11th April 2022

‘Milk Mondays’ featuring our VFX producer Noga Alon-Stein

Jenny Burbage
Posted 11th April 2022

Welcome back 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:)

This week we’re highlighting the magical work of our VFX producer, Noga (and her cat, Stimpy. Noga managed to fit us into her busy schedule for a catch up over an arabic coffee with cardamom (her absolute fav) and here’s what she had to say about her life as a producer, mum, baker, embroiderer and weightlifter – phew!

How long have you been working at Milk?

Since september 2021, fresh meat!

What do you like about working here?

The people at milk are wonderful and I love the variety of projects 

Did you always want to be a VFX Producer (your role) ?

As soon as I started in the VFX industry it became very apparent that this was what I wanted to do. If you asked 10 year old Noga, she would say a writer…a script writer. I studied it at uni but never pursued it. In my last year I had a course that focused on animation and one thing led to another, I followed up with a Maya course and after all the years of studying went on to become a runner (naturally).

When I started at Union, I saw I had two paths: production or artist side and the producer path just came more naturally to me – I need that constant interaction with people and I know I just would not be able to sit in front of my computer all day focussing on all the details of one shot – major kudos to all our artists who do!

How did you get into your role?

As soon as I got onto the production path, it became about proving myself every step of the way until I got to be a producer. When I was a runner, I stepped up to do the work of a coordinator, when I was a coordinator I stepped up to do the work of a line producer until I got that title. So I guess I always chased the next title up. 

Do you have a favourite kind of work as a VFX Producer? (Why?) And what’s the best bit of your job?

New projects are thrilling for me – to learn the client’s needs, read the script, get excited about it. To figure out how we can make it work and capture what they’re after. The beginning of the relationship: meeting new directors, new producers, having exciting discussions with supervisors, (my work partners-in-crime) about how to make these projects work, which team is best suited for it etc…

I prefer films over episodic – they’re more old school. There’s something magical and glamorous about working on films. 

What has been the most exciting project you’ve worked on over the last year?

I get super excited about every project I work on and there are now a bunch that I can’t yet reveal – but one is a brilliantly hilarious comedy (film), out this summer and it’s had us in stitches…Great team and very satisfying work. 

What does your typical day look like?

I start the day with some mindfulness – learnt from Milk’s coaching program:) Morning meetings – catching up with other producers to see what’s happening across the whole team. Then it’s morning catch up with my projects, making sure everyone’s alright and have all had their morning coffees/teas/ made it to work on time! Then followed by more meetings, bidding, dailies, then running breathlessly to nursery to pick up my daughter, make dinner, read a bedtime story, watch some TV and go to bed! 

Your top 3 key ingredient/s for creating amazing work?

Great crew, right budget and a quick turnaround. And of course teamwork.

What do you love about working in vfx? 

I like everything about it! To help create the magic of cinema. To tell the story. And with our tight schedule in post you have something new and exciting to look forward to every 3 to 4 months! 

Each project is like a  whole new world – researching a subject you never thought you would – from Victorian London buildings to submarines! I learned about Molotov cocktails on Three Billboards, mutated flowers for Annihilation. And for the Inbetweeners 2 I looked at way too many bodily fluids references (eek!)

I find the shoot exciting, seeing the daily rushes and starting to plan how our work will build on top of that. Working alongside the director, DOP, editor and producers.

And of course – the post is the best part! Seeing the difference between what was originally shot and what we made of it (within budget of course!) 

I like the rush of deliveries – crunch time where the whole team bonds together – when everything comes into place. Then there’s the final product! When you sit down to watch the film for the first time and you remember who did every shot and the journey you went through. And everything looks so great and I feel like a proud mama. 

And of course the end credits! It’s so thrilling and rewarding to see the whole team get the credit they deserve 🙂

Your advice about getting into the industry? 

Start young if you can. I started at 30 and wish I’d started in VFX 10 years earlier. Don’t overthink it! Just get your foot in the door and the rest will follow quite easily. As long as you’re passionate about VFX there’s nothing to stop you. It’s worth noting, this industry can be very demanding with long hours sometimes. This is something to take into consideration when you are planning a career in VFX.

Your top tip for those stepping up into HOD roles? What’s the secret to being a good team leader? 

Take time to get to know your team – if you can’t build a good team, you won’t get good results for your project. There needs to be trust and nurturing and if you care about the people you work with they will be there for you when you need them too.

Top tip/advice to your younger self (when starting out in the industry)

Get experience in a variety of studios over the years. Each different experience can offer new perspectives. Believe in your abilities!! And stop eating all those biscuits in the kitchen.

What keeps you busy outside work?

I enjoy cooking and baking, arts and crafts with my daughter. I lift weights once/twice a week at a women’s gym – I wouldn’t say I enjoy it (ha) but it does keep me healthy!! I love going to museums, walks in the park, cycling, cuddling on the couch with Stimpy the cat (my sidekick).

Tell us something that might surprise us about you? 

I feature in Danny Boyle’s film, Trance. When James McAvoy is looking for a psychologist, he scrolls down a list on his iPad and I’m one of the options – he doesn’t choose me though, he chooses Rosario Dawson – his loss!

And just for fun..

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

Coffee!! 

Pets?

My little Stimpy, a cat who always shows his bum off on zoom – it’s an ice breaker on client calls.

Last present you bought yourself?

An online baking and cake decorating course! I’m really trying to up my game on decoration now that I’ve reached a stage where my child will judge me for that! – Milk bake off?! 

What would be your superpower?

Sleep – I fall asleep so easily and I sleep like a log – if it helped humanity I would’ve done more of it haha! But if we’re going for conventional superpower then I’ll go with flying. This way I can visit my family (with none of the airport faff!)

What are you learning at the moment?

The baking course – now learning about different types of icing.  I did teach myself embroidery during the last lockdown- they’re up on my wall! [see pic below!]

Tea or coffee ?  one sugar or two?

Coffee: Turkish – half tsp sugar,  espresso – none. My fav is arabic coffee with cardamom – I have 2 kilos in my fridge!! I can’t start my morning without it (or i can but I will be very, very grumpy) 

Thank you Noga 😊

Awright Guv’nah

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