Episode 300 — Janda & McKay


Episode 300 — Janda & McKay

Michael Janda is an executive level creative leader with more than 20 years of experience in both in-house creative departments and agencies working with some of the greatest brands in the world. In 2002, he founded the creative agency Riser, a nationally recognized agency creating high-profile work for clients including Disney, Google, ABC, Fox, Warner Bros., NBC, TV Guide and numerous other notable companies. The company’s 3 year growth rate of 235% in 2013 resulted in a ranking on Inc. 5000 (#1657). Riser’s work quality and successful business practices yielded some of the most coveted awards in the industry including Webbys, FWA, Awwwards, AIGA and Addys.  

After selling Riser in 2015 and becoming its Chief Creative Officer, Michael orchestrated a rebrand of the agency as EKR. In collaboration with the other partners, he successfully migrated Riser’s clients and acquired new notable clients including Google, National Geographic, ABC, Intel and Netflix.

In addition to his robust experience managing creative and marketing teams, Michael is the author of the book Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff They Don’t Teach You in Design School, but Should. Since its publication in 2013, Burn Your Portfolio has been one of the top selling books in the industry and has been published in English, Russian, Chinese Traditional and Chinese Simplified. Burn Your Portfolio’s success has resulted in opportunities for Michael to be a keynote speaker at AIGA, Advertising Federation and University events across the nation, as well as at other events.

Allan McKay is an Emmy-Award winning Visual Effects (VFX) Supervisor and Technical Director. He is responsible for many visual effects sequences including hit projects like Transformers, Blade, The Last Airbender, Star Trek, Superman, Flight, The Equalizer, and dozens of other films, as well as many of the top video games worldwide including Halo, Destiny, Call of Duty, Bioshock, Prototype, Half-Life, Team Fortress 2, and dozens of others. 

Allan has over two decades of experience working in the visual effects industry for many leading studios such as Industrial Light & Magic, Pixomondo, Blur Studio, Atomic Fiction, Prime Focus, Ubisoft, Activision and dozens of others.

In addition to his VFX work, Allan runs many online courses, as well as a mentorship with over 1,000 members. Throughout the past two decades he has appeared as a speaker at events in over 15 different cities including Paris, Sydney, Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, Singapore, Helsinki, as well as master classes at SIGGRAPH.

His hit podcast is rated in the top 50 podcasts in the careers section of iTunes where he interviews many award winning artists and directors in the creative industry, focusing on both creativity and drive, as well as boosting your career and success within the creative industry.

In this Podcast Michael interviews Allan about his decades-long career in visual effects, the lessons of perseverance and failing up, the importance of communication skills, as well as some social network hacks to get the attention of VIP’s.  


Allan McKay on IG: @allanmckayofficial (https://www.instagram.com/allanmckayofficial/)

Allan KcKay on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allanFTmckay

Allan McKay on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjgqdaigk7VSDqqqkHkcNTg

Allan McKay’s Podcast (Rated Top 200 on iTune’s Career Section: https://www.allanmckay.com/podcast-list-page/

Michael Janda’s Website: http://michaeljanda.com/

Michael Janda’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMtMijHO1MVzw_Mjkh7_amw

Michael Janda’s Books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Janda/e/B00BU8EV2E%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff They Don’t Teach You in Design School, but Should: https://www.amazon.com/Burn-Your-Portfolio-design-school/dp/0321918681

Psychology of Graphic Design Pricing: https://www.amazon.com/Psychology-Graphic-Design-Pricing-confidence/dp/1794390146

Michael Janda on Instagram: @morejanda

Michael Janda on the Allan McKay Podcast: www.allanmckay.com/221 and www.allanmckay.com/274



[01:11] Michael Janda Introduces Allan McKay 

[04:16] The Value of Having a Like Minded Artistic Community Online

[07:33] Perseverance and Failing Up

[21:37] The Career of a Junior Artist and Its Lessons 

[31:17] Allan Discusses His Most Memorable Projects 

[38:01] Michael and Allan Talk the Classics

[46:44] The Importance of Vendor-Client Communication 

[54:47] The Top 3 Favorite Podcast Episodes on the Allan McKay Podcast

[1:02:37] Social Network Hacks from Allan and Michael



Hi, everyone! 

