Welcome to Milk Mondays…
Where we get to show off our lovely lot and share a little bit of their wisdom, what makes them tick and what they get up to when they’re not making VFX:)
We’re kicking off with Amy Felce, our brilliant head of tracking. We caught up with her (and Sox her cat) over a cuppa last week…
Amy, how long have you been working at Milk?
8 years, since it started!
What do you like about working here?
The people for sure. (Working anywhere it’s about the people, you generally spend more time with them than your own family, during busy times.) The team spirit and morale, laughs and jokes, pub after work, discussing films, hanging with like minded people then getting to work and creating something amazing together.
We have a very close knit team, we discuss everything from the latest Netflix shows to how we can better ourselves as artists. We work closely as a tracking team, always on hand to advise each other and share tips and techniques. There is always a lot of laughing and putting the world to rights too 🙂
Did you always want to be a Tracking & Matchmove artist?
Nope I had no idea what a tracking artist was when I started out, I just knew I wanted to work in the film industry. There were no courses for it, no one talked about it, I only discovered it as a discipline when I was a runner watching the artists at work.
How did you get into tracking?
After leaving Uni with a degree in digital modelling and animation, I applied to EVERY VFX company I could find. Finally getting a job as a runner, that was 17 years ago. Not knowing what area I wanted to get into. Back then I was hauling actual rolls of film around Soho, delivering set pieces to different production offices, making tea for Christopher Nolan and learning from everyone I came into contact with. There was no training back then but having a keen interest in photography I made friends with the camera/tracking department, I thought it looked like a good place to start! I started teaching myself the software and learning what I could from the amazingly helpful team there. 9 months after starting as a runner, I got a junior job on the team. I will always be grateful for those who helped me back then.
What do you like about it?
Being a bit of a camera and photography geek to start with I love this area of VFX. It’s all about precision and information gathering. To exactly replicate camera movements, from a shoot, into a 3d world means everything I do has to be exact and correct, as if in the real world. In my job it’s either right or wrong, I love that clarity, not many jobs in VFX are so black and white, but tracking has an end point, then move onto the next shot, I like that conclusion and fast pace.
What does your typical day look like?
Coffee, chat with my team about the latest Netflix/Amazon/Disney show we watched last night, assign tasks out, briefings, meetings and hopefully if I get time some tracking too 🙂
Your fave project at Milk ? Why?
Well as a Whovian I have to say working on Doctor Who was a massive highlight for me. Sherlock is a close second, along with Good Omens, amazing to work with Neil Gaiman on an iconic series, really good British TV.
Top ingredients for creating amazing work?
Team work, always teamwork. Lots of discussion over creative decisions and listening to everyones opinions, you never know when someone in a different discipline will see something you don’t.
What do you love about working in VFX?
I always knew I wanted to work in the film industry; watching films at the cinema, as a kid and saying “one day my name will be up there”, then finally getting into VFX 17 years ago, i still feel that same excitement seeing my credit, working on film and now netflix/amazon shows, which can look as good as a film. When my family can watch something I worked so hard on, and I hear they enjoyed it, it makes me really proud.
Top tip/advice to your younger self (when starting out in the industry)?
It’s ok to ask a ‘silly’ question, ALWAYS ask, it won’t be silly. Don’t put pressure on yourself to have to know it all. You never will. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed at times, especially when starting out. Be good to yourself, allow yourself time to learn and progress. Take every opportunity you’re given and keep pushing to get where you want to be, there are no shortcuts.
What’s the secret of your success?
It’s old fashioned but it really is hard work and lots of love (and coffee). If you don’t love what you do then you won’t put in the extra time and effort that it sometimes takes to get to a deadline. Never assume you know it all, there will always be something new to learn, and never dismiss advice or criticism, you have to adapt and evolve to keep up with the industry.
What has been good about remote working?
For me the lack of commuting has been a benefit to me. I’ve been commuting for many years and to finally turn the 6am alarm off was a dream. Still being able to produce great looking VFX shows from the comfort of a home office has been incredible. And this will continue with hybrid working but we’ll have more of a balance.
What’s helped keep the team together over the last two years?
We have always been a close team at Milk, so whatsapp and hangouts have continued to keep us together, plus daily video meetings and catch ups let us keep in touch while WFH/ hybrid.
What do you like doing when you’re not tracking?
I love playing with real world cameras, nature and wildlife photography especially, getting out into nature after a busy week really resets the mind and soul.
What’s one thing you always keep on your desk?
Toys! Something Lego usually 🙂
2 cats, Sox and Tux brother and sister. Sox is a cuddle bunny and Tux is a cheeky sausage.
Last present you bought yourself?
What are you learning at the moment outside of work?
I have a camera in my hand most weekends, always more to learn with photography, both technically and artistically. (check out Amy’s work on her Instagram here: @amesfelce)
Tea or coffee? One sugar or two?
Both! but can’t survive without coffee, no sugar, and oat milk please 🙂
Thank you Amy 😊