brian_Pohl_V01.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Marty Neumeier is a best-selling author and speaker who writes on topics of brand and design. Today Marty spends most of his time lecturing all over the globe about the role of creativity and innovation in the creation of relevant and meaningful brand experiences. 

Marty has written several best-selling books including The Brand Gap which outlines how to bridge the distance between business strategy and design; ZAG which introduces “onliness” as the true test of a brand strategy; and The Designful Company which offers leaders a blueprint for building a culture of innovation through design thinking. ZAG was named one the “100 Best Business Books of All Time.”

In 2013, Marty published Metaskills: Five Talents for the Robotic Age, a deep dive into the future of workplace creativity. He then wrote The 46 Rules of Genius as a “quickstart guide” to “Metaskills.” His latest book The Brand Flip is the long-awaited sequel to The Brand Gap. It offers a simple formula for addressing the changes brought by social media and the rising power of customers.

Marty was also commissioned by Google Brand Lab to write the Dictionary of Brand, a relational glossary containing 500 interconnected terms in brand strategy, advertising, design, innovation and management. The Dictionary of Brand is the first step in creating a “linguistic foundation” -- a set of terms that allow specialists from different disciplines to work together in a larger community of practice.

When Marty is not lecturing or writing, he is facilitating inspirational workshops or providing consulting services to companies the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Skype, Twitter and Patagonia.

In this Podcast, Allan and Marty talk about the difference between brand and personality, which skills make up the best leader, the importance of empathy and the power of a well-written email.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/292/.

Direct download: ep292_MartyNumeier.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Rhett Dashwood (aka Mankind) is an award winning Creative Director with experience in a broad range of creative media, including digital, animation, branding, print, film making and concept art. He has worked with the following studios and agencies during his 15+ years in the industry: Emery / Frost, Tribal, AKQA, Exit Films, DDB and many more. He is currently Creative Director of Dashwood. 

As a Digital Artist, Rhett creates work under the name of Mankind. On his Instagram page (@Mankind), Rhett publishes his own art and curates the art of other digital artists. His YouTube channel is dedicated to everything art, including his expertise on crypto art and NFT’s.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews Rhett Dashwood (aka Mankind) about the hot topic of crypto art and NFT’s, the history behind it and the post-COVID-19 surge; how to start selling your digital art -- and why the cliche of a “starving artist” is on its way out.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/291/.

Direct download: ep291_-_Rhett_Dashwood.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Doug Roble is the Senior Director of Software R&D at Digital Domain and leads a world-class team of software developers. An original member of Digital Domain, Doug has been writing software and conducting research to advance the artistry and technology for feature films since the studio’s inception.

Doug was awarded two Academy Sci-Tech Awards: one for “Track”, an integrated software program that extracts critical 2D and 3D information about a scene and the camera used to film it; and the second for his work on the fluid simulation system at Digital Domain which incorporates innovative algorithms and refined adaptations of published methods to achieve large-scale water effects.

He has participated in SIGGRAPH nearly continuously, in one form or another, for 25 years, including leading multiple courses, papers and presentations. An accomplished orator and advocate of technological advancement, Doug speaks regularly at premier conferences and events including TED 2019, and keynotes at the Symposium on Computer Animation and the DigiPro Conference. Also, he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Graphics Tools for several years.

Doug is an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the Visual Effects branch. He is the chair of the Sci/Tech Awards and a member of the Sci/Tech Council.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay and Doug Roble discuss the future of visual effects, machine learning, digital humans — and what it means for VFX Artists.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/290/.

Direct download: ep290_DougRoble_PUBLISH.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

JangaFX was founded in 2016 by Nick Seavert, an entrepreneur who is well versed in both startups and real-time VFX. JangaFX was initially bootstrapped with credit cards, software sales, and many thousands of man hours instead of outside investments. The company’s core motive is to provide real-time VFX tools to artists and designers who work in video game or film industries. 

The first tool by JangaFX called VectorayGen was released in 2017. EmberGen is a standalone real-time volumetric fluid simulation tool built for generating flipbooks, image sequences, and VDB files.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews Nick Seavert about his starting JangaFX and the challenges he experienced, the multiple applications of EmberGen and the company’s collaboration with Otoy.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/289/.

 

Direct download: ep289_-_Embergen_PUB_v2.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Lux Machina Consulting is a design, management and technical consulting firm focused on complex, large scale live shows, film production and installations.

Lux Machina uses innovative techniques and technologies from various markets to connect artists with their audiences like never before. The company prides itself on the balance between technical and artistic decisions, and works to maximize their clients’ resources to build their visions effectively and efficiently.