Welcome back to the Allan McKay Podcast! 

My name is Michael Janda. And we have a tremendous guest today. On the 300th Episode of the Allan McKay Podcast, we have none other than: Allan McKay himself!



[01:11] Michael: Allan, how are you?

Allan: That’s beautiful! I’m good!

[01:16] Michael: Let me give a bit of background about Allan before we dig in. Allan is a VFX Supervisor. He is actually a thought leader in the VFX industry. He has 300 Podcast Episodes in the bank, including this one. He does tutorials, he has a YouTube Channel, he does appearances at conferences. He’s worked on some amazing projects for ILM, Ubisoft, Activision, Warner Bros. He’s worked with directors like Michael Bay, Tim Miller, Robert Zemeckis, M. Night Shyamalan. And then on some other projects like Transformers, Avengers, Star Trek, Call of Duty, Halo, Destiny. He is also an Emmy Winner for Super Bowl XXXIX. Allan, why don’t you give us a bit of a background on how we ended up doing this show today?

Allan: This is so weird! First of all, you just did better than I do. I reached out to you a long time ago because you and Chris Do had a video on IG. Most people don’t really talk about career [advice]. Strategy is everything, and most people are looking at immediate results. When I heard you and Chris Do, I had to reach out. You and I ended up doing a Podcast together (www.allanmckay.com/221). I was like one of your bobble heads on your desk, just nodding along.

[03:35] Michael: I just shake the desk a little and get them to start nodding. It’s a positive affirmation. 

Allan: That’s right! We did a followup when you did Biz Buds with Tom Ross (www.allanmckay.com/274). Just in general, we have a personal relationship. You are friends with my wife Christina.

[04:16] Michael: Isn’t it great, this creative community online? It blows my mind all the time. I have a big audience on IG and YouTube, so do you. I pinch myself everyday just how blessed I feel to have connections with so many people every day. It’s a creative community of good hearted people who are just trying to run their own business and give back to others. I’m blown away all the time to connect with people like you, who have a mentality like that. It’s such a unique mindset.

Allan: If you think about it, you’ve got 150K followers on IG.

[05:21] Michael: 155K.

Allan: I was born in a little town in Australia called Nambour.

[05;31] Michael: People in the U.S., we think Australia is cool no matter where it is.

Allan: I looked up the population there when I live there. It was 10,000 people. Your following is 15 times that! And all of them know who you are and are passionate about what you’re passionate about. You’re all aligned with the same goals.

[16:16] Allan: That blows me away too! When I watch a sporting event and they say the stadium holds 90K people, I think, “That’s not even all of them that I’ve been able to connect with!” It’s a humbling thing and it makes me grateful. And you have such an active viewership on your Podcast. As long as we don’t let that go to our heads, then it’s great. It’s because we’re providing value back to them in some facet of their life.

Allan: It’s about how can I serve them? 

[07:07] Michael: Why don’t we go back and start with this being raised in Australia, and how the second week of your freshman year, you dropped out of high school. And then you never went back to school after that, is that true?

Allan: I think for a while I thought that I would. But then a year and a half later, there was a turning point of, “I guess I’m not going back.”

[07:33] Michael: So you completely blow off school and secondary education. How did you get from there to LA? Give me three tipping points in that journey. You just have a dream of doing movies in LA. What are the tipping points that got you there?

Allan: I never thought of it this before but in the beginning when I had that realization that I wouldn’t be going back, my grandmother mentioned some people who were “losers” and “highschool dropouts”. That made me not want to identify with being a loser. As soon as I realized I wasn’t going back, I knew I had to make something of myself. That repelled me away from that. Having discovered that I loved video games and 3D, I thought I’d work at ILM one day. The key thing is that my mom never told me I couldn’t do something. If I had big aspirations, she never said, “You can’t do that!” It didn’t teach me to think realistically, but at the same time it meant that I could dream big. Having big dreams like working in Hollywood got a lot of resistance from other people. But the key thing for me was to build a strategy. I recently was reading a book by Todd Herman and he mentioned target mapping where you are deconstructing a goal backwards. I wanted to work in Hollywood and that was the end goal. What could I leverage? I had nothing but passion. I went after it. There were setbacks but that’s where perseverance came in. That’s why I admire people who persevere. You’re going to fail, that’s the whole point; but you’re failing up. Most people want to avoid failure so they don’t even try it. I just had to build a strategy to get there. 

