The Allan McKay Podcast – Episode 1!

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The Allan McKay Podcast – Episode 1!



Ok it’s here, after planning and building up to a podcast for two years and having people kicking my ass to do this, The Allan McKay Podcast is now live.

After shooting 25 episodes of Artist Insight Series, and having two editors assigned to getting the episodes out, only five ever actually made it online. Traveling around and assembling teams of people to both shoot and edit the episodes proved to become quite painful to do. I have had hundreds of people ask me to do a podcast over the years and although I had been a bit shy to the idea, recently at Blur while working on Halo a few people consistently brought this idea up that I should relaunch Aritst Insight Series again as a podcast.

Now, I have been working in the background on a few other things and it just seemed like the right timing to bring it altogether. After all there are a few other types of content I want to create that a podcast seems like the perfect platform for.

I am really excited about this as this is a chance for me to build a home to start putting a lot of my content through. And, if you all find this to be extremely insightful and detrimental to your careers and lifestyle, then I will be putting out a heck of a lot more of these over the remainder of the year, and onward!
I have to say this is definitely experimental, I love podcasts I listen to them daily and because of that I am daily inspired! But one thing I have consistently learned, is that their first twenty episodes everyone definitely stumbles through figuring things out! So there will definitely be some growing pains as I get into my groove.
What you will gain (or at least I set out to TRY to do!) from this Podcast is:
I want to bring the best, the smartest and the most talented people together and give insight into their creative skills, how they made it, pitfalls in their career and how to avoid them. Ways to work faster, smarter and more effectively. I also want to help build a community of talented people who all want to better their careers and their lives. It doesn’t matter whether you are in visual effects, video games, commercials or you aren’t in these fields at all. The content here is aimed to help you and gain access into people who’ve had many major successes, as well as give you ideas how to improve your own career too. Some of the subjects I want to cover are:

  • How to be a stronger artist, to gain your passion back
  • Building your brand, and 10x your career
  • Learning to bid on projects and attract studio work
  • Marketing yourself so that studios and employers will come to you rather than you seek out them
  • Creating a strong presence when approaching work
  • Working faster, more effectively, avoiding burn out and appreciating downtime
  • Setting goals, short term and long term
  • Creating a secondary passive income
  • Learning to learn better, pick up skills faster and think on your feet
  • Networking and building your inner circle of strong contacts
  • Group panels with both studios, productions and collective minds on various important industry and career subjects

There are literally hundreds of great subjects, as well as great people already lined up, but first I need to know whether this is something that YOU want, or if I’m alone in this in wanting to create content to better our careers and our skills! Check out the first two epsiodes:

Episode 1: The art of freelancing, and becoming a digital gipsy

This episode is essentially on mastery on the freelance front. Taking full control of your career and seeing the opportunities in front of you to say YES and break out into a successful career. I share a lot of personal stories about my successs, as well as doubts, fears and also failures myself and also others around me have experienced. More to show how to do things right, how to plan carefully and think ahead. There are ways to shotgun your career, even if your end goal is to have a secure staff position and focus on stability. There is a lot of great content in here, and because there is so MUCH content, it’s definitely a bit of a lengthy episode but with a lot of really solid advice and content given to you rapid fire!

Episode 2: Carlos Anguiano on ILM, Digital Domain, Rhythm & Hues and Disney

I’ve worked with Carlos at Industrial Light and Magic, Blur Studio, Digital Dimension and an assortment of other places over the years. Carlos has had major success in his career as both a Pipeline Developer and Character Technical Director. He’s been a major influence on many of the leading studios as well as making great impact with his own pipeline software Mango. Carlos and I discuss his career at Pixomondo, Scanline, Digital Dimension, Rhythm & Hues as well as at Disney, during the time of the Pixar acquisition. This is a great discussion with a lot of great insight into his successes and especially from more a technical and creative background!