Since its inception, Lux Machina has collaborated on such groundbreaking projects as The Mandalorian, The Irishman, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Rogue One; as well as consulted for clients that include Lucasfilm, Epic Games, ARRI Camera and many others.

In this Podcast, Allan interviews the team at Lux Machina -- Co-CEO Phil Galler and CTO Kris Murray -- about the company’s history, its most groundbreaking projects, as well as the biggest challenges and the future of virtual production.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/288/.

Direct download: Ep288_LuxMachina_PUB.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

A lot of us quit doing what we love for the wrong reasons, because other people poison our minds by telling us we have to go get “a real career”. When we aren’t getting that traction in the beginning (which is normal in our career), we start feeding off these doubts instilled in our minds and we give up too soon. 

But we are all on our own journey. If others are projecting their fears or failures onto us, -- instead of supporting us -- why would we want that around? You’re the average of five people with whom you spend the most time with. So always be surrounded by people who are better than you, those who inspire and encourage you to do better, to do more. And when you have such a support system -- then the sky's the limit!

In this Podcast, Allan McKay discusses the importance of having a support system that makes you average up, not down; how and where to find it and how to overcome the inner critic that holds you back.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/287/.

Direct download: Ep287_SkyIsTheLimit.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

If you aren’t willing to do the work -- and be anything else than an artist -- then you are going to fail. And that’s the brutal truth! That is because you aren’t just an artist. Being an artist is just your skill or your trade. You still need to do the other stuff. 

The reason so many people give up on their career is because they give up the minute it gets tough. You need to learn to manage yourself to be able to step up and look at what is working and what isn’t. Make no mistake: You are a business, you have a reputation. You are a brand. 

In this Podcast, Allan McKay confronts the excuses with which artists sabotage their careers and gives advice on how to make a choice to confront those excuses -- and to actually succeed! 

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/286/.



Direct download: Ep286_Why90PercentFail.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Beeple is Mike Winkelmann, a graphic designer from Charleston, SC, USA who does a variety of digital artwork including short films, Creative Commons VJ loops, everydays and VR / AR work.  

After he began releasing a set of widely used Creative Commons VJ loops he has worked on concert visuals for Justin Bieber, One Direction, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Eminem, Zedd, deadmau5 and many more.   

One of the originators of the current "everyday" movement in 3D graphics, he has been creating a picture everyday from start to finish and posting it online for over ten years without missing a single day. Mike has also created several short films which have screened at a variety of festivals.

Allan McKay interviews Beeple about finding inspiration for his daily art, the importance of discipline, building an audience and the myth of perfection.  

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/285/.

Direct download: ep285_Beeple.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

There is an example in marketing: If you have a migraine and you head to a pharmacy, you’ll see one medicine that says, “Cures All Aches and Pains” and another that says, “Cures All Migraines”. They both do the same thing and they’re made by the same company. But their marketers know that the medicine that’s the most specific -- is the one that will stand out.

Meanwhile, a lot of artists have this gut reaction that specializing is bad and that it’s better to generalize as much as you can. The truth is that you can specialize in multiple things but what you’re really trying to do is to stand out. By specializing, you aren’t eliminating opportunity -- you’re eliminating competition.

Sometimes to be exceptional, you need to get specific. And there are different ways to stand out in your industry or how people remember you. It’s about getting your client confident that you’ll get the job done on time. Your messaging can change with every single client. When it comes to having a conversation, you can find out what their specific problem is -- and plant that seed that you’re the person to solve that problem. 

In this Podcast, Allan talks about the importance of specializing, how to have different niches, how to adjust those niches for different clients -- and how to become memorable as the go-to person for a specific job. 

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/284/.

 

Direct download: Ep284_Standout.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Hugo Guerra is a Portuguese born award-winning Director and VFX Supervisor. After finishing his Fine Arts degree, he worked in Portugal and Sweden before moving to the UK where he was a freelancer for several years. 

He joined The Mill in 2010 as a VFX Supervisor and as Head of the Nuke Department. Over that time, Hugo was a Lead Artist and Onset Supervisor for several productions, including Codemaster's Bodycount, Ubisoft's Rainbow Six, the VES awarded Audi “Hummingbird”, Activision's Call of Duty, and BBC Music God Only Knows among others.

In 2014, Hugo joined Fire Without Smoke as a Director and Visual Effects Supervisor, working on trailers for CCP, Ubisoft, Deep Silver, Square Enix, Sony, Warhammer and many others.

