Siggraph 2017 Panel – Online Studios

I’ll be speaking on a panel at Siggraph to showcase our work on The Wrong Rock and talk about working in an online studio environment. http://s2016.siggraph.org/birds-feather Remote Studio Productions: Online Collaboration Tuesday, 1 August, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm, Los Angeles Convention Center A discussion of issues related to online collaboration in production.

Hollywood Reporter on The Mummy Previs

The Hollywood Reporter spoke to Ron Frankel and I about the work Proof did on The Mummy for the Zero-G sequence. Of course there was even more impressive work we did than just this sequence. I’d like to add that although the LA office kicked off the project, this was largely done by the talented Proof crew in the UK. This was an exciting project to be a part of. I saw the film in IMAX 3D and it’s a lot of fun! Read the full article here: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/mummy-behind-scenes-zero-g-stunt-1011921

The Wrong Rock – New Short Film

2017 approaches and I’m back at it, making another short film. After Devils I was adamant I’d not be taking on such a huge (unpaid) pet project again for another decade. Well, life evolved in ways I couldn’t have predicted and I ended up helping out on two other short films for friends, both of which worked out great (The OceanMaker and Napoleon). I also had a lot of wonderful adventures in my professional working life. But once again I find myself with that craving to make something outside of work, and there’s only so many small projects you can do before the big ones come calling. There’s another project I actually could have started that’s been in development for some time but it needs more time to be the best version of itself. In the mean time ‘The Wrong Rock‘ came to me in a moment of soul searching where I brushed aside everything I’d learned about building IP and focused on the issues I felt the most connected to. Then I worked out how could I explore those issues and send a strong message out into the world worthy of the time it takes to make one of […]

Kameo: Making Of

I worked on this game for three years over a decade ago. Now there’s a ‘making of’ video doing the rounds. It is a good game… it’s fascinating to see how well it holds up, and how in other areas it’s dated. About half the footage they used here was from my pre-rendered cut scenes. Some good, much of it looking a bit shaky now…. largely I’d put that down to not having the budget and the team size you’d expect on a project like this today (it was also my first time doing pre-rendered HD 3D as well). But I learned a lot from this and there were many, many improvements over what I’d been able to do in the real-time cut-scenes I did for Starfox Adventures (which was somewhat limited by starting out as a cartridge game on the N64). Anyway if anyone is wondering what the fuss is about go get the Rare Replay collection, Kameo is one of the best reasons to get it.

Unreleased Rare projects

Over the course of your career you touch on lots of projects that never see the light of day. Usually no-one in the public gets to learn about them but a good decade later a bunch of projects I worked on at Rare have had mini documentaries made and released as part of a collection of games. Kameo 2 Fast and Furiest Black Widow

Tips for Making Films with a Remote Team

I contributed some tips to the Artella Blog. Advanced Tips Recruiting – Depending on your own strongest skills it might not be worth recruiting for some skill sets. Recruitment is a commitment in itself and it can be very time consuming reaching out, filtering, vetting and introducing new team members. That might be time better spent working on the project yourself. While some areas are easy to recruit for and benefit the project greatly. Choose wisely. Communication – This is key to every team member, especially when you’re operating a remote project. If a team member lacks the language skills, can’t write responses or even read your notes…. it’s going to be a struggle. Partnership – Find out what your team members want to get out of their involvement in the project, then make sure they are getting it. If people realize they aren’t getting what they want and they’re paid they won’t last long. But if they realize they’re not getting what they want and they’re volunteers, they’ll drop the project so fast, you often won’t even hear about it until you’ve wasted a lot of time chasing them. So make sure both sides are meeting their goals, or […]

The OceanMaker Insider Part 5 – Pixar

Continued from Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. It’s the Summer of 2014… a Friday and I was working on the Fox lot in Los Angeles for Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb when I got a call from my friend, Lucas Martell. We were invited to screen The OceanMaker at Pixar, and while we’re at it could we do a Q&A for them too. Pop! …. that was my brain exploding. Oh, and can we do it on Monday? Argh! So after begging my supervisor, Eric, for a day off, I drove up to San Francisco on Sunday and stayed with some friends ready for Monday morning (thank you Paul and Maria… big hug). I was lucky I was close enough to drive. Not all of the team could make it. Luckily Lucas and Christina Martell were in the area at the time. However Henning Koczy, had to go above and beyond to get there from New York. But there we were at Pixar, with thanks to Colin for setting it all up and giving us the tour (on his day off, I might add. How much does he love that place?). The OceanMaker crew arrives at […]

Podcasts for Animated Filmmakers

I listen to a lot of podcasts, during my commute, during work, out on walks… etc… It’s a great way to stay up to date and learn things. The topics have varied over the years to include subjects I want to teach myself about, but there are certain topics around Animated Filmmaking that I keep myself subscribed to. I curated a list of the best ones you can still download over on the Animated Filmmakers website.

