Episode 262 — Chaos Group — Chris Nichols
Episode 262 — Chaos Group — Chris Nichols
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.
CG Garage: https://www.chaosgroup.com/cg-garage
Chaos Group: https://www.chaosgroup.com/about#about
Martini Giant: https://www.martinigiant.com
Chris Nichols’ Interview with SAG-AFTRA: https://www.sagaftra.org/chris-nichols
Chris Nichols on Allan McKay’s Podcast: www.allanmckay.com/28
[05:31] Chris Nichols Introduces Himself
[11:47] Chris Talks About Joining the Chaos Group
[15:34] The Journey of Creating CG Garage
[25:51] Digital Humans and the Uncanny Valley
[39:53] New Technological Developments in Virtual Production
[56:29] The Importance of an Artist’s Ability to Adapt to the Future
[1:10:14] The Effect of COVID-19 on Working Remotely
[1:13:21] Working Remotely and the Future of VFX
EPISODE 262 — CHAOS GROUP — CHRIS NICHOLS
Welcome to Episode 262! This is Allan McKay. I’m speaking with Chris Nichols from Chaos Group and host of CG Garage. I’m really excited to dive into this. I highly recommend checking out Chris’ Podcast as well.
Chris has been on my Podcast before: www.allanmckay.com/28. That was the very beginning for both of us starting our Podcasts. Fast forwarding 5 years, it’s cool to see where we are. We talk about the state of the industry and the impact of COVID-19 on the state of it.
I’m about to go through a rebrand of everything. That means that I’ll be building a new website. I will also be building a course on How to Build Your Personal Brand. This is the time to bring it all together! Part of it means rebranding my Podcast as well. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, what topics you’d like for me to tackle, which guests you’d like to have on the Podcast. Please send me an email: [email protected]. I’ve learned a lot about the Podcast while doing it for 5 years.
Let’s dive in!
FIRST THINGS FIRST:
[00:43] Have you ever sent in your reel and wondered why you didn’t get the callback or what was the reason 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!
[1:16:02] 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 CHRIS NICHOLS
[05:31] Chris: I got into CG actually in school. I was studying Math and Fine Arts, and I got into CG because of my Math background, figuring out some Math problems. And that’s what got me into CG. But then I went to an Architecture school in Houston and I got a degree in Architecture, which really got me into CG. That was in the early 90s. That’s when the concept of Jurassic Park was coming out. I was going to grad school during that. (I’m showing my age.) So that’s what got me into that idea. I was really interested in sticking to architecture and arch viz, but it didn’t really interest me. Something wasn’t resonating and I realized I was more interested in doing the pictures than doing the designs. I ended up in LA. I got a call from a friend of mine who was at Digital Domain who said, “Hey, we need to build all the buildings in New York for The Day After Tomorrow.” I said, “Yeah, I know how to do buildings” and decided it was my first change in career. I went to DD. Then I went to Sony.
[07:09] Allan: Was that because you realized there could be only one Chris Nichols at DD?
Chris: Well, that! That’s the second run, we haven’t gotten there yet. But I did go to Sony and there was another Chris Nichols there who was a Producer. This was back when Sony was pretty big. I only stayed there for 9 months, but I realized I wasn’t up for nice, comfortable jobs just yet and I wanted to do something edgy. I went to work with Rob Nederhorst who was starting a company called Speedshape. This was way back when! They had an office in Michigan and we went to start an office here in Santa Monica. I went on to another company called Sway. I was the Head of 3D there. Then I went to Method after that. (Boy, I’ve been everywhere!) And then I went back to DD where the other Chris Nichols was. You’re from Perth, right?
[08:42] Allan: No, I’m not from Perth. Perth is on the other side.
Chris: Yeah, Chris said it was way out there. And that the closest city to Perth was in Indonesia.
[08:55] Allan: It’s a really beautiful place and I’ve only been there once. But it’s like flying to Detroit and there is nothing else around. So the prices are jacked up. Why would you fly to the other side of the country for that one thing?