Most recently Hugo worked as a VFX Supervisor for Sony Playstation San Diego and is currently working as a Film Director for Rebellion Games. 

He is also a Visual Effects Society Jury member and created Hugo's Desk, the largest YouTube channel about Nuke compositing.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay and Hugo Guerra tackle the subjects of having a business mentality as an artist, learning to negotiate and the importance of knowing your worth.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/283/.

Direct download: Ep283_HuegoGuerra_PUB.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Most of us initially set small goals that we find socially acceptable. We’re too afraid to set bigger goals, or we don’t have them anymore because we find them to be impossible. The goals that we do say outloud are the ones that we find socially acceptable, without being laughed at. And that sucks! We’re afraid to dream big or to dream what we aspire to be.  And it’s not because we decided that we weren’t good enough. It’s because others decided that we weren’t good enough. 

What if we stopped others from pushing their fears and insecurities, their limited mindsets onto our hopes and dreams? And what if we decided that dreams are also as good as the strategy we put in place and its execution? 

In this Podcast, Allan McKay shares his expertise about how to set your Someday Goals and how to stay focused and actually achieve them.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/282/.

 



Direct download: ep282_BuildingBiggerGoals_PUB.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

A native Californian, David Tanaka attended the University of California at Berkeley where in 1989 he earned his bachelor's degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Film Theory. Upon graduating, he worked for post-production facilities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, quickly gaining experience through corporate advertising and industrial documentary assignments.

In 1990, he joined Industrial Light & Magic, Lucas Digital Ltd., and served as a Senior Visual Effects Editor for fifteen years. His credits include Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump and Star Wars. In 2005, he accepted a Staff Post-Production Editor position for Pixar Animation Studios, handling trailer, international and marketing post-production pipeline matters on Cars, Ratatouille, WALL•E, Up, Toy Story 3, Cars 2 and Brave.

In 2007, David was elected to the board of the Visual Effects Society's Northern California Section. In 2011 he was elected as Sectional Chairman and sincerely looks forward to the social and professional opportunities the Visual Effects Society provides for his fellow colleagues in the entertainment industry.

Father of two (Mitchell, age 13, and Benjamin, age 10), he loves sharing the craft of film production, editing and visual effects with his family in the form of personal video projects and online challenges. Over the past few years, they have won international acclaim for internet competitions sponsored by Dreamworks Entertainment, Paramount Pictures and the Pepsi Corporation. All in the name of fun, David enjoys exposing his sons to not only the rewards, but also the hard work associated with his craft, while they together explore the ever-evolving frontier of multimedia.

In addition to the Visual Effects Society, David is also an honorary member of Swords to Plowshares: A Veterans' Rights Organization for his psa producing contributions.

In this Podcast, Allan interviews David about his career, his experience working for both ILM and Pixar; as well as the importance of building a personal brand and relationships as a VFX artist and / or freelancer.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/281/.

Direct download: ep281_DavidTanaka_PUB.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Evercast combines video conferencing and HD live streaming in one web-based platform allowing for a secure, real-time collaboration — whether your team is across town or around the world.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay talks to Brad Thomas and Roger Barton, two of the Founders of Evercast, about the inception of the company, its journey through challenges -- to becoming today’s groundbreaking technology for creatives working remotely.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/280/.



Direct download: ep280_evercast_PUB.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

A lot of us have this myth in our head that if we work hard and stay out of trouble, good things will come our way. That is a mistake. The truth is that it doesn’t work that way. Nobody is paying attention. The other part of it is that we typically wait for our annual review.  

Most people if they don’t get what they want, they build a strategy: To get their reel around and get a better offer, then go back to their current boss with that offer. The reason this doesn’t work is because if the employer gives you that money, they’re rewarding you for blackmailing them.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay shares some strategies that guarantee a pay rise without any risk, including how to make yourself irreplaceable and when the right time is to ask for a promotion.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/279/.



Direct download: ep279_YourNextPayRise.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

2020 will go down in history as a big “What the Fuck?” Year! We’ve all experienced different things, but I don’t think many of us have had positive experiences. But to put things in perspective, we’re given an opportunity for a do-over. We’re all in this situation. When I realize that, it’s a bit more reassuring. How can we leverage things out? How can we turn this around?

Maybe we haven’t done as much, but there is always time to hit the reset button. This is so critical right now! There isn’t a better time to do something we’ve wanted to do -- than right now! If we haven’t utilized 2020 yet, we can still start tomorrow. In times of turmoil, some people or businesses shut down while others blossom. For those of us who’ve had some success in 2020, set your goals even higher. For those of us who’ve had a shitty year, use this opportunity -- to hit the reset button!

