First of all, hello to everyone who arrived here after hearing about this site on the VFX Show podcast (already released at this writing), That Post Show (upcoming), or via the newest edition of my book. Briefly, this update comes to you from my home base of San Francisco, where I’ll be making a live appearance later this month at SF Mograph to talk about, of all things, working with RED footage (something I like to do).
Last year I shifted my blogging focus somewhat (and, like HD for Indies, coinciding with a dip in written output in 2008) to Pro Video Coalition, and I will continue to contribute articles there, but I’ve realized that this blog may have a mission separate from what I would contribute to that site. We’ll see where this goes, but I’d like a forum that is a little more personal. It may simply be a glimpse of what I’m up to, or I may choose to go off on one thing or another.
After a 2008 that was professionally my most successful ever, 2009 looks as though it could be the most challenging. Last week my pals at Kontent Films and I hosted a big party at our old-school swanky Union Square space – fire in the fireplace, margaritas flowing, Freejack projected on the wall, others and I holding court with Rock Band 2 in the back – where we learned from our friends at Radium that their San Francisco office had just shut down, the very day after they had hosted a party that we attended.
And then earlier this week I had the opportunity to enjoy a lunch with David Munro, a talented director from Kontent, and Dav Rauch, creator of those amazing Iron Man UI’s for The Orphanage. It was like a spring day in LA out at the Ferry Building – sunny and a little hazy. No one knew that the following day would bring an announcement that The O would be shutting its doors.
It’s been a couple of days since Stu made that announcement, and I have to say I’m still taken aback. It’s been some time since I’ve been in at The O – and I must say now I regret a little not getting back there while I had the chance. Nowhere that I’ve worked made me feel as much like I was rewiring the neurons in my frontal cortex. Even as a mere compositor I had the experience of pushing hard on everything – the software, the hardware, the network, all of it was taken to the breaking point and beyond. In fact it often broke during the toughest jobs, and since that’s when I always seemed to be in there, some people started to associate me with the problems! “Hey, it’s only when you’re around here that the power goes out/network goes down/people are sent home to return at 10 at night!” Cue me, backing toward the doors of the Presidio Film Centre…
It’s no coincidence that I was able to write a book about creating VFX in After Effects after a few tours of duty on Orphanage features. Before I worked there, I knew After Effects inside out, but only after being there, and only with Stu’s full support, did I have the confidence to say what best practices are for VFX compositing fundamentals. But The Orphanage (and Stu) gave me a huge advantage, because after having done this type of work there, I knew inside and out why certain approaches worked better than others, giving me the confidence to be outspoken and opinionated about it in print.
Anyhow, I will report on developments relating to the closure as they come up; I’m particularly interested in what some of my talented friends do next, and I hope you’ll feel free to be in touch, either via the comments or flowseeker (at) gmail.com (or if it’s book related, aestudiotechniques (at) gmail.com works too).
May the talented and hard-working thrive in all seasons!