24: The Magic of Visual Effects in Film & Animation (w/ Chris Van Noy-March)

In this episode we talk to Chris Van Noy-March, Matte Painter and Compositing Artist at Fin Design + Effects, about his experience working on films such as Avengers, Ice Age, Peter Rabbit, The Lego Movie, and For All Mankind. We go across the ocean and behind the scenes of visual effects in Hollywood, learn about his journey to the big screen, the impact of travel, perseverance, community, ACM SIGGRAPH, and power of collaboration in this industry.

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Episode Transcript

If you’re good, I’m good. And then I’m gonna. I’m gonna get crawling, I think. So.

You ready? Okay. I. As ready as I’ll ever be. I like that.

So, Chris van Noy march. My goodness. Long time coming.

Thanks for coming on the podcast. Thanks for having me, dude. It has been great catching up.

We, we did a catch up. And for everybody who doesn’t know Chris, he’s out in Australia now. We’re from Indiana.

I’m in Florida. And now Chris chased love and ended up out in Australia. How cool.

Yep. I’m going to set it. I’m going to set it up a little so that people know you.

But we met in undergrad. I’m very grateful to have met you. And I think it was like one of the first, um, you know, classes we ever took is, uh, like 111 or something.

I feel like it was like the intro to. You were in the, like, intro to college class, but it was like a. It was like a technical class or something.

Yeah, like one of those. One of those fun ones. But I’m grateful to have met you because you’re such a good dude.

And you, um, you and I connected right away, and I have always been appreciative of our friendship, and you always were an inspiration for me. And I don’t know how much of it, you know, but you were always really level headed, and, and we’ll dive into that. And I think throughout this interview, people will get to know that.

But I want to set it up a little. We met an undergrad in Indianapolis. At Purdue.

We were highly involved in Siggrav and still are since 2008. My goodness, we’ve slept on the floor. We shared with six of us in LA.

Remember that? That was a good time. We taught in Poland together. Yeah.

Yeah. We almost got lost in Poland. I mean, we were lost, but finally we were lost.

We found our way back. We found our way home together. You are a chess extraordinaire.

You beat my butt and you continually beat my butt if I ever play with you. And you lived in Vancouver for a while. And it’s cool because Vancouver holds a special spot in my heart because I met my wife there at SiGGraph 2014.

And, well, I’m going to set up a little bit about what you do now. And then we’re going to dive into it and why you’re doing it, how you’re doing it, how in the heck you got there. You have worked on films and shows and animations such as Ice Age, Peter Rabbit, the Lego movie, Avengers, and one of my recent favorite shows.

And I know you’re like, oh, I had a small part in it. Whatever. It’s apples for all mankind and very small part.

I mean, still, we’re going to, we’re going to dive into that, but everybody has their part to make, make it happen, so it’s an important part. It’s funny also, you took my position way back in the multimedia production center at our college, and that, that was cool because we both worked in the same spot there. But now you are an animator.

You’re, excuse me, a a compositing and matte painter, artist at Finn design and effects. But you’ve worked at Method studios, digital domain, animal logic, atomic cartoons. I mean, I don’t know how if you’ve visited your IMDb and LinkedIn recently, but it’s probably pretty cool to look back on.

Yeah, I keep my LinkedIn more updated than my IMDb. Yeah, like, I just, like, I’ll add, like, my projects and stuff as they, as, like, finish up and, yeah, it’s like, it’s, it’s been, it’s been a, it’s been quite a ride. Like, with the amount of, like, ping ponging and, like, just the volume of people that you meet, this, like, feels like each kind of studio has its own culture and, like, there are people that will, like, come and go and like, we’ll go through their different studios and you’ll
see people again because it is fairly small of an industry, relatively speaking, and of, like, offended people and see new people that have totally different interests and, yeah, it’s been, it’s been pretty good.

Like, um, seems exciting. I mean, how much experience you’ve gotten in this amount of time already is pretty impressive. Like, I didn’t even realize what you were up to some of the time, and then I look back and kind of catch up on what you’re up to, and I’m like, dude, geeze, it moves quick, it has a light.

Yeah. Like, especially, like, when I transitioned from, like, the, like, trying to, like, be full time, like, animation professor, like an animator, because I was in school, like, we had, like, our 3d track and stuff and everything, and I was trying to go the animator route and then had small ish success, like, just doing, like, small jobs here and there. And then around that point was, like, where I kind of need to figure out, like, do I need to leave home? Because, like, the hubs of the
businesses is like, not, it’s not back in indy.

It’s, you know, it was when we were in college. It was still in LA, mostly Vancouver, growing. London had its big core from, especially the investment from, like, the Harry Potter films and, like, that culture of, like, film and theater.

Australia had a. Australia’s had, like, an up and down and up and down. So go through the cycles.

Like, that’s like, they film, like, the Star wars prequels, Titanic, and, like, they film a lot of stuff here. Like, a lot of stuff. So there’s a lot of infrastructure for filmmaking and, um, and narrative storytelling through, like, film streaming and, uh, dvd still.

There are still some people. I don’t think people know that, like, Australia is a hotbed. I don’t think that.

Yeah, it’s not. It’s kind of interesting because, like, when you’re in the business, like, you’re. You’re.

You’re aware of, like, every kind of nuance of, like, this is why this location was picked. This is why I. This show was filmed there. Because of a technology reason or, like, a production reason where, like, there are reasons in addition to, like, the tax and, like, tax incentives and, like, just the economics of, like, how films are made, which, since being it on this side of it.

And, like, when you’re in school and you’re like, you kind of see in your studying and you’re like, ah, but what’s it mean practical seeing it actually, like, and you get to know, like, the producers, the people that are actually making those big decisions. Like, it’s actually pretty amazing that anything ever gets made. I just read that the other day, like, it was a quote from someone quite famous, a director, and he’s like, it’s a miracle that even one film gets made and you stick.

If you ever watch the credits, even a tv show, and especially now, but you see all those names, how many. How. How do you manage a pipeline like that? I mean, what’s your.

What’s your experience on, like, how. How they do it? How’s done? Uh, I’m mostly a bystander of watching all that heavy production stuff going on. Like, like, if you have a good production team, like, it really makes a difference there of being able to, like, because it’s not even just, like, on the post production side of, like, like, I’m very familiar with how we, you know, we have our material come in.

We get whatever the show is, like, calling for. Like, we got to add creatures anywhere. We got to add backgrounds where we got to remove stuff.

We got to up, like, change a costume up or something, make things look and do our little magic wizardry that we do but then before all of that, you’ve got a whole team that’s on set that is trying to even. Just create that material. But then even before that, you’ve got the production teams in LA or whichever, like, the main.

Wherever, the main client offices, they’re trying to come up with the story in the first place. And then they got to secure the funding, they got to secure the distribution, which. That aspect of, like, like, I applaud anybody that goes into that because it’s very, it’s very nuance and it’s a very complex, probably cutthroat.

It’s. It’s pretty, it’s pretty tough. Like, um.

Like, ginger would probably be a good person to talk to sometime about it because she has more. More of a footprint in that, like, awareness of, like, how. Because I just had, like, a brief run by one of our producers at work, and I was like, I was like, oh, my gosh, you’re so calm for, like, the amount of stuff you got to put up with.

And then, like, heard all of us that are, like, making the final pictures and putting it together and, like, yeah. Hey, did you get your timesheets done? Like, I think I did. Oh, I didn’t.

I’m sorry. Here you go. Like, they’ve got to stay calm or else they’d be, like, going crazy.

You know, I run a pretty small operation in relation to what we’re talking about. I’m itty bitty. I still have a team, and it’s all.

It’s a lot. And then managing not only my team, but all the clients and the correspondents, it’s wild. And, like, with film, it’s.

It’s got to be a major focus on process. You know, okay, this happens and then this, and there’s a check, but nothing’s perfect, especially when you’re talking about different teams at different companies, because it’s not like, oh, this one. Even with, like, if something’s produced by Apple, like, for all mankind, they’re still using other agencies to.

To do, you know, this or the compositing or whatever it might be. And that’s wild. Yeah.

And even you could even break it down more because it’s more. Because back in the day, you’d have, like, one post production studio doing all of the VFX or stuff like that. You’d have one now.

But nowadays it’s a, it’s like a, it’s like a protection of your investment for the people that are financing the films because, like, the budgets can get pretty big. Like, about worth of 200 million, like 300 million. I think I forget, like, like Avengers Endgame was interesting because I was on that on the last couple months to help get that out the door.

And there was, there were a couple shots where like, it’s stuff that you, like you would almost never see. I like the making sure that detail and like, for future proofing the project and like, if there’s ever additional cuts and stuff. And so you have to make sure you have that coverage.

So there’s stuff like, outside of the actual frame. So say like a shot or frames, there’s stuff on either end that isn’t in the final cut, but it exists and for like, that future proofing. So you have to be, you have to work for, depending on the, like, the client budget and everything of like, how far you give, like, handles is kind of like a term and.

Yeah, it’s just, it’s quite a bit of work. Yeah. People, people.

Even a podcast like this, you know, it’s less work, but people, people take it for granted, especially now. Music, film, podcasts, documentary film production, people go, all you do is like, sit on your couch and you’re like, ah, what do I want to watch play? And then you watch it and you’re like, that was pretty good, you know? And you’re like, pretty good. We worked our asses off for five years on that thing or whatever it is, but it’s like the, the ease of accessibility.

