Off-Site vs On-Site

Working remotely requires a strong capacity to trust other people. By default, meeting good reasonable people in person builds trust. Getting to know someone immediately in front of you will generally result in much stronger bond of trust than working remotely. I’ve noticed that the further away from ‘in-person’ you are from a relationship the more people instinctively demonize each other, or ‘them’. Regular video chat can be helpful, talking on the phone is almost as good, instant message is the next step, email is convenient but its the absolute limit of a modern day working relationship. Anything less and the other person becomes the enemy. What’s alarming is how two sets of reasonable people with the best of intentions assume flaws, fault, laziness, selfishness, and all kinds of other issues upon each other as the communication methods reduce down to email. Cultural differences throw up defenses even faster. I’ve caught myself making the same assumptions at times, but I push through it and try to see the other side’s perspective. The less you know about the other person though, the harder it gets to relate to them, so it’s only natural for us to demonize the unknown. Different personality […]

Virtual Studios and Remote Collaboration

For Siggraph 2013 my friends and I put on a presentation along with a question and answer session to talk about remote collaboration. The following is a summary of the introduction I gave and two videos containing the audio, slide shows and clips we showed at the event. The speakers included: David Andrade and Mark Olson from Matt Berenty and David Bokser from Kenny Roy from Michael Cawood and Shane Davis from The United Nations predicts that by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in the cities. Can you imagine that? In terms of mankind, as one big machine, cities are essentially more efficient. But on the individual level, they’re expensive and you can expect a lower quality of life for your earnings. I’d like to challenge that prediction, and suggest that the U.N. hasn’t accounted for the increasing development of remote collaboration, and in the case of our industry, Virtual Studios. I’m going to use animated features as an example for our discussion, but many of the principles apply to visual effects, TV series, commercials, games and many other industries. Let’s jump back in time first to remind ourselves of some of the […]

Devils, Angels and Dating – One Year Online

So it’s been a year since ‘Devils, Angels and Dating’ was first released onto YouTube where it recently passed a million views, which was a very nice Christmas present! Our film’s composer, Phil Rey, has a great new album out that I’m listening to now… and wow! …. it’s good. Check it out, well worth a listen: The singer, song writer for our credits, Andrea Perry, ran a very successful KickStarter campaign to fund her new Album which passed it’s goal by a significant margin: I’ve been encountering a lot of Devils team members over the years. Several popped up at my leaving event in Austin which was a surprise and I worked with a good number of remote animators from the team while I was in New York. Most notably I worked alongside Jamil Lahham for six months or so, which was a real treat and we’ve become good friends. He’s also making his own short film. It really is nice for me to meet all these team members but what’s even cooler is hearing about them bonding over Devils when they cross paths on their own. It’s going to be a go-to conversation piece […]