Tag Archive for: interview

Michael Shanks – 36 Weeks of Unpaid VFX Work

Michael Shanks, creator of Timtimfed, has been one of my favorite filmmakers for years. His webseries Wizards of Aus and his short films Rebooted and Time Trap are incredible and inspiring for any indie filmmaker. Check out our interview with him and hear what it takes to make it happen!

Meet Danny Shepherd – Director and VFX Artist

I remember coming across a web series 6 years ago that got me excited for indie creators. Usually, webseries tend to bomb. Even when they’re well made, they tend not to get very many views, especially compared to the one-off videos a lot of creators release.

I get it. Watching a series is a commitment we tend to reserve for television, while Youtube is primarily where we watch our short form content. However, Youtube is still one of the best places for indie creators to find their audience, so if they do pull off the unlikely and make a successful series I give them extra props.

Danny Shepherd and the Ismahawk team did just that. In 2014 they released Nightwing: The Series, the first episode now has nearly 8 Million views. Danny and the team have since gone on to make action-packed viral videos, working with some of the top creators you know and love. He was kind enough to sit down with us and talk about their insane journey. Watch the highlights of the interview here.

Meet David Blaker – Lead 3D Artist at ProductionCrate

David has been working with us since 2016, creating some of the most iconic visual effects the Crater community has seen. From explosions to 3D models, meet the creator behind some of your favorite assets. David walks us through some of his favorite software, how he’s finding success on Instagram and what his favorite dinosaur is! Watch the interview here –

From Youtuber to Hollywood – Interview with Chris Clements

The first time I heard of Chris Clements was when my brother forwarded me “Star Wars SC38 Reimagined”, a wonderful video which reinvigorated the somewhat dated Visual Effects in the original Star Wars. The quality of the work was impressive, from the stunt to the effects.

We’ve been doing some interviews with various artists on our new Craters Youtube Channel,  and I figured this was a great time to get to know a bit more about Chris and the work he does. He told me about his start on Youtube creating fun VFX sketches and shorts. His Youtube channel was discovered by some folks in the industry, who contacted Chris for some work. From there he’s gone on to work for Hollywood films and TV shows such as Deadpool, Terminator: Dark Fate and Netflix’s The Punisher series. Check out the full interview here.

And if somehow you haven’t seen Scene 38 Reimagined, watch it now!


Over 1 Billion Views – ShutterAuthority Interview



A lot of us talk about the good old days of ‘Early Youtube’. We like to look back five or ten years and remember the ridiculous sketches, mind-blowing short films, awkward music videos and the initially unique but now tired gimmicks.


There were also the early VFX legends inspiring new waves of artists. Corridor Digital, FreddieW (now RocketJump), and VideoCopilot to name just a few. Videos with consistently more impressive and more creative visual effects starting to pop up all over the place. The industry that seemed exclusive to high-budget blockbuster films had somehow found a place online. I can’t tell you the number of times friends and family have sent me an ActionMovieKid video or one of the seemingly endless Zack King clips. Somehow VFX artists have found themselves at the forefront of this insane, exciting and extremely delightful industry.


More lately than ever before it seems like Youtubers are pushing out content faster and faster. Quantity over quality has been a surprising evolution for online media. It’s not all bad, I do enjoy a lot of the new content, but I can’t help but miss ‘Early Youtube’. That’s why when I found ShutterAuthority, I was instantly sucked in.


Raghav and his team create VFX heavy internet shorts. Creativity, quality, style and uniqueness are squeezed into each video. Each short is fun to watch, with well developed story and comedic timing. Their content is a lot of ‘In Real Life’ videos and dream-battles that would never happen otherwise. Titles like The Terminator VS T-Rex and Packman In Real Life give you a good idea of what to expect.


Shutter Authority has over a Billion Views and 2 Million subscribers. Their story is inspiring for all Youtubers looking to build an audience and make awesome content. Check out the full interview below.


Godzilla VS Packman (26,553,185 views)


Chris: Godzilla VS Packman, Terminator VS T-rex, these are fantastic and really out-there ideas. How do you decide what video to make next?


Raghav AK: It’s usually a combination several factors; topics I’m passionate about, CG/VFX aspects I’ve been experimenting with that match the topic and if the topic has any topical value at the time.


