Episode 216 — Dan Katcher — Creatures

 

Episode 216 — Dan Katcher — Creatures

Welcome to Episode 216! I’m speaking with Dan Katcher, the Father of Dragons. Dan is responsible for designing all the dragons for Game of Thrones, including other creature work. I’m really excited for this Episode. This one I wanted to do from the beginning of my Podcast 5 years ago. I wanted to sit down and talk to him about his career with all of its ups and downs.

Six days ago marks the date of my launching this Podcast. This marks an anniversary, so I want to do something special to celebrate.

Let’s dive in!

FIRST THINGS FIRST:

[00:54] Have you ever sent in your reel and wondered why you didn’t get the callback or what the reason was you didn’t get the job? Over the past 20 years of working for studios like ILM, Blur Studio, Ubisoft, I’ve built hundreds of teams and hired hundreds of artists — and reviewed thousands of reels! That’s why I decided to write The Ultimate Demo Reel Guide from the perspective of someone who actually does the hiring. You can get this book for free right now at www.allanmckay.com/myreel!

[02:52] I’ve relaunched my City Destruction training: www.VFXCourse.com. The course is entirely free and you can download all 10 lessons.

[1:03:23] One of the biggest problems we face as artists is figuring out how much we’re worth. I’ve put together a website. Check it out: www.VFXRates.com! This is a chance for you to put in your level of experience, your discipline, your location — and it will give you an accurate idea what you and everyone else in your discipline should be charging. Check it out: www.VFXRates.com!

INTERVIEW WITH DAN KATCHER

Dan Katcher is a renowned Los Angeles-based creature designer for television, video games, and film. He is best known for his design of the dragons on HBO’s hit, Game of Thrones, which earned him Emmy recognition for three straight seasons. In addition to Game of Thrones, Dan is currently at work on creatures for a number of DC Comic productions, including The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl.

Dan’s previous work includes the dinosaurs on Fox’s Terra Nova, alien designs for the Green Lantern film, creature designs for MTV’s Shannara Chronicles, and sculpts of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” for Sideshow Collectibles, as well as many other works. He got his start creating collectibles in wax for Todd McFarlane Toys in New York.

Dan was trained at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he majored in Animation; and at the Art Students League, where he learned clay figurative sculpture from experts in the field. Dan credits his traditional art background for the depth of understanding of anatomy that sets his work apart. His ability to capture a character’s full range of human emotions gives his creations a signature, unmatched vitality.

In this Podcast, Allan interviews Dan about his career — with all of its ups and downs — the challenges of being an artist, the lessons he’s learned along the way, as well as his experience as the Father of Dragons on Game of Thrones.

Dan Katcher’s Website: https://www.dankatcher.com/
Dan Katcher on IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2962626/
Dan Katcher on ArtStation: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/1d4aK

 

[03:27] Allan: Alright, man! Thanks for doing this! Do you want to quickly introduce yourself?

Dan: Hi, I’m Daniel Katcher. I’m a Creature Creator, a Modeler. I currently work at Encore Visual Effects. I’m mostly known for being the designer of the dragon for Game of Thrones.

[03:44] Allan: That’s awesome, man! I’d like to know how you got started. Did you always want to be an artist growing up?

Dan: Oh, yeah! I was born in the Bronx in 1974. Since I was born, I was interested in art, as far as I can remember. My mom was an artist, later would become a science teacher. I grew up watching her work and I knew from a young age that was something I wanted to do.

[00:55] Allan: So, in the beginning, moving into getting work, did you have any struggles breaking in?

