CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Milk is an independent visual effects company. We create complex sequences for high-end television and feature films, and we have studios in London and Cardiff, Wales. We launched four years ago and we pride ourselves on our friendly working culture and ability to nurture talent.
WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
Overseeing the VFX for feature films, television and digital content — from the initial concept development right through to delivery. This includes on-set supervision and supervising teams of artists.
HOW DID YOU TRANSITION TO VFX?
I started out as a runner at London post house Soho 601, and got my first VFX role at The Hive. Extinct was my very first animation job — a Channel 4 dinosaur program. Then I moved to Mill Film to work on Harry Potter.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING IN VFX?
Over 20 years.
HOW HAS THE VFX INDUSTRY CHANGED IN THE TIME YOU’VE BEEN WORKING?
In London, the industry has grown from what was a small cottage industry in the late 1990s, pre Harry Potter. More creative freedom has come with the massive technology advances.
When I started out TV was all done on Digi Beta, but with the quality of cameras now television VFX has caught up with film.
Being able to render huge amounts of data in the cloud as we did recently on our special venue project Dinosaurs in the Wildmeans that smaller companies can compete better.
DID A PARTICULAR FILM INSPIRE YOU ALONG THIS PATH IN ENTERTAINMENT?
Ray Harryhausen’s films inspired me as child. We’d watch at Christmas in awe!
I was also massively inspired by Spitting Image. I applied for a job only to find they were about to close down.
DID YOU GO TO FILM SCHOOL?
No, I went to Weston Supermare College of Art (Bristol University) and studied for an art and design diploma. Then I went straight into the film/TV industry as a runner.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
The creative planning and building of shots and collaborating with all the other departments to try to problem solve in order to tell the best possible story visually, within the budget.
WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Answering emails, and the traveling.
IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
If I didn’t do this, I’d like to be directing.
CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Sherlock (BBC/Hartswood), Dinosaurs in the Wild, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (BBC) and Beowulf (ITV). I am currently VFX supervisor on Good Omens (BBC/Amazon).
WHAT IS THE PROJECT/S THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
It’s really hard to choose, but the problem solving on Sherlock has been very satisfying. We’ve created invisible effects across three series.
WHAT TOOLS DO YOU USE DAY TO DAY?
I previz in Autodesk Maya.
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION NOW?
Scripts. I get creative “triggers” when I’m reading scripts or discussing a new scene or idea, which for me, pushes it to the next level. I also get a lot of inspiration working with my fellow artists at Milk. They’re a talented bunch.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I’d go to the gym, but the pub tends to get in the way