Chris: You’ve started adding breakdowns at the end of your videos, why did you decide to start doing this?


Raghav AK: We get a ton of comments asking us how we make these videos and a lot of people don’t seem to know anything about VFX and other filmmaking techniques, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to give the audience a little sneak peak into the making of to bring awareness on what’s possible even for a very small team like ours.


Check out this awesome breakdown for Mega-Godzilla: King of the Universe


Chris: It seems like you’re able to release a project roughly every month. With the level of work that goes into each, I have to assume this is your full time job. Do you do client work as well?


Raghav AK: Yes, its quite a bit of work to take a video idea to completion, because we try to do most of the tasks in-house. Of course, we do use stock footage and other assets from sources like ProductionCrate, VideoCopilot, ActionVFX, Film Riot etc, which really help us make better quality work at a shorter turn around times. Yes, I do this full time and I do take up a little bit of client work if the project is very interesting and I find the time to pull it off alongside the videos for my channel.


Chris: What was your most difficult project to-date, and why?


Raghav AK: We worked on a 360 video based on Temple Run as a collaboration with Google Daydream. It was our first time working on a 360 video. Every shot was a VFX shot involving 3D CGI and most of them were moving camera shots that needed loads of clean up too. It took us nearly 3 months of non-stop work to pull this off.



Chris: After Effects and Blender seem like your preferred software, are there others you’d like to learn?


Raghav AK: Yes, AE and B3D seem like a perfect fit for an indie creator like me who needs to be able to quickly create semi complex shots for my short films. I’m currently working on improving my sculpting and texturing skills in Blender, but I’d love to learn Substance Painter to take the realism to next level. I’m also very impressed with TyFlow which is extremely powerful for simulations. Another tool that interests me EmberGen to create fluid sims in Real time.


Chris: You seem to start things off with a lot of preparation and planning. Can you explain what your process is like from idea to completion?


Raghav AK: Thank you! As you have seen in our making-of segments, I always like to break down a task into as many small tasks as possible. Our process is as follows:


  1. Writing the script
  1. Making storyboards. Run VFX tests in parallel to make sure what we’re aiming for is even possible
  1. Prepare for the shoot- and Shoot it
  1. Editing a rough cut, identifying and categorizing the VFX shots
  1. VFX Process
  1. Editing, colour grading and sound design.


Chris: What is the most surprising or exciting thing that has happened with Shutter Authority?


Raghav AK: We’ve had a lot of exciting things happen over the last few years, and some of them include going mega viral with more than half our videos, and accumulating 1B views in total on our channel, where 3 of our videos have surpassed 120M views. This to me is absolutely insane and I’d really love to thank our audience for supporting our work!


Chris: Whats advice can you give aspriring Youtubers?


Raghav AK: I’d encourage creators not to hesitate when experimenting with multiple ideas at the start to figure out what exactly they’d like to do on Youtube. Also make sure its something you truly love doing, because you might have to do it for a while before anything happens. I started my channel back in 2006 and it took me 7 years to hit 1,000 subscribers and 9 years for 10K. It only sped up later and took off to 1M in just 2 years after that.


It was only possible for me to stick around doing this kind of content for that long because I love making films with VFX and I’d be willing to do it regardless of whether I made money from it or not. Its ultimately about find a common intersection between something unique that you love to create and what people would love to watch.


Chris: What’s next?


Raghav AK: We have a bunch of cool short film ideas lined up for 2020 that involve Sci-fi, Robots and Dinosaurs. We’d love to do something bigger involving larger productions in the future around similar topics. Until then, Stay tuned for our youtube vids 😉


Make sure to visit ShutterAuthority on Youtube and subscribe if you haven’t already!





Youtuber Raz “Mr. AMG” Rehan Interview

Youtube has it all. Big studio work, family videos, instructional tutorials of every kind, cats, more cats, meditation walkthroughs, music videos, gaming screencap, reviews and so much more. It’s absolutely massive. Youtube, more than any platform, has helped of connect people through their curiosity. It enables you to pursue, learn, teach and be entertained.


