Last year, at the beginning of the Pandemic in Europe and the first lockdowns, when we were all hopping this would only be lasting for a couple of months, I’ve decided to go online and build a community around Visual Effects and Digital Matte Painting. Why not.
I started on Discord, by opening my first Server, then I went on Youtube and started to publish some videos, I also opened an account on Twitch, to propose some live Streams, and finally on Patreon, to create a community of Students who would like to work and develop their skills with my help.
It’s been a very interesting experience! Very hectic as well, with a LOT of interests at some point, a lot of activity, some nights spent watching and commenting movies with Paul Franklin and Ian Failes, some others spent with guests chatting on Twitch, some Challenges organised with Isotropix or Maxon, some sponsorships, etc. In a few months, this brand new community was counting 3000 people on Discord! Crazy!
It’s not always been like this, of course. Activity comes and drops, people leave, new people join. It’s fun, organic, doesn’t take itself too seriously and mainly generate fun and interesting discussion, I think.
But there you go, this sort of thing takes time and investment, and at some point I’ve had to drop it. I was very busy at work AND at home, and I’ve spent a bit of time focusing on my family as we had decided to move from the UK to Montreal, Quebec! 6000Km away, 3 kids, 2 dogs and a full house! In a middle of a worldwide pandemic…
173 boxes if I remember… the same volume to sell/bin/give back in the UK… crazy times. It’s been so tiring to open all them, one after the other… and find some space for everything we would discover inside.
I don’t know if you moved abroad already, it happened to me a few times and every time we tried to make sure we would only pack what we felt was absolutely necessary. On the other side you have so many of “Why did we take that again??”
And we’ve built some chairs, and some beds, and some bookshelves, and I’ve bought a mic and a light and a few bits and finally I had a new desk, ready to get some action. But I had so much to catch up with, work wise, that when I was seating at this new desk, I’ve been focusing 100% on my job. Moving from the London Studio to the Montreal one means meeting with a lot of people, trying to establish new relationships, etc. I am a Manager… on Zoom… 6 months later, I haven’t been able to meet with most of my team yet…
Yes, 6 months already, that went quick! Probably because it’s basically only has been the winter so far… We’ve settled (we’ve also done some snowboard!), kids found their way to the nursery or to school, we got use to our new house and our neighbourhood, and I finally can start to focus again on my online activities !
It’s not my first time in Quebec. I’ve been here 11 years ago already, I’ve done 6 months at RODEO, at the time where it was a very small company led by Matthieu Raynault and Sebastien Moreau. I had had the pleasure to work on The Last Airbender, Rango and Resident Evil. Fun times!
I also spent 1 year and a half at Framestore as the Head of Environment and DMP. Bit less fun times this one 😀
Anyway, that’s my 3rd attempt in Quebec now and hopefully we’ll stay for a bit now…
By the way, you might be asking yourself why I would spend more time out of my work talking about images and VFX instead of practicing my guitar and drinking maple syrup. Well it’s because I need these discussions about creativity, art, films, colours, between people who share a same passion for beautiful pictures. I miss talking to colleagues at the coffee place, spending hours trying to see how we could make something looking better, if there is a way to reinforce the message by improving the composition, the lighting. Images are following a vocabulary which I’ve been trying to learn and to speak for decades. So reinvesting some time into KeepCalm, YES, but I want to do it correctly ! And lately I think I’ve got lost a bit… I’ve been chasing to much at the same time instead of really trying to focus on what matters to me. That’s sad. BUT!
This is why…………. I’ve decided to move to Keep Calm I’m In VFX 2.0 🙂 BAAAAAAM!!
I’ve removed A LOT of channels/category from the Discord (https://discord.gg/teRNwnx) and have decided to only focus on a few themes :
– Digital Matte Painting, Photography and Digital Artwork
– Movie Magic (Visual Effects History)
These are the discussions that makes me feel young again when I really am now just middle age dude losing his hair, these are the topics I could spend hours to discuss with people, and the themes I now want to propose you.
Of course, the training and experience sharing is still very important to me, which is why I also want to relaunch my Patreon program (https://patreon.com/keepcalmiminvfx).
I’ve reworked the different Tiers and what you can get if you’re willing to support the Channel a bit.
Main things are (depending on the Tier you select):
– Exclusive access to the previous Live on Twitch
– Patrons and Subs only [ Exercise&Feedback ] to learn and progress with me
– Exclusive Webinar once a month
– Priority to get questions answered and work reviewed during the Live
– 30% Discount for a new subscription to FXPHD (http://fxphd.com/)
– Career coaching / Private mentoring
For the whole details it’s here
We’ve launched today the first Exercise of the series. Join us if you want to practice your Digital Matte Painting skills with me! We also have a Photo Challenge this week, and we’re planning to relaunch a Watch a film night with Paul and Ian, I think we said we would try to watch and comment Jurassic Park. Could be really good!
Things are moving again! Live on Twitch EVERY WEDNESDAY at 8.37ish PM EST (when the babies are finally asleep basically) and I really hope to see you soon