Ask Me Anything: VFX Pros Tell All2024-05-20T14:09:41-07:00

Ask Me Anything: VFX Pros Tell All

Sponsored by

Join us for our Ask Me Anything: VFX Pros Tell All initiative – brought to you by the VES and Autodesk – worldwide leaders in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software.
Through this interactive live webcast series:
  • Hear from successful VFX pros from diverse backgrounds
  • Ask your questions to the pros
  • Get exclusive insights – career highlights, hurdles, lessons learned on the journey
  • Explore career choices in the evolving world of visual effects

Or sign up for a specific Ask Me Anything webcast below:

New Webinars TBD

View Past Webinars

Inside Exceptional Minds & Neurodiversity in VFX

For nearly a decade, Exceptional Minds’ programs have enabled artists with autism to launch careers in animation and the digital arts. The studio and its partners are building a future where neurodiverse perspectives advance an inclusive hiring culture in the entertainment industry, through job training, hands-on experience and career path planning.

Xavier Romo

Plates Lab Wrangler at the Motion Picture Labs at Walt Disney Studios

Prior to working at Marvel, he attended school at Exceptional Minds, where he gained experience in production management. At Disney Studios, Xavier has worked on projects such as GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, VOL. 3 and SECRET INVASION.

 

Mike Schmueck

Director, Exceptional Minds Studio Programs, VFX

Mike brings vast expertise with more than 12 years experience on projects including THE WALKING DEAD, AGENTS OF SHIELD and BIRD BOX, he has implemented new metrics for studio performance and fostered a positive, growth-oriented environment for the artists.

Isaiah Strum

Jr. Lead VFX Compositor at Exceptional Minds Studio

An Exceptional Minds graduate working full time, who has accrued over 40 professional credits across television and film in his five years at the EM Studio.

Watch the replay!

 

Camille Eden

Vice President, Recruitment, Talent Development and Outreach at Nickelodeon

Camille Eden joined Nickelodeon as Vice President, Recruitment, Talent Development and Outreach in January 2020, where she leads the recruitment for Nickelodeon Animation, finding and placing new talent that will help develop a growing slate of series and feature productions. (Read more)

Watch the replay!

Achieving Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: In Conversation

with Women Who Lead in Media & Entertainment Technology

How can women leaders help achieve parity and diversity in the workplace? What programs and benefits foster a productive, inclusive culture that attracts and retains talent and supports workforce development, equity and advancement? This insightful conversation will spotlight initiatives making an impact and talk about where there are still gaps and what can be done.

Leona Frank

Director of Media & Entertainment Marketing,  Autodesk

Leona is a passionate storyteller and experienced marketing enthusiast who has worked with global brands and across industries to build impactful marketing and content strategies. She leads Autodesk’s Media & Entertainment marketing team and focuses on connecting with M&E audiences, communicating the brand’s vision and highlighting the Autodesk solution portfolio across the customer lifecycle. Leona holds post-graduate degrees from the UK and Canada specializing in International and Intercultural Communication. Leona is a board member for Autodesk’s Black Network where she is working to build a community for Autodesk Black employees and their allies.

Nina Stille

Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion Partners, Intel

Responsible for designing and implementing the Business Unit strategy to reach Intel’s corporate diversity and inclusion goals. Nina brings an approach to change that is grounded in deep research, continuous development, cultural context, and lived experience. She started her career in the non-profit sector where she lobbied for immigration reform during the launch of the DREAM Act at the Immigration Center in Boston, and then assessed risk for micro-loans for small and medium sized cooperatives in Latin America at Root Capital.

Barbara Marshall

Global M&E Industry Strategy Lead, Z by HP

Barbara has spent 30 years in the media & entertainment industry with organizations such as the BBC, Autodesk, Epic Games and now HP Inc. As the Global M&E Industry Lead at HP, she oversees initiatives and industry partnerships that drive adoption of Z by HP technology solutions in entertainment content creation. Throughout her career, she has found herself in predominantly white, male-dominated industries and has been an advocate of challenging the status quo, taking responsibility for showing up and asking for the ‘why’, not just the ‘what.’

Watch the replay!

Lyndon J. Barrois, Sr.

