Creative Director / VFX Supervisor, Manchester
Ghost VFX is an award-winning visual effects house with innovative talent and technology that brings creative visions to life. Our dedicated teams around the globe make the impossible possible, fulfilling the demands of studios and independent creators alike. In our “Ghost VFX Spotlight” series, we showcase the team members behind the projects to find out what they’re passionate about, how they see the industry evolving, and their creative insights into the art and craft of visual effects.
Tell me a little about your background in VFX?
I studied Media Technology at Salford University, a very long time ago. VFX courses didn’t exist when I was studying – my course was designed for Engineers who would make satellite news gathering vehicles and really full-on technical roles, but there was a small part of my course in my final year that introduced me to 3D modeling (3D Studio Max 3) and I’ve been hooked ever since!
That was about 20 years ago, since then I’ve worked in about eight different studios, made some great lifelong friends (and met my wife!), had my own company for about four years, freelance for a while, and that’s just the start of it!
In your own words how would you describe what you do at Ghost VFX?
Along with Annie Gordon, I help steer the UK team onwards and upwards, so what don’t we do! Some days I’m VFX Supervisor on set with cast and crew in a foreign country, other days its pre-production meetings with clients, I do a lot of pipeline TD code writing, reading scripts, 3D work, Compositing, Tracking, Rotoscoping, Budgeting, Quoting, leading the UK team, paying for beer, R&D, Motion Capture, Counselor – basically, a bit of everything!
What part of the job are you most passionate about?
With my role being so varied it’s always exciting, and I honestly love it all. Some bits are tougher sometimes, but you can’t have it all plain sailing!
Is there a particular project you worked on that you can discuss? If so, what was the project and what was the work you contributed?
Lots of our projects are hush hush until they go to air, but what I can say is we work on a huge range of projects across, TV and features. The range of work is what keeps every day fresh!
How have you adapted how you work during the pandemic?
There is no doubt that the pandemic has changed the way the world works, not just in VFX. Our industry is very much a team sport and relies on lots of talents people all doing their job together to do what we do. This is great when you’re all in the same studio, but much harder when working remotely. We’ve all had to work very hard to stay in close communication to ensure that we all stay on track. The hard thing about working from home when work life is so busy, is having the ability to turn off from work life and switch back onto home life.
Any advice to others looking to break into VFX?
The main quality we look for in people wanting to get in the industry is the right attitude. Obviously, it’s great to have good technical and creative skills, but VFX is very much a team sport; being an open minded, hardworking, willing to learn team player is critical.
Where do you see the VFX industry headed in the next 5 years? What excites you about the future?
We recently worked on our first virtual production which was very exciting (look out for a ‘making of’ coming soon!). I love the fact that the industry is always evolving and there is always something new to learn, plus it’s been an excellent learning experience which went incredibly well. I see virtual production being a bit part of how high-end TV and Features are made in the future. But on a business note, the industry is growing so much at the moment and we’re rapidly expanding our UK team, so anything is possible in 5 years!
Is there anything else you’d like to mention or add?
I love my job and I’m very lucky to do what I do with some amazing people!