I don’t consider myself a ‘car person’, but that might be changing. I have watched an absurd amount of Remove Before Race in a very short period. It’s a Youtube channel that utilizes VFX, humor and impressive production-quality to review awesome cars. I had the privilege of interviewing Raz Rehan, the host of RBR. He tells us how he built a growing and successful Youtube channel, with over 150K subscribers, and where he wants go go next.


Here’s a great episode of RBR, full interview below!



Chris: Can you tell our viewers a bit about your channel?


Raz: Sure! Remove Before Race is on the face of it a car review channel like many others, but it has a big twist!


Alongside seeing reviews of the latest and greatest cars, we also use VFX to take the traditional car review to the next level. So if we talk about the engine then we’ll strip the body away in front of your eyes, or if we talk about another car we‘ll teleport it there in seconds. Its car reviews, just more fun!


Chris: What motivated the idea of using visual effects in your videos?  


Raz: I’m a big geek! I love film, TV, video games and comic books. So back when the channel was younger I experimented with incorporating that side of me into the content. It ended up really resonating with our viewers, who also love Star Wars, Mario, the Avengers and whatever else we throw into our videos as a surprise.


It’s given me a great USP, hence why FootageCrate is so invaluable to me: I just end up getting so many ideas from here!


Chris: That’s awesome to hear! Do you have any FootageCrate Effects you couldn’t find that you want us to create?

Raz: The more movie, super hero and video game effects the better for my channel! Really helps create themes around videos and keep things exciting. Perhaps even simple things like more animal renderings. Though top of my list would be a service that allows you to request the creation of a unique effect : that would be special!


Chris: For creators looking to build a Youtube Channel, do you have any suggestions?


Raz: Too many to give in one answer, but I’ll try! First and foremost, chase excellence of product, and success will follow! If you chase numbers you’re sure to fail, but make excellent content and it’s hard for viewers to ignore you.


Secondly, be yourself! It’s cliche, but by harnessing the power of my own nerdiness I  stumbled on the perfect unique niche for my channel. And don’t let what others are doing in your area of the market dissuade or effect you, focus on your craft.


Chris: Where do you want your channel to be in 5 years?


Raz: I’d love to have expanded the type of content we do, into some episodic car review series with our signature VFX, or heck even into things non-automotive!


But really most of all, I hope our library of old videos by that point, will be a joy to watch back.





Chris: I noticed you had some great sponsors for your videos, do you have any tips for finding sponsors?


Raz: Sponsors are firmly linked to quality of content for me, so as I said about, chase the quality and the demand will follow. There’s also no harm in asking companies that you see synergy with, and just starting a conversation!

Chris: Thanks, Raz!

If you’re into cars, or just want to see some high-quality work, check out RBR on Youtube.

Interview with Jared Rowe – VFX Artist and Motion Designer

I came across Jared’s work not so long ago and was instantly impressed by his style and skill. Jared was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions for us. If you’re looking to enter the field of Visual Effects or Motion Graphics then this interview is a must-read. Jared’s answers were enlightening and honest, and are helpful whether you’re just starting out or have been working in the field for as many years as I have.



Thanks for doing this Q&A, Jared! Love your portfolio and all the work you’ve been doing. What software do you tend to use most often for your VFX and Motion Design work?



Thanks, Chris! Stoked to be noticed and share my story.


Adobe After Effects is my compositing tool of choice, complemented with various plugins and scripts. All depending on the project I’m working on, of course.


If we’re talking my favorite workflow, that usually starts with either Cinema 4D or a similar 3D application which I use to create my main scene work – then finish with compositing and effects in After Effects.


I’ll admit though, I’m a sucker for experimenting with a wide range of software types. I even used the Unreal Engine recently for a big Esports client! With Unreal I was able to compile a 3D environment, which I then transferred to After Effects. I mixed in a barrage of ProductionCrate compositing effects, together with some of my own that I’ve created over the years. The final product turned out pretty awesome. The video below gives you a brief look into the making. 




A lot of our users are interested in pursuing a career in this field. Any tips for getting started?



Especially for new artists, there is an overemphasis and over-reliance on tools. I remember early on in my career, many in the community determined ‘skill’ by the software you used or the conferences you attended. I’ve seen this trend diminish recently, but there is still this expectation that you are required to have a specific application or plugin to be the best at what you do. This is false.


