5 Minutes With... Production Manager Eli Michaud


5 Minutes With... Production Manager Eli Michaud

10 December 2021

Montreal-based Production Manager, Eli Michaud, fills us in on what it's like to work in the fast-paced world of production

Can you tell us a bit about how you got into this role and into VFX altogether?

While studying at university I worked on several short film projects and found that I really enjoyed and excelled at the project management side of things. Organizing shoot days, managing equipment and actors all came naturally to me so I wanted to find something in that vein in the film industry. I wrote a letter to myself when I was 14 with some career goals and one of them was to get my name in the credits of a movie. Mission accomplished!

Were you always drawn to production?

Like any young film geek, I initially wanted to be a film director. Directors definitely have production bones in their body, so I would say in that sense I was drawn to this kind of role.

In your opinion, what makes a good Production Manager?

Empathy goes a long way. Understanding that people are doing their best and making sure they have the tools and information needed to achieve their work has always been a top quality for me. Working in the industry you can quickly pick out the people that care about their co-workers and want them to succeed and which ones just want to get the job done.

Being organised also plays big part in the schedule management side of things but doesn't mean much if the people you are working with don't feel supported and motivated to follow that schedule and do great work.

What’s the one piece of production knowledge or advice you wish you knew sooner?

Always be closing. Tie bows on loose threads and follow through on your tasks to maintain control and be ahead of the game.

If you weren’t working in Production, which department could you imagine working in?

ENV/DMP has always interested me since it touches both one of the oldest VFX departments and one of the newer ones. Shout out to prep/paint artists though, they do some crazy work and are true wizards.

What are some of the challenges that Production Managers face day-to-day?

Schedules are always evolving and changing. One day it's beautiful then you get a delivery priority list from the client that shakes things up and you go back to the drawing board. It's a challenge to make all the puzzle pieces fit together while remaining flexible for the inevitable curve balls.

How is your work evolving to keep up with new technology?

New ways to present all of our data is constantly evolving. Our production tools like ShotGrid have a lot of power to present information in a digestible way which inevitably helps our workflow.

What would you say is your biggest career achievement to date?

I started from the bottom cleaning coffee mugs and getting OT lunches and now I'm here managing a team on a pretty cool project so that's an achievement in my books.

What would be your ideal working environment?

I really enjoy working in the office. You get to know your peers so much better and overall, there's more room to have a bit of fun along the way. I do love all the extra sleep I get working from home, but I miss being on the ground floor with the team.

What brought you to Outpost?

A lot of good eggs work at Outpost so I jumped on the golden opportunity to join when they opened their studio in Montreal.

What was the last film or series you watched that left an impression on you?

I watched one of Taika Waititi's earlier films called Boy. It really stuck a cord with me and is a heart-warming film that I'd recommend to anyone.

Finally, some quickfire questions:

What’s the one thing you always keep on your desk?

A plant of some sorts so I get to look at something green.

You can eat one thing for the rest of your life – what is it?

Cheese. It's always been cheese.

What would be your superpower?

I'd want to be able to control the weather so I can save us from climate change.

You’ve got a couple of hours to kill – what do you watch?

The Office. Again…

What are you currently learning?

I've started to play D&D with friends so I'm learning that I roll like garbage.

Any pets?

Just tons of plants.

Favourite way to relax?

Listening to some music swinging in a hammock. Preferably on a beach somewhere.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Japan is next on my list to shred some gnarly pow.

What irritates you?

Dangerous drivers.

Guilty pleasures?

The greasy pizzeria dangerously close to my place.

Favourite song?

A Horse with No Name – America.

Last present you bought yourself?

A pair of Harry Potter sunglasses.