I have an important favor to ask, which I don’t do often:

1) Please listen to one or both episodes
2) Then PLEASE leave a review on iTunes.
3) Please share this, if you find it valuable and think others will get some insight from this.

I will read EVERY review and, based on that feedback I’ll either stop or keep doing this podcast.

If you seem to like them, I promise to do at least 6 episodes in the next 1-2 months. And trust me: I have some amazing people lined up and ready to go, as well as a lot of really valuable content (working remotely and how to approach clients to get to work either from home or other locations. Also interviewing some of the lead recruiters in the industry on what they look for when hiring artists, I’m doing a few group panels with guys at Pixar and Digital Domain. There’s lots. It’s going to be cool, trust me. Constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement are welcome, whether on iTunes or in the comments below.

All that said, here’s the first two episodes! I really hope you enjoy them.



Show notes for Episodes 1 and 2
Feedback is always welcome, I will definitely try to flesh out future notes more so bare with me as these episodes it’s been more about ‘getting it out there’ and I will definitely spend more time on creating detailed notes, links and resources for the future episodes.

Notes will be up by end of the week!

Connect with Carlos Anguiano: Carlos Anguiano’s Blog


  1. Richard Mathew says:

    This is just great and something i have been waiting for a long time. You are the man sir,always sharing great insights. Thanks again

  2. Haji says:

    Hi Allan,first of all huge thanks fo this awesome information,i really like it a lot,it’s really helpful,as always you are really helping us.I have one question,so Allan i currently live in Azerbaijan country and for it is really hard to find a job,most of the studious says that your reel is good we liked it but we cant hire you because you live too far we need somebody who livel in local place or in the country which doesn’t require visa and it happens alla the time,same way with the freelancing they dont trust to give you a chance.Can you please help with that what shoul i do in this situation,please.I would really appreciated,again thaqk you very much Allan.

    also there’s my reel jst in case if you will have time please take a look.

    Best Regards.


  3. Really its a valuable word for me !!!!….Thank you Allan Mckay sir

  4. scott says:

    i watched the first episode very informative and great for anyone looking to break into freelancing

    highly recommend watching

    thanks Allan

  5. Nayan says:

    Thank you very much…..I am really struggling with my freelance job…..episode 1 has cleared many of my doubt…though i have not listened completely, has its very long….but am really looking forward to listen the whole podcast, and will be following all your podcast….Its really something new, which i haven’t heard before…..would actually love to hear more and more of your podcast. Thank you for taking your time out for people like me.

  6. Ruben says:

    Great Dude, can’t wait for the others. :)

  7. Dan says:

    Very helpful! I’m looking forward to future podcasts!

  8. Vinicius says:

    Hey Allan!
    Another great initiative coming from you! I liked a lot both podcasts. Also Carlos Anguiano is such an energetic guy haha, I laughed my ass off with the podcast.
    All the best man, thanks for putting your time in something like this.
    Best Regards

  9. Jacob says:

    like always saying the right things to the right people, i love your work and guidance
    keep up the great projects

  10. Etay says:

    Hey Allan.
    Would love to hear your podcast please keep them up
    exactly the things I would love to hear about.

  11. Nicholas says:

    Hi Allan,
    Only midway through the first podcast, it’s very inspiring, particularly as I’m one of those in a studio position, rigor mortis setting in and all. The advice comes across as level-headed and straight-forward. Much appreciated.

    • nicholas says:

      Just finished both podcasts. That Carlos guy is a character and a half. Definitely interested in hearing more interviews. Been pimping this at work.

  12. Norbert Varga says:

    This is awesome! Looking forward to future episodes. Keep ‘em coming:)

    • amckay says:

      Thanks so much guys!

      Norbert hope you’re well mate! I am thinking of doing a round table episode on Halo next month, maybe you might be interested in being a part of that, let me know! :) Hope you’re well buddy!

