Hi I am Shoban Narayanan, a Production Supervisor / Compositing Supervisor (VFX)
In 1995, I started my career without knowing my destiny. After giving my 10th grade public exam three times, I found my greatest weakness and strength to move forward in my career. I was not a great student at school but good artistic skills motivated me to reach where I am today. I am from a lower middle class family and my financial situation was bad. My dad used to drive truck and my mom was a teacher for kids who were struggling financially in the neighbourhood to get good education.
I opted for Engineering drawing, 3 months course in government authorized institute TATTI. It costed Rs.500, which was really expensive for our family.
My first job was at EDIT POINT, one of the Best Post Production Studio in 90’s at Chennai.
I started as Title Designer for tv shows and feature films. My first project was Love Birds. Seeing my own work on big screen was truly amazing and the team I worked was totally inspiring and motivational. I have worked with top studios across Chennai, and from 2 member team to 200 member studios across countries in last 20 years of my career.
I work with only one motto, “where you work is not important, what you do with full satisfaction and happiness will take to the heights you dreamed off…”
Doesn’t matter where you study. All that matters is what you learn and how you dedicate yourself to achieve what you want.
Who is a Production Supervisor (VFX)?
Production Supervisor is a role with great challenging responsibilities including –
- smooth workflow on production floor
- execute various shows without compromising on creative quality and timely turnarounds
- resource management for shows
- hire talented artist and management staff to run successful studio
Having said that, the utmost challenge is to balance the production floor and shows that needs tough decision making situations and creatively challenging supervision to execute and deliver world best recognized honours Oscar, Emmy and outstanding visual effects projects.
How it all got started for you?
Finding your strengths and weakness is the first step for any goal you want to achieve. To be honest, I was not at all prepared. I started out without having any plans.
After I failed in 10th grade, I was told by my parents with magical advice, “do not worry! Do what you like and make sure you do it with full dedication and honesty”.
I started designing business cards at my friend’s shop. His encouragement directly or indirectly raised positive attitude and confidence in me. Designing and creative visualization was always a part of me. I learned everything from my friends and gurus who taught me while I am growing. It’s been more than 20 years I have been doing visual effects, looks like I enjoy what I am doing. No regrets so far. I might say am still learning, but sounds cliche.
What do you do and how do you do it?
My everyday activities include –
Most of my mornings are busy with workout for an hour or at least stretches, and of course help my sweetheart at the kitchen which is not limited to dish washing or cooking.
- 10:00 am – I reach the office and go for rounds on the production floor and make sure all the artist knows the priorities and deadlines for the day.
- 11:00 am – 4:00pm – Screening Room Review.
I am totally occupied with various shows that needs my attention to approve shots and provide creative & technical notes to talented artist who creates wonders.. This is where most of the magic happens with collaborative artist, supervisors and production team. Being Production Supervisor/Compositing Supervisor your role demands strong creative and technical detail on every aspect of visual effects production.
- 4:00pm – 7:00pm – Rounds, interviews, pipeline meetings, client call, bidding and casual chat with artist.
We are 65 member team with various departments including Digital Matte painting, Compositing, Lighting, Pre-Viz, 3D Modelling, Layout & Animation, IO, Editorial and Production Co-ordinators.
We get paid for watching and working for movies! How about that. 🙂
What steps did you take to land in your present job?
Passion, craving for knowledge and experience led me to work on blockbuster projects. Never get scared of the failures and do not underestimate your skill set and passion.
What advice do you have for the younger generation?
One of my personal quote “If you are not respecting your skill then do not expect from others”.
- Be proud and do not work for free. Respect your skill and rest will follow.
- Attitude is everything. Be open to learn and explore the new opportunities.
- Health is Wealth. Respect your work hours and spend some time for yourself and family.
- Positive attitude and confidence is what you need most to overcome stress and issues you come across in day to day life.
What are the challenges you face in your career?
It’s a creative industry. Ego and attitude plays important role. People management is very challenging in this industry apart from creative challenges.
What type of VFX artists will be high in demand in the near future?
Most of the industry including films and tv shows demands vfx in various forms. Motion graphics, Title designs, 2D & 3D Animations, Architectural visualization, Designing & Print media as well. Demand is increased around the globe. International studios are started looking for indian talents. In recent times in my experience, I have seen many indian talents traveling abroad and International studios started opening in various parts of INDIA.
Can you please summarise your career journey ?
- 1993 – 1995 – 10th grade, failed in all the attempt.
- 1995 – Studied Animation & Multimedia, Government Authorized Institute TATTI.
- Motion Graphic Designer – Edit Point Pvt Ltd., Chennai
- 3D Artist / Compositor – EFX, Chennai
- VFX Supervisor – Dreams N Brains, Chennai
- CG Supervisor for Hollywood movies | Sony Pictures Imageworks
- Exec. Creative Director – Studiovoxel, Malaysia
- Visual Effects Consultant – Clockwork VFX, Dubai
- Lead Supervisor – Digital Domain, Vancouver
- Senior Compositor – Scanline VFX, Vancouver
- Head of Compositing – Rising Sun Pictures, Australia
- Production Supervisor/Compositing Supervisor – Rocket Science VFX Ltd., Toronto
What sort of experiences helped prepare you most?
Inspiration and knowledge is always around you. It’s up to you to grab those and direct yourself in right direction. Do not expect help from others.
More you learn, less you lose the opportunity in the industry.
What are the education required to be a VFX artist in 2020?
Any reputed institute is good.
Take me as an example. Self learning and motivation is most important. I’ve learned in government authorized instituted. I grabbed as much as I want to know in given opportunity.
Today’s world the knowledge is on your fingertips. Your search is your opportunity.
I am 17 and I am planning for a similar career path like yours. What advice you have for me?
- Shape your strength and weakness with positive attitude.
- Be passionate about your interest and learn every aspect of the profession you choose.
- Watch movies, discuss movies and do not stop trying experiments.
What do you think potential recruiters look for in a VFX artist?
Experience and knowledge with great positive attitude and confidence. I believe they found that in me.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Travel | Movies | Writing Scripts
How do I know if a career as a VFX artist is for me?
Anyone who has strong interest in drawing and cinema will be the best candidate. I have seen many engineers and programmers changed their career to visual effects. Visit vfx conference, seminars and institutes to gain more knowledge about the industry.
I highly recommend internship in any institute to test yourself.
What are some resources you use to keep yourself updated about the industry?
What do you think everyone leaving higher secondary school should know?
I am sure, most of the parents have high demands on their kids career.
Children should make it a point to spend time to learn your interest and be open to share with your parents.
Share your passion not by words, your work or design should speak for itself.
Research, research and research before you make them understand. It can be a tedious process to make them understand but be determined.
Above all, don’t let somebody else do that job for you, because it’s you who knows how to present your future plans in front of your parents more than anybody else.
What should one do during his college days?
Passion is everything. Learn and practice what you want to know.
Any final thoughts?
Some of the most important factors you should possess to reach your goals are –
Passion | Dedication | Discipline | Positive & Friendly Attitude
I have been guest speaker, motivational speaker in various conferences and seminars. If sharing knowledge and experience can benefit others to grow on their career I am very much happy to support the initiative and the group who organize the event.
Thanks for reading! 🙂 If you enjoyed this article, leaving your comment below would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story. And you can say hello to us at [email protected]
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