Dan: Oh, struggles! Yeah! Like, for years! I never really graduated grad school. I went there and I was paying for it myself. I was told by my teacher in my third year to give up and go pursue what I wanted to do. Which at the time was doing stop motion animation and doing commercial work. So I started doing that in New York. There was no film industry there, but I was in New York for 10 years after college. After years of not making money, we finally moved to California. I got a job at Gentle Giant, lost that job after a year. I did traditional sculpting, using clay and wax for McFarlane Toys who was one of my clients from before. So, yeah! I spent 2 years learning Z-Brush. I realized I needed to up my game. After that, life became really easy. I went to SIGRAPH with my portfolio, immediately got a job at Pixomondo. I started working on big projects right away. From that point on, it was fine!

[06:00] Allan: I think that is so important [to hear] because we think we are alone in that. We think as should give up. That’s why it’s important to touch base on that. Once you get that success, that’s what everyone sees: smooth sailing!

Dan: So much of what Drogon is — is based on my experiences in life of struggle, of being poor, of being an outcast most of my life. It’s that painful experience that allows me to make monsters. So it’s hard to say: If you come from a happy place, can you make monsters all day? No! You’ve got to struggle. It’s a necessary part of it. It’s not enjoyable when you’re suffering, but it makes you who you are. Don’t ever discount the importance of the struggle.

[07:07] Allan: Yeah! I think that’s so critical. I think in the beginning, you lean into those experiences and of never wanting to go back there. I definitely had those! You mentioned getting let go. The only job I’ve ever been fired from was pretty traumatic because I also lost the place where I was staying at the same time (www.allanmckay.com/209). For me, it meant that I would never put myself into that situation ever again!

Dan: Now I would also say that’s a big difference between us, Allan! I’ve been fired so many times, I can barely count them. Because it was a long time where I was trying to figure out what to do and I was doing jobs I shouldn’t have been doing. I worked at the ice capades making costumes. It took me a few weeks of sewing to realize I sucked at it. I waited tables and as someone with ADD, that didn’t work out. After getting fired a few times, I learned to not care about that that much. It was never about keeping the job. It’s about keeping my skill set! If someone is going to tell me to make Pokemon creatures all day, and if I get fired from that — I don’t really care! You know what I mean?

[08:38] Allan: All of this, it all plugs into it. I think part of the reason I got let go of was because I took on a job I didn’t really want. It was a path of least resistance! That’s a critical thing! This is the worst metaphor: I have gardeners doing my lawn. Because it’s summer, they have their kids doing it. It’s just really funny: I can always tell who did the lawn by the pattern [of the grass]. You can just tell when someone didn’t give a shit about the job. If you have passion, you will get it done quicker. For us, it’s the same thing! If the work we’re doing is not something we care for, it’s not going to work out because we need to put our passion into it!

Dan: Oh, absolutely! I mean, even with these jobs I’ve lost, I was never in the mentality to do a shitty job. Even when I sucked at it, I really tried. When I lost the jobs, it was tough and scary.

[10:15] Allan: Just to touch base on college, I find this really fascinating when your teacher told you to go start working, was it because you should start with your passion — and you’ll do well?

Dan: My ability was obvious from a young age. When I went to a university, I was (and I don’t want to sound egotistical) better than most of my professors.

[10:47] Allan: You stood out! Because when people are starting out, they’re finding themselves. But you’ve already found yourself.

Dan: I knew what I was going to do. College was just an excuse to party and meet girls.

[10:57] Allan: Yeah, I’m really pissed off I never went to college! I always picture: partying, meeting girls and drinking alcohol. That sounds great!

Dan: I went into this huge loan debt from partying, but I met my wife there, so I regret nothing.

[11:15] Allan: Thanks, man, for leaning into that bit! Everyone thinks they’re alone. I like to interview people who’ve had a lot of success and to point out that it wasn’t overnight.