Chris: Although they do have some great fishing on the West Coast of Australia! I’m obsessed with fly fishing these days. Chris was in the Vancouver office and I was in the LA office. We used to get each other’s emails because people would get confused with their art. I’d get invited by people I didn’t know to go to restaurants I didn’t know. He is a great guy! He was on my Podcast too. Chris has done some really great work! So I was DD during Tron and Real Steel. Maleficent was my last show there.
[10:37] Allan: You know John Brennick? I know he was on Real Steel. Love that guy!
Chris: After that, I got a little bit — this was during the Great Exodus of VFX from LA — around 2013, I ended up leaving.
[11:11] Allan: Yes, it started during 2011. But 2013 is when I got a bit nervous. “Hello, LA! Are we still working or what’s going on?”
Chris: Yeah, everyone was going to Vancouver. Now everyone in Vancouver is terrified because all the work is going to Montreal. I hate to tell you that was going to happen! It’s not because the work is better, it’s because of the tax subsidies.
[11:47] Allan: We had that in Australia where 40% of the work. We shot The Matrix movies, the Star Wars movies. As soon as you turn that off, everyone leaves. It’s not a new concept. People are chasing the subsidies. Now studios are reinforcing it.
Chris: And I didn’t want to have a migratory life. My wife is a successful Flame artist and she’s making great money. Her livelihood was here. I ended up getting out of VFX. I tried to find an exit plan. At this point, working on a specific movie didn’t mean as much as when I started. What I liked was the interesting things we would do together. I’d been friends with guys from the Chaos Group since they were two people. It was Vlado and Peter and I’ve known them for a long time. I’d been a V-Ray user since before it was a product. They had a small forum and it was a beta product. Now it’s a huge thing! They had an office in the US, in Baltimore. They wanted to start an office in LA. We started chatting about trying out new technology and ideas. I ended up working at Chaos Group and got to do a lot of cool projects. I got to work on the short film CONSTRUCT by Kevin Margo (https://www.chaosgroup.com/blog/construct) which was a lot of fun! It was based on all the Lab idea. And the Podcast was a really random idea. The LA traffic is bad and the best way to fight that traffic is by listening to Podcasts. My wife sits and listens to Podcasts all day and she’d recommend things to me. I worked in Burbank and lived in Culver City. It’s not a huge distance.
[15:34] Allan: The first time I ever worked at Blur would have been in 2004. I didn’t have a car at the time. I told Tim I’d take a taxi every day. It was a $100 one way (to Venice). But at nighttime, it was only $20.
Chris: Yeah, I don’t know how you did that! I started thinking about Podcasts and realized I knew a lot of people. What would it take to do a Podcast? That was the cool thing about the Lab. “I got an idea — I want to do this!” We’d come up with a plan. How much was it going to cost us and how much time was it going to take? If I make it not cost too much (you can make it for cheap) and minimize my time, [can we do it]? In terms of time, I decided I wasn’t going to edit the Podcast. Whatever is on it, it’s on there! It is what it is. I made a promise to myself that it would take 10% of my time during the week. Now, it’s gone up quite a bit because we’ve been upping our production value. Only because the Podcast kind of took off, something I did not expect: https://www.chaosgroup.com/cg-garage.
[18:03] Allan: That’s just it! You wouldn’t be doing this if things weren’t getting traction. That gives you a reason to invest more into it.
Chris: I’d hate to listen to some of my earlier Podcasts because I’m sure they’d sound cringe worthy.
[18:25] Allan: Everyone I’ve ever spoken to say, “I can’t listen to the first Podcasts I made”. Whenever I go back to mine, I can hear me clicking through my notes [on my computer]. It’s interesting to hear how you get into the groove of things over time.
