By Don Parker
A small group of us started Shotgun 14 years ago, the same year my first child was born. We had just come off an animated feature production, where we designed and built custom tracking and pipeline tools for a brand new studio. We saw firsthand the huge advantage the right tools have on a team’s ability to live up to their potential through easy access to important information, smooth collaboration, and automation of non-creative tasks. And yet that customized home-grown toolset took us two years to build. We wondered if other teams were struggling while their studio invested years to build the tools they needed. Our friends on that first production would have been better off if we could have accessed those tools on day one.
Back then it wasn’t at all clear we could build a product that would work for more than a single studio. Most people told us that every team and studio worked in such unique ways that a single product could never compete with custom-built tools. That sounded like a very interesting problem to solve, so we jumped in and gave it a go in close partnership with a handful of studios. Enter Shotgun.
It took us awhile to see the patterns in how teams worked, what needed to be customizable and what was actually the same. Through constant iterations and close studio partnerships, we evolved Shotgun into what it is today—a world-renowned software that simplifies creative project management and unifies visual effects (VFX), animation, and games teams of all sizes. I never dreamed we’d get this far, helping thousands of studios and tens of thousands of people every day all around the world. There is still so much more we can do to help teams live up to their potential.
Today, I am taking a step back from day to day and I am happy to introduce the next leader of Shotgun, Sarah Hodges.
Sarah has been promoted to General Manager and Associate Vice President of Shotgun at Autodesk. In this role, she’ll be responsible for driving the business globally for the product and be the face for studios of all sizes. Over the years, Sarah has held various roles at Autodesk, spanning multiple industries. She helped bring the Autodesk Building Information Modeling (BIM) portfolio to the marketplace across the education and commercial sectors. She has focused on the construction industry to understand and implement disruptive technological innovations that are radically changing how projects are constructed and delivered. And she has appeared in Post Magazine, The Economist, and The Wall Street Journal, discussing how technology is shaping the future. For these and many other reasons, Sarah is the ideal choice to lead Shotgun.
Through April I will focus on supporting this transition to Sarah before departing Shotgun to focus on my next job—stay at Home Dad (aka “Home Dog”). My wife Monica is chasing her dream as an artist. If interested, you can follow along her journey at https://www.instagram.com/monicaperezart. I’m going to create space for her at home so she can go for it.
That first child who was born the year we started Shotgun? He’s now a six foot tall, 14-year-old on the way to high school, and my daughter turns nine next week and is ready to take on the world.
Meanwhile, watch this space to learn about Sarah’s talented leadership team. And if you’d like to chat with Sarah (or me) about this transition, please feel free to reach out to your account manager or look out for an upcoming Shotgun roadmap webinar.
It’s been an enormous honor to work in this industry with so many amazing people. As a family, we will continue to watch the credits after every movie, episode, and game, honoring all of your hard work, magic, and mastery. Thank you.