For the past few years I’ve been the CTO of a division of Sony Pictures heading up Imageworks, Animation, and more recently Colorworks and Post Production. Before this time, I’d had opportunities to lead large teams on movies, but had never served in an executive position. These notes are mostly for myself, but hopefully someone else will benefit as well.
A few great quotes from the excellent book by Ed Catmull, Creativity Inc.
“There is nothing quite like ignorance combined with a driving need to succeed to force rapid learning.”
“Believe me, you don’t want to be at a company where there is more candor in the hallways than in the rooms where fundamental ideas or matters of policy are being hashed out.”
“What a vista opens before us at the very mention of trick-work! There is hardly a single fantastic idea which cannot be given existence upon the screen. The masterpieces of the magicians and wizards form the simplest problems for the cameraman. Trickery in one form or another is possibly the greatest single factor in the success of the modern film.”
You would be excused for thinking this was written in response to this years amazing visual effects bake-offs hosted by the Academy in which the 10 selected films wowed the audience with the most spectacular effects exhibited to date–all of which demonstrated near technical perfection. Rather, this quote is from The Handbook of Motion Picture Photography by Herbert C. McKay A.R.P.S.,published in 1927. Continue reading
Making a major blockbuster movie takes a lot of work. How much?
At this year’s Academy Scientific And Technical Achievement Awards show, OpenColorIO was among 19 other winners. If you haven’t heard of OpenColorIO, it’s a color management framework that makes managing color for cinema and video much more straightforward for engineers and artists alike. It’s been adopted by most of the major 2d and 3d applications for our business and has been a bit of a game-changer in terms of simplifying color workflows around the world.
“My shot can’t final because the effects department hasn’t given me all my elements.”Completely reasonable statement, but also not that helpful. Without identifying who, we can’t even start to fix the issue at hand.
“My shot can’t final because Rob hasn’t given me all my effects elements.”Now we can get somewhere. Does Rob have too many shots on his plate? Has he been out sick? Is he simply incompetent? How can Rob’s priorities be adjusted to get this shot done? Next time someone complains about a group, try asking “Who?” Force them to think about who actually needs to do something different to address the issue, and then work on fixing the problem.