      Vinicius – Carlos is definitely ‘energetic’ haha he’s one of a kind. I love the guy, extremely talented guy – really glad I got to do an episode with him! I have part two coming in a few days too!

      Thanks so much everyone I really appreciate your input, it really inspires and motivates me to do more so I will definitely keep these going! I only mention this because the first few days of a podcasts launch are crucial to it’s survival, so if you can please please please go to iTunes and leave a review/rating/subscribe etc. That would be freakin awesome! Thanks again everybody!!

      I always read through everyone’s comments and I will do my best to respond to everybody!
      and I have a bonus episode I will be putting up in 24 hours so keep an a look out :)

  13. Sav says:

    Hey dude, really like what you’re doing here!
    Would be awesome to hear your interviews further down the track.
    Andrew sounds like a great guy… (Future ep maybe? :P)

    Would love to see the podcast make it to iTunes!
    Keep em coming.

  14. Mike Paech says:

    Interesting talk.

    I’ll be following

  15. Girish K R says:

    This is First time ever I heard such an interview, haven’t heard anything from production team other than in youtube or Showreels of software’s , Thumb’s up for your Idea…, nice to have some one to share experience of such people and help us know what industry is all about and how it is moving….hope more big name’s in pipeline…waiting for that……

  16. […] weekend, veteran VFX artist Allan McKay officially launched The Allan McKay Podcast  which will be featured on his official site and iTunes. McKay is an award winning Visual Effects […]

  17. Javier says:

    Very good content, looking forward to keep on hearing this pod-casts, already subscribed!!

  18. Martin Bech says:

    Very interesting, I’ll be “tuning in” on the following episodes :)

  19. Jonathan says:

    This is good stuff, as an Artist trying to get my career going I find this really intresting. Keep em coming! =)

  20. Dustin says:

    Above, episode 1 says it’s only one second long on my Android phone. Everything else is great. Glad to have someone putting this great information out there. I’m a VFX student on my way out of school next year, so this is priceless.

  21. Edu says:

    Hey Allan

    This podcast is just what i needed right now :) I Never went on that leap of faith of freelancing full time and while I am working on a studio I do some freelance jobs at home. I am not at all a social media person…but today I am just going to sing up on facebook and little by little increase my contact circle and see how it goes. Thank you very much for this podcast and please keep feeding us with more.

  22. Nelson says:

    Hi Allan.
    Always great stuff coming from yourself. I found really cool the part in episode 1 when you talk about changing areas. I’m a Nuke comper in Brazil but I really like particles and fluids. I’ve got all your DVDs on Fumefx and I’m studying Thinking Particles right now. Also learned a bit of Fume for maya with your Maya Genesis Course. Thanks for taking the time to do this. God bless.


  23. Nuno says:

    Nicee stuff m8, I’ll surely follow, bring it :D

  24. Neil Scholes says:

    Thanks for sharing your insights and experience – Very interesting!

  25. Eric says:

    both talks were a great insight, and Carlos is a riot, as Allan was talking in the first pod it was like i was hearing what i tell everyone to do, was crazy. As far as pod one goes one thing everyone needs to keep in mind is you still have to be good at what you do and being multifaceted will allow you to move around. Also remember there are a ton of super talented people but they can only work on so many things at one time so there is always opportunity every where. Thanks Allan really appreciate it

  26. Andy Lefton says:

    This is great! I’ve been working as a 3D/VFX generalist for 12 years, but have been in Minneapolis. I’m looking to expand and find something a bit more challenging. Cinema 4D and After Effects have always been my main platform. I’ve been wanting to get into Nuke, Maya and other packages to broaden my horizons. Higher end film is where my heart is, it’s just a matter of diving in and getting my work out there even more. My network has always been good, just need to push a bit farther and broaden my horizon. Thanks for the insight!


  27. Lucas Kozak says:

    Great stuff Alan ! You`re the man. Keep going with this inspiring talks. I`ll listen it for sure. Cheers.