In this Podcast, Allan McKay reflects on the year 2020 -- it’s unprecedented challenges and impressive victories -- and gives advice on how to move forward in a positive, hopeful, productive way!

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/278/.

Direct download: ep278_f2020.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Connie Siu is the Writer and Director of short film Jeffrey. She holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, graduated cum laude from SFSU with a BA in Fine Art, and attended UCLA’s Producers Workshop Program. Connie is the former Chairman and co-founder of the San Francisco Chapter of Siggraph, the former Vice-Chair of the U.S. Sports Film Festival, and served as Executive Director of the Pre-Visualization Society. 

Jeffrey is a short film that was shot as a virtual production in 2020. It’s a love story whose main character Jeffrey repairs the Dead so they can move on to the Beyond. Due to a series of magical events, he meets a woman and for the first time experiences the innocence of first love. 

In this Podcast, Connie Siu is joined by the creative team behind Jeffrey:

  • Virtual Lighting Supervisor Paul Debevec
  • VFX Supervisor Joel Hynek
  • Line Producer Allison Vanore
  • Associate Producer Gena Kay 
  • And Phil Galler and Poom Wattanapan of Lux Machina

In this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews Writer and Director Connie Siu and the creative team behind Jeffrey about the film’s innovations and challenges.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/277/.



Direct download: ep277_Jeffrey_Pub.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Originating from a very successful career as an advertising photographer, Mark Toia was coerced into directing TVCs by his clients. Being pursued by advertising agencies and production companies globally, he has a lengthy list of repeat business 8th the world’s largest companies that most could only dream of.

Mark’s prowess and success is due to his ability to reinvent himself over and over again. He’s always looking for new inspiration, constantly finding new technologies to aid his work and learning new crafts to help create images that have compelling screen presence, not to mention more on-screen value. After a decade of experience as a director of auto commercials, Mark has brought his expertise to feature films. His first feature Monsters of Man will premiere December 8th, 2020.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews Mark Toia, the Director of Monsters of Man, about his insight and expertise directing, financing and distributing his first feature film, the future of virtual production and the myth of “a starving artist”.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/276/.

Direct download: Ep276_MarkToia_Podcast.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Roman Belov is the Founder of KeenTools, a Blender add-on for 3D modelling of human faces and heads based on photos. The models can be used for sculpting, animation, tracking or anything else in Blender or facial tracking with FaceTracker in Nuke; or to be exported for further modifications in any other 3D software.

In this Podcast, Allan interviews Roman about the origins and development of this software, its current usage and its potential, as well as the future of cloud based innovations.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/275/.



Direct download: Ep275_-_KeenTools_PUB_V3.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Michael Janda is an executive level creative leader with more than 20 years of experience in both in-house creative departments and agencies working with some of the greatest brands in the world.

In 2002, he founded the creative agency Riser, a nationally recognized agency creating high-profile work for clients including Disney, Google, ABC, Fox, Warner Bros., NBC, TV Guide and numerous other notable companies. In addition to his robust experience managing creative and marketing teams, Michael is the author of the book Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff They Don’t Teach You in Design School, but Should. Since its publication in 2013, Burn Your Portfolio has been one of the top selling books in the industry and has been published in English, Russian, Chinese Traditional and Chinese Simplified. His work and business has been featured by Print Magazine, HOW Magazine, Utah Business Magazine and BusinessQ Magazine, where he donned the cover of the December 2012 issue highlighting their article for Utah’s Coolest Entrepreneurs.

Tom Ross is the founder and CEO of Design Cuts in London, England. Tom and Mike started their Podcast Biz Buds, a value-packed weekly discussion during which they share their journeys from struggling freelancers to both running multi 7-figure businesses, and the lessons picked up along the way.

In this Podcast, Mike, Tom and Allan talk about working remotely, the most important set of skills for artists, successful branding, niching and how COVID-19 has affected the industry -- for the better!

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/274/.



Direct download: ep274_-_Janda_Ross_PUBLISH.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Let’s talk about it once and for all: How to get paid by your client and how to avoid getting screwed over; and what to do if you do get screwed over. Artists often tell the sob story of, “Art doesn’t pay and you get screwed over”. But a lot of the time, you need to do things yourself from the beginning. It doesn’t have to do with just art. It’s true for any industry. So level up and get your business hat on!

All you want to do is do your artwork. But we do need to realize that we’re also running a business and we need to take those steps; to make sure we’re protected and we’re taking seriously.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay dives into a few key subjects of how to get paid by your client, what to do when they refuse to pay, and most importantly -- how to protect yourself ahead of time.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/273/.

