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Had Fun at TAAFI, Now Back to Work
April 30th, 2016

I got back from the Toronto International Arts Festival International (TAAFI) last Sunday night and I had a blast. The two lectures I gave, as well as the panel I was a part of (with Rob Silvestri, Eric Goldberg, Michael Rianda and Marv Newland) were all well received.

The festival was a blast and everyone was so hospitable and nice. Truly a great time! You can see a bunch of pictures of my adventures at TAAFI at this link.

One of the highlight of the festival for me, was seeing Nick Diliberto's feature film, Nova Seed. Quite simply, it blew my mind! An astonishing work of art done singlehandedly over a period of four years.

I had contacted Nick after seeing the trailer, 7 months ago, to tell him how much I was looking forward to the film. When I heard it was having its world premiere at TAAFI I was elated. To make the experience even more sublime, I unknowingly sat right next to Nick in the theater. He somehow recognized me and we enthusiastically started chatting about our passion for animation. After the screening, I was in awe of his accomplishment and told him how much he inspires me.

Nova Seed is totally up my alley in terms of subject matter and filmmaking style. Nick is a force to be reckonned with and I, for one, cannot wait to see what he does next. Here's the trailer for the film, which is currently in the process of looking for a distribution deal:

On Monday, I started work on a new Spider-Man feature which I'm extremelly stoked about. This commitment will take me all the way to September 2018 (The film is scheduled for a December 21st, 2018 release) which means that The Saga of Rex feature film will have to be pushed back once again. It makes me a bit sad, however, how could I pass working as Visual Effects Stylist for a film Sony describes as, “It’s a vision of Spider-Man that will take your breath away. Conceptually and visually, it will break new ground for the superhero genre,"?

After meeting the crew and being pitched the movie in Los Angeles, last March, I just knew right then and there that I had to be part of it.

Being under NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), I obviously can't reveal anything about the production, but when things become public, I'll make sure to share them here. In the meantime, you can check out this latest article about the film.

During my Spider-Man stint, I will take a 8-month hiatus to work on yet another very exciting feature project. I was able to work out a gap in my schedule with Sony that will allow me to do both features. I'm truly excited about both projects and will reveal the title of this second feature in the coming months.

Bringing Harmony to Battleborn
April 17th, 2016

Click here to read interview.

VFX Workshop in Toronto
April 5th, 2016

If you are interested in attending my 3-hour workshop in Toronto on April 22nd, make sure you use the promo code TAAFIspeaker when you buy your pass in order to get 15% off. Click here for more details.

Animator Michel Gagné will focus on the core elements of effects animation and its relation to motion pictures and video games. By providing a sense of what makes quality effects design, this workshop will explore the possibilities of integrating 2D, hand-drawn special effects within 3D CG projects.

Michel will review past works and discuss how it is vital to remain “cutting edge.” He will talk about what it means to be an integral part of a production while working remotely. He will explore the use of new technology, and provide a look at the capabilities for going beyond generic particles, while creating signature effects that are unique and memorable.

Battleborn's Hand Drawn Effects
March 26th, 2016

A couple of years ago, we (Gearbox and I) promised Toon Boom that we'd do a showcase reel demonstrating how we used the software in the game. Three weeks ago, I licensed a song and started putting that reel together. This week, I bounced back and forth with Gearbox marketing to finalize the reel. And now, it's finally public. Hope you enjoy it!


A Time for Change
February 28th, 2016

I decided to say goodbye to Gearbox Software, after more than two years working on Battleborn and loving every moment of it. I gave my notice a couple of weeks ago and March 18 will be my last day, at least in full time capacity.

Being VFX Director on a triple-A title was hugely educational in terms of Real Time VFX. I was able to do so much exploration and work with a great crew. Even while working remotely, I have formed a strong bond with the team. The visits on site were priceless as I got to interact on a more personal level. Skype, Facebook Messenger, and Slack were my way to chat with the team otherwise.

So what's next?

I'm going back to the movie industry for the foreseeable future (Although by no mean do I intend to abandon the game industry for good).

In recent weeks, I've been contacted by a few production companies about getting back into feature films as VFX Stylist/VFX Director. Two of the projects that were presented to me were fantastic. I wanted to do both, but the problem was how could I do that in a higher creative capacity? How could I be fully involved with pre-production and production for both films at the same time?

Working with the management of both companies, we were able to alternate my schedule so that I can do both movies side by side. Isn't that cool?

I can't reveal anything yet about the movies, as we're in the process of finalizing the paperwork, but needless to say I'm excited. Both projects are from well known and succesful IPs, and are exciting takes on their subjects.

Working with new directors can be a big inspiration and I like both of them. I even worked with one of them a few years ago.

This will be excellent practice as well for my own feature film directorial debut, The Saga of Rex. Grid Animation is still committed to the project and are activelly working on the financial side. They suggested that I take on another project to fill the gap between now and the start of production. These two projects I'll be doing, with their entertwining schedules, were the perfect solution.

More details soon when I'm allowed to discuss publicly.

Holidays Are Over
January 10th, 2016

After spending a lovely six days with my family in Ottawa/Gatineau, I spent the rest of the holidays hanging out with old friends.

Shortly after my return to Bellingham before the New Year, I drove to North Vancouver to my pal's, Mark Pudleiner, to meet a bunch of industry friends. It almost felt like a Sheridan College reunion. All of us started in the industry at the same time and it is fun to see the different paths each of us have taken.

Except, for Jon Hooper who works in Los Angeles, all of them are successfully active in the Pacific Nortwest animation industry. From left to right: Jon Hooper, Andy Bartlett, Graig Sullivan, Myself, Terry Pike, Ralph Zondag and Mark Pudleiner.

After a fun evening at Mark's (and later with the whole gang at a local restaurant), I returned home with Jon who had been visiting his family in BC. Jon spent three days at my house and since it was so cold outside, we searched for something to occupy our time inside. After an hour or so of browsing, we fell upon Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons on Hulu. This one definitely caught our fancy. We'd seen stills and clips of the show in the past but neither of us had ever watched a full episode before. As a challenge, we decided to marathon through the entire series, 32 episodes, in 3 days.

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, often referred to as Captain Scarlet, is a 1960s British science-fiction television series produced by the Century 21 Productions company of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson using the Supermarionation technique. It features action stories with incredible miniatures and special effects. All practical stuff.

The stories are a mix of action, science fiction and spy thriller. All the characters are string puppets so often times the acting comes out as somewhat wooden, but the voice acting is top notch. Despite the fact that the characters don't emote very much, the filmmaking and storytelling were enough to keep us both excited throughout the bingewatch.

And of course, we often time had our own commentary track going which made the experience funny and educational at the same time. In this day and age of CG Animation, it's fun to see the great miniature practical effects of the past.

Now, I'm back on Battleborn with the final deadline approaching fast. Another marathon of sort...

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All artwork on this website is copyright © Michel Gagné unless otherwise noted