[10:43] Michael: I like this target mapping idea. What did you mom say when you dropped out of high school? What was the resistance from that side?

Allan: I only had my mom. It was just my mom and I. We grew up on food stamps. My room I’m in right now is bigger than our whole apartment. I have been paying rent since the age of 14 and onward. The main thing was that I regretted not having discipline growing up. I felt I had someone to discipline me. I’m grateful she never limited me, but occasionally I needed someone to kick my ass. There wasn’t really any reaction. I was just floating.

[12:20] Michael: One of my best buddies in life was a wayward highschool kid. He’s been my blood brother. He was dropping out of school. His dad was a Tennessee farmer and had a super work ethic. He forced him to finish school. One time he told him (and I love this): “Life will teach you the lessons you refuse to learn from me.” I thought that was the greatest parenting paradigm. If our children don’t learn the lessons from us, they’ll learn it from life. What were some of those life lessons that got you to where you are today? Life will hit us across the face and we ask, “What do I really want out of life?”

Allan: That’s hard to remember. There was a lot of stuff. I’m just now starting to open up, even to my wife, about some stuff. I grew up in a really violent area. My mom had me really young and she was still figuring out her life. She made some decisions that put us in awkward situations. We lived in a house with 12 other people, some of them were on heroin. I didn’t know half the people we lived with. There was a lot of violence on our street, including people coming into our house with guns. A lot of random shit! I keep thinking I’m going to tell the story. There was some bad shit in my childhood. That and not having a parental figure, I just disappeared for days with my friends. When I hung out with my mom, it’d be with other adults. So I was left to fend for myself. I feel that there is a lot to letting kids have that independence. I do think that it allows them to make those choices. There was a lot of rough stuff, and I never took it as bad. In a lot of ways, having experienced a lot of stuff, it prepared me for stuff later on. You’re going to go through hard stuff. If you go through it later in life, you’ll be less prepared for it. I think in a lot of ways I was mentally prepared to work at a younger age and travel. One big lesson I had from not having that much money was that I bought my first computer by selling my artwork. If I wanted anything, I’d have to get it myself. That was a valuable lesson: You can get anything you want in life but you have to work for it. You can’t expect handouts. 

[18:21] Michael: That’s such a great lesson! Kudos to you for figuring it out and conquering the mountain you’ve set out to conquer. We live in a world now where there is a lot of entitlement. The truth is that we all get to craft the life we choose for ourselves. You’re either going to wake up 20 years from now having achieved the things you’ve set out to achieve. Or, you’re going to wake up after having spun your wheels going from this job to that job and have nothing to show for it outside of surviving. Kudos to you for coming where you came from, setting a vision — and actually making it happen! That says a lot about you and your character.

Allan: That’s also where later in life you can attract people that have a similar story. That’s how I’ve met you. We all have a vision. Most things are achievable, you just have to have a strategy to see it through. Most people are just impatient. They want immediate results. You can measure where you are today as opposed to a year ago. 

[20:07] Michael: People look at a tight window. They compare themselves of today with themselves of yesterday. The better thing would be to expand the horizon and look at yourself 5-10 years ago. When you look at yourself 20 years ago, the growth seems gastronomical, beyond what anybody would dream about. 

Allan: There are priorities as well. Overtime, you’re going to shift your priorities. I wanted to be in VFX but today, I don’t want to be on the box. That’s why having a good vision to have for yourself would be, “I want to go in this general direction”. Now that you’ve gotten here, you can change direction.

[21:37] Michael: Your journey is super interesting. Tell me about when you finally packed your bags and moved to LA. Were you already doing visual effects on your computer?