  28. Montrose Edmonds says:

    This whole category of content is something I wanted to see for years. There is so much knowledge about skills and button pushing, but very little content on the business and career development aspects of this industry. What is out there has been the same content since the mid 90’s, This information has only been available at bars at during SIGGRAPH at night after the main events. Thanks for providing this!

    My dream has always been to create my own small boutique studio even though I have been freelancer for years and I have already started it in motion. I would love to tune into some more content about starting up a small studios and the business/pipeline efficiency issues specific to smaller shops.

  29. philip kelly says:

    These are great, I listened to Episode 1 yesterday and it was hard going, to listen too, but to make it must have been much tougher.
    They are great, really good. I am in the arch Viz side but would love to get in the fx side.
    Episode 2, I have never laughed as much, the use of the work C**nt was like been in an Irish pub smack bang in the middle of Dublin, on a Saturday night.

    Sounds like a tough enough career path, in relation the contract end of work, and getting the best deal possible.

    Really looking forward to the coming episodes.


  30. cesar says:

    Great talk. I would finish the podcast with some conclusions or pointers of the topics,….
    Great job!

  31. Awesome podcast Allan! Super interesting.
    I really appreciate the easy going and sincere way of presenting all your experiences. I’m looking forward to listening to the rest of the episodes.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  32. Sommer Daves says:

    Congrats on the new platform. It’s always great to know there is applicable, realistic advice and content for new and even veteran artists direct from the source. Keep up the great work. Definitely looking forward to future content. (Also, looking forward to working with you again over here at DT!! )

    Best to you!!

  33. Lorenz Wiedemann says:

    Very interesting and encouraging for jung cg-artists. Especially the part, that you must not be stuck to one software package. I always had the impression that you more or less make a choice for a software when you start in the industry and that’s it. Thanks alot for this insight.

  34. Nejc Škufca says:

    This is absolutely brilliant! I got to listen the first episode and my first thoughts are that this is awesome. As someone who is just finishing college and sticking my neck out in tho the world, this is probably the best thing i could come by. Thank you a lot Allan, I look forward to listening your next episodes, this is great to get my head wrapped around how things work and what to watch out for. Five star rated content right here.

    Thank you again for this.


  35. Great podcast!, really great stuff! can’t wait to listen the next ones.

  36. Kris Doggett says:

    I enjoyed your Texas/LA Skype phone number story!

  37. Alex Watson says:

    Just listened to episode one and really appreciated it. Lots of interesting information and pumped a bit of confidence into me for the prospect of freelancing. Thanks a lot, looking forward to more!

  38. […] advice got a huge opportunity this week when veteran VFX artist Allan McKay officially launched  The Allan McKay Podcast . The show is hosted free both on AM’s official site and iTunes and will be an opinion and […]

  39. Cody Amos says:

    Nice work! This is really great info that isn’t easy to find. Thanks heaps!

  40. Tim Jackson says:

    Fantastic listen Allan, about to crack on with the second cast. Information such as this is invaluable and I look forward to all the podcasts to come.
    Thanks !


  41. Frank Carlisle says:

    A lot of awesome information!

    I used to work at a small studio where everyone was laid off a couple years ago. I’ve been getting by fine on freelance work, but I felt that my time away from any studio and big projects would not look good during any interviews with a studio. After listening to your podcast, I now know what to say, and not to say.

    Thank you Allen McKay!

    Can’t wait til the next podcast.

  42. Rune Gabrielsen says:

    Hi Allan, thanks for all the good advice. I have only just finished the first episode, but I think it is packed with usefull and unique information.
    I’m trying to move from a graphic designer position into 3D, vfx and animation in Norway. I’m seriously considering freelancing, so for me this first episodes are very valuable.
    Just wanted to say that I’m really interested to listen to the rest, you’re doing a great job with this podcasts.