Direct download: ep273-ClientRefusesToPay.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

With wisdom from the best and the brightest in the industry, The VES Handbook is a visual effects bible that belongs on the shelf of anyone working -- or aspiring to work -- in VFX. The book covers techniques and solutions all VFX artists, producers, and supervisors need to know, from pre-production, to digital character creation and compositing of both live-action and CG elements. 

In-depth lessons on stereoscopic moviemaking, color management and digital intermediates are included, as well as chapters on interactive games and full animation authored by artists from EA and Dreamworks respectively. Written by 88 top leading visual effects practitioners and covering everything about visual effects from pre-production, production, and post-production, The VES Handbook is a must-have book for every VFX artist.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews a panel of leading VFX Supervisors who have contributed their expertise to the 3rd Edition of The VES Handbook, along with the Co-Editor and the Chair of the VES Society Jeff Okun about the current and future state of the industry.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/272/.

Direct download: ep272_VES-Publish.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Quixel Megascans is a massive online scan library of high-resolution, consistent PBR calibrated surface, vegetation and 3D scans, also including desktop applications for managing, mixing and exporting your downloaded scan data. It’s the product of 5 years of scanning and is a collaboration with top game and film studios worldwide.

Quixel was founded in 2011 by Teddy Bergsman and Waqar Azim based on the vision of substantially speeding up how creators build digital environments, by giving them access to a vast and ever-expanding library of 3D building blocks and easy-to-use tools to greatly simplify the creative process.

In this Podcast, Allan interviews Teddy Bergsman about the history of the company, its tools and acquisition by Epic Games; as well as the impact and the future of machine learning.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/271/.



Direct download: Ep271_Quixel.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Crafty Apes is a full service, boutique VFX company based in Culver City, CA & Atlanta, GA. The company was launched in July of 2011 by three visual effects veterans Jason Sanford, Chris LeDoux and Tim LeDoux. Believing that strong 2D compositing is the backbone behind quality visual effects, Crafty Apes was formed to primarily offer high-end compositing services for feature films and television clients. 

Crafty Apes specializes in compositing effects and visual effects supervision. By paying extra attention to the detail and integration that 2D work requires and by working with the best technology available spread among a select group of artists, Crafty Apes can deliver a superior product to higher end clients in a shorter time period.

Their recent credits include: The Babysitter: Killer Queen, Lovecraft Country, Doctor Strange, Hidden Figures, Lalaland, Fist Fight, Pete's Dragon, Captain America: Civil War, Killing Reagan, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Dirty Grandpa, Allegiant, Insurgent, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Black Mass, The 33, Foxcatcher, 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, The Monkey King, White House Down, Single Mom's Club, The Last Stand, A Madea's Christmas and many more.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay speaks with Executive Producer Matt Akey and VFX Supervisor Aldo Ruggiero at Crafty Apes about the future of the VFX industry post the novel coronavirus, the new technological demands, artistic trends and innovations. 

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/270/.

Direct download: ep270_CraftyApes.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Andrey Lebrov is a CG and VFX Director, as well as a Co-Founder of Out of Nothing, Ltd.

Andrey was born in Ukraine, raised in Liepaja, Latvia. He began working as a freelancer at the age of 15 as a Photoshop Artist. He eventually immigrated to the U.K. to pursue better opportunities in visual effects. Andrey is a self-taught CG Artist. He launched his YouTube Channel to share what he’s learned in CG and cinematography.

In this Podcast, Andrey shares his journey of learning, perseverance and success as a CG and VFX Artist.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/269/.

Direct download: Ep269_AndreyLebrov.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Writer, Director, Producer HaZ Dulull started as a VFX Artist on feature films such as The Dark Knight and Hellboy 2. He quickly progressed to a VFX Supervisor role and was nominated for several VES awards on shows like Planet Dinosaur (BBC) and America: The Story of US (Discovery). His creativity and smart approach to production also led him to become a VFX Producer on series like Poldark Season 1 and The Aliens.

In between VFX jobs, HaZ created a number of short films. His shorts Project Kronos, I.R.I.S and Sync all tapped into his love for grounded sci fi and served as proofs of concept for feature films. They also became internet sensations, launching his career as a visionary filmmaker. His debut feature film The Beyond, which he wrote, directed and produced, was released by Gravitas Ventures in January 2018 on all digital platforms.

