I decided to say goodbye to Gearbox Software, after more than two years working on Battleborn and loving every moment of it. I gave my notice a couple of weeks ago and March 18 will be my last day, at least in full time capacity.
Being VFX Director on a triple-A title was hugely educational in terms of Real Time VFX. I was able to do so much exploration and work with a great crew. Even while working remotely, I have formed a strong bond with the team. The visits on site were priceless as I got to interact on a more personal level. Skype, Facebook Messenger, and Slack were my way to chat with the team otherwise.
So what's next?
I'm going back to the movie industry for the foreseeable future (Although by no mean do I intend to abandon the game industry for good).
In recent weeks, I've been contacted by a few production companies about getting back into feature films as VFX Stylist/VFX Director. Two of the projects that were presented to me were fantastic. I wanted to do both, but the problem was how could I do that in a higher creative capacity? How could I be fully involved with pre-production and production for both films at the same time?
Working with the management of both companies, we were able to alternate my schedule so that I can do both movies side by side. Isn't that cool?
I can't reveal anything yet about the movies, as we're in the process of finalizing the paperwork, but needless to say I'm excited. Both projects are from well known and succesful IPs, and are exciting takes on their subjects.
Working with new directors can be a big inspiration and I like both of them. I even worked with one of them a few years ago.
This will be excellent practice as well for my own feature film directorial debut, The Saga of Rex. Grid Animation is still committed to the project and are activelly working on the financial side. They suggested that I take on another project to fill the gap between now and the start of production. These two projects I'll be doing, with their entertwining schedules, were the perfect solution.
More details soon when I'm allowed to discuss publicly.
After spending a lovely six days with my family in Ottawa/Gatineau, I spent the rest of the holidays hanging out with old friends.
Shortly after my return to Bellingham before the New Year, I drove to North Vancouver to my pal's, Mark Pudleiner, to meet a bunch of industry friends. It almost felt like a Sheridan College reunion. All of us started in the industry at the same time and it is fun to see the different paths each of us have taken.
Except, for Jon Hooper who works in Los Angeles, all of them are successfully active in the Pacific Nortwest animation industry. From left to right: Jon Hooper, Andy Bartlett, Graig Sullivan, Myself, Terry Pike, Ralph Zondag and Mark Pudleiner.
After a fun evening at Mark's (and later with the whole gang at a local restaurant), I returned home with Jon who had been visiting his family in BC. Jon spent three days at my house and since it was so cold outside, we searched for something to occupy our time inside. After an hour or so of browsing, we fell upon Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons on Hulu. This one definitely caught our fancy. We'd seen stills and clips of the show in the past but neither of us had ever watched a full episode before. As a challenge, we decided to marathon through the entire series, 32 episodes, in 3 days.
Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, often referred to as Captain Scarlet, is a 1960s British science-fiction television series produced by the Century 21 Productions company of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson using the Supermarionation technique. It features action stories with incredible miniatures and special effects. All practical stuff.
The stories are a mix of action, science fiction and spy thriller. All the characters are string puppets so often times the acting comes out as somewhat wooden, but the voice acting is top notch. Despite the fact that the characters don't emote very much, the filmmaking and storytelling were enough to keep us both excited throughout the bingewatch.
And of course, we often time had our own commentary track going which made the experience funny and educational at the same time. In this day and age of CG Animation, it's fun to see the great miniature practical effects of the past.
Now, I'm back on Battleborn with the final deadline approaching fast. Another marathon of sort...
The Battleborn PSX trailer is out and I love it. I like the music, the editing is spot on, and it displays a wide variety of visuals including lots of hand drawn effects. The Gearbox team keeps getting better at integrating my 2D hand drawn animation in the game.
When I did the blog for the The Saga of Rex Kickstarter, a couple of years ago, I documented the process of making the film with many videos. I thought it would be fun to put some of them together with music. This will give you a little glimpse into my filmmaking/animation process.
With my busy weekday schedule, it's good to finally have a weekend to relax after two hectic weekends spent at conventions (Sparks Animation Festival in Vancouver BC and Jet City Comic Show in Tacoma WA).
I'm taking the opportunity to read a stack of Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files graphic novels I recently received from England.
I bought the first volume at Forbidden Planet in London, back in August. Got home, read it, loved it, and ordered three more volumes.
Now, I'm almost done with vol. 4 and I'm a new fan. I never read any of 2000AD comics before and I feel like a 12 year old who just uncovered a treasure throve. At over 300 pages each, these books are jam-packed with goodness.
My next order for vol. 5-7 should be here any day now. Vol. 5 features The Apocalypse War which many consider a high point. I can't wait to read it! Praises to both, the art and the writing—Artists, Brian Bolland, Ron Smith, Mike McMaho, and writers, John Wagner and Alan Grant are blowing my mind.
On the work front, Battleborn's release has been delayed by three months. The game will now make its debut on May 3rd, 2016. They received a lot of feedback from the Closed Technical Tests they are conducting and are improving the game accordingly. This will result in a better experience, so I'm all for it. Hope that means we get more time to finesse the effects animation.