Can you give us an overview of how you came to work in VFX production?
It was a stroke of luck in a way. About a year or so after my studies I was contacted by one of my previous lectures who told me about the job offering at Outpost for a Production Assistant. At that time, I was very anxious to jump into the industry with no experience, however after meeting the team at Outpost, I'm happy I plucked up the courage to go for it!
Ever since I've joined the industry, I haven’t looked back!
Do you think you were always destined for this role?
I've always had somewhat of a strange relationship with production. When studying I always loved the organisation and planning side of VFX, equally as much as the artist side. I would say I was split 50/50 however when I began work within production at Outpost I quickly found my feet, realising that production was the place for me to be.
If you could go back to your first day in this role, what advice would you give yourself?
Don't take things too personally and keep at it. Things have a way of working themselves out, you just need to work hard and don't give in. Also keep your foot in the 3D realm, the artist knowledge will be beneficial later down the line. But most importantly enjoy it!
Are there any traits or characteristics that you feel sets someone up to become a great Production Manager?
I think as a Production Manager it's important to have a positive attitude. When tough times hit on projects having a positive team is a big help! In my opinion I think we all have a little bit of madness inside of us, which is 100% needed to get through the hard times.
Being organised is also a big part of the job. Keeping tabs on all things big and small, ensuring all loose ends are tidied.
Lastly, patience and understanding are key – making sure all the team feel supported and motivated.
What does an average day for you look like at Outpost?
At the start of the day, I join our project team meetings – running through show updates and queries.
For the remaining of the day, I try to spend most of my time managing the ever-evolving schedule which keeps me on my toes. There are almost always unplanned surprises that crop up day-to-day, requiring attention… I would be lying If I said these pop-up tasks didn't fill me with adrenaline.
I also spend a chunk of time with my shows supes and production, giving support where possible throughout the day.
If you could master any VFX discipline, which would it be?
It would have to be 3D Modelling! This was a discipline I loved when studying. I was lucky enough to be mentored in 3D assets by the fantastic Nick White at Outpost which opened my eyes to a lot.
Call me biased, but I made a gorgeous barrel in these sessions which I'm still very proud of – modelled, textured and look dev'ed.
What are the day-to-day challenges you face in this role? How do you overcome them?
The ever growing and changing schedule. One minute the schedule looks set, everything fits, and you breathe a sigh of relief. The next minute you receive a client email with updates or requests and suddenly everything's go, go, go and you need to take things apart, add things in and rebuild.
It sounds bizarre but even though the schedule consistently changes, each time I rebuild it to work, I get a little kick of excitement, as nerdy as that sounds!
What has been your proudest moment so far as a Production Manager?
The transition from PA to PM for me has been my proudest moment. I have surprised myself with how much I have grown at Outpost in knowledge but also personally, building my confidence and character.
What would be your ideal working environment?
Through-out the pandemic I spent quite a while working from home, however, I have to say, I much prefer working in the office! Being surrounded by the team on the shop floor and going through the motions together really keeps the morale up. I also find it a little easier to leave work at work in this case.
I am one of those people that prefers to work in the dark with a tiny desk lamp on, there's just something about it.
What was the last thing you watched that left an impression on you?
Dune - Because I was expecting an ending. The disappointment was real once I reached the end and realised there's another two parts to come…