I don’t know if you guys talk about it in the industry on your end with your teams, like, you know, the, because it’s kind of like music. I had a radio host on and he was talking about the appreciation of music and the depreciation of music potentially that’s happening right now compared to when before you had to go to the record store, you had to purchase a physical record, come home and then put the record on. And now I’m listening to this record.

There’s like an appreciation of the effort that goes into it. So you’re kind of committed rather than like, oh, I don’t like that one shot, Bailey. And now I’m not watching the show at all.

Yeah, we had, I guess, come up in conversations off and on throughout in like, my career. Like, especially the advent of, like, streaming and mostly people watching it on their phones, because the accessibility of, like, oh, I can just load up whichever service and pick whichever show, tv show, film that I want to watch. And because what you’re seeing on your phone is definitely nothing.

The fidelity of what it’s made to, sure, big so, like, yeah, like, the big screen. Like, there’s like. And, like, they’re like, when you get into, like, the macro economics of, like, it’s.

It’s gotten more expensive to go to the cinema, so it needs to be, like, it’s being treated more as, like, it’s a special occasion. Like, there’s, like, a good. Like, there’s, like, a movie that you definitely need to see that’s formatted is, like, you.

It’s an experience that you need to see. And I think, like, I had thought sometimes, like, theater went through this in the past, and it’s gone through, like, life cycles, because, like, film as we know it now of, like, just, like, you see it on, like, a screen projected either on, like, a white sheet or. It’s not that old, relatively speaking, compared to all the other forms of storytelling we’ve had.

We’ve had oral storytelling ever since. You know, humans have been trying to explain phenomena around them, to tell stories and carry it on through, like, the generations. But then we get to a written word, and that’s been around, and then I think.

I think it’s cyclical to a degree, but, yeah, I think there is, like, what you’re saying was the effort quotient of going in to have that appreciation. I think that does have a play into it, because I still like going to the cinema, especially taking my. My oldest son, who’s only three, but he loves it.

He sits through the whole thing, and he’s laughing. He’s like, that’s funny. I love it.

It changes, like, what I can take him to go see. There’s a film, like, a big epic Sci-Fi thing I want to go see in theaters. I probably can’t take my three year old to go see it.

So it’s wild. We have kids now. Yeah, yeah.

It’s interesting, though, like, like, speaking of the kids and, like, what they like, I think, is what I’ve worked on. Like, my son loves some of the, like, smaller projects that I’ve worked on. Like, he’ll watch them on loop over Spidey and his amazing friends was one that I worked on where I did a lot of background work, and he’s like, oh, that’s amazing, dad.

You worked on this one? And then my wife also works in the industry as a sculptor for, like, a front. Like, a front end, like, client facing sculpture for feature films. And so she’ll do, like, a.

You remember the old, like, behind the scenes Disney. Like, all those vhs tapes are, like, at the end of the movie, they would have a little, like, the featurette or it’s like, this is how we made it. I got, like, the clay sculpts, and they show, like, this is the beast from beauty the beast.

And, like, all this is over there. Yeah, that’s Mickey Mouse. That’s something they stay on model.

So my wife does that digitally now. Sure. Did she do it physically before she.

She does. She’s done a little, but, like, nowadays, it’s just so much more efficient and cost effective to do it digitally. So, like, zbrush.

Sure. Like, you’re a production family. Do you think your kids are going to get into the industry? Because he’s already like, oh, my gosh.

Daddy worked on that. How cool. He might like.

It is funny because he’ll go to a computer that’s just sitting off to the side that’s not plugged in, and he’ll be typing away. He’s like, I’m making my movie and I’m doing this, and then have a whole narrative of something of what’s happening. And, um, it’s very cute.

And it’s like, oh, so it’s something to engage with and, like, for him, like, well, for both of them, for both kids, like, I just want them to have an appreciation for, like, creativity and, like, art and just, like, expression, definitely. Whether that fosters into, like, working in film or whatever, film turns into Orlando, other kinds of entertainment work or, like, storytelling. Like, I just want them to be engaged with that creative, artistic aspect for their.

For their lives. Right. That’s huge.

Well, we kind of, like, jumped right in, but maybe let’s take a step back. Why did you want to get into animation in the first place? What was the spark? Did you wake up when you were three, five and go, I want to animate. I know you love Jurassic park.

Yeah. So Jurassic park was very influential because I. That’s one because, like, we’re the age where that came out when we were four or five years old. So I remember seeing that in theaters when I was.

So I would have been about four and a half when it came out. So I remember my aunt me to see, it was a packed out theater, and it’s like, like, how’s they have these dinosaurs on screen? They look so real. Like, I rewatched it because I was working with Jeremy on some Jack Horner stuff, and he.

He was the technical director that, an advisor to all the Jurassic parks. Now it’s watching, like, the first Jurassic park. I go, this looks damn good.

Yeah, yeah. And it spilled in a way to maximize the spectacle. Yeah.

Like, even from just, like, the aspect ratio that it was selected to enhance the scale, the verticality, especially of the T Rex. But, uh, it was. It was.

Yeah, it’s my favorite movie. I might be biased, but I was wondering. You’ve already answered a rapid fire question that’ll happen in the future, so I don’t have to ask that one anymore.

Jurassic park it is. Yeah. But to answer this spark question.

So, like, that was a fundamental memory for me when I was growing up. I would watch those featurettes, and I was always interested in how, like, especially, like, Disney movies, because that’s kind of what I was more exposed to, like, how they were being made. And then the Pixar films were coming about, and I was like, they look different, but I couldn’t.

I didn’t have the vocabulary as a kid at that time to, like, explain exactly why they were different, but I was like, what I don’t understand. And then I’d see, like, how they’re being made. I was like, oh, that’s kind of cool.

And then as I got older, as most kids, like, that are in this kind of, like, like, this kind of a pathway, like, I got interested in video games, and, like, you remember our halo days? Like, I was like, maybe. Maybe I want to make video games. Like, I like the aspect of, like, that process.

And concurrently while this was going on, like, I was aware of, like, Disney imagineering. So, like, there’s something about, like, the process of how things are made that I like in terms of, like, entertaining the storytelling and things like that. So I. But I didn’t know how to, like, kind of connect it all together.

And then I was kind of getting towards the end of high school, and I was trying to figure out, like, what I want, where I wanted to go, and, like, what even, like, which university I wanted to go to. And I had. I was thinking of.

Because I really loved animals, I was like, well, maybe I’m gonna go into, like, veterinarian work night. Cause I had the scores to go to do that, but I couldn’t handle some of the, like, the emotional aspects of it. No way.

I was just like, well, like, I still like video games. Maybe I’ll. I don’t really understand, like, how this movie.

I don’t know how to go be a Disney imagineer. I don’t know how to do, like, how, like, how Walt Disney made this, like, made the studio. I don’t know, like, I don’t know how to get in there.

Like, my drawing skills aren’t at the level what they would need to be. So I was like, well, I can probably figure out how to do games. So then I found out through, like, when I was going through, like, the university programs and everything.

IUPUI so specifically to our Purdue program, like, was our CGT program, the computer graphics technology, and they had something called the animation track on it. And it said, like, you can use that to branch into video game production or movie production. I was like, oh, okay, I think I’ll try that.

And then I. So I slotted into there, and that’s where I very quickly was learning things I didn’t know and learning things I didn’t know that I didn’t know. Yeah, but it’s possible, like, then that’s around the time it was, like, very quickly, like, when, like, Siggraph came into our lives. Um, I was like, oh, so you can do this.

Oh, you can do this. Oh, well, that looks pretty cool. Maybe I should try that.

Oh, that’s pretty cool. Maybe I should try this. It’s a rabbit hole.

Yeah, endless. And then. So, yeah, I kind of luckily found something that kind of, like, was that baseline, I guess, to kind of build the tree, so to speak.

It’s like your career, it’s never going to be a straight line. It’s going to be a banzai, so to speak. I like that.

Yeah. So from there, and then I kind of gravitated towards wanting to be an animator. I was like, oh, that’s kind of cool.

And I had some. I had some skill with it, so I tried. So I tried to pursue that as, like, my focus when we were in our, in our college days.

And then I found I had a stronger attenuation towards compositing stuff. After. After we graduated, like, I noticed I had a pretty good handle on manipulating imagery to make things look more like magic tricks.

Like, wherever you’re looking at something, but it’s not what you think it is. And after. So I met my son.

My wife is the one that gave me, like, kind of the lead of, like, a chance of, like, getting, like, fully transitioning into the film industry because I wasn’t in film until 20 years. 2017. Yeah, 2017.

I think it was my first year in, on an actual film, film project in, like, a film studio. But the way I got into that was my wife was at work, so she was at animal logic and then in Sydney, and then she said, hey, they have this roto training program that’s they’re going to be doing because I got a crew up for another project kind of somewhat soon, and they need to have people be able to do the work that you need to, you know, get the project, like, through the processes and get it to final, final
pixel quality. And I was like, okay, like, let me try that.

And then she had me meet one of her industry mentors, and because at that point, I was kind of like, it was like, do I keep chasing the dream, or do I try and do I just call it quits at that point? And he’s, look at that. He looked at my animation stuff. He looked at stuff I can do compositing wise, and he’s like, you know, you’re very close, and it would be a shame if you quit now.