Chris: It is interesting. I got into it and it was fun to do that! I had some bigger guests come on, and that was fun too. And here I am, five years later! Almost five and a half! I’m coming up on 300 Episodes. I got to travel to different places and I take my mobile gear with me. I’ve upgraded or changed a few things. Obviously, with this whole COVID thing, I had to change my format. We also saw this as an opportunity. Now, we record it on video too so you can see it on YouTube. One of the other things that came out was: I used to break the Podcast into different subjects. That’s the great thing with the Chaos Group, it’s not just visual effects. It’s architecture people, automotive people. I think people will find interest in other things. That’s the interesting thing about visual effects people: We aren’t just obsessed with computer graphics. We represent other things in life. When you do fluids simulations, you learn about physics and fluids. That’s a cool thing. I did a couple of Podcasts and I decided to break them up. I had Dan Thron on and we decided to talk about the movies that we love. It was a different tone of a Podcast. Dan would come back every few months. With Vlado’s blessing we decided to do another Podcast called Martini Giant: https://www.martinigiant.com. The difference with that one is that Dan and Erick Schiele are like a walking IMDb. But the problem is that I can’t get them to shut up. The Podcasts end up going for 3 hours plus. Those we publish every 2 weeks. So there we go. It’s fun doing this!
[24:11] Allan: It’s interesting to see the evolution. For me, along the way, it was a chance to talk to the people I wanted to talk. Recently, I started going down the nostalgia lane. I used to play Prince of Persia, so let’s have Jordan Mechner on (www.allanmckay.com/244). I know Doom is coming out so let’s have the Founder of Westwood Studio Louis Caste (www.allanmckay.com/249) and ask him about their render farm. What have been some of the more interesting guests you’ve had on your Podcast?
Chris: I’m going to cheat and look them up. Lately, the CEO of Foundry [Jody Madden] came on. She’s awesome! She’s so kind and smart! Recently, I got invited to go to a SAG-AFTRA panel in Vegas. The panel was on technology and relationship to actors, specifically when it came to digital actors.
[25:51] Allan: Yeah, friend or foe?
Chris: Because a lot of what I do at Chaos Group involves digital humans. So I was on the panel talking about the Unions’ concern with digital humans taking the livelihood away from their members. That’s not really the case. And then of course, the big thing now is Deepfakes and how they’re evil, and how they’ll destroy our democracy. And we’ve had Photoshop for a long time, and it’s been manipulating photos. It was a really interesting conversation! On the panel, I’ve met a few people who were interesting and it was great to have their point of view on my Podcast. I invited them on my Podcast. One of them was Wael AbdAlmageed. He is a researcher and a brilliant guy at USC. His research is in terms of detecting Deepface. He basically uses deep learning to detect deep learning. It’s a cat and mouse game. He talks about creating a system for when you see a video and it seems skeptical. You can run it through his website and it can tell you if it’s been manipulated.
[27:44] Allan: Right, it’s like a reverse Google search.
Chris: But instead of looking for images, it gives you a likelihood score. And it was a really interesting perspective on digital humans. And the other part that was fascinating was the COO of SAG and Legal Council Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. He’s a lawyer and he talked about the legality of digital humans. What do we have the right to do? We talked about the difference between legal and ethical. It was an interesting conversation about that. And I just started thinking about that. [For example], Little Makayla is an Instagram GC person.
[28:58] Allan: I remember that! Is It well done or not?
Chris: I can tell It’s not a real person. But It’s not repulsive. It’s not in the uncanny valley. The uncanny valley disturbs to see the picture. But Little Makayla is not that way.
[29:54] Allan: But it’s also about not having it on your radar. If you know the gag, then you’re looking for it. But if you don’t know, you’re more open to receiving information. I was talking to someone who photoshopped themselves into an environment and I brought up a whole folder I have with images that I collect that look fake. They look fake — but are completely real. There are certain things that look wrong. With HDR, people screw up photos all the time.
Chris: Ugh! I want to talk about that in a sec. I had a great conversation with Vlado about this. Little Makayla has 2.3 million followers on Instagram and she has a deal with William Morris. She’s not a real person! It’s crazy! But it’s been really great! Tim Miller has been on a couple of times. I’ve had some really great guests on! Did you find that when you talk to people whom you thought you knew really well, you find out things you didn’t know?