“Night at the Museum 3” on Below the line

My friends at Proof and I were on this project for 10 months or so. This is a really nice article about it on Below the Line. Eric Benedict even got a nod. Nice work everyone. L.A.-based VFX visualization house Proof recently provided extensive previs and postvis services for Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. The film was released by 21st Century Fox Studios on Dec. 19. “Proof started working on this film while we were still prepping,” said VFX supervisor Erik Nash. “While they weren’t the only previs company on this project, they did create many sequences and they stayed on through the end of postproduction as the sole postvis team. Proof brought a great deal of creativity to the table. So much of the movie depicts creatures that come to life – creatures that could only be presented digitally. They provided the first pass, which amounted to blocking the animation for the characters. In many cases, the animation for the characters didn’t change all that much when those sequences were later handed off to the VFX vendors.” Eric Benedict served as Proof’s previs supervisor on the film, working on the project for 10 months. Proof was […]

Devils Angels & Dating: Storyboards

Here are the storyboard panels for Devils, Angels & Dating. In the heat of production there was never the time to prepare them for presentation and I didn’t have access to the right tools to do it. Since the animatic was always the most up to date version of the film and it communicated what we needed I didn’t worry too much about a storyboard presentation like this. But I did want to do one, so it’s been on my to-do list for sometime. Although the majority of the storyboard panels were drawn by me, I have to give credit to Natalie Massone who lent a hand for a little while. You’ll notice the style change fairly easily. My work tends to have the blue rough lines, and I also did the thumbnail versions. Her panels were an older character design style and a much rougher, darker pencil style.

Fast and Furious 7 – Trailer

The first trailer for Fast and Furious 7 is out. I worked on this for about seven months in 2013. It was a highly creative project, and I got to create entire action sequences. This trailer features clips from several of them, but I’m really looking forward to seeing the final film. After Paul Walker passed on, I became involved in another project so I never had to deal with the challenges that would have followed. But I left it in very capable hands and I’m curious to see how everything was accomplished in the final product.

Showing my portfolio at Disney Florida

I was visiting Disney World Florida, with my family when I was a kid. It was my first time in America and the first time being that close to an animation studio. They had a fully operational animation studio in Florida back then and you could take the tour from Disney World as if it was part of the park. It was a major draw for me, and I was pretty excited. My parents were being very supportive in taking the family in the first place. I’d long ago stopped taking family holidays with them in order to focus on making my own films instead. But I wasn’t going to miss this one (they were very cunning). During the tour you end up in a room with one of the experienced 2D animators at his drawing desk talking to the crowd and showing them what he does. We watched his demonstration. My parents, not knowing anything about the process of getting work in the industry, encouraged me to walk up to him and ask him if I could show him my portfolio and ask about a job. I (kind of) knew that it wasn’t the way to do it, but […]

Interviewing the Devils Team

It’s been a little over two and a half years since ‘Devils Angels and Dating’ was released on YouTube. It’s recently enjoyed a spike in popularity and passed two million views. To thank the team I wanted to touch base with them, give them a chance to showcase their work and let us know where they’ve been with their careers since then. Many have gone onto do great things and built up quite strong credits. That’s probably more an indication of their tenacity and talent than the success of our film, but it’s still very encouraging. In particular it says good things about collaborating on other short film projects in the future. If nothing else I’m grateful for getting to know these talented people, because without the film I wouldn’t have known. Read the interviews here: http://devilsangelsanddating.ning.com/profiles/blog/list See the film here:

Panda Pander on Crackle: 2,572,030 Views

I made a random discovery today…. my old student film, Panda Pander, was on Crackle before they changed their business model, and it gathered a lot of views back then but I never had any evidence… until now. I found an old feed that showed a few view counts. I don’t know if the highest one was the final count before it went offline but it’s a nice little memento from the past. I was working in Scotland when this was happening, it was quite incredible and I had no idea what a high view count could do for you. These days a high count on YouTube or Vimeo can get you noticed, but (at least for now) those counts generally stay visible. This one disappeared and I wish I’d taken a screen shot. It was the second highest viewed piece of animation on their site all the way up to it’s disappearance. 2,572,030 Views  

Finish your Film

Kenny Roy’s book ‘Finish Your Film! Tips and Tricks for Making an Animated Short in Maya‘ features ‘Devils Angels & Dating‘ several times. It discusses the making of an animated short film. It’s available at all the usual book retailers.

How to Cheat in Maya 2014

Kenny Roy’s book on ‘How to Cheat in Maya 2014’ features an interview with me. It’s available at all the usual book retailers.

DSM Mobile App: Commercial

I spent a few weeks working on this interesting project. On paper it could have been a potentially dry product demo/commercial, but actually the script had a little spark to it and the client had an interest in keeping things engaging. So with the same spirit I took to creating the visuals. It was supposed to be two minutes or less. But when I got the script at two and a half pages long, I had to challenge the length and see if we could trim it. But ultimately this was about conveying specific information, rather than abiding by any fixed time slot. So the video ended up being 25% longer than it was originally planned for. Take note… one page of script is roughly one page of screen time. Of course it can vary wildly depending on how it’s written and what the content is. But if you start there you’ve got a good guide. I’ve been on other projects where the producers didn’t know this and it’s come back to bite them in the butt later when, for a fixed bid, they’ve found themselves producing a lot more screen time than they anticipated… for free. So be careful […]

Free on Amazon – Guardian of the Highlands

You can now watch Guardian of the Highlands, or at least the first ten minutes of it free on Amazon streaming. This is a film is worked on way back in 2006 and 2007. Don’t expect too much, lower your expectations… no… lower, lower… that’s about right. Limited means, and a crew filled with fresh graduates. Neither was really a problem. In fact I’d say we pulled of mini miracles, but nothing could save the material. At least we’ve all gone on to do much better things. Today there’s a strong comradery amongst the ex-team members for this film.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Trailer 3

The third trailer for Dawn of the planet of the Apes is out now, and it showcases a few shots I worked on, and many more I recognize. I worked on the film at MPC for a couple of months last year. It’s exciting to see it coming together. I’m still on the prowl for a big poster to take a picture alongside.