Allan: So, I was applying for jobs in the U.S. when I was 14. The first job I applied for was for a game in Texas. I got offered a job but I couldn’t get a visa because I was so young. I got offered a job at Team Fortress which got bought up by the Valve Corporation. So I ended up working on Half-Life. That was the funny thing: I worked on the biggest game and I thought my career was set. I ended up having no jobs for a year and a half after. That taught me a valuable lesson that just because you work on some big stuff doesn’t mean that you made it! There was still a lot of rejection after that. When I was 19, I decided to send my reel to Blizzard and Blur Studio. Six months later, I got a rejection letter from Blizzard. Tim Miller reached out to me personally, asking me to come work for them. Unfortunately, I still wasn’t able to get a visa. But there was another valuable lesson there because I stayed in contact. Every 3 months, I would send them an email showing my latest stuff. Four years later when I did move to LA because I had that personal relationship [with that studio]. You have to keep working that muscle otherwise relationships fade. As a gag, when I was turning 21, I was running the Toyota Scion commercial and I applied for a job in LA. The last thing I’d mention, when I got to LA, I did a 3-month stint on a job. But the whole time I was there, I was going to lunches and having meetings, creating as many relationships as I could. When it was time to leave, I went back and waited for my actual visa to come through. I moved out to LA six months later. That was 2003.

[26:07] Michael: You were working in the video game industry in the beginning. What was the first movie that you worked on? And when were you independent and contracted for different projects?

Allan: I think I only had 3 staff jobs in my entire life. I always preferred freelance because I saw full-time jobs as opportunities passed. I’ve missed out on some big films because I’d accept another job. The first feature I did was in Australia. I did a couple of those before moving to LA. Then I worked on Cinderella Story. I still remember the owner of the studio (who is now an exec at Disney) came up to me and took me aside. He asked me if I’d be interested in heading up the visual effects for Blade 3. At the time, that was my dream job. Unfortunately, my visa took so long, I came on halfway through. When I arrived in LA, I saw all the footage. That was a huge privilege to be a part of something like that! It was my type of work.

[28:44] Michael: I’ve got a handful of questions that are more industry related. This is from me not having a full understanding. I was a creative director at Fox Studio. Just when you were moving to LA, I was moving out to Salt Lake City. 

Allan: Have you ever been to the Nakatomi Plaza?

[29:11] Allan: I worked at the Nakatomi Plaza, on the twentieth floor, overlooking Beverly Hills. I was next to Fox Studio. It was sick!

Allan: I love that area too. I could always see that building from my balcony [at my apartment] in Santa Monica. 

[30:13] Michael: You now live in Portland and I live in Salt Lake City. Maybe that’s a testament to the brutality of living in Los Angeles. It is awesome and it builds great connections. But it’s a tough place to live. Why did you move away from there?

Allan: For me, it was about the quality of life. I love it, it’s my home. But it’s overpopulated, and California is expensive. In Portland, there are trees everywhere and it’s still close to LA or Vancouver. It’s about the quality of life.

[31:17] Michael: Same for me! When I started freelancing in LA and I didn’t need to live there to commute on the 405 anymore, I thought, “Why do I need to live here when I’m an 1.5 hour flight from Salt Lake.” I kept all my clients! What is your favorite VFX shot that you ever did?

Allan: I don’t have a favorite one. If you asked me about my favorite project, it’d be God of War, probably. Or Avengers. Working on Flight (the whole film is about a plane crash) with Robert Zemeckis and his team, I was fond of it. I worked with Kevin Baillie (www.allanmckay.com/148). There was a wealth of knowledge on that show. We’d go down the rabbit hole of something with iteration number 53, then start on something from scratch and get it done in a day. We were a hundred percent aligned at all times. We made as many elements for the plane crash and Kevin would take them away. But [no one got offended by that]. It was about the balance. I love that kind of stuff when you work with the right people. 

[33:50] Michael: A different paradigm from Transformers

Allan: Oddly enough, it was the same team of people but it was about dialing everything up.

[32:03] Michael: That shot in Flight was the crash shot. Super cool! I have this perception that comes from George Lucas when he was pointing at the previz screen with a laser pointer. He was micromanaging every single detail of it. What is the normal for you? What is Zemeckis’s involvement in that film?