Dan: It [takes] years of work and study. The fortunate thing that happened was that my mother was an artist. You were supposed to keep notes of everything we studied in school. My note books were filled with drawings and dragons, and monsters. And the teachers would call up my mom to say, “Dan is not really learning. He’s drawing dragon and crap. We don’t know what he’s going to do with his life.” My mom would say to them, “He’s obviously really good at this and I’m not going to tell him to stop.” So I would do enough classes to get by in school. From a young age, I knew what I was going to do and also because my mom was so supportive. I’d come home after school, and I’d still be drawing and making little sculptures. Yeah, it was constant study, constant work! I went to the Art Students League in New York and studied figurative sculpture there for a few years. That was probably the best education I’ve ever had! Those are the things that gave me the ability that I have today.

[13:00] Allan: How important do you think it is to immerse yourself fully in what you’re doing? Do you think you can become good if you’re just clocking in an hour a day?

Dan: [13:13] You’ve got to live it and breathe it! If it’s just your job — just give up! I don’t know what [kind of work] you could do that doesn’t require passion, but if it’s not something you are taking home with you, you can make it to some mid-level position, maybe! I don’t know. For this game, it’s total passion!

[13:43] Allan: Yeah, I think it’s a huge shock to people when they find out they aren’t going to learn visual effects: You aren’t going to learn this in 3 months. Give it 10 years — and might be on your way to knowing what you’re doing.

Dan: Well, look! You need to ask yourself: There is a job out there where you could make monsters all day. Or, you could have a job where you’re pushing papers around. And it’s really competitive, there is a lot of people that want to create monsters. There’s a lot of people with skill and you want to stand out!

[14:18] Allan: I want to touch base on that later on: How have you found ways to stand out from others? You did put in the effort to build a niche. You’re someone who’s known as The Father of Dragons. Some people might say, “Don’t do that because for the rest of your life, you’ll be known for that!” Which A. Doesn’t sound so bad! and B. It’s limiting to think that you aren’t attracting other options.

Dan: Yeah, I never thought of myself as “the Dragons Guy” until Game of Thrones came along. And quite frankly, dragons are just a small part of what I love to create! They’re sort of like a chore to make. Most of the work I do is making animals and people, or monsters, whatever. Dragons is a very rare and fun thing that I got to do. It was a dream of mine to get to do them for film. I wouldn’t want to be typecast as “the Dragon Guy” but at the same time, that’s not bad! Right?

[15:47] Allan: That’s right! At the same time, I doubt you’re getting just the dragon work. But if comes up, people are like, “Okay! Let’s call our Dragon Guy!”

Dan: Yeah, I mean, since Game of Thrones, I haven’t touched a dragon, for anyone, so far. I’ve done lots of other things. It just doesn’t come up. It’s not like everyone is running around with a script that has a dragon in it. Unless I go back to making my own sculptures of dragons, which I might do.

[16:19] Allan: I just got that 1,500-dollar Godzilla statue, for Christmas. I’ve had my eye on it, and my wife got it for me. I could fit a giant dragon next to it.

Dan: They are hard things to deal with, in terms of printing. I’ve seen people recently make some reproductions of them. Not bad reproductions! They don’t have my files though.

[16:55] Allan: Jumping around a bit, like you mentioned before with discovering digital sculpting with Z-Brush: When you first discovered it, were you like, “Okay, I need to jump on that wagon?” Did it resonate right away?

Dan: Well, I’ve had a weird history with Z-Brush. Like I’ve mentioned before, I was working as a traditional artist for many years, wax, clay, etc. When I worked at Gentle Giant, at that point, I really didn’t like the digital statues I’ve seen from Z-Brush. I didn’t want to learn Z-Brush because I thought it was an inferior way to make stuff. After I lost my job, my buddy gave me a copy of Z-Brush, 3.1. I’d taken some classes in Z-Brush before, but it didn’t click; I didn’t like it. I started playing with 3.1 and I realized: Okay! This can do some stuff! After about a year, I was good enough to get my first job. After that year, I’d given up clay. I never want to go back and start sculpting for commercial application. Z-Brush is the way to go! I can’t tell you how many of my traditional pieces have been destroyed by the molding and I’ll never get them back!