So I was like, so that gave me enough of, like, a boost of self confidence. Like, okay, I’m not that far off because I always viewed everyone was, like, three levels ahead of me, even in university days. Like, I always felt like I was in the bottom, like, skill wise and, like, aptitude, which is probably not accurate.

Like, everyone’s probably, like, more in the middle to some degree, and, like, on the bell curve and everything. But that gave me enough confidence to be like, okay, I’ll try. And then.

So I applied with a couple quick little things on, like, a really small demo reel, and they’re like, yeah, you. You know, you have. You’ve got something that I think that we can level up.

And then they taught me how to use nuke in four weeks. And then they hired. But it wasn’t at the end of, like, say, the.

They had to wait until, like, august that year. Then I was hired on to work on Peter Rabbit, and part of the roto paint team did mostly, like, cleanup work and removal stuff and then some set extension stuff, which was handy because the matte parlayed, because I immediately went into matte painting on my next show, which, because I had a background in three d and doing animation work and layout, some, like, layout stuff when I was still living at home. That allowed me to have just enough of an
understanding and background I could leverage off of to do the things I need to do in a 3d map painting experience.

That was Lego movie two, but that was when. That was when Jess and I ended up in Vancouver for a few years. So I was in Sydney 2017, and then we had our wedding, and then Jess was transferred over.

So then we went over to Vancouver, and we were there until July 2021. And then, you bet, in Australia since. Yeah, I’ve been in Australia since since then.

Out in the mountains. Yeah, half and half. Yeah.

Because the, you have to go into the town. Yeah. I was kind of wondering, you know, what your day to day is like.

I, you know, you’re, we’ve talked a lot about what you worked on, and there’s a, there’s going to be a large number of people who have no idea what nuke is, what compositing is, what matte painting is. So maybe paint a picture of what, what it is that you do. Maybe use an example of, like, what you did as a small piece on for all mankind or your favorite, your favorite work that you’ve done and, like, what a, what a normal day is like.

And maybe a day is not enough. Maybe what a week’s like of working on these features. And by the way, as you’re thinking, it is one week before 4 July, and here in Florida, uh, it’s, it’s already independence day.

So if you hear some fireworks as I’m talking in the background, that’s the reason they’re, they’re already starting. It’s ridiculous. I thought it was a party for me.

Of course. Um, so I’ll have these. So where should I start? The.

You wake up. Do you do drink coffee? I’m just kidding. I. Not often, but if it’s crunch time, I will grab a couple cups to.

I’ve heard Australia has, like, some of the best coffee. You guys are, like, snobs. I mean, it’s, it’s earned snobbery.

It’s very. Yeah, coffee is excellent here. Yeah.

Like, even the coffee you get at McDonald’s here is better than what I got back home by, by far. Oh, sure. Yeah.

It’s, uh. Yes, it’s pretty good, but I try. Yeah, I try not to.

So I. So. So a regular day. We’ll, we’ll start with that.

The. Oh, wake up. So I’ll preface, like so pre Covid.

It would have been like going into the office and then, like, doing like, check emails, check your tasks, meet your production team, hit your tasks, have dailies, check, make sure everything’s, you know, there’s no issues happening with the show or your tasks or anything that’s blocking you, that’s not letting you complete your task. Keep getting the iterations to get your shot done. Get them in for review so they show supervisor can have a look at everything.

Make sure everything is hitting the client brief. And yeah, you

Uh, it’s very, it’s very like, you work hard here, but you get a lot of, um, relaxed camaraderie. That’s great. Like, it’s.

That’s really. It’s really nice. Um, yeah, so that was a pre Covid.

That would have been, like, every day kind of like that post Covid. So working from home became a reality and a possibility for, like, the whole industry that pre, like, you really weren’t allowed to work remotely. Like, it was very rare to find because of.

You’d have to have the trust. You’d have to have. First you’d have to have the experience.

Yeah. Skill in self managing yourself. And then you’d have to be able to have that trust with not only just your internal team, but then the client side team has to have the trust in your studios team to even allow someone to not be fully secure in a.

Like, the network security, because, like, everything. Because you’re beat, you’re essentially. You’re working in a.

Like, a VPN was a new VPN, basically. So it’s like a server that’s, like, not touching anything externally. They keep films quiet until they release.

Yeah, that was something I was very impressed by, is like, there was, like, I think there might have been one leak that we heard about from some. Somewhere back in North America, but it was like, someone. A client.

So one of the client studios, producers, teenage kid or something, like, took a photo, and that’s what the leak was. It wasn’t from the thousands of people that were working on the project. Like, every.

I was impressed with, like, the level of professionalism and, like, in respect for, like, security, because, like, that allowed and showed that, like, working from home is. It is viable and it is helpful to have that flexibility. Right? So, yeah, so, like, so post Covid now, for me, I work from home currently usually three days a week.

And then I go into the office two days a week. So my three days from home, I’ll wake up, get my son ready for daycare, help get my. Now my newborn, kind of get him ready, and then take him to daycare, come back, try and quickly have breakfast, log on through our VPN service that we use, and then do the usual stuff just from home.

Check in with the production team. Just, like, message, like, whoever the show is that you’re on, sometimes you’re on a couple shows, but usually it’s like, one person that you’re like, hey, here’s. Here’s what I’m working on.

Here’s where I got to last night. Here’s where I’m hoping to get by. The end of the day, I don’t, like.

I don’t see any issues with this, but there might be something with this. And we double check to make sure this stuff is ready. They’ll probably be able to touch it, like, probably after lunch.

And then you just get to work, and then you’ll have, like, your scheduled times, like, meeting for dailies, which are in dailies for people that don’t know, it’s just about to ask. Yeah, it’s for when the artists on the team and the production and the leads will come together, and they’ll look at the shots that you’re working on or the asset, if you’re on, like, a creation. Like, an asset creation.

Like, okay, this is working with the client. Kind of the last phone call we had with them, they’re kind of feeling like we need more. More of some kind of, like, it could be any kind of emotional feeling that they’re trying to pull from.

From the project, like, from the film, the shots, like, they’re like, we need more danger for this part, or we need a little bit more light so we can justify why this is lit in this shop and not in this other one. Mm hmm. So then you, like, you cross those notes in and, like, okay.

And then usually, like, the technical things to make sure, like. Like, your edges are, like, working out. Things are making logical sense, like, why things are stitched together.

Because. To define compositing, because I realize I haven’t done that. So compositing is.

You’re taking. Read my mind. Different elements that are.

That have been photographed or computer generated or still some cases scanned, like, from, like, film. Like, one. I just finished up a show that we.

It was. It was filmed on film stock, and then you get all of those elements to, like, sit and look like. It was.

Like. It was literally. Just take.

It was just. That’s it. That’s what it is.

That’s what the. They came out of the camera looking like that. That’s our goal.

They fit. They. That was it.

Um, they. Like, it was all filmed. Yeah, it’s all.

That’s the goal. And, like, it ranges, like, from huge replacements of, like, environments or to even something as small as, like, we got to replace some. Some signage on a street, because legally, we can’t have this company be in the background, or we need to change the narrative or the location.

So we need to change a couple things here. The actor got an injury on their eye, so can we paint that fix on their eye? Or I. Sometimes they’ll be like, you got the actor had the wrong prop in their hands. Can you remove the prop and then put a new one? So you have to involve a little bit more complicated.

You have to have, like, more people involved and make remakes a thing and the shadows and every shot by shot, frame by frame. I mean, that’s the thing. It’s editing a photo, like in Photoshop.

All right. Yeah, it’s moving. Yeah, 24 times.

So, like, 1 second. A film is generally, like 24 frames. So 24 photos, and then you get, like 1 second, unless you’re doing higher frame rate, which then you can get like 48 or, you know, 60 or 120.

And. Have you ever watched parks and recreation, that show? Yeah, I watched the first couple seasons before. Did you, did you ever hit the spot where the guy, he has, like, a break and work.

He’s trying to figure out to what to do in accounting, and he picks up animation. He does claymation. And he’s like, I’ve been working on this for, like, the last week.

And he presses play, and it’s like, the guy just is like. And he sits up from the bed and then it ends. He’s like, something’s wrong, and he plays it again and it’s like, oh, my God.

Are you kidding me? Yeah, I remember. Yeah, I can’t think about that. It’s so perfect.

It’s such a perfect illustration of how long it takes to do something. Yeah. Like, stop motion is a.

Is an excellent art form to, like, how we’re talking about, like, that appreciation of, like, that effort that goes into it. Oh, my gosh. It has a special quality to it because, like, the sheer amount of time and energy that goes into creating those projects is, like, it’s not just, you know, you’re moving the puppets and the miniatures and everything frame by frame by frame by frame.

But you got to create the whole environment. You have to keep the lighting consistent with the bulbs because the bulbs will die out over time. You have to worry about the temperature because, like, there are, like, real world aspects.

Like, unless you’re going to film miniatures as big as us, which would then not be very financially practical. There’s, like, different intensities of light. You have to have.

You have special consideration for, like, the lensing because things can feel too small or too big. Yeah, I mean, it’s a lot of, it’s a lot of effort. Like, it’s.