Allan: Zemeckis was pretty laid back. This was with Paramount and we had to deliver on a specific date. I remember we delivered the sequence and asked to keep messing with it. Kevin and Zemeckis had this relationship forever. He was pretty hands off. But there will be projects that are different. I called Tim Miller “the original pixel fucker” because he’d zoom in on a pixel because he didn’t like it. I always think as a producer first, then an artist. I always think about what the right calls to make are, that get us 90% there. Do you want to deliver the show or just get that one little thing perfectly? Which is the same when working with clients — and you’ve worked with clients a lot, obviously — where it’s more about making them feel heard. 

[38:01] Michael: You made me think about some of these films. Some effects are so outstanding, you don’t even know they’re there. But with other effects, you’re thinking, “What in the world?!” Like in the original Justice League, the effects were so obvious. Is that a typical process of timing and it has to be delivered?

Allan: I just had the VFX Supervisor for Justice League on the Podcast 3 days ago (www.allanmckay.com/298). I was chatting with Weta who did a lot of the facial animations for Henry Cavill. That opening shot was done by some random studio and it sets the tone for the movie. The rest of the film, it’s off. With the rest of the stuff, it may be about quantity over quality. I think it is about chasing Marvel. That’s how I feel about the DC films lately. When you can’t even recognize your own contributions, there is just too much stuff going on.

[40:14] Michael: Has it ruined movies for you? Now you’re focusing on the effects.

Allan: I switch that off. Now, I’m more focused on the narrative. I’m more interested in the writing and directing, the experience. In terms of VFX, I try to turn my brain off. It pays the bills but I’m not examining every single thing.

[40:58] Michael: What’s your favorite shot that someone else has done? 

Allan: I can’t think of anything right now. I still go back to Jurassic Park. I still look at every single shot. You don’t even notice the car the T-Rex is chewing. I’m so appreciative of the level of detail. These days, we take it for granted. The Mandalorian impresses me now but it’s all a virtual set.

[42:27] Michael: Yes, it’s really impressive. I get impressed by the older special effects. You go back to the Star Wars days, those two first movies are insanely well done. 

Allan: It paved the way for everything! I also think John Carpenter is a phenomenal director. He’s done a lot of great films that have substance for what they are.

[43:27] Michael: I just watched Halloween with my son last night. It’s amazing to see how these directors put a stamp on the genre: George Lucas, John Carpenter, Alfred Hitchcock. They revolutionized the way things are done. What has been one of your most epic failures in the history of your career?

Allan: I should know this! I talked about all my failures at a talk. When I was 17, I took a job I didn’t want. I went to Melbourne, instead of going to Sydney for a job that I did want. I stayed on someone’s couch. The whole thing was a disaster (www.allanmckay.com/209). I ended up getting fired and kicked out of the house where I was staying on the same day. It was pretty traumatic for me at the time. There are certain things when they’re taken away, it traumatizes us a lot. I didn’t have anywhere to stay or how to get home. That screwed me up a lot but also taught me a valuable lesson. I wouldn’t allow myself to go back to that. I had to know when something was coming down the pipe. I’ve had a lot of lessons, but this one taught me a lot. 

[46:44] Michael: I’ve learned the same lessons on my journey. Those blows we get in life that make you sit down and ask, “What do I want from my life?” And the next thing is checking in with people. It’s that customer service base of our industry. A lot of creatives, when they feel an increasing tension on a project, they bury their heads in the sand and hope it goes away. Instead, they could have the courage to address it right then! I learned that lesson in the early days of my agency: That constant communication with clients is so, so critical!

Allan: Being a manager, if you aren’t on the box, it’s more stressful for you. You’re trying to get results from something you have no control over. The same goes for your clients. If you address these things, you can do it before they become huge problems. In every case, it’s about diffusing problems before they become problems. 

[49:00] Michael: Don’t let their unhappiness level get to 10! When you could’ve diffused it at 3! Getting it back to zero is impossible. Give me an experience where you said yes to something you had no idea you’d know how to execute and then you were held over the fire to figure it out.

