Men’s Day Special Interview 2020 – Jeremy Robert, VFX Supervisor, Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies (MARZ)
November 18, 2020 – International Men’s Day on the 19 November was founded in 1999 by Dr Jerome Teelucksingh a history lecturer at University of the West Indies in Trinidad Tabago. Interestingly calls for an International Men’s Day (IMD) have been going on since at least the 1960’s when it was reported in the New York Times, Feb 24 1969 that “Many men have been agitating privately to make February 23 International Men’s Day, the equivalent of March 8, which is International Women’s day“ This Day for women was first inaugurated in 1909.
International Men’s Day encourages men to teach the boys in their lives the values, character and responsibilities of being a man. Mahatma Gandhi said, “We must become the change we seek.” It is only when we all, both men and women, lead by example that we will create a fair and safe society which allows everyone the opportunity to flourish in their families and communities.
November is an important month for the masculine soul because it celebrates several events that are important to men. So, we encourage you to wish everyone a happy International Men’s Day on 19 November.” For more info, visit at www.internationalmensday.com
Jeremy joined Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies (MARZ) recently to work on several upcoming series, after having honed his craft on incredible projects such as Blade Runner 2049, American Gods and X-men: Apocalypse.
Today, Jeremy Robert talks to VFX Online about his experience about Men’s Day and VFX/Animation Industry.
// From Jeremy Robert, VFX Supervisor, Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies (MARZ)
How would you describe yourself professionally?
This is a hard one. I would say I love when creativity helps storytelling. I always try to give options to directors in order to lead to a creative discussion around their expectations. I like to be close to my team to feel the mood and pace of a project…it’s extremely important to me to keep everybody on track all together.
What sparked your interest in visual effects/animation?
At first, I was really into video games, but one night when I was 8-years-old or so, my dad was on our couch and a movie was starting on the TV. Unfortunately, it was bedtime and he also said that this kind of movie wasn’t for “me”. So I went to bed, waited a couple of minutes and then noiselessly tiptoed back to watch “ALIEN” from behind our couch…that formed my first big impression of the film industry. And then I watched a lot of other influential movies—such as Jason and the Argonauts, Jurassic Park and T2—which ignited my dream. Seeing through the lenses of directors such as David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Gaspar Noe, Steven Spielberg, George A. Romero and Darren Aronofsky also gave me that thrilling start into this very creative world.
What do you consider the key to making it in our industry?
To me it is always a matter of Passion…real Passion, with a capital P. Without any, nothing is worth it.
Share something about your recent film/short film projects?
One of the latest projects I’ve worked on is Steven Spielberg’s upcoming West Side Story remake. During the production, we had to jump on a quick reshoot for a specific shot. So I flew from Montreal to New York and met with Richard Stammers, the legendary VFX Supervisor I was working with on the project. The morning after was a really cold day and the set was right next to the Hudson River. We were both in a trailer, stuck behind the combo to check on how the rehearsals were running, and then…Mr. Spielberg appeared, shook our hands and then started shooting. It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
What is your favorite project you’ve worked on so far?
A movie from a French director named Gaspar Noe, titled “ENTER THE VOID”. He is a great human being with such astounding creativity and a strong vision. Working with this director and on this film was the first time I really understood how important the role of visual effects can be for the storytelling of a movie.
What would be your ‘dream project’ to work on in animation or VFX?
Working with Giger and Scott on the first “ALIEN” would have been exceptional but unfortunately that’s totally impossible.
What is the current state for men in the industry?
This industry is quite new and it is growing extremely quickly. Technology and creativity are evolving at the same pace—a lot of shows are running year after year with a lot of variety and complexity, which is great. But at the same time, it makes this industry a very demanding one. Artists are working very hard to realize the amazing visions that push the boundaries of VFX. So you need to be committed and extremely curious about everything if you want to keep up with the pace of our industry. And unfortunately, you have to sacrifice a lot—too much—of your time with family and friends.
How do you think the industry could improve in those areas?
I think time is going to be our best friend in helping to model this industry in the best way that we can. Artists are the key. This industry and its gatekeepers need to start building the landscape with them.
Any particular artists/professionals that inspire you?
There are many but the person I can never thank enough is my first real supervisor. He gave me a love of doing things the right way.
How has your experience been working at MARZ VFX?
I am quite new at MARZ but I am aligned with their vision—they want to move forward in a very strong and smart way, to create great things in this industry while keeping the artists in mind.
What do you think about the future of the VFX and Animation Industry?
I think it will reach even more spectacular heights, and achieve creatively and technically astonishing things. But I hope that we do so without selling our souls.
What advice would you give to someone who wishes to get into this industry?
Look at everything, be curious, listen to music, watch movies, draw, cook, bake…feed your imagination with what is around you. Do not think VFX is all about giant waves and space ships—visual effects push the boundaries of storytelling and creativity in every way. And this is just the beginning.
What are your thoughts about International Men’s Day?
I think we should rename both International Men’s Day and International Women’s Day, International Human Being’s Days. Let’s start to think about us as a whole.