[18:41] Allan: Do you think that it beneficial to come from traditional sculpting background first?

Dan: Hundred percent! When I start teaching again, the thing that taught me the most was figurative sculpting. So my understand of 3D all comes from that. It didn’t come from Z-Brush. Having that ability to feel something with your hands, understand form in actual 3-dimensional space and transfer that over! And the sculpting techniques that I use are remnants of what I used to do in clay — and I’ve adapted that to doing that to a computer. It’s all the same skill sets that I transferred into technology.

[19:37] Allan: The last question around that would be: I’ve had so many guests who started with McFarlane figures. One of them was Bay Raitt (www.allanmckay.com/102). What was that your experience like for you?

Dan: It was [time of] growth that came with a price. McFarlane Toys — if you lived on the West Coast and you were a sculptor — that was the place you wanted to be. There were a lot of companies on the East Coast, but McFarlane Toys was big time! So when I got my first job there, it was really exciting. To be working full-time, making toys was a big deal. I was immediately put on some big projects as soon as I walked through the door. All these figures! I was in seventh heaven! I was commuting 4 hours from Manhattan to Bloomington, NJ just to do this job. It was exhausting. They were all out there in the wilderness. So a bunch of us, [artists], would take the same bus every day from Port Authority. And I’m not supposed to trash people…

[21:17] Allan: We just talked about this, Dan! What the hell?

Dan: No, no! Here it goes! McFarlane Toys got pretty big for a while building dragon toys. Let me tell you how that happened! I’m not going to name names because they know who they are. There was an idea that people should come up with ideas for toys. My idea was dragons, of course! They selected my idea. I was very excited! I handed them the drawings. The designer took them, showed them to Todd, gave them back to me — traced over with a castle on the bottom, with that designer’s name. I was like, “What the hell? Those are my dragons!” And that’s how that worked over there and it became the sour point. It was so much fun, so who would want to resist that? But [despite] having my ideas stolen from me, those were designs ended up getting me on something like Game of Thrones. On the one hand, I got burnt. On the other hand, they gave me the level of exposure. It was an amazing and a frustrating experience at the same time!

[23:42] Allan: Yeah, at least, you can see the positives. This week, Stallone was talking for the first time how he felt ripped off with the Rocky franchise. He created it, but he got paid as the actor and the director. But he doesn’t own the rights to Rocky. He made millions, but he could’ve [made more]. He’s held onto that for a bit.

Dan: I didn’t make millions. I didn’t even make what I’d consider as a livable salary. When it came time for me to say, “Shouldn’t I get something for the work I’ve done?”, they wouldn’t even acknowledge that I’ve done the work for them. When Todd came to visit the studio, they made sure we never got to talk.

[24:43] Allan: Whether it is VFX or toys…

Dan: Toys are different. We didn’t really get credit for doing what we do. In film, we get credit for what we do. I have to fight for it, but we get credit.

[25:00] Allan: Well, whatever industry you’re in, there are ways you can get screwed. There is always a hierarchy. That really sucks that this happens a lot! A lot of places have that seductive places that will attract younger people who will feel grateful just to be there. They will get taken advantage of and they know it. They don’t care, they’re just grateful! “I don’t care I’m working till [5:00] in the morning on my birthday!” They’re so grateful to work there and it’s part of the experience.

Dan: Listening to you, I’m thinking: This is the type of stuff that we have to take. Unless we can fund our own ideas, there no other way!

[26:20] Allan: I think it’s about learning from those experiences, as you did! That’s the worst takeaway: You know the other side of it.

Dan: Not only did I have to learn from it, I had to take those pieces and have them in my portfolio. That [ended up being] in my portfolio. Everyone got what they wanted in the end. Eventually, it did work out for me.

[27:04] Allan: To touch base on that for one more second: This is a very different thing, of course. Let’s say, there is the flip side as money being the only transaction. (It’s not related to what you went through.) There are people who can look beyond the money. There are benefits with looking at things strategically. You could do something to leverage not getting paid a lot. That is again different to your experience, but you were able to look at it positively.