It’s beautiful. Like, when, like, even, like, like, student projects, like, when they’re, like, make their, like, three five minute shorts for, like, cigarette. Like, the animation festival.

Like, it’s. It’s an achievement to finish a project. Absolutely.

Especially it’s a smaller crew, you know, on those shorts. Um, and that’s. That’s.

I always liked how Pixar did shorts, but before I forget, I want to ask you, um. Cause you were talking about specifics of, like, compositing what is, like, is there something that really stands out, uh, with one of the films that you worked on where you’re, like, that was so much fun, changing this or adding that, um, from a transformative aspect, that’s like, well, I mean, there’s a couple different ones. Um, so a recent film I worked on was called the creator, and that’s when I was at Finn.

It was really fun to transform these plates. So the director, what he did was he. He.

Because he actually had the budget down, like, pretty. Pretty small, like, for the show. So what he did, he took a small crew and went and did a lot of location shooting, and then he edited his film in a way that was designed.

Like, okay, I have my performances how I have. I don’t really want everyone to be in, like, motion capture suits and stuff, because I know I’m going to replace a few people with, like, digital, like, Android heads and stuff like that, machine parts and, well, pardon me, there’s gonna be Sci-Fi buildings and, like, cities that are growing with monolithic structures and so, like, from, like, the film plates that he gave us. And then, like, as a team, like, changing and, like, evolving those into
this beautiful, like, project.

And, like, like, we got to work on it with Ilm and I. I think Mars also worked on it, which is in Toronto, but it was, like, only a handful of studios got to work on it. But it was, like, that was a cool one to work on and in terms of magic tricks. So on Avengers endgame, I did a lot of costume and beauty.

It’s called costume and beauty repair. So you have people in, like, costumes and whatnot and, like. But, like, on set.

Like, they’re not built. Like, they’re built for the screens. They’re not always going to be unless it’s, like, the hero part that’s got to be handled by, like, hundreds of people.

And it’s got to kind of hold up to, like, you know, people pulling on it or dropping it or spilling stuff on it and getting torched by flamethrowers. Or it could be anything. So, like, you’ll have, like, the.

The team come in, like, the makeup team and I. The costume team, they’ll, like, get them looking like, as best they can for the screen, but then, you know, the actors doing their stunts and, like, things will happen. Like, their costume will rip and stuff. So there’s one character I’m trying to speak generally because I don’t know how much I’m allowed to be specific on, like, exactly what I did on it, but there’s one character that is, like, um, not human.

That had to change a fair bit to make it look. To make the character look more metallic. This is kind of tricky to say this without saying what I was wondering, and I don’t want to get you in trouble.

Yeah. Like, the. But, like, people that watched it and, like, there’s a couple shots that were, like, maybe three, 4 seconds long.

So you get enough time to settle, and they’ll look at him like, I have no idea what you did on it. And I’m like, I mean, that’s a compliment. Yeah, I was just about to say that’s a good thing, right? That’s like, well, that person’s head isn’t their head.

Their arm was moved completely with a different arm. The part around the person’s face, I had to, like, reshape because the stuff wasn’t attached. The eyes were different.

Like, it was like, it’s interesting, like, when someone’s like, I really can’t tell exactly what you did on it. It’s like, ah, I got the magic trick. You’ll see a lot more of those in, like, period pieces and shows like that because, like, you’ll.

It’s. You’re not expecting. You’re not expecting a visual effect or something digitally created to be inserted in or something removed, or you’re expecting a building to look.

Be like, oh, yeah, this was filmed in London, and, like, actually, it was filmed in Atlanta. Like, that’s not, that’s not snow. That’s painted snow.

It was added afterward. There’s a great. Don’t realize even some of the small stuff, you know, something that doesn’t seem like it would be a cg show or film that would have a lot of cg.

All the stuff that actually goes into it that they just have no idea. Yeah. Like, oh, that had special effects.

Really? Huh. Yeah, there was an example, like, when the queen’s gambit came out. Like, I didn’t work on that one.

That was done by, I want to say chicken bone. This company that fell out, one maybe don’t keep this funny. Names of studios.

Yeah, but anyway, so that studio, they had a handful of, like, very good invisible effects of, like, shots of, like, the orphanage in the winter, they augmented, if memory serves me right, they augmented the snow because the snow wasn’t, like, as the full coverage, but they also added, like, more trees to add more shot composition for, like, wiping the screen, which is like a transition technique for editing. And I, you know, watching it, you’re not expecting in, like, I was watching for
enjoyment, so I was. I didn’t catch that until I was like, there will be times, like, when you work in this business, like, you can definitely pick up on stuff in real time if you’re, like, watching it, but the goal is to kind of get you to be lost in that.

In that, right? Just exactly. So not really think about it. It’s harder for people that, you know, that are the more aware.

It’s kind of like magic shows. Like, there was a. There’s a magician named Aussie Wind who.

He was on a podcast, sid, about recently, and I’m liking all the name of it, but he went into detail of, like, the. The interesting effects that happens when you reveal a trick where you. You let someone you know and just enough to have an appreciation for the art of what’s happening but still have that excitement, right? Like, I love.

I love illusion show illusionists. I love magic shows. Like, I’m tickled when I go to them.

They’re like, I’m loosely aware. I know how things. Some things go.

It’s the same thing with, like, visual effects and how films are made. Like, because, like, you’re making things, like, for, like, this rectangle for people to view things through, but they don’t see everything that’s outside of that crop box, basically. So things are cheated for the screen.

And, like, for matte painting, that’s, you know, like, the actual. So the definition of matte painting is, like, you’re painting a mat, which is basically a mask to allow the film to shoot a negative. Like, the negatives are being processed on the stock and everything with something that’s been painted on glass because it’s translucent, and then it’s embedded in on the one piece of film.

And that’s where, like, the earliest parts of Matt painting. So you’d have people, like, get into these positions you have, like, you’d be out on location where you’re gonna be doing your shots, and, like, you’re like, all, we need a castle for this, like, army to be walking towards. So you set up the glass pane, and then you’d have your matte artists, like, very quickly because the light.

Because the sun is changing every second in the day clouds are moving, so he has to be very, like, the artist would be very quick to go in paint, get it looking, like, to match, like, what they’re gonna do. Make it as real as I can, set it up in front of the camera, shoot, get the shot, go to the next shot. It’s wild.

Such detail. You know, you think about, like, what we do as humans with our time and our efforts, and, you know, entertainment is, I mean, art. Like, when you’re talking about art, music, film, if we didn’t have it, it would be a pretty bland life.

But it is sometimes interesting the amount of time it takes to do some of this stuff. I can’t help myself sometimes think it is interesting that we could fix a few things elsewhere. I’m in no way saying, oh, we shouldn’t do film or anything like that.

It’s just interesting when you step back and kind of look at what we all do with our time, you know, how much. How much planning goes into even fake sports, the fantasy leagues, you know, or whatever it may be, games. And it’s.

It’s just. It always interests me. But again, we would have a really bland life without it.

But, you know, every time I talk to people, like, I talked to a makeup artist, I’ve talked to Frank Ty, who works at Pixar, who we’re friends with. You know, it’s like, my goodness, you know, you work. You work many days, many people for 1 second of a film.

It’s just. It’s interesting. It’s impressive.

It’s inspiring, and it’s kind of weird. Yeah. I don’t know if you ever.

No, yeah, it’s. Something hits you. Yeah, hits me often.

I’m like. But the thing that brings me back is kind of observing the audience and, like, seeing those moments of joy and escapism because, like, life is hard. Like, it’s.

Yeah, it’s very hard raising kids. It’s very hard holding a job and making sure, like, everything’s paid for and you’re trying to, like, thrive and not have the stress about, you know, the car breaking down or the tree fell in the house or. These are extreme examples.

But literally two of those things kind of just happened to me in the last week. But continue. Yeah, I very much understand.

Yeah. So, like, you have, like, until your point of, like, you have to have something that provides meaning for your life. Like.

Right. And, like, for, like, it is a privileged position to be able to work on shows that will. There is somebody out there.

There is an audience out there that loves that just loves, like, what you work on. Maybe not everything you work on, but there will be, like, something that somebody somewhere, they’re having a hard day, or they’re feeling nostalgic, or they. They need a good laugh.

They still don’t put the show on, like, and for that hour, like, 30 minutes for, like, however long the project is or the show, and they have that moment of peace, which is. Yeah, and then you can then extend that to, like, like, the communal aspects of it. So, like, when you’re in the cinema, like, one thing that was, like, really cool.

So it’s not lost on me because, like, I. Avengers Endgame was, like, the last of, like, the maintain core of, like, the Marvel cinematic run of, like, that’s the Avengers saga of, um. Or the infinity saga, I should say. So, like, started in 2008, I think, with Iron man one, and then 2018.

I think it was 2018. So about ten years, maybe. Maybe 2019.

So it was about 1011 years, where if you remember, like, every summer, there’s, like, a major blockbuster movie coming out. It’s building this huge, overarching narrative. Mm hmm.

That’s, like, what’s kind of cool is that there are people that had kids during that time frame that took their kids, and their kids are growing up having those. Like, this is our summer thing. We’re gonna.

They get to share this thing with our kidde. We’re kids. And then.

Or our friends or, like, our family. Like, anybody, like, they share it with another person, and they have these. It’s like, oh, this is gonna be really cool.