Artist, Animation Director, Filmmaker

An Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) VFX Executive Branch member, Lyndon boasts a long career in art and animation. His film credits include The Matrix Trilogy, Happy Feet and The Thing, where he directed pivotal character animation sequences in those features and many others. He currently wins accolades for his unique gum wrapper sculptures and stop-motion animations of historic figures and events, whose portrait and Sportrait films are produced entirely on iPhones. (Read more)

Watch the replay!

Audrea Topps-Harjo

Producer and InclusionFX Founder

Audrea Topps-Harjo has worked in the entertainment industry for almost thirty years. She has worked for Sony Pictures (CONTACT, STARSHIP TROOPERS), Cinesite (X-MEN 2), Electronic Arts (MEDAL OF HONOR), WETA FX (RISE OF THE PLANETS OF THE APES, THE HOBBIT),  and James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment (AVATAR SEQUELS). She produced three independent films (SECRETS, ALL IN, THE AVAILABLE WIFE) and served as Mind & Machine’s VFX Producer on Ridley Scott’s (RAISED BY WOLVES). (Read more)

Watch the replay!

Building the Next Generation of VFX Pros: In Conversation with Women VFX Leaders

How do we attract and retain a diverse pipeline of VFX professionals to carry our global industry forward? How do we create a productive, inclusive culture that supports workforce development, equity and advancement? Join us for an Insightful Discussion with Janet Lewin, SVP at Lucasfilm VFX & General Manager at ILM and Janet Muswell Hamilton, VES, Senior Vice President of Visual Effects at HBO.

Janet Lewin

Senior Vice President of Lucasfilm Visual Effects and General Manager of Industrial Light & Magic

Janet Lewin is the Senior Vice President of Lucasfilm Visual Effects and General Manager of Industrial Light & Magic. A 28-year veteran of Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic, Janet oversees all aspects of the visual effects and animation business for Lucasfilm and ILM, including Production and studio operations across the global organization. She also oversees the company’s burgeoning virtual production StageCraft business. (Read more)

Janet Muswell Hamilton, VES

Senior Vice President of Visual Effects at HBO

Janet Muswell Hamilton, VES is the Senior Vice President of Visual Effects for HBO.  Janet is a VES Fellow and member of the Visual Effects Society global Board of Directors and Education Committee. With a career spanning several decades, she established her reputation as a VFX Producer and Supervisor for cutting-edge visual effects on a wide range of groundbreaking television series and theatrical features, as well as animation, IMAX, commercials and Stereoscopic Special Venue projects. (Read more)

Sheena Duggal

Visual Effects Supervisor

Sheena Duggal is an acclaimed visual effects supervisor and artist whose work has shaped numerous studio tent-pole and Academy Award nominated productions. Most recently, Duggal was Visual Effects Supervisor on the box office blockbuster VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE and is a current BAFTA nominee for Best Special Effects for her work as Visual Effects Supervisor on the Oscars VFX-shortlisted GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE.  She was the first woman to be honored with the VES Award for Creative Excellence, bestowed in 2020. (Read more)

Marge Dean

President of Women In Animation and Head of Studio at Skybound

Emmy-Award winner Margaret Dean is the Head of Studio for SKYBOUND, the home of “Invincible” and “The Walking Dead”.  Dean is responsible for the production of original content and operating from studios in Los Angeles.

Prior to Skybound, Dean was the Head of Studio at Crunchyroll, the largest streaming source of Anime. Prior to that she was General Manager of Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, the largest stop motion studio in Southern California, where she supervised production of Emmy award-winning “Robot Chicken” (Adult Swim) (Read more)

Freddy Chávez Olmos

Director at Directors Guild of Canada/VFX Compositing Supervisor at Image Engine

Freddy Chávez OImos, compositing supervisor, writer, director, brings more than 14 years of experience in visual effects working in feature films, TV and commercials.  Born in Puebla, Mexico, Freddy studied special effects make-up in Los Angeles and was later mentored by the legendary Dick Smith (THE EXORCIST).

Working in the visual effects industry in Vancouver, Freddy has worked on productions directed by Guillermo del Toro, Neill Blomkamp, Robert Rodriguez, Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan, and (Read more)

Cinzia Angelini

Director and Head of Story, Cinesite Studios

Cinzia Angelini, creator and director of animated films, has worked for major animation studios in Europe and the U.S. for more than 25 years. While she started out as both a 2D and 3D animator, she later became a story artist for Warner Brothers, DreamWorks, Sony Imageworks, Disney Animation Studios, Duncan Studio and Illumination Entertainment. Her body of work includes BALTO, PRINCE OF EGYPT, THE ROAD TO EL DORADO, SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON, SPIDER-MAN 2, BOLT, MINIONS, DESPICABLE ME 3, THE GRINCH and ABOMINABLE. She is currently directing HITPIG, an upcoming animated feature for Cinesite Studios. (Read more)

Chris White

Visual Effects Supervisor, Wētā FX

Award-winning VFX Supervisor Chris White has more than 25 years industry experience creating compelling digital environments, creatures and effects and is the recipient of multiple VES Awards for his artistry.

