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

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 –