For me, the greatest teacher hasn’t been a course, or a mentor, or a YouTube tutorial. My greatest teacher has been failure. Don’t get me wrong, there are some incredible resources out there for learning to master specific effects and techniques. But there is no ‘one way’ to do anything in this field. 


The best way to build real-world skill is to get out there and just do it. You’re never going to be any good until you’ve tried and failed. And I mean failed a lot. You need to fail in your own unique way, on your own unique projects. And no tutorial is going to teach you that.


Here’s a fun anecdote to illustrate my point. I once worked on a project for Disney, where I needed to pull off a dynamic water effect on a super-quick deadline. I wouldn’t have the time for liquid simulation, so I needed to think resourcefully. I decided to take my iPhone and go out to our office sink. I turned off the lights and recorded a simple setup, recreating the intended water movement. I recorded the scene in slow motion, using only the light on my camera. Little did I know that this simple solution would far exceed expectations. After compositing the capture into my scene, the end result was even better than any water simulation would have been.


I like to share this story because we learn best in these resourceful moments. And it is going to take a few big moments like these in your career to build your arsenal and confidence as a visual artist. My advice is to try your best to pull off a big idea, whether you know how or not. In doing so, you will figure out a way. At first, it may not seem like the ideal ‘way’, but over time these experiences will add up and lead to mastery.


Did you go to school, or are you self-taught?



A mix of both. I suffered a football injury in high school which left me on crutches for a long time. That free time gave me an opportunity to focus on video editing, which was my favorite hobby and eventual career path.


I began as an intern at a local access television station, then continued my education at the Valencia Film Program back in 2005. At the time, my passion was cinematography. In particular, I loved using scene lighting to tell a story, through setting, blocking, and practical light solutions. It was an incredible experience being on set for 36 hours and witnessing a film set in action. I really learned to appreciate everything that goes into film production. 


It was my film experience that inspired me to branch into animation and motion design. I came to a realization; telling a story in the film industry was incredibly complex, with lots of moving parts. You need a LOT of people working simultaneously to turn your vision into a reality. On the other hand, I was finding that motion design allowed me to bypass a lot of these complexities. I started dabbling in CGI environments and animation, telling my own stories that were just as effective as those on set – only made in a fraction of the time and with more creative freedom. It quickly became my favorite art form of storytelling and expression.


From here my skills became almost entirely self-taught. The passion was there and I saw my talents improving rapidly. I became obsessed with improving my techniques, soaking up every bit of knowledge I could. I imagine this is a natural progression for most motion artists. No matter your formal education, at one point or another you’ll experience that ‘lightswitch’ moment. The ‘self-teaching’ instinct suddenly takes over out of passion and a desire to master your craft.


Chris: I love what you and the people at Visuals by Impulse are doing. Were you freelancing before working at VBI?



Thanks, Chris. It’s been a wild ride for VBI. To date we’ve worked with over 60,000 streamers, gamers, and creators. Across Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming, VBI is raising the bar on branding and visual presentation. Internally, we’re lucky to have an incredibly talented team and strong leadership. What impresses me the most though, is the company culture. It’s one of the most unique and strongest I’ve ever experienced in a remote team (and an international one, at that!).



Personally, it’s been many years since my last freelancing experience. For the past 15+ years, I’ve been partnered with my brother, Derek Alan Rowe. Together we founded the company Doctrine Creative, a creative team focusing on VR/AR and interactive experiences. 


More recently, I spent four years with Eezy as their Director of Video. There I worked to build Videezy’s libraries of free stock videos and After Effects templates. It was a dream come true to give back to the design community; a community that I had learned so much from over the years. But then VBI showed up and offered me the role of Marketplace Director. I couldn’t say no


It’s all been history since then. With VBI it’s an opportunity to innovate and – essentially – reinvent the world of broadcast design. The timing couldn’t be much better. Live streaming and esports gaming is growing faster than ever before. I count myself very fortunate to be part of that movement.


Chris: Any big projects on the horizon?