Like, all. My favorite superhero is gonna have a big moment. Is this, like, the stories? Oh, what’s gonna happen? And then.

So I got to work on the. On the capping stone of it at the very end. And then it was kind of cool to see at the theater because I. Because I. Because my wife and I went before because the studio I was at the time did a screening, but that was, like, the next.

A few days later. So we went. It wasn’t opening night.

It was perfect night after because tickets were sold out. So I watched the audience a fair bit. It was really cool seeing these, like, parents with their kids just, like, super excited.

And, like, the kids were about, like, 1213 years old, so they grew up with the films and had that bonding experience. And then. So they’ll always have those memories.

Like, I have a memory of my aunt taking me to see Jurassic park when I was four. My mom took me to see Snow White and the seven dwarves when I was. I forget.

I think that came up before, so I was even younger when that came out. So I was like, like four. Like four and four and a half.

So, like, that summer timeframe for me of having those films. And then you have those bonding moments, like my grandma responding after. When people talk about the show or the.

The movie online or in conversations, and they deconstruct it or come up with their own theories. Yeah, those are always, like, when to be granted, like, when I was working on endgame, because, like, the movies are split across studios, so you only get certain sequences. We had some pretty spoilery sequences, but I still could not figure out how them.

I was like, okay, I. Narratively, I know how this has to wrap up, but I don’t know how they’re gonna get from a to b. And if this is, like, if, like, when does this happens? Like, I don’t know where it’s sitting, the cut, because you don’t get the full cuts. Usually, if it’s on a very big show like that, you get, like, interesting thing.

How does this. How does this work? I have no. Supposed to be 3 hours long.

Like, how is this gonna connect? How did they get here? Yeah. Thank you for tuning in. Do you like what you’re hearing? Have you been thinking about starting your own podcast for your business? Well, we here at Naiman Creative can help with our audio services, ranging from custom music scores, podcast production, sound branding, and so much more.

We can elevate your business needs with our audio services. So feel free to reach out to us today, and we’ll be happy to help you get something started right away. It’s interesting because a lot of people, again, don’t know that when someone’s working on a film, even actors, you know, like, seeing, well, maybe actors, they need to know some stuff to be able to act properly and to know the full narrative.

But like, a production team, well, we only need to do this big explosion. We’ve only been hired to do the explosion at the end of the film, and you have no idea what the film is going to be until you watch it when it’s out. How wild is that? Yeah.

Yep. It’s a. It’s such an interesting realm, and I totally understand why you’re drawn to it.

For me, you know, I don’t get to work on films in the future. Naming creative will work on, will probably produce documentaries and do different things. We do podcasts, but you can just.

What we do, you know, websites or logos, whatever. That production process of, like, this was not anywhere in the world. This was not a thing.

It was blank, and now it’s a thing that people can connect with and feel or touch or listen to or watch. It’s pretty incredible. And it’s a neat power.

Like, you keep bringing up magic. And I love that, like, comparison because it really is, like people, it’s been a term over so many years, the magic of movie making or whatever, you know, it truly is magic. And I like to even like to touch back on the.

On the professional magician Aussie Nguyen. Like, what he says, like, you can still have, like, a deep appreciation for something if you know about. Cause there is, like, nowadays there is, like, a backlash.

Like, oh, it’s. This is CGI and this is not great. And that’s why films are terrible these days.

And, like, that’s not really accurate. Whatever. No, but there is a fantastic series on YouTube called, oh, this is why I was saying with my notes, I left my notes.

I had it written down, but it’s. It goes on. Like, why goes.

He breaks down, like, all the examples of, like, CGI. Like, what exactly is CGI? What is visual effects? Like, what you think is CGI is actually CGI. And, like, the actual artist, equality.

And he does a very beautifully eloquent way of breaking it down. I’m gonna. I’m gonna try and you can let me know and I can put it in the show notes.

You don’t have to do it in real time. Oh, but we. Okay.

Multitask usually in the studio now. I’m. We’re going to give Jordan a microphone soon, and we’re going to just be like, jordy, pull that up like people do.

Like. Yeah, like, like, research. Quick, quick.

Keep it real. Yeah, no, but I mean, there’s such nuances to. To everything.

You know, I compare art, art forms of all kinds and everything we’ve talked about. You know, for me, I’m not in film really, but music is. Has kind of always been my life, and I always see similar threads on, you know, like, you were talking about in the frame and what people don’t see outside of the frame.

Same with recordings on, like, drum tracks or guitar tracks or songs. What you don’t hear, all the failed attempts, all the wrong notes, all the extra stuff, or that the fillers where you wouldn’t even know that that’s in the song unless you isolated all of the different things and you go, oh, my gosh, I didn’t even hear that. But it’s actually what makes the song, you know what I mean, how it is.

Like, it creates the atmosphere and it actually. That’s what sets the tone and the vibe, because without that, you know, you would. You would.

Would make the song feel weird. And it’s. Yeah, same thing goes with challenge because we touched about this a little bit when we had our.

Our pre, pre show catch up, like, with how I went to see Slipknot, like, for the first time, and then it was broken down for me of, like, how the. How the turntables are done and used and, like, the sampling is used and how the specific types of percussion and it’s causing a specific kind of feel you don’t get if you’re trying to. Just to imitate it and just to, like, to add, like, an example to, like, what your point is.

It’s, um. It’s very interesting. It’s really awesome.

Like, when you get someone who’s passionate and really is excited about, like, sharing knowledge or, like, what they do to explain and show things that, it’s, like, a revealing of. Of the magic trick, basically. It could be even, like the.

What’s the, you know, those YouTube series of, like, there’s, like, people that come in, like, different professions. Like, you’ll have, like, a structural engineer. You’ll have someone who studies, like, blood diseases.

You have someone that does primatology. And, like, they’ll be like, this is primatology support. Or it’s like the.

It’s like, it’s like, I don’t know, Twitter or Twitter interview or I’m forgetting. I’m really blanking on the names. It’s kind of like how I built this or, like, how it’s made in the same vein, but it’s like, it’s like, like small interviews where people will have people write in questions, like, through, like, I don’t know, like, twitter or, I don’t know, like, ama’s.

Yeah, it’s basically an Ama, but it’s, like, filmed and, like, they’ll describe. It’s, like, from all kinds of different, like, specializations and it’s awesome. I’ll have them play on the side.

Like. Like, I usually have that. Or I’ll have, like, Adam savages.

Like, his, like, it, like, his, like, when he’s, like, doing his story time or is, like, his Q and A’s. Huh. Because he.

Because, like, like, he’ll just, like, explain stories and all stuff and, like, relay lessons he’s learned professionally. I’ll have those, like, kind of playing in the background when I just need noise and, like, oh, yeah, that’s kind of interesting. Yeah.

Cool. I have, like, my. My series of like, podcasts that I’ll listen to and then have my music mix and then there try to do what I got to do when gotta do it.

But I did find the name of the thing I was talking about. So the series is. No CGI is really just invisible CGI.

And by VFX supervisor Jonas, using. I’m hoping. I’m pronouncing his name right.

But he did a beautiful job breaking down this sense of, like, what the audience is feeling. Like, why there is, like, a feeling of, like, why there is a valid feeling of, like, why they’re feeling that way, but, like, why it’s more nuanced. Yeah.

And it breaks down, like, things that, like, he has amazing examples of, like, why things you think are real are definitely not real. I love that. I. I’m obsessed with this.

There’s a. There’s a podcast called song Exploder. Yes.

And they break down a song with the band, which is cool because the band talks about, like, their demo, and then. Oh, that’s how we got that tone. Just geek out so hard on that stuff because it’s, like, never ending.

That’s actually why I think Siggraph has been so powerful. I mean, there’s so many reasons why. And we’ve mentioned Siggraph.

For anybody who doesn’t know, it’s the special interest group on graphics. It’s the largest computer graphics organization in the world, and there’s two conferences every year, Pixar and all the greats are there, and they’re showing how they do stuff, how they do fluid dynamics for the waterfall, and, you know, whatever it might be an up or, you know, hair this, and they’re just helping each other, teaching each other, showing each other, showing new technology. It’s so cool that people don’t
necessarily just keep it to themselves, that there’s so many people out there go, look, I made this.

I actually. I want you to know about it because we can make cool stuff together, and I want to see what you make with it. That’s a beautiful thing.

Yeah. It’s a very sharing and, like, very fostering environment. Yeah, indeed.

I am. I’m just reflecting back on all the cigarettes we’ve gone to and, my goodness, it’s kind of cool seeing, like, there’s, like, the very technical research, like, cutting edge research that’s, like, presented in, like, the poster section that, like, you know, as a. As a, you know, young and no idea what was going on.

I don’t understand any of this math. Like, but then it becomes relevant, like, six years later. And it’s reason why this other company got an Oscar and why this medical company has incorporated it, and now they can do x, y, and z procedure at half the time.

Like, it’s very cross disciplinary. Absolutely. There’s so many cool things that SiGgraPH has produced for me now, and I picked up on it in 2009 or whatever.

There’s actually maybe it was in 2009. Lindsey Oliveris had a short animation that was just absolutely gorgeous, and she did, like, a talk just for the student volunteers that year. And I loved her style.