    • amckay says:

      Thanks so much Rune that’s really great to hear! I will definitely put out more episodes soon and your input is really valuable, if there’s anything specific subject wise you would love to hear about please let me know!

  43. This single episode is probably the best, most valuable and beneficial, 2 hours I have spent in a long time. Please, please keep ‘em coming! Please!

  44. Luke Ken says:

    Great podcast! I’m in my “hatching” stage, trying to break through…and I find your posts really helpful and encouraging. Thanks!

    • amckay says:

      Cool Luke! Great to hear, I plan to do more solo episodes soon – I have a new one out tomorrow so keep an eye out! And please let me know how I can ever help you, thanks Luke!

  45. […] my advice with as many aspiring artists as possible. So, please look for them and/or check out my podcast for other career advice topics for the CG/VFX […]

  46. John Pruden says:

    Allan, Just finished listening to the first podcast. I think what you’re doing is great! Not to mention extremely generous! Sharing experience and advice from a person who’s been successful in this industry for a long time will no doubt help those who are smart enough to listen. These podcasts are a wonderful way to give back and are sure to benefit the community. Over the last 20 years I’ve gone from being a freelance arch-viz artist to running a small studio and then back to freelance. While not VFX, the two are not entirely unrelated. The industries are always changing and you have to learn to adapt to survive and thrive, and then also find balance. I found this first podcast to be extremely relevant, and even though I’m not looking to change my career right now, the information was still very useful and inspiring. I’m particularly looking forward to listening to your segment on passive income. Life is so expensive these days, and living the freelance lifestyle is always a bit of a roller coaster, so having some back-up is really really important. Turbosquid’s done alright for me, I’m interested in what ideas you have to share. Anyways… thanks so much for airing these podcasts!!! I hope you’re getting enough good feedback to keep them coming! -John

  47. Govind says:

    Such an insight to the VFX industry. This is simply superb.
    Thank you for taking the effort in putting this out here, helps a lot.

    Especially for artist like me who are a little cut of in terms of exposure, your tips mean a great deal.
    You really do leave me inspired & motivated.
    Thank You once again.


    • amckay says:

      Thanks Govind, plenty more to come and I appreciate your input! Out of the episodes you have listened to so far, which is your most valuable?

      • Govind says:

        I felt very personal connected towards – Ep 001, EP 004, EP 006 & EP 007
        They were simply awesome!
        Haven’t gone beyond EP 008 yet.

        I have been sharing this with every one who wants to break through, India is still picking up and studios here, lets say aren’t really very friendly. Not to exaggerate but its a very narrow minded work environment and everyone whom I talked to has given me a very bad impression – not a single soul has ever spoken to me like Sean Ritchie did about their work. They hate their work life here.

        It’s these pod-casts that you are doing keeps me going without loosing hope!

        So thanks a lot again. Its a blessing!

  48. Raphael Tavares says:

    Really great advice here. I’ve being looking for a podcast like this for a while, thanks for taking the time to do this Allan. Will definitely recommend this to friends.

  49. Amazing podcast Allan, I really enjoy it!, would you talk a little more about your experience when looking for your dreamed job?, maybe how was your experience when moving to another country alone.
    Thanks for these amazing podcast, it really motivates me to go for the dreamed job and fight for it.

  50. Vladimir says:

    Oh my god! Allan! This is SO helpful! THANK YOU!

  51. amckay says:

    Guys, everybody! Thank you SO MUCH for all the kind amazing thoughtful and brilliant comments! I’m truly overwhelmed at so many great kind messages, emails and everything I have received from all of you! I promise I have read all of these and I’m working on replying to everyone but again it inspires me to do more and it’s so great to see all of YOU taking action and wanting to do more with your careers and your lives. Really inspiring, I hope you all have strong goals for 2015 and if I’ve had any impact in any way on that then that makes me immensely happy and content!

    Here’s to having an amazing year and looking back this time next year at all the things we accomplished!!

