What I Do

Johnny Thunder“What I do” is a little bit of a head scratcher for people.

I’m a 20 year veteran animation executive producer in the Film & Television business, primarily on the children’s broadcast series animation side of the 3D Animation industry.  During those years I had the immensely good fortune to work with some of the top leaders in the 3D Animation and VFX Industry.  It was through their mentorship, guidance and leadership that my skill developed into somewhat of a hybrid between Business, Technical and Creative.  Although I started out as an animator and technical director, my skill and love is really in Technical/Operational Producing; which is basically building studios, production pipelines or teams for Animation or VFX Broadcast or Film production.

I graduated from Sheridan College in Computer Animation in 1996.  Immediately I went to work for Side Effects Software as a demo artist and was proudly employee number “34”.  In the following three years, Side Effects sent me around the world to meet studio artists, technical directors and executives to demonstrate the software to far superior professionals in the industry than I and to understand the nature of 3D animation production, pipelines and film making.  Along the way I’ve worked with Kim Davidson, Greg Hermanovic, Henry LaBounta, Sean Lewkiw, Katsuhiro Otomo, Ken Perlin, Nick Park, David Sproxton, Athomas Goldberg, Rick Stringfellow and a host of memorable mentors, friends and associates.  I’ve been interviewed on Japanese television debating the fine points of a CGI Godzilla versus a “guy in a rubber suit” and given live demonstrations to thousands of people at a time.  In May of 2000, I personally animated/modeled/rendered my last file.  Since that time, my role in the industry has been developing and implementing animation pipelines, building studios, Executive Producing series, films and various projects.  So, although I’m the “3D Guy”, I haven’t actually animated, modelled, light or rendered ever since.

Prior to my time in the Animation and VFX Industries, I started out as an archaeologist and have returned to the University of Western Ontario to complete a Ph.D. in Archaeology.  Archaeology brought me to Sheridan College in the early 1990’s to learn how to use 3D animation in archaeological research. Although I followed a 20 year career into the 3D animation software and production industry, it gave me the skill and understanding of how to use animation and VFX techniques, technology and skills to scientifically visualize data.  Most of my research now centres around the concept of Virtual Archaeology and Public Engagement.

Today I teach Bootstrapping, Digital Media and Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University in both the Graduate and Undergraduate levels as a means of introducing basic business principles to creative and technical people.  As an independent production studio owner in the early 2000’s, I had to learn in real-time the intricacies of running a successful project, production and facility.   The value of teamwork and building a successful team as well as reaching out to the industry to support and for support when needed.