Dan: I have more opportunities to that now. If you’re an artist, you will get shafted. You will get to do what you want to do, you will live a fun life — but they don’t have to pay you a lot, right? That’s across the board for artists. You could make a lot of money, if you’re connected. But working for a company is not the way to do that.

[29:30] Allan: Here’s my whole take on it: If you’re passive and allowing others to have your interests in mind, that’s naive. If you’re treating your art as a business, then you can be in control and start connecting the dots. But that takes a lot more work. You’d have to work your ass off, choose the right opportunities, etc. A lot more people are just happy to have a steady job.

Dan: Unfortunately, I fall into that second category. I prefer to do work than [deal with the] business. Money is the last thing on my mind (which is important with now having a kid). Money is a way to buy toys.

[31:01] Allan: But that’s the thing I’m talking about it: For you, it may be stability [that’s important]. You don’t get a producer coming to you and acting as an artist. There are more important things to you. Money is great, but at the end of the day, the pleasure that you have the creative freedom [means a lot].

Dan: For me, it’s simply about the world that we live in, day-to-day activities, relationships with other people. And then, there is the creative world. I get removed from this earth. I’m in some conduit with monsters and dragons, and there is zen to it. It’s so addictive to be there. [29:01] For me, to take a job means spending more time in that world, the creative world; doing that thing, living in that state of being. All the money in the world cannot buy me that state of being! There is not other experience that puts me in that space. I’m constantly working so I get hired, so that I get to be back in that place, every day. That’s the ultimate goal!

[33:03] Allan: Talk about that! Talk about being in the Flow State. Do you have any habits that get you there? Even if it means getting the emails out of the way?

Dan: Oh, my God! Well. (Laughs.) I’ve got to be honest! Well, I’m pretty much just high all the time. Let’s just put it out there! I have ADD and I take my medication. My creative process is: I come in in the morning, goof off with my friends I have at work, for about half an hour. Then I just sit at my computer and stuff just happens. For me, to get into that state of being is about instantaneous, as soon as I’m sitting in front of some paper or a computer screen. I’m right there! It takes me no time. I normally work for 8 hours, and then I’m back home and back to life.

[34:40] Allan: So sativa or indica, to be more creative?

Dan: Sativa. Indica makes you sleepy! I’ve been on Adderall since I was 15 but it has a downer effect. The pot just helps regulate all that. I smoke, take my Adderral and I’m off working. In case some kids want to follow in my footsteps, I don’t want to [give advice]. And in some places, pot is still illegal. So, FYI: I live in California and it’s legal here. I don’t drink! I can’t drink and work.

[35:50] Allan: I’ve worked in so many places where people drink. If I want to drink, I’d rather be out of the office. It’s not going to help me.

Dan: I can’t focus like that. I have a lot of anxiety about life, and smoking helps me with that. It also helps me get into that state and not thinking about the bills I have to pay; or the doctor’s appointment I have a week from now!

[36:27] Allan: Do you know Ben Lu?

Dan: Yeah, I know Ben.

[36:37] Allan: Yeah, that was part of his ritual. He’s the nicest guy in the world! Ben is such a chill guy but he gets mad at times. Smoking at work keeps him calm.

Dan: Yeah, I suffer from the same thing. I have horrible fits of rage. That’s the dragons, basically. That’s where they come from. Deep down inside, I’m angry as hell. I’ll take hit of pot and go, “What was I angry about again?”

[37:32] Allan: That’s cool! Let’s talk Game of Thrones! How did that come up that you’d be the right fit?