Allan: I’m one of those people if you asked me what I worked on, I’d have to go to my own IMDb page. It’s been a common thing! You know all about writing copy and connecting with people. If you want to lean into a pain point, I’ve experienced that so many times. Younger people tend to do their own movie, not the one that the director wants. And then they run out of time! I’ve had that a lot! That feeling is the worst in the world, “I wish I had more time to get back to the right path.” There is one shot on Transformers that I worked on but I wasn’t meant to work on! I accepted that film under the condition that I could have a few days off for my birthday, so I could fly to New York. The guys at Atomic, Kevin and Ryan, even though we were down to the final week of delivery, they let me go. “Okay, have fun!” I do remember going to Ramsay’s in SoHo and I texting them. They said, “When you land, can you come straight to the studio?” I remember coming in that morning, and they gave me this one shot. It wasn’t hitting the right marks. We had 24 hours to deliver the shot and if we didn’t, they’d pull the job entirely. I had to start it from scratch. That was one of those things that was impossible. I felt zero stress going in. To finish it, I had to have it done by 1:00 a.m. to simulate and render. We figured out our plan. I just expected that if I failed, no one would hold it over me. I liked that because I had to do the best I could and plan ahead. I remember going back to the hotel that night, and they gave me the feedback that it was great. Bay improved it on the spot! I was cornered but I had a plan and stuck to it, and hoped for the best.

[54:47] Michael: That’s a great story! I’ve had so many of these, I’m getting flashbacks from my days of the agency. You’ve had 300 Episodes on your Podcast. Give me 3-4 things that you’ve learned from your guests.


  • One of my favorite guests was Louis Castle, the Head of Amazon Games Studio (www.allanmckay.com/249). The first email I’ve ever sent was to the tech support at [his] Westwood Studios. When he came on the Podcast, it was an impactful one. He talked about building his business which Richard Branson bought out. He shared so many life lessons! I learned a lot from that call. 
  • I did have Glenn Stearns from Undercover Billionaire recently (www.allanmckay.com/299). He mentioned that in 2007, his whole company went to crap. He contacted every one of his clients (he was doing real estate). He was completely transparent with them. Most people wouldn’t have done that, including recently during COVID. To me, it was such a great example of leadership. People know exactly where they stand. That stood out to me.
  •  One thing I’ve told you, you’d be among my top three favorite guests (www.allanmckay.com/221). 
  • One of the stories I remember was from Gini Santos (www.allanmckay.com/173). She was having her job interview and someone goes, “Have you met Steve?” Steve Jobs comes in and sits down with her, and he gives her this metaphysical lecture. It’s such a weird conversation for your first job interview, in your life.

[59:51] Michael: I think a little takeaway about this — and I’ve met so many people in my work — the world is so much smaller than people originally thought. Here is Allan who grew up in a crack house in Brisbane, and here he’s having his work approved by Michael Bay and Robert Zemeckis, and doing these amazing movies! If you didn’t have vision and passion, there is no way it would happen! The ability to connect these days, you can live anywhere in the world and dream to do a job for Disney. It’s not out of the realm of possibility. One of my takeaways from this conversation is: Don’t be afraid to dream bigger! You have the ability to connect with people. People can message your right now and then they’re one degree removed from anyone you’ve worked with.

Allan: It’s so true and yet people make excuses. Glenn mentioned this. I asked him, “Why do you think you see opportunities everywhere while others are waiting?” He said he was frustrated that people don’t see opportunities where he does. One thing though: I never said “crack house”.

[1:02:37] Michael: I had to phrase it that way! It was for dramatic effect.

Allan: I still wrestle with them. There was so much tough shit growing up! I remember telling my uncle that this guy came in with a gun, trying to kill us. He looked at me like, “Sure, Allan!” And then my mom arrived and said the same thing. The other thing: Another example of reaching out was there was someone at the premiere of Avengers. I recognized someone standing next to him who followed me on IG. I connected to him, knowing that he was the connecting link. Thirty minutes later, that person is following me. It’s that easy to connect with people these days. And you don’t need to do it transactionally. I’m amazed at how accessible these days now. You can make anyone’s phone vibrate these days. They may have a million followers on IG, but only a few thousand on Twitter. So you can reach out and actually hear back from them on Twitter.