HaZ's second feature (which he co-wrote, directed and co-produced) 2036 Origin Unknown, is a sci fi thriller starring Katee Sackhoff. The film enjoyed a limited theatrical release in the US before being released digitally in the summer of 2018. Early in 2018, HaZ also directed four episodes of the Disney action-comedy, 8-part limited series Fast Layne. He also serves as a creative consultant on the series. In 2020, Haz has released a short film Battlesuit and has been in production for Mutant Year Zero, four quadrant action adventure, based on the popular video game of the same name.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews Filmmaker HaZ Dulull about his beginning as a VFX Artist and how that knowledge helped him into directing, how he learned on the job, the importance of thinking as a producer, the secret to getting sponsorship for your projects -- and so much more!

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/268/.

Direct download: ep268_Haz.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Gerald Undone is a YouTube creator whose channel is dedicated to different technologies used in the creative process. He tests a variety of tech and gadgets, reviews those products from a value perspective and provides tutorials and guides for content creation using that same gear.

In this Podcast, Gerald Undone shares his experience with building a successful YouTube channel, finding a like minded community of creatives, the importance of narrowing down your brand and having side passions.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/267/.



Direct download: ep267_GeraldUndone.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:04am EDT

Instagram is the number one platform to get exposure and to build your name, to build a following and to get known, and of course, to land clients as well. But how do you take advantage of this if no one is seeing your posts? If you’re posting with bad hashtags, your posts are going to get pushed to the side. A lot of us like using lots of hashtags, but that means that our posts will get lost in the shuffle because some of the hashtags weren’t laser focused -- while the right hashtags will increase visibility. That’s what you need to realize:

Hashtags are everything!

In this Podcast, Allan McKay breaks down the science of using hashtags and the secret to how to build successful posts. Hashtags: What they are, why you need them and how to use them as a frigging ninja!

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/266/.

Direct download: Ep266_IGHashtags_PUB.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Looking back at the beginning of his own career, Allan examines what he should’ve done differently: Instead of sending out his reel over and over, he could’ve been asking for feedback: “I realize my reel sucks. Tell me what an ideal reel would be to you.”

The key factor here is empathy. By putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, you’re able to get the most wins. You’re able to start thinking differently: What is it like for them? What are their needs? And what are their pain points? As soon as you put yourself in the shoes of the other person -- look at what they want, what they need and like -- it will help you get better at what you’re doing.

In this Podcast, Allan talks about the power of empathy: How to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and identify their needs -- and how to make empathy work for you! 

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/265/.

Direct download: Ep265_PowerOfEmpathy_PUB.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

American author, game designer, graphic novelist and screenwriter Jordan Mechner is best known as a pioneer of cinematic storytelling in the video game industry and as the creator of Prince of Persia, one of the most successful and enduring video game franchises of all time. His other games include Karateka, The Last Express, Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.

Karateka was published by Broderbund in 1984 and became a #1 bestseller. One of the first games to combine arcade action with realistic animation and cinematic storytelling, it created a new template that other early fighting games would follow. Inspired by the 1,001 Nights tales he had known as a child, Mechner completed Prince of Persia for the Apple II in 1989. Published by Broderbund and subsequently adapted onto nearly every computer and console platform of the 1990s, Prince of Persia is recognized as a major influence in the development of the action-adventure video game genre.

In 2001, Mechner joined forces with Ubisoft to reinvent his decade-old, best-known classic for a new generation of console gamers. Developed at Ubisoft's Montreal studio with Mechner as game designer, writer, and creative consultant, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was a breakout hit of 2003, winning two Game Developers Choice awards and sweeping the 2004 Interactive Achievement Awards (DICE) with 12 nominations and 8 awards. Its success relaunched Prince of Persia as a global franchise including toys, graphic novels, LEGO sets, and over 20 million games sold to date.

In 2010, Mechner became the first game creator to successfully adapt his own work as a feature film screenwriter with Disney’s Prince of Persia. Mechner received screen story and executive producer credit. With box-office receipts of $335 million worldwide, Prince of Persia set the record for the world's highest-grossing video game film adaptation until 2016.

In this Podcast, Allan deconstructs his previous Podcast with Jordan Mechner, the Creator of Prince of Persia -- and the actionable steps you can apply to your creative career.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/264/.

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

Because of the change that’s happening due to COVID-19 and quarantine, a lot of us had to shift to working from home. The day that the quarantine happened, everyone started to shut down. It got scary for a minute. But it’s really interesting how every studio was able to pivot and adapt to what was going on. And this is not just visual effects. This is worldwide! It’s reflecting on everything. The entire world had to learn to roll with the punches. 