[32:02] Allan: There have been times when I had a guest and I didn’t know anything about them. And then I end up doing research at the last minute and find out all this stuff. Those are the ones that I love! If 20 minutes in I’m thinking, “This is the best Episode ever, we can end it here!” — that’s a good sign!
Chris: It’s fun to do those! There is a guy I knew who paid for his education in CG by being a professional hip hop dancer for Eminem. Wait, what?! It’s pretty interesting to find those things out!
[33:11] Allan: To go back to actors versus digital doubles: I was talking to a Sup about how VFX is starting to be received by production as no longer the enemy, especially now with COVID-19. If digital doubles were a threat to anyone, it would be stunt people. I don’t see actors or talent being replaced anytime soon. But there will be stunts that will risk it. With actors though, especially in Marvel, I’m surprised to see choices of close-up, especially with reshoots. I think there is a lot of flexibility there.
Chris: But that takes set days away from the actor which was SAG’s concern.
[34:44] Allan: Well, typically, reshoots are usually part of the contract but it’s not a measurable thing. I don’t see that as losing time. It’s more of a hustle at that point because it disrupts whatever you’re doing now. I don’t see it as losing out as much. It gives you more flexibility. With stunt doubles, you can go all CG instead.
Chris: But here is the problem with digital double stunts. And I learned this when I was at Sway. At Sway, we had a really amazing car simulator. It was the heyday of car commercials. Cars have an uncanny valley too. We developed an amazing car simulator! It really worked. There was a stunt driver that came in and our VFX Sup told him we’d need to drive the car simulator. We showed him a shot in which a Ford F-150 drove up this crazy ramp and landed on the other side, but it was a crazy stunt. The stunt double looked at it and said, “If I miss that, you just hit reset, right?” He gets paid a lot of money to take that risk. He refused to help out. (He was also retired and he refused to take money away from people who were in the Union.) What we did was 100% real in animation. But the minute you give something like that and there is no risk and you put that in front of an ad agency, they’ll want to stretch the laws of physics as far as they [can]. We mentioned the G’s in the car and the driver would pass out to make that turn, but the minute you did that, it looked uncanny. But the agency would still want to look that way. There are things that you still have to do to keep it in reality.
[39:19] Allan: My hat goes off to anyone who is in stunts. It’s one of those things that’s so dangerous and there is a massive liability. That’s why there are so many lawyers on set.
Chris: Well, Disney is doing stunt robots now that are doing flips.
[39:53] Allan: I’ve heard about that! I’ve got a few stunt actors on my IG and they’re always commenting on how cool my shit looks. No, what stunt guys do is so cool! But it’s fascinating to see where things are headed. What excites you right now with new developments?
Chris: It’s interesting! Ever since CONSTRUCT, I’ve always had a fascination with virtual productions. The technology of virtual production applies to more than one industry than filmmaking. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time now. What’s going to become more interesting overtime is how good it looks and how much you can do within it. We’ve had a form of virtual production called motion capture; but calling it that would be the equivalent of calling the cruise control in my car “self-driving”. There is a level. So I think there will be levels of what people are calling virtual production. Motion capture has been around forever but that whole virtual production is going to become interesting now that people have to work separately from each other. And then you started introducing cameras. On Avatar, everyone was talking about the motion capture cameras. I think I remember Peter Jackson doing that on The Lord of the Rings. Now what we’re starting to see is that the quality of what you see in the virtual monitor is getting better. Everyone is talking about realtime raytracing but 6 years ago we were using Kepler cards.
[43:31] Allan: What was the tablet that we used for that? I was hanging out with you and Rory and I remember all that stuff going on. There was something you were doing at that time that looked like a tablet.