I was obsessed with it, and it was so well done, and I just thought it was so cool. And you know what? I was watching a film. It was.

It was last year. And I go, my goodness, that reminds me so much of Lindsey. I can’t not.

She had to have worked on this or something like that. And sure enough, the credits came in. There was her name, and I was like, oh, my gosh.

That style that she had done as a student, you know, in making this animation, and that was epic. She has now carried that to feature. It was the coolest thing.

I was like, oh, my gosh. And I pinpointed it. You know, it was.

It’s just so neat. Um, but, I mean, so we could geek out on this stuff forever, and, yeah, I mean, I think it’d be cool. Also, I’d like to get, like, a siggraph panel on here and have you a part of that.

Zeb, you know, you, zeb and frank have been on the. On the podcast so far, and I’m gonna. I’m working my way through the siggraph greats.

Um, josh gro is on my short list next. Maybe. Jeremy.

Ginger, you have had mentioned, you know, there’s. There’s so many people who are doing such cool things that we. We knew we had met where they didn’t know anything, just like us, and now they’re running the show or, you know, integral parts.

I mean, how cool is that? That’s just wild. One thing that I love about siggraph two is that it’s like a yemenite. Like, for me nowadays, too, it’s more of like a.

It’s an excuse to have a reunion. Like, 100%, but half of it. Now I get it.

I get it. Yeah. Like, the cigarette Asia was here in Sydney back in December.

Was it December, November? It was, like, early December. So I got to see a few people I haven’t seen in years. Yeah.

Just because, like, the nature of, like, you know, moving back and forth, like, moving from Indy to Australia and then to Canada and then back this, back to Sydney and then Covid. Locking everything down and then having kids and realizing it’s very expensive to fly four people across across the planet really changes the game. Yeah, it’s worth it.

A little bit more. Yeah, a little more counting. Because, like, to touch on the theme of, like, magic, it’s really awesome to see, like, the wonder of, like, kids experiencing something for the first time and being excited.

Totally. So a lot of times, like, I’ll watch. I’ll watch both my kids, how they’re watching things, and it’s pretty.

Watch it. Stop watching me. They’re like, daddy, did you see that? Yes.

Yeah, I saw. You saw it. I saw you saw it.

Also, remember, daddy worked on this one, so I already know. I know what the three things it was before this is what it was like. How cool is that? Oh, yeah.

I can’t wait to at least, like, show my daughter some of the songs and work on songs with her and stuff like that. It’s definitely a special thing. But we, like I said, we could talk forever.

There’s some main questions I want to ask you that I ask most of my guests, and then we’ll just conclude. But so this portion is called the rapid fire. Here we are.

You’ve made it, and you’ve done such a swell job, Chris. I didn’t doubt you for one moment, and let’s see how you do here. So these are meant to be answered as quick as you can, but if you need to elaborate, obviously, there’s no rules.

It doesn’t matter. So we are keeping points, and the points don’t matter. Like, I remember that show.

Yeah, I was gonna say, like, for keep it quick. Like, I can wax on a little bit. This is going to be a challenge for you.

I had a lawyer on Doug Jackson. Actually, I’m wearing his hat right now, and it was hard for him to. All right, you ready? All right.

What? All right is your biggest. Oh, you’re ready now. You’re gotta get that big old breath in.

What is your biggest source of inspiration? Ooh. Nowadays. Oh, man, this is hard because it depends on the thing meant to be easy.

Oh, man. I’ll say. Any experiences from life? I’ll try and keep that general, I guess.

Life and then the elaborative one. So, like, like, cloud watching. Like, I love, like, going out in nature and, like, going on walks with my kids and, like, just watching the.

The views up in the mountains and stuff in the clouds or, like, in Vancouver, like, our apartment had like a nice view that we could see down you, like, east of Vancouver on the mountain ranges. So we can see like the cloudscapes and stuff. And I’m pretty fond of that.

And just seeing how things are going on in the world and then like, how my kids are interacting with it now is a different perspective. Yeah, I guess. Is experiencing life.

Yeah, that’s huge. I would agree with that. For me, it’s hard to pinpoint.

So I’m glad I’m the one asking the questions most of the time. So what is your favorite podcast? Yeah, it’s like, I guess that makes sense. Weird.

When I’m on a guest on other podcasts, I’m like, oh, man, it’s hard to answer. You know, when someone asks a question that I normally ask, I’m like, actually, I haven’t had time to think about my answer. And I like that.

I like that because something comes out. Do you have a favorite book? Oh, favorite book. So most books, pardon me.

Most books that I go through are generally more referential. Let’s see a favorite book. It’s hard to specify just one book.

I know they’re not meant to be. Easy question. I will repay this someday.

I like that. That’s cool. This on a live stage, like a fire set.

Oh, Mister Josh, some questions as I’m trying to answer this question. I know, I don’t know. So the.

I don’t know. The Harry Potter books were, the series were pretty big for me when I was a kid. Great.

Yeah, they were so those were big, the Isaac Asimov books. So the foundation series was pretty big on me, which now I own your books, but you gave me, and I see why not all of them. No.

Okay. My way through them. But dude, they are so good.

Right up my alley. Yeah, it gives. Yes.

I knew you. I knew you. Dig them.

Yeah. Like, I gave you those books and I had like, other books that I had all that I gave to other people. And I was like, I think this person will like these stack.

So I was like, clearing out my, my life back home before I moved. It was like, except like, this person will use this. This will still get used.

I was honored when you gave me those. It means a lot. They went to a good home.

Indeed, yes. So there’s like this little things and other books that I pick up on. Like the illusion of life is still like a classic animation book.

I still go through chess books, which are. They’re more. It’s more technical, I guess, and not.

It’s not. It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. No, but you’ll find, like, different ideas and creativity.

And then, like, when you’re in that moment of, like, playing against somebody and, like, things are unraveling and you have, like, that story of that. That game is very likely to be unique because, like, the permutations of how the pieces can move. Like, it’s very likely the game you’re playing has never been played before.

That’s crazy. It’s. The math is very.

How many permutations are there? Someone made a joke once that it’s more than the grains of sand on earth or something. Like, like the actual calculable numbers. Yeah, grains.

Like, the actual practical games is much, much smaller than that. Right? Like, when you get to people who know what they’re doing, it probably won’t end up like, like a crazy shootout game. Like, it probably won’t end up like that.

Yeah, but you’ll get these moments of, like, creativity, and there’s, like, anecdotes and stories from, like, old grandmasters that will explain their thought processes, and some of them will have, like, some very creative, very creative daydreams of, like, why they played a way they played, of how they’re trying to explain, like, one guy, he was trying to explain his thought process of, like, how to get this person to stop playing so defensively. He’s like, I sat there for 30 minutes and was,
like, pulling a hippo out of the swamp. So he’s like, sat there thinking about how you would actually mechanically engineer pulling a hippopotamus out of a swamp.

And it just left him with the creativity of, like, oh, yeah, I guess I would probably try to give it some. And then it unlocked, like, like, a problem solving chain for him, and he figured out how to, like, huh, just add pressure to this guy. So that was his unique way of thinking.

And then the other guy had a post interview, and he’s like, he looked very serious and was very contemplative. I knew I was in trouble. He was thinking of how to actually literally move a hippopotamus out of a swamp.

So, yeah, yeah. So you get, like, you get interesting stories like that. Like, that’s cool.

So, like, chess books, like, they can be dry, but sometimes you’ll get a few that have, like, some interesting, it’s like, biographical insights and psychologists. Well, if you’re interested in stuff, whatever it is, you know, a book like that is not dry if you’re super geeking out on it, you know, so it’s each their own, um, you know, I. Chess is a really fun game. Like, you, you kind of opened my eyes to a little more when we were playing in Poland in the evenings when we wouldn’t go out and get

But it’s like, you know, there’s, there’s so many levels to it. You were just telling me you’ve been playing with Vance since 2013 on however many games. Shout out to Vance.

Uh, but, yeah. Okay, moving on. Besides the OS and do you have a favorite musical artist or album? Yeah, right now it’s sleep token and their recent, uh, hell yeah.

I take me back to Eden. I got, I got to see them live recently and it was pretty good. Yeah, so sleep token, pretty good.

Slipknot and spirit box. And this is. And then, you know, Lincoln park, they’re like my, my core, my core list right now.

Lincoln parks are always great. Did you listen to tesseract? I was going to say, like, I didn’t. Like, after our catch up call, like, I went outside and I was chopping up some, some firewood and then I had everything ready to go inside under the house again to put some more insulation, had it ready to go, and then that’s when, like, all the kids came back to the house.

I’m like, well, yeah, that’ll be next week then. Right on. Yes.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Yeah, it’s on my, it’s on my queue. On my little cool beans.

So you’ve named your favorite film. What is the, what is your favorite film that you’ve worked on? Oh, this is kind of hard because now I gotta remember every day I worked on them. What stands out to you the most? It’s just like, that was a blast from the team to the shots I worked on to the final piece because each show has its own flavor and there’s aspects of seeing of each show that are enjoyable.

Yeah, for different reasons. Like, for Peter Rabbit. Like, I loved the team I was on.

Like, it was such a strong fostering environment to, like, where, like, actually quite a few of us, like, after that show very quickly moved up into different role. Like, higher, higher ranking roles very quickly. Like, the supervisor was very invested in making sure we were put in positions to succeed and build confidence.