Big time. 2020 is going to be a big year for Visuals by Impulse. We have ambitious plans to take streaming into an entirely new space; a next level. No spoilers yet, but it will be big. And it will affect both our graphics library and custom design services. 


Over the years, VBI has been lucky to team up with some of the biggest celebrities and brands in the game. This January we unveiled a new collaboration with 100 Thieves, the legendary organization founded by Call of Duty legend Nadeshot. You can check out some of our work in their new studio tour below! Stay tuned – there’s much more in the works that I’m stoked to reveal.

On the flip side, my brother Derek and I have been working on an exciting new project. We were recently awarded an Epic Games grant for our WildEyes project – an initiative focused on connecting people to the natural world through technology. The goal is to produce an immersive new VR experience using the Unreal Engine. It’s a daunting task for sure, but something we’re both stoked to see through.


Needless to say, it’s going to be an exciting year for myself and the entire VBI team.


Chris: I first came across your work after noticing you were using ProductionCrate goodies. Do you have any favorite assets?



Some time ago, I stumbled upon ProductionCrate while working on an experimental project. I was looking to achieve some very specific effects, without having to invest time creating them from scratch myself. Some lightning and magic assets, if I remember correctly. ProductionCrate had exactly what I was looking for, and much more. I immediately saw the potential for my workflow; not only for this project, but for future projects as well.


I’ve spent enough time in this industry to understand the importance of a high-quality effects directory. Over the years I’ve developed a lot of my own baked effects and backgrounds, for use in compositing over time. But ProductionCrate dwarfed my own library, and I’ve kept coming back ever since that first encounter.


For me, the real beauty of ProductionCrate is the impact on my efficiency. I can achieve my overall scene without having to reinvent the wheel, saving me loads of time and energy. This allows me to focus on higher priorities, like the overall direction, composition, and feel of my work. 


It’s also an excellent tool for previsualization. I often use ProductionCrate assets during early project stages, inserting placeholder effects to sell the overall idea of my pieces. It’s a win-win; clients and teammates can easily grasp the story, without requiring massive time investment on my part. For this fact alone, ProductionCrate is essential to my creative pipeline.


Chris: Thanks, Jared! 

Interview with Nathan Dodson – Tutvid

Click here to visit Tutvid’s YouTube channel.


Nathan, dude, 773k subscribers?! Every time I check your channel it’s grown immensely, 1 Million is around the corner! What’s something that’s worked well and something that hasn’t for growing TutVid?

I went through a period of about 6 years where I grew very complacent with the company and what I wanted to do with tutvid and nearly lost everything I had built before that. Not working on my company was the biggest thing that didn’t “work” for growing tutvid.

Maintaining awareness of the industry and always being critical of and willing to change what I am doing has been a massive factor of success thus far. Also, creating content consistently is important.

I think for current-day content creators on a platform like YouTube, you must not only create content consistently, but also be able to create the kind of content that is useful, impactful, is shareable, and is engaging. If you create boring content or useless boring content day after day, you’ll never grow.

I’m self-taught, and so is Adrian. We owe most of our expertise to those who teach online (especially YouTube) so thanks for making such informative tutorials. Why did you decide to teach digital media on TutVid?

I was frustrated when I first started to use Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator that most of the tutorials that were available (back in 2006-07) were either very boring or left out vital details.
I bought a microphone and screen recorder one day and decided to make a crack at recording my own video tutorials (nearly none of them in 2007) and ended up putting them on YouTube and the rest has been history.

We’ve been making tutorials for a while but just recently found a style that works best for us. What’s your workflow like for making a tutorial? 

I have a list of ideas and images that I’d like to create tutorials about and I pick something that I like (or sometimes a trend will dictate a video or even the analytics will show that a certain type of videos resonates well with the audience) and begin playing in Photoshop to figure out how I would do it.
I then draft a rough series of notes to reference while recording and sit down and record my screen and audio and work through whatever the subject of the tutorial is.
After that, it’s a matter of post-production, graphics creation, social media, web, and email distribution, uploading to YouTube, Facebook, etc… and trying to share some behind the scenes stuff along the way.
It’s a big process that I’m still working on perfecting.

What’s your day to day work-life like? 