  52. Govind says:

    Hey Allan,

    Loved EP 10 – Was so insightful. Tried my best to implement many of the aspects you have talked about, and its helping big time

    Following up on your outro for that episode – felt really good sharing it with couple of people – you were right, it’s nothing to be mute about.
    So here to everyone else – I love cinematics, so for 2015 I want to complete my reel soon & extend out to Platige, Digic or Blizzard this coming year and I am going throw everything I have at it.

    Thank you so much again putting all this together!

  53. This is gold Allan!
    This is a must to follow. Love the new design as well.

    • amckay says:

      Thanks Johannes! more to come, every Monday for now on! :)
      The design I’m 50/50 loving I am tempted to hire someone soon to have a do-over – just so it’s a bit more readable. But it’s better than it was! :)

  54. Hi Allan
    Thanks a Lot for this , i lestined to EP1 ans just start the EP2 , its really Helpful
    Allan , You rock :)

  55. Kay says:

    Hi Allan

    I have to say this podcast is fantastic. It’s opened my eyes the possibility of working remotely and taking on freelancing positions in the creative industry.

    You mentioned that you have worked with studios in Los Angeles. Can I ask whether you still needed a visa to work for them?



    • amckay says:

      Hi Kay! thanks for your comment and typically if you are working on site in LA or anywhere in the US you’ll need a visa. There is the possibility of remote work, ie. working from home etc. Where this way you won’t need a visa. Typically if you’re to do this I recommend small to medium sized studios, as usually the larger ones are too structured to allow it, but that’s still not always the case.

      I’m happy to talk more with you about this subject if you like – what area of 2D or 3D are you in? Working remotely is definitely doable, but it’s more likely in some disciplines than others, like modelers are going to have an easier time getting remote work than compositors just because of typically how a production will be structured and the communication necessary.
      Same with animation, whereas sometimes FX can be done remotely etc.

  56. Perry Nally says:

    These podcasts are brilliant. Keep them coming, please. Just the fact that I get to hear you shoot the breeze with other talented people inspires me to continue. My expertise is not in film, but rather mobile apps and games. Thank you for these!

    • amckay says:

      Thanks Perry! That’s really great to hear! and I try not to make them ‘too specific’ to film and games, I actually am hoping to have the development team from many of the Call of Duty games on pretty soon (fingers crossed) and don’t be surprised if I do pull some people on from mobile game development at some point, there’s too much cool stuff going on so I’d love to get insight on some of these!

      Thanks again Perry, and I’ll keep em coming! :)

  57. Nived Patil says:

    Hey Allan love to hear your content it always helpful to me

  58. Jared Rhind says:

    Hi Allan
    I found episode 1 on freelancing very insightful and it answered a lot of questions I had on my mind.
    I will indeed be listening to more.

    Thank you

  59. Your podcast was recommended to me by a friend and I am hooked! (have only listened to the first episode) Its awesome to hear artist talk about more then just tech and tools. Thanks

  60. Surfer says:

    Really really Awesome Podcast. Keep coming

  61. I just came across this podcast for the first time today. It’s great I look forward to listening to all the archive material working my way up to the most recent. I find it’s great background noise while I work on my freelance gigs also. LOL thanks for sharing :)

  62. Phil Ryan says:

    LOVED the first episode, gives me some inspiration to maybe move on from my first job in Architectural Visualization!

    Keep up the podcasts please, it’s such easy listening and very inspiring!!!!


  63. Nathan Alexander says:

    Outstanding Podcast! Thanks Allan for your vast insights on this incredible industry. I really appreciate what your doing here dude. Cant wait to check out more!

  64. Luis Mira says:

    Hello Allan, this is super insightful! really a most listen episode, thank you very much for this. Lots of advises for a successful path. Keep up the awesomeness!

  65. Luis Mira says:

    Hello Allan, this is super insightful! really a must listen episode, thank you very much for this. Lots of advises for a successful path. Keep up the awesomeness!

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