That’s awesome. And I’ve been, like, to touch on it a little bit. Like, to do a tangent.

Like, I’ve been pretty lucky in my career. Even all the way back to when we were working at the multimedia production center, like, with Nate, I’ve had bosses that were invested in me developing and happy for my success and willing to let me make mistakes and learn from them and then put me in positions to grow, like, the intangible skills that come with, like, working in a professional environment. I think that’s what makes it our industry a little more unique.

You think of some other industries that might be hyper competitive where they actually dont really wish you success in certain ways or want to keep trade secrets or whatever it may be. Thats really awesome that youve experienced that. Yeah, ive been very lucky because its nature of life.

Not everyone has the same experiences, but ive been very, are very lucky. Like, from like the film jobs I’ve had and then even before that, like when I was working at, um, like a news company doing advertising stuff, and then that when at the university, when we were working doing the print, print shop work and ad design, you’re like, yeah, been very lucky. Like, that’s why I try to, like, this is something that I try to do.

This is something that was on my notes. I’m going to try and make sure I bring up the, so, like, kind of like, in terms of like a gratitude saying or in terms of like, there’s two, there’s two spots. It’s two similar thoughts.

One is like, so, like, I try every so often to try and write actual physical letters thanking people for, like, what they do and how they had an impact on a positive impact on me. And in there was a podcast I listened to recently where they’re talking about, like, mental health. And there’s an exercise that you can try where you ask, like, you can pick an arbitrary number.

It’s got to be at least like 15 people. So you get, like, a good sample size, but say you pick 100 people that you know in completely different aspects of life. Like, so, like, you have your family, you’ve got, you know, for our case, like, our cigarette colleagues, you know, film colleagues, we’ve got hockey, we’ve got our basketball team, we got our chess.

Like, we have our, each are each little pods of, like, what makes us us? And it’s different configurations of Lego for everybody. But then you ask people in those groups that know you and said, and you ask them, can you describe a moment in time where I was at my best? And they don’t have to answer it right away because it’s a pretty hard question to, like, give, like, a good, articulate, clean response and then, or you can reverse that and you can do that for 100 other people. So you can think of
100 people that you know or Ned House doesn’t have to be 100.

It can be, like, 2025, any number. And say, like, for you, like, josh, like, hey, here’s a letter. Like, this is a moment in time when I saw you at your best.

You know, he’s won the. He’s won his airtime. Yes.

So that’s an example of, like, trying to build those positive thinking aspects into, like, reflecting moments so you have. Because it is easy to get caught up in, like, day to day and you’re working, you’re working, you’re working. And then when you have kids and, like, making sure the kids are fine and working kids and then doing everything around that and then not having that space time to breeze and reflect on how you got to where you are.

Yeah. So I try to do that. Like, it’s been hard since.

Since COVID to, like, actually sit and find the time to, like, write, like, the bulk letters that I used to do. So I’m hoping to do that again, hopefully by the end of this year when. When things settle down after number two is a little less wanting to be held.

Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, I love that, though.

That’s a great. That’s a great exercise because we all needed to kind of take a step back. But that’s a great answer to the favorite film you worked on.

Yes. I didn’t even answer. I mean, you mentioned Peter Rabbit.

Yeah. So for the team, that one for, I guess, like, the historical aspect of it, it was really cool to work on Avengers endgame. Yeah.

Lego two was pretty cool in terms of. I got to. I got to touch a lot of, like, a large span of things on that show.

My boss for that show really trusted me and allowed me space to grow on that show. He’s like, look, I’m going to put you in these positions. You may fail spectacularly, but don’t worry.

I’m going to make sure that you’re going to be good. Cool. And he’s.

He was. He was a great boss for me. Like, he really, like, it’s.

I’m very thankful for, like, I’ve had great bosses for, like, pretty much everywhere I work. Like, it’s been great. Like, even, like, where I’m at now, like, they really trust you to, like, make decisions that will improve what we’re doing.

Yeah. Like, you got this, like, kind of effect of a. Something happening to the main character that they’re being possessed or like, something’s happened.

Something’s happening to them. You’re like, well, I tried doing this, and it caused this kind of an effect. It kind of looks kind of cool.

What you feeling? They were like, that’s kind of cool. But what if we just saw, what if we changed it just like this slightly? And then the director will probably go for it and then show to the director, and then the director will make yes or no, and then. Or the director, like, we’ve had a couple of clients where the clients will be like, oh, that’s actually kind of cool, but can we just, like, change this color? Because, like, of whatever reasons they have.

And then, yeah, yeah, I. And then, boom. Done. That’s super quick.

Put it into the tech cart. So then we like to our pixel by pixel refinement checks on it, ship it out. I’d be interested if that’s becoming a more popular way of managing creative teams, because if you keep people too much into a box, that can actually stifle creativity and hinder what a potential a project could have.

You’re actually maybe keeping a thing like a film or a shot from being better because you’ve put so much pressure on these artists to stay within their confines, rather than, hey, you’re empowered to make these decisions because they always know they could reel it back or change that color. You know what I mean? But that’s awesome that you’ve been put in these particular places. Also indicator of the people that they’re hiring, like yourself, where they hired the talent.

And there’s a reason why you hire talent, because they could do their job and. And then they could just let them play, you know? Yeah. Like, for me, like, historically, like, I try, like, when I’m applying, the places where, like, I try to go to places that I know have kind of that structure of the teams, like, where there is trust and rapport, um, but so, like, what you’re saying about, like, the, um, the dynamics between client and, like, the floor.

Oh, pardon me. Uh, there’s been, um. I think it’s really dependent on.

I mean, it’s dependent on a lot of factors, like, between just even, like, the type of, like, which. Which production company in LA or London or wherever it’s being produced is working on. So the actual VFX houses that are in different time zones and, like, who they’ve got in the house for, like, that show, because, like, there could be people that are only on for the show and they go to another studio.

I mean, it’s very. They contribute, like, very freelance, even. But, um, I mean, there’s an understood expectation that it’s the director’s vision.

They’re trying to execute something visually that’s in their mind that they want to get out and showcase, and then the producing teams are trying to get it to come out on a budget. Like, you know, you don’t want to. I mean, otherwise, it’s just an artistic exercise, which is fine, but when you have people that have, like, financial interests in it, then you kind of have to be more mindful of the budgeting, and then you have the people that are executing that are, like, the skilled trades, like,
for us, like, we’ll were hired to get that brief, execute it, and then every client’s different.

They, they may or may not want any feedback. Some are open to it somehow. And it kind of depends on, like, if they have experience working with visual effects houses, because some directors, like, they don’t work with it much, or they have another guy or gal that will, like, interface for them, and they won’t even look at it until it’s done in quotation, and then it’s in the edit, and it’ll only look at it as an edit.

They don’t want to see it, like, out of context, so they want to see it as, it’s, like, how it would actually play. So I think it kind of, it’s very fluid and very dependent, but, like, it’s what it happens of, like, you get that collaborative aspect. It is.

It is a pleasure to work on those kind of, all those kind of projects. Yeah. Not every project will be like that, but it’ll be every so few that will come up and be like, oh, that was, that was a pleasure.

Yeah. Yeah. It’s a roller coaster.

All right, one more. One more. I knew rapid fire wouldn’t be rapid.

No, I mean, and it’s okay. All right. This one might be easier for you.

Might be hard. How do you define success? Oh. Oh, boy.

Where’s the dictionary? That would be a first. I haven’t actually looked at the actual definition of success. That might be interesting.

Yeah, it’s. Oh, man. It’s very subjective and very, and I’m sure, like, even in, like, non artistic roles, like, there’s varying levels of, like, metrics that people have.

Like, if they’re successful, like, even in life, but, like, yeah. Oh, man. What’s yours? It’s your definition.

My definition? Chris van Noy march. Well, if it’s playing chess, it’s if I win. There it is, folks, winning.

No, that’s. Even if that is not even accurate, because I’m teaching my niece how to play. Uh huh.

My son, like, watched Bluey and, like, they have a chess episode, like, so he’s, like, wanting to set the board up with me and stuff. And so, you know, it’s more of, like, I want them to have fun and, like, even, like, the casual, like, more like blitz nights and stuff, like, when you’re playing, like, shorter time controls. Like, it’s like, I want to have fun.

Well, I get maybe that. So success for me is I’m having fun creating whichever. Whichever thing is the task at hand, whether it’s in chess or it’s with my work or being a dad.

Love it, because that’s a pretty big mixing. I really want to be active in my kids life, and that nature of play, being play led was pretty big. There’s a podcast here called how other Dad’s a dad by Hamish Blake.

He’s, like a radio tv personality, comedian, jack of all trades kind of guy, but he’s. He that podcast goes about. So he’ll.

He interview a lot of people that he’s met over time that he knows are dads, and, like, will, like, interview, like, kind of, like, their philosophy and approach to dating as a verb. And Bluey does make it an appearance quite a bit, like, with. Because I know you haven’t watched a lot of episodes because we were talking about this before.

No, she’s not there yet. I highly recommend it. All right.

Watching it as, like, through a parent’s lens, like, it’s. I think you’re in for a treat. Oh, cool.

Yeah, so, like. Yeah, so, like, Bluey’s dad is with how he engages and plays on the shows. Like, that’s kind of how I like to foster those, like, core memory moments.