Dan: What happened was I was working at Pixomondo, working on Terra Nova. Before I had Game of Thrones, I already had my dream job which was Terra Nova on Fox. Spielberg was producing it. It had dinosaurs. I love dragons — but dinosaurs, I love even more! Dinosaurs were real. I want to see them resurrected. I would go to the museum with my dad to see dinosaurs. This guy, Rainer Gombos who was the VFX producer on Season 2 was walking through Pixomondo. Someone had told them they knew Rainer and he was looking for someone to make dragons. I didn’t really care that much because I was working on Terra Nova. I just happened to have my portfolio from working at McFarlane Toys and other digital things I was working on the side. I showed it to Rainer and he was like, “Hey, you want to make the baby dragon for Game of Thrones?” I said I’d do that. He [gave me some parameters]: It had to have the same number of fingers in the wings, it couldn’t have arms. But aside from that, make it look cool! I redesigned it, changed the anatomy of it. I tore the model apart and rebuilt it. It went into Season 2. I ended up getting laid off from Pixomondo because Terra Nova got canceled. I was very upset, of course. It was a big opportunity for me. My phone rang an hour I got laid off. It was Steve Kullback saying, “Hey, Dan, I hear they laid you off. We need you to come into HBO immediately!” I came in and they wanted to see the evolution of the dragons through Season 7. I did that and they loved it. I had a meeting with Steve and they told me that the dragons were mine.

[41:23] Allan: So, how did you feel?

Dan: I mean, when Terra Nova ended I was so upset. My life was over! Then I turned on the tv and watched the first Season of Game of Thrones. Holy crap! This is incredible! When they invited me back into the office, I was freaking out. I had no idea how it would work out. It was pretty amazing!

[42:20] Allan: I love that! And you basically went the client side.

Dan: And they called me! I worked for them directly until Season 7. Pixomondo had to hire me back, but I still get a separate credit as the Dragon Designer.

[42:48] Allan: Did you think about it personality wise, from the very beginning?

Dan: Um, not so much. Mostly, Drogon is the main dragon and the big boy. The other two are his lackeys. That’s how I looked at it. Drogon was the main focus for me. For budget reasons, it would be great to design different dragons, but it took so long to get Drogon. You can’t spend that much time and animate all of them. It makes it that much more expensive.

[43:59] Allan: I opened the old game DOOM and compared all the graphics in close-up, and realized there was a lot of recycling. It’s about being efficient and it forces everything to be in the same world. The same goes for your dragons.

Dan: How many car manufacturers use the same chassis for their cars? It takes a long time to develop something that can take the same impact. It takes millions of dollars. The dragons are the same and it took the long time to develop that: The look has to be right, the anatomy has to be right. It has to be animated. Anytime you make even a little change to these designs, it can throw everything off. It’s very challenging, especially as they get bigger.

[45:46] Allan: Do you ever look at any of the original artwork?

Dan: No, I specifically did not want to see it. For me, I’m going to be embarrassed to tell you: I was being so busy — with my kid being born then as well — it was impossible to sit there and read a book! I was either working or sleeping, or taking care of the baby. I didn’t even read Game of Thrones! It was my dragon and I knew how it was going to look.

[46:45] Allan: For you it makes sense. It could be a distraction because you’ve been living and breathing it for so long!

Dan: Yeah, I mean I can’t imagine any of the actors were huge fans of the book before they got on the show. It didn’t matter. It took them years of training to be those characters. I brought my dragons into that script. When you’re involved with a project, you bring yourself to that project; not that project — into yourself.

[47:49] Allan: I remember talking about a friend of mine about Smaug in The Hobbit. You could spend so much thinking about these characters.

Dan: I always though Smaug was one of those dragons that did have horns and legs and wings. But that’s not what they did for the film. But did it bother me? Not whatsoever! I enjoyed it.

[48:45] Allan: I had a massive back injury when that came out and I wasn’t taking any meds. I didn’t watch that in entirety.

Dan: Just fast forward to the end with the dragon. I didn’t care much for the rest of it. I know we’ve all gotten used to that weird frame rate. I don’t like it. It looks weird.