Chris: It was basically a monitor, if you think about it but it had a method of being tracked. It was made by a company called Optitrack. And they had a monitor and it’s capturing your position in space but it also had a bunch of controllers on the side. So the camera was able to change focus on the fly. I think that will be interesting about virtual production: The closer to what you’re seeing through that virtual camera live on set — even if it’s not the final frame — you’re going to have the person who is directing that (the Director or the DP) make the decision then and there. And then it’s no longer, “Fix it in post!” And if you talk to DP’s and tell them, “You make the decision about this stuff!”, then they won’t be looking at CG as this evil thing. There is a lot of backlash in CG. “It looks bad, it looks CG.” When you look at good CG, you don’t know you’re looking at CG.
[46:09] Allan: There are so many videos on YouTube about “bad CG”. I actually did one of those VFX Artist React sessions with the Corridor Crew. I hadn’t watched those before. But anything I’ve seen before would make me angry. I’m very vocal when I see it. It’s amazing how much I know and I get really amped up about it all.
Chris: The one that gets me going is where they compare Jurassic Park with Jurassic World. The reason Jurassic World is bad is because it’s a bad movie: It’s a bad plot and there is no character development. It’s just an action fest with no continuity. Jurassic Park is a structured film written by Steven Spielberg and it does have CG, you just can’t tell it’s CG. And the CG in Jurassic World is fantastic but it doesn’t have a good story. And you can’t blame it on CG!
[47:58] Allan: Plus, Jurassic Park was done in Max. I’m just saying.
Chris: It doesn’t matter! I don’t care if it looks great.
[48:08] Allan: Someone just did a piece on the history of Maya and it had Jurassic Park in it. They mentioned it was Power Animator, and I was like, “No it wasn’t! It was the beta of Softimage 1.”
Chris: Oh, you know I had Spaz Williams on my show! He was the one who made that.
[48:37] Allan: I had Bay Raitt on my Podcast (www.allanmckay.com/102), the guy who created Gollum. It’s fun to talk about stuff that’s that iconic. Freddy Wong made Why CG Sucks (Except It Doesn’t). Even there, I feel he’s wrong about a lot of stuff. But he made a good point that most people don’t realize what goes into the process.
Chris: Well, to go back to your original question is realtime. Virtual production is going to get faster, in terms of technology. We’ve been thinking about raytracing for a long time at the Chaos Group. We’ve got our own raytracing system of our own called Lavina which is a Bulgarian word for “avalanche”. That’s what we’re working on. You saw the Unreal 5 demo, right?
[50:44] Allan: That’s what everyone is talking about this week!
Chris: Yeah! I really thought it was cool. But I know to take the demo with a grain of salt, but it did show that they’re doing rays rendering. Which is what Renderman was originally. It allows you to do micro polygons on the fly. They’re doing it on the fly in real time which means they’re getting a lot of geometry because they’re getting the geometry that’s in the frame. And that’s pretty cool! And when I looked at their GI solution which looks great, but that seems like it’s pretty much brick maps. Again, it’s another Renderman thing. You can look at realtime of off-line rendering, and what they achieved with Unreal 5 is pretty much WALL-E. Because WALL-E had the brick maps. So that’s the level we’re doing right now.
[52:44] Allan: It’s interesting to use Pixar as the timeline.
Chris: When I was looking at the technology, I thought that was smart. And thought about where I saw brickmaps for the first time and it was WALL-E. If you look at that and the demo, you can definitely see similarities.
[53:43] Allan: It’s been interesting. I brought it up and someone [criticized it] for not being a PS5. When something is in realtime, I don’t care if the hardware is a little bit on steroids because it should be. We aren’t that far from video games going to PCoIP. As long as it is in realtime, I don’t care if I have to wait for 6 more months for that next gen thing.
Chris: I think you’re right. What’s going to be more of a technical challenge is our battle will be latency. You don’t want to have the giant computer in the room with you anymore. You do want to go on the cloud. Virtual production, edge computing and 5G. If you got all those three things, then you’ve got your dream case. I do see that as possible. I think we need to get there sooner than ever! I find it really interesting that some people who are talking about the good ole days. You’re a visual artist! You’re supposed to look to the future!
