What I tell myself everyday.

To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me, I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask is one thing, and this is.. I'm asking this particularily of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism - for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen." - Conan 'O'Brien

December 23, 2010

The middle management in the animation/vfx industry and you. Part 1.

Who are they, where do they come from and do they actually do? And most importantly how do they affect you as an artiste.

If you work in a big vfx/animation/games studio as an artiste, you will have dealt with these guys.

Who are they?

These are the executives who "manage/coordinate" the talent, the schedule, the budget and everything else in the middle.

Where do they come from?

From all walks of life. Graduates from art school, film school, computer animation school, business administration. People who are interested in film, movies and want a career in this industry. There are some who cannot hack it as artists or find the life of an artiste too hard/ prospects limiting/not their cup of tea therefore they will move to the production side.

There isn't a specialised technical skill set but more about their people skillz. Ability to manage people.... duh.

What do they do?

Ideally, they compile these data and forecast who to hire, how much money to spend, when is the shot going to get done. And plan the budget, schedules for the forthcoming weeks and months. They report to the producers and the money men and may make recommendations who makes the big decisions. Eventually they may or may not raise up to be managers of departments, producers and facility managers.

They generally do not do any of the actual work in creating the lighting or animation of a shot. Although I have known a lot of them who ended up being great computer artistes.

They are a vital clog in a production facility to maintain it running smoothly. They have to manage the expectations of the supervisors and at the same time make sure that the artists a can produce the quality of work needed to get it approved. As well as allocate what assets to the suitable artists and having to withstand and deal with the tantrums of juvenile or egoistic artistes and being pressured to give a accurate schedule/costing estimate with limited info. Won't really say its a easy job.

Most of them do care for the well being of the artistes they work with and to maintain the peaceful harmony in the team. And as they say, it takes two hands to clap.

I personally believe that artistes as a paid professional have the responsibility to deliver the shot/model/texture/comp to the expectation of the supervisors/leads/directors. And their position is to ensure that these targets are met within a reasonable planned and allocated time/budget with flexibility for adjustments, revisions and amendments.One handles the creative issues while the other handles the logistical issues.

And most these people that I have the pleasure and fortune to work with are really good at their jobs. But I think also partially because I understand this and I strive to maintain this relationship as well as they are good people managers.

The problems starts when things start to deviate away from this equation. That is when it gets really fun. Its like seeing a train wreck happening with the casualties being jobs, egos and mental well-being.

Akan Datang (More coming soon)

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