Work, email, research, making videos, each working portion of the day is very different depending on what we’re working on so this segment varies greatly day-to-day.
My morning and evening routines are usually pretty much the same, it’s the big chunk in the middle of the day that is always different.
One notable thing is that I only check my email once a day. It’s too much of a distraction and people who need to get a hold of me (clients or family) have my phone number and can call or text if something urgent arises.

Here’s some shameless self-promotion, what’s your favorite ProductionCrate content? 

I love so much of what you have to offer in the Motion Graphics portion of ProductionCrate. The transitions would have to be my current favorite. So much good stuff, though.

Interview with Jack Troisi – VFX Artist for Youtube Celebrities

Chris: Hey Jack, what are you working on right now?

Currently working on some content for some well known YouTubers under my little company, Trash Panda FX, most recently with the Sidemen, KSI and RackaRacka. Some other ones coming in I can’t say just yet but it should be a good time. (ProductionCrate will be helping us smash some amazing FX on these too!)

The video has since been released, check it out below! Tons of FootageCrate VFX were used, like the Floating Rocks, the Magical Fire and Lightning

We always enjoy working with you, the DBZ vs. Avatar video  that RackaRacka released was an insanely fun project to build VFX for.



What’s your VFX workflow like?

You try your best to make for a nice and sorted pipeline so everything moves smoothly. Get the shots and scenes nicely labeled and organised in folders and spreadsheets for artists to access, along with assets, camera data and anything required for their shots. Organise teams for clean up, comp work and FX to get it all to come together at the end.

One of the best attributes any artist/producer/filmmaker is to be a problem solver.

No matter how amazing your workflow/pipeline is, you will 110% come up against inconceivable problems. Being able push through and meet deadlines is a huge part of it.

You’re based out of Australia, and we’re here in California. Our workflow together has been great, even with the time difference. Do you mostly work with VFX Artists online, or do you work with some artists in-person? Do you have a preference?

It used to be more in person – but recently has been switching heavily to online. Which is great as it brings in awesome talent (such as ProductionCrate) and provides opportunities for people be part of some big projects without having to compromise leaving their home/family/friends.

I just prefer to work alongside reliable and talented artists who I believe can smash out shots regardless of location.

You’ve done a lot of work for some big YouTubers, what is your favorite project?

They’re all great. It’s weird, I think the quality of work is better than it has ever been. But my favourite has to be a throwback to Lord of the Rings vs Game of Thrones. My acting was phenomenal and I got to slice an arm off (2:20)

Haha, yeah I love that video. I remember seeing a behind-the-scenes of that short where Danny is trying to give you some direction (not that you needed it, being a phenomenal actor and all). That video has over 7 Million views! What’s the most viewed video you’ve worked on?

Was that the footage of me slipping on blood and cracking my head…hahaha

I think Richy from Royal Stampede was telling me the Tank gold digger prank has a total of close to a billion views, (including facebook shares, youtube, insta)  which is crazy.

Can you give us some insight into what it’s like to do blockbuster VFX work? I know you’ve done work on Tarzan (2016), Pan (2015) and the Babadook (2014)

The smaller the company, the better. You feel less like a cog in a machine.

There is also more opportunity to grow and try things as you’re forced to become a generalist to help carry the workload. With bigger companies, you’ll get to work on bigger productions with great talent – but you will get burned out and discarded. It’s brutal the way some of my friends have been treated. But VFX artists have to be some of the best people you will ever meet and work alongside.

I know you use ProductionCrate content in a lot of your work (good choice!), any favorite assets or requests for content?

well where do I begin!

The explosion asset that was used on that most viewed video mentioned earlier was a Crate element!

So definitely helped contribute to the viral success of that video.

When you’re racing shots out – you can’t go into the deep of making something custom and need to churn 10 shots out in a day.

Some of the FX on there can blow you away and save you from deadlines. As for requests, just keep doing what you guys are doing because you’re killing it!

Thanks, Jack!


Interview with Matt Dean – SyFy Original: Megalodon!

The SyFy Channel has a long history producing VFX heavy Shark Week films, and 2018 was no exception. One of those films released was the SyFy original Megalodon (not to be confused with The Meg (2018))

We had the pleasure to talk with Matt Dean, a VFX artist who knows a thing or two about the industry, and how you can succeed yourself! Let’s dive in.