Chris has played a pivotal role in the development of Wētā FX’s new water pipeline for the AVATAR sequels, bringing technical and artistic expertise to this cutting-edge technology that is setting a new industry standard for the creation of digital water. (Read more)

Nonny de la Peña

Founder, Emblematic Group

Nonny de la Peña, founder of Emblematic Group, is a pioneer of virtual reality and immersive journalism – a phrase she coined to describe the groundbreaking application of VR for social impact.  She was named Wall Street Journal’s “Technology Innovator of the Year” and one of CNET’s “20 Most Influential Latinos in Tech,” as well as “The Godmother of Virtual Reality” by Engadget and The Guardian for her leadership using cutting edge technologies to tell important stories. (Read more)

Ellen Poon

Visual Effects Supervisor, Visual Effects Producer

Ellen Poon is a world-renowned expert in visual effects and animation, with a career spanning more than 30 years, and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Executive Committee. She has collaborated with numerous acclaimed directors, including George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Woody Allen, Christopher Nolan and Jennifer Lee. (Read more)

Aruna Inversin

Creative Director & Visual Effects Supervisor

Digital Domain

Aruna Inversin specializes in direction, creative direction, visual effects supervision and real-time supervision for real-time immersive content and experiential technology. From his twenty-year career in feature film VFX, he has stepped into real-time direction and supervision. As a VFX supervisor, he has driven small and large teams across multiple countries and continents to succeed. (Read more)

Karen Dufilho 

Producer

Google Spotlight Stories

Academy- and Emmy award-winning producer, Karen Dufilho has been working in the intersection of story, animation and innovation for almost two decades. (Read more)

Greg Anderson 

Head of Studio-NY, Sr. VFX Supervisor

FuseFX

Greg Anderson is the Head of Studio-NY and Senior VFX Supervisor at FuseFX, an award-winning visual effects studio providing visual effects services for episodic television, feature films, commercials and VR production across three studio locations – Los Angeles, New York, and Vancouver. (Read more)

Lauren McCallum

Former Global Managing Director

Mill Film

As Global Managing Director of Mill Film, Lauren champions the talented team of artists, technicians, producers and developers that make up Mill Film’s Montreal, Adelaide, Bangalore and Los Angeles studios. A driving force within the visual effects industry, Lauren looks to realize the full potential of the industry’s most diverse talent in the pursuit of creative excellence across Episodic and Feature VFX. (Read more)

Sidney Kombo-Kintombo

Animation Supervisor

Weta Digital

As an Animation Supervisor, Sidney Kombo-Kintombo ensures the animation his team delivers is the best in the industry, whether it’s achieved through performance capture, keyframe animation, or a combination of both. (Read more)

Neishaw Ali 

President, Executive Producer

SPINVFX

As a founding Partner, President and Executive Producer of SPINVFX Neishaw Ali has been working in the film and television industry for over 25 years.  She has molded SPINVFX into an internationally recognized leader in visual effects production, with teams in Toronto, Atlanta and Los Angeles. (Read more)

Kaitlyn Yang

Visual Effects Supervisor, Founder

Alpha Studios

Kaitlyn Yang is the founder and visual effects supervisor of Alpha Studios, a Burbank-based postproduction company specializing in visual effects. With more than 12 years experience in visual effects, Kaitlyn has credits including film, television and commercials and her works include The Walking Dead, Robot Chicken, Grey’s Anatomy, and Four Weddings and a Funeral. (Read more)

Michelle Grady

EVP, General Manager

Sony Pictures Imageworks

Michelle Grady is EVP, General Manager of Sony Pictures Imageworks, responsible for overall operations, strategy, planning, and production. She most recently oversaw production of the Academy Award®-winning SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (Sony Pictures Animation), SMALLFOOT (Warner Animation Group), and SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (Marvel/Columbia Pictures). (Read more)