Dale Taylor, VFX producer at Atomic Fiction, gives us the inside scoop on being - well - a VFX producer!
Give us the rundown on what it is you do at Atomic Fiction.
Atomic Fiction creates visual effects for movies and television. I'm in charge of ensuring that the project(s) that I am supervising gets completed on time and on budget. My ultimate goal is to make sure that the client stays happy so that they come back to AF for their next project.
I am the main communicator with client production, and need to keep them aware if any requests come in that are out of the original scope awarded, so that I can then provide them with a bid for what the additional work would cost.
I am also responsible for putting together a job plan which entails crewing artists onto the show based on bid days per task required to complete the work. The amount of crew required is dependent on the show schedule. The job plan is an ongoing/ever changing process throughout the show, due to client changes or studio needs changing. With that comes the responsibility to help come up with solutions when problems arise on the show.
What does your day-to-day look like?
My day-to-day fluctuates as projects are ever-changing, and new challenges come up on a daily basis thrown at us from our clients. Generally though, there is a time for dailies which is when we get into the screening room and review takes that artists submit, and provide them feedback. Depending on the stage of the show, we tend to deliver takes to client by end of day on a daily basis. Every day, I also focus on helping to put out the latest fires, respond to client requests, and modify schedule/crewing based on artist progress.
How does Shotgun help you day-to-day?
The most important tool that I use in Shotgun on a daily basis is CPA (Crew Planning App). This allows me to see which AF artists have availability, and then crew them to my show. If a certain discipline doesn’t have anyone available during the timeframe that I need them, I am able to create a TBD position. This tool is essential to me as it feeds directly to my EFC (Estimated Final Cost) document which lets me know how I am tracking financially and it also notifies the department managers on which TBD artists need to be hired. Since the show is always changing, or other shows have deadlines that may require borrowing some time from my crew, I am always updating CPA.
What's the most challenging aspect of your job?
Dealing with changes to scope/schedule from clients. Not only is there a financial impact that needs to be figured out, but there is also impact to schedule/crewing that takes time to figure out, and many times there isn’t much time for this process especially toward the end of a delivery schedule.
And the most fun?
When a client responds well to our work during the show, and especially when a client at the end of the show thanks us for a job well done.