So, like, when my kids are older and don’t want to have anything to do with me, they’re like, dad. No, I just. Yeah, no, I just want to.

I just want to hang with my buds. Like, all right. Like, still love you.

Like, okay. That’s why. Yeah, yeah.

I’ll be making chicken and waffles or something, you know. Let’s come back. So, having fun with what you’re doing when enjoying it any.

Well, I’ll say, like, having fun and enjoyment with what you’re doing and you’re accomplishing the task for what you got to do. That is for, like, what you’re, like, the work aspect of it. So you’re confident what you’re doing, but you’re enjoying and having fun while you’re doing it, and you feel like you’re growing.

Yeah, I think those are the. I think those would be, like, the pillars of what success would be for me. I think I share that a lot.

I think. I think many people do. That’s a good one.

And it’s also. I ask these questions across the board because for, like, inspiration and success. That’s why I pad it beginning and end, because there’s so many similarities, no matter who I’m talking to, whether it’s someone in film or a lawyer or a financial advisor or Santa Claus, everybody.

There’s. There’s similarities across the board. So it’s pretty cool.

Good job and rapid fire, Chris. I believed we’d get through it. This is going to be a longer episode, but that’s okay because it’s worth it.

I have a couple concluding questions. Yes. You mentioned the bonsai tree of trajectory earlier on, and I love that metaphor because careers in general and life in general is not a straight line.

If you’ve got a straight line, I’m skeptical that you actually did. What is your. Where are you in 510 years? Do you want to be a compositor? Do you want to be a map painter? What do you want to direct eventually, in five to ten years? Let’s see.

There is aspirations of, like, leadership, because I find that even before film, I have a tendency to be quite successful at building up people into, like, being able to do, like, whatever the tasks that we’re doing. So, like, when I worked at the advertising firm, I was, you know, training people up and teaching them new tricks on how to do things. And then I’ll help out, you know, the newer team members at whichever studio I’ve been at to share that knowledge and then see what the more
experienced team has been doing.

Like, the folks have been doing this for, like, 2030 years, seeing how they approach things and then incorporate that in, like, oh, that’s interesting. And then I’ll add my flavor of what I do, and then there’ll be, like, someone new that comes in that’s, like, very green. That’s only maybe been doing this for, like, six months because they had, like, a training course.

And then, like, ah, here’s something that I messed up on. Here’s how to do this. And then, um.

So something probably along the lines of leading. But what that looks like, I can’t quite say because it’s, you know, I wouldn’t mind. Yeah, like, it would be, if I’m incorporating that into, like, what I’m doing, I think that’ll be being good, cool leave on set experience.

I don’t know. Talked about that. The caveat for that, for me, though, is with the kids, because those are hard hard days.

Like, I really long hours because, like, it’s not even just the hours because you’re not going home usually. Like, so, like, the people that have to go on set and, like, and they’re trying. They’re crying really hard to, like, think 15 steps ahead, sometimes even more of, like, the problems that may arise based on past experience of the shows that are similar that they may have worked on or of, like, okay, if we do this this way, I need to be aware and tell my team to be able to prepare, like,
some kind of setup so we’re able to, like, with some agility, to be able to hit the notes that we’re going to end up.

We’re probably going to encounter that kind of juggling. So, like, I wouldn’t mind doing that kind of stuff, but, um, I probably like that kind of, like, degree of, like, supervision. I probably would want to wait until my kids are a bit older, I think.

Sure. Yeah. Like, when you’re in house doing, like, lean, lean roll stuff, like, I’m probably.

It’s probably what I would like to do in that regard. Travel more is I would like to do. I’d like the flexibility to be able to travel and, like, see family and friends.

Like, my wife and I, we talked about, like, it’d be nice if we were able to just have, like, a teleportation machine and just go see our friends, because, like, we do live in Australia, and, like, it is geographically, really far from, you know, our friends and family that are scattered around the world. Like, like, you’re in Florida, Zeb and Vance are in Indy. Like, my childhood friend Luke, who was very, like, his.

His family is very fundamental in helping me be who I was. Like, like, when my mom was raising my sister and I on her own. And, um, like, my sister is still in Indy, my mom’s still in Indy.

My grandma’s still in Indy, and then, um, yeah, Luke’s in New England right now, and we’ve got friends that are, like, scattered for these siggraph, like, all over the world, everywhere. That’s kind of the beauty of it. We’ll always have destinations that we’re eager to travel to, and there’ll never be an end to it.

You’re just in a particular part of the world where it just takes. The journey takes a little longer. But I’ll tell you, you’re not alone on wanting a teleportation machine.

Yep. Yeah. How long is it for you and Han and your wife to head back to Turkey for missing family? Well, if you count, we drive 4 hours to the Miami airport and really that ends up being like a four and a half hour drive.

And then, you know, you’re in the airport for two, 3 hours before that and honestly, you get there a day before so that just in case something happens, you don’t miss your flight, then it’s an eleven hour flight. So, you know, it’s a, it’s a day and a half, you know, all things considered, because also you fly into Istanbul and then we’ve got to take either a bus or another flight to Ankara, the capital, where she’s from. So, you know, I mean, it’s ridiculous.

Yeah. But it’s worth it. I love going to Turkey, man.

I was just thinking about the other day because like, the last time I was there, I, I was on a run. I love running. And, and I went to the top of, it’s very mountainous over there.

There’s hills and stuff like that. I just love the terrain there. And I looked way out in the distance and I saw this trail going up the top of the mountain and I was like, I’m going to find that trail.

And so I did. I just went through the city and found it. Kind of kept my compass and, uh, and then that was like my daily run.

I once I found that trail, I went to the top and then came back and then went to the apartment. But it’s like, you know, I don’t know, it’s so worth it. But anyways, you, you like going through the mountains too, so I know you understand.

Yeah, yeah. Traveling, man. It’s, we got the bug, you know, Poland for me, like, Singapore and Poland were foundational to, yeah, same graph, you know, like that trip.

Let’s see, what was first? Was Siggraph first or Poland was first siggraph? 2008 for me was first. Yeah, that was the first time I traveled by myself, like, ever was to that siggraph. And then la la when, yeah, because I was, yeah, I volunteered.

I was a student volunteer that year. And then, yeah, and then we went to Poland the next summer for the study abroad, like teaching experience that we did. God, that was a great experience.

We’re gonna have to have a part two. Yeah. Or like I was saying, a panel.

I really, I’ve been thinking about that throughout this conversation. Once I brought it up, when I get an idea like that, I’m like, oh, panel would be cool. And so, but I got one more question for you.

Okay, then I’ll let you go because you’re, it’s morning for you. It’s night for me, and I want to go hang out with my wife. And I know you, your kid just popped in.

I bet if they want hang out with their boss, lunchtime here on in the future. Yeah. Wow.

I always ask this, people is no matter who’s listening, whether they’re in film and animation or whatever they do, what and wherever they are in their trajectory, old, young, what’s the biggest piece of advice you could give anyone listening? Biggest piece of advice. The thing that’s kind of sticking out to me right now, like, being on the spot, is to keep trying and, like, like, because I think about this sometimes, like, where you’re trying so hard to either achieve a goal of something, like,
whether it’s in sport or anything, and if you put in the work, you’ll, like, I believe you’ll eventually get there. Like, yeah, like, yes, talent has an aspect to it, but I think, like, there’s, like, you can even, like, almost make it into it.

Like a mathematical equation. Almost, like, was like a metric of a success, so to speak, is like a measure of, like, talent and the work you put into it and the opportunity. And I remember when we were in school, Doctor B, who was our head of department for us, and, like, our, of our professors, he would always say something, I’m trying to.

I’m trying to remember how he paired, but he would say there’s a quote from somebody was like a chance favors the prepared. Yeah, right? So that’s something that I think about a bit. So it’s, I guess, like, if you.

Because I’ve come close to quitting a few times, like, in my career, like, before I got to where I am now and film, like, it just felt like I wasn’t getting there. And, like, there were opportunities that came up that I was either too scared or I didn’t feel I was ready, so I just didn’t take them. Like, like, one that I joke about now is I could have worked on the first, the Godzilla 2014 film if I had just left home, but I didn’t.

Every time there’s a Godzilla or King Kong project that comes on, like, I’m always, like, just missing them. It’s kind of a running joke with, like, friends. Like, like, oh, guess what I just worked on.

I’m like, I don’t want to hear it. But, um, I like that. I like that.

Yeah. Chance favors the prepared. I forgot that one.

Yeah, he was. I use a lot of Doctor B’s phrases. Doctor B is great.

He’s a good man. He made that Poland experience. Yeah, he he and Dan selected us and Kevin, so, yeah, be on that team.

Yeah, that was cool. And we were roommates throughout that, so that was even more special because we got to spend the month together. Yeah.

You know, that was a special time. And I just want to let you know, you know, like, I know you’re across the world, but I think about you a lot and I’m inspired by you. And, you know, I look forward to coming over there with my family and our kids playing together and everything.

I look forward to that, man. Yeah. And I appreciate your time.

I know, you know, you are a busy guy and working on a lot of stuff and we’ve got the time difference, and I just I appreciate you very much, Chris, much love to your family and thanks again for coming on, sharing your wisdom. Much love.

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