[1:05:20] Michael: I just did that exercise with someone I coach. Her agency does a lot of social impact work. We looked at her LinkedIn. It’s great advice: Find the social media where they have the least amount of followers.

Allan: Here is another hack. On IG, you can see everyone’s hashtag they follow. If you message them, they may not see it. But if you see a hashtag and you start attacking it, you can get the attention of busy people. And then you make sure to build a trustworthy, honest relationship.

[1:07:04] Michael: Offering value back to them, it’s such a huge one! I look at the people I’m connected to the most on social media. They say, “Your stuff is so amazing!” Before you go and ask people for work, go provide some value for the things people can benefit from. 

Allan: And the more you do that, the more your name gets recognized. Everyone is accessible now.

[1:08:17] Michael: What’s your last little gem of advice you want to drop for your listeners?

Allan: On Episode one, I said, “You have to be in it — to win it!” If you don’t try, you’ll never succeed. By trying, there is a 50% chance you might succeed. It’s about creative opportunities anywhere you can. These days, knowing my audience better, I’d say: Relationships are the most important thing! Way more important than anything else. On top of that, failure is the thing that people are afraid of, instead of seeing it as part of the process. Most people are paralized by fear. You’re going to fail a lot. But I don’t think that failure is a bad thing. Just like I often say, “Negotiating starts with a no”. Most people are discouraged by a “no”. Instead, you have to understand the other person’s needs and wants; and you’ll get everything you want if you address that. If you fail, you can just collect it as data. That interpretation changes everyone’s perspective. It’s just a stepping stone.

[1:10:39] Michael: Awesome! Great advice to leave on! Episode 300 of the Allan McKay Podcast, with our esteemed guest Allan McKay. Where can people go to find you and connect?

Allan: At www.BizBuds.com. (Laughs.) First of all, I’m so grateful you agreed to do this because you’re so busy. People can find me at www.allanmckay.com. But people can Google me. 

[1:11:40] Michael: You’ve given so much to the VFX community and the creative community. I know you’re appreciated by so many people! Thank you for being on the Allan McKay Podcast!

Allan: So meta! Thanks, man! I appreciate it!


I hope you enjoyed this Episode. I want to thank Mike for taking the time out of his busy schedule to take part in this Podcast. We needed to find the perfect host for this one. On Episode 100, Fred Ruff interviewed me (www.allanmckay.com/100). We wanted to keep with the tradition, but we left it pretty last minute. I finally asked Mike but I knew I wanted to ask him first. So I’m super grateful!

If you haven’t listened to the other Episodes with Mike (and his Biz Buds Partner Tom Ross), please check out www.allanmckay.com/221 and www.allanmckay.com/274. Do check out www.BizBuds.com. I recommend Mike and Tom’s Podcast! 

I’ve learned a bit about myself. I do talk about being a highschool dropout. I wear that with pride. Only a year ago though did I talk about being homeless. Having just recorded this Episode, it’s amazing to see how much resistance I have to sharing that story. I was still getting uncomfortable and vague. I think we all have those things that we react to in this way.

This was a lot of fun to do! I’m proud of this Podcast and all the amazing guests we’ve had on it. I remember the original idea was thrown to me by a friend. It’s amazing to see the guests that have come on the Podcast, as well as the emails that have come from its listeners. I’m super excited about the next 100 Episodes.

I also want to thank my wife Christina for being so supportive all these years. I want to thank Vera who essentially produces this Podcast and Troy who is another great member of my team. Troy deals with all the insanity and helps all of us!

I’m super grateful for these 300 Episodes. I’ll be back next week to talk about how to land your dream job. Stay tuned!

And — rock on! 


Click here to listen on iTunes!

Get on the VIP insiders list!

Upload The Productive Artist e-book.

Allan McKay’s Facebook Fanpage.

Allan McKay’s YouTube Channel.

Allan McKay’s Instagram.





Let's Connect

View my profile on