[56:29] Allan: A good example: If I post something like working from home in VFX, I will get a comment, “If I could talk to my younger self, I’d tell him to stay away from visual effects. VFX is a young man’s game.” My big thing is to be brutally honest. If 20 years in the industry you’re still competing with junior artists, what have you been doing for the past 10 years? I think it’s about people loving to be negative.
Chris: You have to be able to adapt constantly and the future is exciting. What you need to bring to the future is the perspective of the past. When I think about virtual production, I think about being on set. But I will hire a really good junior artist there too.
[58:25] Allan: I was just talking about Ralph Rossetti and other artists, and the crazy talent coming out today. These days, you go on CG Talks and you get kids who are 13 or 15, the shit they pull out is amazing. I love that the standard has risen so far and you can do so much with the tools.
Chris: I think that’s really cool. The future is in realtime. Eventually, realtime raytracing will be full reality. It’s a great feature we have.
[1:00:12] Allan: I want to bring up two things. One of them to touch on the future and how “A.I. is going to take our jobs.” That is so ignorant! Technology keeps improving. For anyone looking at where we are now, it didn’t take away my job — it just made me able to do so much more. If anything, the tools are becoming smarter. Roto might get affected a bit more. The tools are just more intuitive.
Chris: The thing is you have to remember that A.I. and what we’re dealing with will be on the deep learning path. You’re learning from things that have already been done. So you’re never going to do anything new. The other thing about deep learning is that it’s not the answer. It’s the best plausible answer. And that’s a really good thing! It allows you to get an answer that is faster. That’s the point of A.I. is that it gets there faster. The other thing I like about A.I. — and specifically digital humans — is that the minute it starts to not look so real, you tend to overreact because you’re emotionally invested. With A.I., it’s way more objective. It will get there faster for you. It will solve a lot of the issues that would take you hours of work [otherwise]. The stuff they’re doing at DD with Masquerade, it’s based on learned behavior. Do you really want to be an animator working on smile lines for months? No, you want to be an animator that gets the overall thing and let the A.I. do the tedious work. I think there is a lot that A.I. can do that’s helping stuff but it’s not taking away your jobs. There are a lot of artists who are using A.I. to make something even more interesting. They’re using A.I. as a tool for their own art which is interesting!
[1:04:40] Allan: I wanted to start dabbling in that but it’s one these things that’s been on my list for a while. DD has a whole Deepfake department. Let’s just say that some of the attention that came from the government is interesting. They’re doing Deepfake and 3D. That excites me too! My last question is about working remotely. The week that everybody shut down is when everyone flipped the switch. Pixar sent everyone their boxes and within 3 days, everyone worked remotely. ILM did the Pod in LA in the past. It’s pretty interesting to see how quickly their teams were able to adapt. And the studios were so willing to throw out the security scripts out the window.
Chris: Well, they had to do that! That’s the only way they can get their movie done. The entire movie industry is going to be different. Movie theatres aren’t going to be comfortable for a long time. Right now, with people working from home, it’s great. But we’re in the same moment we were in the 60s. They thought they could make musicals forever until they almost went bankrupt. They said, “Well, let’s see what happens if we give 20K to a guy to make a movie called Easy Rider.” If it weren’t for Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, then Jaws and Star Wars — all those movies happened because of the revolution. I think the model of just turning out another superhero movie will eventually break. This event in life may have broken it a little sooner! I think there’ll be some interesting content coming out, as well as new formats. I think people are going to start thinking about making movies in very different ways. They aren’t going to be doing these $400 million movies anymore. I don’t think they need to travel all over the world to get their shots. I don’t think they need a crew of 2,000 to make their movie. And I don’t think that’s what makes a good movie anymore. You can’t make movies that cost that much money. I also think it’s interesting that people who have scripts are thinking about turning them into animation.
[1:10:14] Allan: That’s exactly what I feel right now. You were talking about having a bit of a lull. Right now, production slowed down.
Chris: Production is just going to change. It’s going to be different. Listen! Content has never been more in demand. Everyone is at home watching Netflix all day long. There is a lot of content being consumed right now. The industry is in a great place to create content, they just have to think of different kinds of content.