The advantages are that you’re no longer stuck in a city where you have to work. That means you don’t have to live in an expensive city. You can move to cheaper cities or countries. That also means that those of you that didn’t have an opportunity to work for ILM before, you now have a chance to do that. You don’t need a work visa. Bit by bit, things are becoming global.

In this Podcast, Allan takes a look at the consequences of having to work from home post COVID-19, breaks down different ways VFX artists can make it happen and the positive outcomes of transitioning into a truly global industry.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/263/.



Direct download: Ep263_WorkFromHome_PUB.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Chris Nichols is the host of CG Garage and Martini Giant Podcasts. He is a CG veteran and Director of Chaos Group Labs. 

In 2015, Chris founded the Wikihuman project, a first-of-its-kind panel of academic and industry experts to explore the combination of art and technology in creating a believable digital human. With a background in both VFX and design, Nichols has worked for Gensler, Digital Domain, Imageworks, and Method Studios. His credits include Maleficent, Oblivion, Tron: Legacy

Chaos Group is a worldwide leader in computer graphics. They create technology that helps artists and designers create photoreal imagery and animation for design, television, and feature films. Chaos Group’s physically-based rendering and simulation software is used daily by top design studios, architectural firms, advertising agencies, and visual effects companies around the globe. 

In this Podcast, Chris and Allan talk about digital humans, virtual production, the effects of COVID-19 on the industry and the evolution of their Podcasts.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/262/.



Direct download: Ep262_ChrisNichols_PUBLISH.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What if you had control over your time? What if you could track it and adjust your behaviors to increase your productivity? This system, developed by Allan McKay, takes about 5 minutes a day to do. It’s something that’s been adjusted and perfected over many years.  

In this Podcast, Allan McKay shares an every-day organizational system that he’s developed to increase his productivity, as well as the daily nine questions he asks to manage himself better.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/261/.



Direct download: Ep261_OneNote.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Rosana Sullivan is a Director, Storyboard Artist, Writer, and Executive Producer. Since 2011 she has worked for Pixar Animation Studios. In 2019 she wrote and directed her first animated short film, Kitbull, for which she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 92nd Academy Awards.

Sullivan worked as a lead character designer at Ooga Labs and a 2D artist at Kabam before joining Pixar Animation Studios in 2011. With Pixar, she has contributed to the 3D animated films Monsters University, The Good Dinosaur, Piper, and Incredibles 2. She was nominated for a 2015 Annie Award for outstanding achievement in storyboarding in an animated feature production for her work on The Good Dinosaur.

In February 2019 she wrote and directed her first animated film, a nine-minute traditionally animated short called Kitbull, which is part of the SparkShorts series. In April 2019 she published an autobiographical picture book, Mommy Sayang, describing the life of a girl and her mother in a Malaysian village. This story, along with others that she has written, was inspired by her mother's roots in Malaysia.

In this Podcast, Rosana gives insider tips on making a successful demo reel, talks about having side passion projects and braintrust for creatives, as well as her experience working at Pixar and her Oscar nominated short film Kitbull.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/260/.



Direct download: Ep260_RosanaSullivan.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Rise FX was founded in 2007 by Sven Pannicke, Robert Pinnow, Markus Degen and Florian Gellinger in Berlin. Today, this award-winning company -- with offices in Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Cologne -- has roughly 100 permanent staff members in addition to 100 freelance artists, which makes it one of the biggest VFX studios in Central Europe.

Rise FX acts as collaborator for episodic series, as well as television and feature film, from early concept to mastering, concept art and previs, every day on set, during effects production and animation, as an advisor for the Digital Intermediate process. Rise FX has partnered with directors like Tom Tykwer (Babylon Berlin, A Hologram for the King, Cloud Atlas), Guy Ritchie (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), Gore Verbinski (A Cure for Wellness), studios like Marvel (Captain America 1-3, Iron Man 3, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy), Netflix (Dark), Sony Pictures (The Dark Tower), Europacorp (Renegades). It also produces more and more animated features (Richard the Stork, Dragon Rider). Its sister production company Rise Pictures develops its own original content and co-produces films and series for an international audience.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews Rise FX’s Supervisors Andreas Giesen and Korbinian Hopfner about the secret to a great reel, the importance of starting out as a generalist, the soft and hard skills crucial for a successful VFX Artist, and much more.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/259/.

Direct download: ep259_RiseFX.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Emmanuel Shiu is a Concept Designer and Illustrator for film and video games. His credits include films Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Pokémon Detective Pikachu, Blade Runner 2049 , Ready Player One; The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Cloud Atlas, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Looper, Superman Returns and Hellboy; and video games including Lost Planet 3, Star Citizen and Destiny 2.