[49:35] Allan: These days, on your projects, which features are you responsible for?

Dan: My last thing was for Doom Patrol. Rita, her face melts. That was fun and disgusting! I’m doing a lot of aliens, a lot of animals. Beast Boy as a character I’ve done a lot of work on! A boy who turns into animals. I just did a piece with a bunch of asses with arms that attack.

[50:13] Allan: What was that for?

Dan: For Doom Patrol. The show is ridiculous but it’s fun. There are cockroaches French kissing a rat in one episode. There are general creatures. Sometimes, I have to do boring things too. But mostly, it’s animals.

[50:59] Allan: So what the hell is Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder? It’s up on our IMDb.

Dan: Why is that still on there? I spent a lot of time making an anaconda for it. I remember my texture artist suggesting to go film a real anaconda. I was like, “Dude, are you crazy? You can’t photograph those things! They’ve got all that shine on them!” What a nightmare! Do not try to photograph snakes! Use repeat patterns. It turns out even with something like a snake, if you end up inserting scales using algorithms, it winds up looking like crap. You have to get in there and do it by hand.

[52:23] Allan: But I see that a lot with junior artists. They go through the motions. You need to break it up. It’s all the natural things that are random that look real. You’re going to see the artificial patterns.

Dan: I was working with Terra Nova. They had “The Grass” Tyson (Neil deGrasse Tyson) come into Pixomondo. He came up to my desk and he looked at the dragon. He noticed I made all that by hand. He said he would’ve spotted any kind of pattern. It was definitely a huge compliment. You cannot replicate nature through an algorithm.

[54:09] Allan: I just put out a Podcast about AI taking our jobs. Which I think is so much crap! The tools that are getting more powerful but it’s the lazy people who let the computer do its thing. I still have the full control. If it’s simulations or what you’re doing, it’s all artistry. I’m thinking about Andy Serkis who talks shit about VFX and says it’s all acting. He is a fantastic actor, but it’s not about hitting the button and walking away. The problem with reels I look at these days don’t have any creative stuff in them. I’ve had to fire people who’ve bogged things down. I was talking to a Character Animator. We were talking about if VFX people started with animation, they would be way better artists. They don’t know how to make it real.

Dan: Except for the Face App. It’s doing something that’s really scary. You’re right though. What makes me nervous is: I create systems to make my job easier and I think if I could create an AI that could take over — how much easier it would get. [57:50] With every passing day, the less high end creative your work is — the better the chances that a computer will take over your job. It makes me a bit nervous about the future.

[58:17] Allan: Here’s the difference! You’re right about Face App. My whole perspective on jobs going away is: Roto, Camera Tracking will go away. If we look at what we do, the tools just got more advanced.

Dan: You look at the end credits of a movie these days, it’s not like there are less people working on movies! There are thousands more people. You’re right!

[59:20] Allan: Face App is a 100% animated.

Dan: And I composites you too, which is what’s really scary.

[59:37] Allan: If it were a movie production, we’d think what if we did this or that. That’s where the app will fail. If you want to change the angle, you don’t have that control. That’s where the artistry comes in. There will always be the button pushing.

Dan: For me, most of the AI work, they recognize patterns and recreate them. For me, as an artist, and you can tell when something looks like a replica, then I’ve failed. I want them to see something they haven’t seen before. Remember when The Matrix came up with the slow motion camera rotation. Since then, every movie started having that. I’m sick of it!

[1:02:04] Allan: Where can people go to find out more about you?

Dan: I still have my website: https://www.dankatcher.com/. I’ve been touring a lot lately. There is a bunch of videos I’ve done from my tours in South America.

[1:02:51] Allan: Well, hit me up when you’re in Portland.

Dan: Thanks, man! This has been fun!

I hope you got a lot from this Episode. I want to thank Dan for doing this interview. Please share this Episode. All the cool kids are doing it!

Until next week —

Rock on!

 

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