[1:11:01] Allan: I’ve talked to a few clients and Sups, I think that commercials will be the first. They’re fast turnaround. CG feature films are being greenlit right now. The talent can go do their voice overs in a room right now.
Chris: Even after everything gets back to some level of normality, I think it will change everything. I think animation will become an important part of films. Let’s go back to the Writers’ Strike. There was no production so they invented reality tv just to hold them over. Reality tv shows never went away. I think that animation will be the same deal. Especially since rendering has gotten so fast! The biggest challenge with animation was rendering.
[1:13:21] Allan: I’m excited! Even in terms of remote working, that’s the biggest shift. I love that Facebook and Google already said that people are working from home for the rest of the year. Everyone has been working just as efficiently. I think it proves that you can be somewhere and not be stuck. That’s why I left LA because I was working from home anywhere. It proved to me that you could work from anywhere. I’m excited to see how it opens up virtual production.
Chris: I think there will be a lot of new dynamics. A new breed of filmmakers is going to come out of this, that’s for sure.
[1:14:51] Allan: What’s the link to your other Podcast?
[1:15:18] Allan: We should do this again sometime! I’d love to nerd out more. A buddy of mine did that over a bottle of wine. We need to do one of those. I feel that people need to be listening to your Podcast.
Chris: I always direct people to yours too!
I hope you got a lot from this Episode. I want to thank Chris for taking the time to chat.
I’ll be back next week. I’ll be doing an Episode on Working from Home.
Until then —
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“How do you find the time to get so much done”
“I would learn a new skill.. if I had the time”
For many of us, finding time and energy to do more is one of the hardest things we have. Time is finite and we can either be pro-active with our time, or reactive. Meaning – we are constantly running around, jumping from one thing to another, and never really feeling in control.
Allan specifically wrote this guide, after the thousands of responses he received to his contributions on productivity on his Podcast, as well as articles he’s written on the subject, and interviews he’s given.
Allan has interviewed the New York Times Best Selling Authors David Allen (Getting Things Done) and Laura Vanderkam as well as dozens of other experts on the subject – as well as applying many of his best practices.
So how does someone who runs a studio, manages multiple teams, works in production, shoots, runs a hit Podcast, writes articles, multiple courses and a mentorship and more, manage their day?
Find out, and how YOU can apply this to your work and personal life. Grab the guide (It’s FREE).
Whether you’re in games, film or design this guide is focused on giving you the answers and knowledge to confidently seek out the set-up and hardware you need to get the speed and reliability to create the most jaw-dropping visuals you can create. Without being bogged down by slow hardware, or investing in the wrong areas that ‘cost a fortune’ and don’t really make much of an impact on speed and stability.
Allan goes through how to start TODAY applying many unique approaches to building a successful career, and taking control of your year so far.
Gain access to the free guide, videos and other resources now.
From learning to front load your pay raise, to hosting networking events and positioning you as an authority. Allan goes through many tactics and ways to take control, and make this your BEST YEAR YET!
How much should I charge?
If I ask too much, will I scare them off?
What are the key things that I’m doing wrong?
Money, negotiating, probably two words that build the most tension just at the thought of, other than public speaking.
This guide was designed for Artists – whether you’re a Designer, Illustrator, Matte Painter, Animator, FX, whatever! We all need to get hired for productions, and we all need to get what we’re worth.
But, most of are afraid of missing the mark, and scaring away our employers. Or, just not sure how to even start the conversation. Worse, we’re not sure what we’re actually worth, or we just plain don’t want to be in a tense back and forth negotiation.
Realistically – a good negotiator never needs to haggle, they never have a moment of tension, they never are in an uncomfortable situation. It’s actually very seamless, easy and kind of fun. But, it does require understanding many of the fundamentals that this guide covers in-depth. Negotiating your worth the wrong way can cost you tens of thousands of dollars per year, and it’s the most critical thing we all shouldn’t ignore.
Get the guide now, and never leave money on the table again!