Emmanuel began his career in CG as a Generalist at Lucasfilm. He then went on to work as a Matte Painter and Matte Painting Supervisor at The Orphanage, and as a Concept Artist at ImageMovers Digital.

In this Podcast, Emmanuel talks about the importance of creating your personal art, as well as gives tips on how to build and maintain professional relationships and how to leverage your skills in a new career or specialty.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/258/.

Direct download: Ep258_Emmanuel_Shiu_Publish_v02.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

To work in another country or to get a work visa, you need to qualify for it. Before an employer can hire you, you have to fit the criteria to get the work visa in the first place. Most of us realize that when it’s too late: When you need the job, or even have the job offer -- but we don’t qualify for the visa. Then it’s back to square one.

So how do you go about getting a work visa, to work and live in the U.S.? if you’re from a different country, there is a lot of complexity around it and it’s good to understand how this works. In this Podcast, Allan shares his expertise with several types of U.S. visas: how they work, the qualifications you need and what you can do right now, to be proactive with your visa application.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/257/.

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

Just because you send in your demo reel doesn’t mean that it’s going to be seen by anybody. Even if it does, who says it will be watched all the way through? Most reels are skipped over just because there is one wrong thing on there. We don’t realize that the people reviewing the reels at first may not know much about your industry, or discipline, or the talents you have. They just enter your reel into a database, and when it’s time to hire specific talent, they load up hundreds of reels and forward them to those people who are going to review them. This means that it’s critical to rise above the noise, make your reel stand out and be able to demonstrate that you have the talent above everyone else on that spreadsheet. 

When your reel gets to the decision makers, it comes down to this: They have little information to go by and have lots of reels to review. So there are multiple reasons why your reel could be skipped over. People who are in disbelief about this have their own resistance. But for those of us who actually want to get a job, we have to know the situation and put in the work.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay goes over the anatomy of a killer reel -- from which shots should be on your reel to how long it should be, which crucial information should be included and which items are of little importance -- everything that will help you get that first job as a VFX artist.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/256.



Direct download: Ep256-RulesOfTheReel.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

People are afraid of being judged but it’s little things that build up over time: For example, if you’re shy, try going out to a bar and talking to people. These are little things you could do to get out of your comfort zone and push through your pain points. It takes trial and error.

If it scares you -- that’s good! That means that the more you do this, the less it will scare you. More importantly, you’ll get better at that thing because you’ll have more data to go on. You will know what worked and what didn’t. It’s the feedback that will help you grow. Part of that is not being afraid to experiment. That’s what will help you get better. The more data you have, the more you’ll be able to tweak things.

It’s all about trying new things and seeing what works and what doesn’t. Look at everything as data!

In this Podcast, Allan talks about experimentation, how to use it to get you out of your comfort zone and to provide data for your growth and success.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/255/.

Direct download: Ep255_ExperimentationEqualsWins.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

This Podcast is in response to someone’s message, “How do I get things done? And how do I stay motivated?” You have to start thinking like a producer. You have to ask yourself the questions, “Where can my time go so I get more bang for my buck? Where can I make the most amount?” It’s about making decisions on where the core of your time goes and what’s your Return On Investment (ROI) is.

The more you question these things, the more creative you get. There are different ways you can leverage things to your advantage. You’ll start to look at your habits and realize where you’re leaking time -- and coming up with solutions.

In this Podcast, Allan answers the crucial question of, “How do I stay motivated?” by tackling the bigger question of what your bigger purpose is -- your WHY -- and also gives a few hacks to get a lot more done in your day.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/254/.

Direct download: Ep254_StartWithWhy.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Marc Rienzo is a Director, VFX Supervisor and Artist. He has over 20 years of experience of working in visual effects, including for studios like Marvel, Disney, ILM, Weta Digital, Digital Domain, Sony Imageworks, and PDI Dreamworks. He’s been a creative Nuke Artist for 18+ years in both film and commercials.

Marc has worked on multiple projects including Spider-Man: Far from Home, Thor: Ragnarok, TRON: Legacy, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Mulan; I, Robot; Beasts of No Nation and many others. His work has received several nominations from the Visual Effects Society.  

In this Podcast, Marc talks about his experience as a VFX Artist and Supervisor, his past and current projects, and the importance of hard and soft skills for an artist.

For more show notes, visit www.allanmckay.com/253.

Direct download: Ep253_MarcRienzo_PUB.mp3
Category:careers -- posted at: 3:00am EDT