Hey Matt, can you tell us a little about who you are and the work you do?

I am a producer and filmmaker with 25 years of experience in film, television and education. I own Matt Dean Films Inc – a Production and Distribution Company that works on everything from documentary series like “Creators of Tomorrow” for Redbull TV, to feature films like “Two Jacks” with Sienna Miller and Danny Huston and made for TV movies for Syfy Channel like “Megalodon” with Michael Madsen.

What software do you use most often?

We use a wide range of software, some in house and others with our freelancers who are based around the world. Maya, Cinema 4D, Lightwave, After Effects, Houdini, Premiere, Nuke, DaVinci, and we are just starting to get into Fusion.

“Megalodon” recently premiered on the SyFy Channel, was that the first SyFy original you worked on?

Megalodon was our first project working with “The Asylum” for Syfy Channel. The Asylum then asked us to help with some of the remaining Effects on “6-headed Shark” which also aired that week. Prior to that, we’ve worked on shows for the History Channel, Discovery Channel and a number of feature films.

VFX Breakdown from Matt Dean Films on Vimeo.

Which ProductionCrate effects did you use in “Megalodon” ?

We used a Glass shatter, a few dirt and debris FX, Smoke Plume, smokey Atmosphere, Top view dust burst – and possibly a few others.

You’ve been in the industry for a long time, what are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen?

One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is in the quality of VFX required for a decreasing budget. We just don’t have time or budget to build everything from scratch anymore which is where it helps to have sites like footageCrate.com

A lot of ProductionCrate members are looking to get started in filmmaking and VFX, any suggestions on where to begin?

As to getting into filmmaking, That’s a REALLY big question. Do you want to be a professional producer, director DP, actor, VFX artist? Each has a very different path in filmmaking. For people wanting to make their own films – First, they should get the book “Success in Film” by world-renowned producer Julia Verdin and myself. (yes, it’s a shameful plug but it really is a good book) – Success in Film is a guidebook for figuring out WHY you want to make a film before you learn the HOW you make a film. EVERYBODY wants to make a movie and frankly, anyone can with just a cellphone. Achieving success in filmmaking is however much, much harder. In the book, we laid out the basics that anyone can follow on any scale of film, large budget or small, while keeping a balanced approach to what they expect to get out of the film.


you have to have a long-term plan if you’re going to make it in the film industry.

It can take several years to build up the connections and a team of people to create success for yourself. Whatever career you want to take on (Matte Painter, Make-up artist, set construction, prop master, etc…) it can take years of experience to get to a place where you’re making a living from the industry. There are thousands of people every year who try to make it in the film industry only to give up and return home a short time later. Find one area to focus on, read everything you can on it, and work for free if you have to until you can build up your resume and have a great demo reel.

Getting into professional VFX work is not very difficult if you are willing to put in the hours it takes to learn the techniques.

Every piece of VFX software that is used by the pros is accessible to the masses along with hundreds of hours of tutorials. Your software and career choices are numerous so it’s good to focus on a single technique and software that will get you hired rather than just fooling around with the free ones. If you want to try 3D modelling and design, start with software like Maya or Cinema 4D. Want to try water, hair and cloth FX? – Houdini is the gold standard. For compositing, you can start with software like Fusion (which is Free) and After Effects ($20+ per month), but the main one used by the big studios is Nuke which is a lot more expensive at $5-10k. (There are however 30-day free trial versions of Nuke) Compositors, rotoscope artists and 3D modelers are in high demand with all of the big budget VFX films being made by the studios. There’s no excuse for not learning one of these arts with so much available at your fingertips.

Thanks for sharing the demo video, do you have any other projects in the pipeline you could tell us about?

We just added a distribution branch to the company so we are focusing on finding new films to add to our line up as well as prepare for The American Film Market (AFM) this November. We just released two Documentaries “Leaving My Father’s Faith” and “The Old Man and the Sea: Return to Cuba”. We are also developing a TV series based on our award-winning short film “Dicky Sledgehammer” which we hope to have in production in the first quarter of next year.

People can keep up with what we are doing on our main website – mattdeanfilms.com