3:05pm in Studio A

Fear, low self-esteem, and imposter syndrome have been elements throughout my “career” of 20+ years. I’ll take you through my circuitous journey that is a lot like driving in LA, where you had a plan, but life got in the way, and you had to improvise.

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Laura Frank  00:03

Hey everyone. Next up, I am super thrilled to be able to introduce you to Eric Alba if you don’t know him already, Eric of 24 lines per second stage is yours. Thank you for being here.

Eric Alba  00:18

Thank you. All right, try not to pass out Alba. It’s gonna be fine. Man in and as a clear lectern, so it’s like, I can’t even feel my emotions like properly. Hello. My name is Eric Alba. I develop, design and produce Immersive experiences for brands and cultural groups. So what does a creative producer do? Like my mom asked me all the time, my answer, Thanksgiving. The short answer to my friends and family is, I’m a bulldozer parent, I clear the road for my teams and partners to do their best work. I want to thank the framework team, Laura, for inviting me to speak and thanks to xr studio for being such great hosts. And to all the attendees here and online. Thank you for spending time with us today. So just quickly, as a show of hands who are students, or recent graduates, but probably all online, right? Okay. And how many are seasoned? are in leadership roles? manager roles? Yes. Great. So yeah, Laura was yelling at me to give her a title for my talk. And I was thinking about it. And then it, it’s always like this during delivery, you’re just kind of like, doing the thing. And I thought it’d be funny, and I texted her the file name. You know, art is never completed and only abandoned. And so of course, this is actually the new title. Okay, so who am I? So senior in high school, I’m in Anaheim. I live in Anaheim. And I’m going to high school. I know my mom and I we check in and we do this whole thing on the first day. And the school goes, Hey, so we’re looking at your junior credits and are all passing up and they’re like, basically senior, you’re like, you’ve done a lot of this stuff already. And like, my mom was like, okay, and I’m like, okay, so what does that mean? Can I leave early? And they’re like, No, we own you from like, 230 till 230. So my mom was like, Well, what are you gonna do like be in four hours study hall? And they’re like, No, you have two options. You can be in the Junior ROTC. My mom is like, Hell, no, that has never happened into my job. Or you can join the North Orange County ROP program, which is the regional occupational program. And so this is this is work based learning. And I’m like, What’s work based learning? And they’re like, Oh, you get to work in a real job, like what real people do? And I’m like, and I get paid. They’re like, No, you get high school credit. And I was like, Wow, it sounds great. And so I’m looking and I’m like, I’m gonna be car mechanic. I’m gonna do weird stuff. I’m not gonna sell clothes, or we’re gonna bookstore or whatever, although I did end up working at a bookstore at some point. But then I scroll down, and I’m like, entertainment. And then I see under entertainment, Disneyland. And I’m like, I can work at Disneyland. And they’re like, oh, yeah, you could work at Disneyland. And I was like, that’s what I would do. I could leave school and then go work at Disneyland. They’re like, yes. It’s a really good program. There’s this woman that’s dedicated to a Tracy, she’s, she’s does, it’s great. It’s gonna be fun. You’ll really love it. And so that’s it, get on high school, do my two classes, get on my motorcycle drive, drive to Disneyland, clock in literally clock in and show up at this office. And they’re like, literally every two weeks you have a new job and they’re like had to he teaches you everything about all kinds of stuff. And that’s working backstage and onstage. And you know, so like, for me, it’s like, now I’m backstage working backstage at Disneyland. It’s like, amazing. So what this slide always happens. So what did I do people always ask. It’s like, Well, what did I do? I was in entertainment. I put on costumes. I was even CIF on the parade and had to do all the Chippendale dance shit, and like, where’s your wardrobe department work backstage, I worked in the tech room when I have to wake up Jose. And then Jose, you know, the show would start I was even a Jungle Cruise Skipper. This is one of the most visible and engaging positions to be in, you basically have to be a stand up comedian. Very critical to the show. The job everybody wants, if you’re an extrovert, which at the time I was not, so I was really nervous, and I really sucked at it. It was like really, and I didn’t want it I was like, as after two weeks, I’m like about, I’m out like, okay, so what I learned from working at Disneyland or just even being there just even in high school, as a as a freebie, intern, whatever was this, you know, we talk to all the people, and it’s people are really into the show this idea of the show. And it’s about this concept of everything speaks. And you know, every piece of scenery, every element of the environment from the Architecture, landscaping, the Wayfinding, and the signage, everything contributes to the place from the era from the arrival sequence crossing through a portal you feel transported. moment, the moment guests see an attraction for the first time. They’re immersed in this story, the worlds come to life. And guests are transported to new worlds maybe lush rainforests, where they may see a pool of bathing elephants, they may even see the backside of water, they may even be you know, go to another planet. Go to Mount Everest, and you are a part of that experience as a cast member. Even if you’re in retail or food service, the theme is insanely Immersive. And the guests are wowed by all these details. I mean, it’s really an incredible feat to do these kinds of themed environments. You know, so as an RP student, I got to try a lot of these different onstage and backstage jobs. One day my counselor Tracy says to me, Hey, I have a special assignment for you. I think you might really like it. And I said, Okay, I trust you. So Reni Bardo was, or is the official or was the official photographer at Disneyland since 1959. So he shot hundreds of 1000s of photos until his retirement in 1998. He shot the most fun one of the most famous Walt Disney shots called footsteps. And it was a sponte it was a grab pick. As he says it’s a grab the grab shot, so it’s a spontaneous thing he saw while coming through from Fantasyland, it, but one morning before the park opened, he grabbed it. It’s now on every t shirt, blah, blah, blah, this. He also shot the last photo of Walt Disney. On my first day with him, he literally said to me, I won’t have time to teach you formally. So you’re just gonna have to keep up and you’ll figure it out. But he taught me everything. I never picked up a Camera in my life. I didn’t know what a darkroom was. And he taught me all that sent me old school analog dodging and burning. You know, retouch old school painting, actual painting. And he taught me everything about like, lenses and all that stuff. So what I learned from Randy is like, shoot first and anticipate where when when someone might have genuine reactions, understand people in place, have a relationship and how best to capture that with photography. I asked to extend this assignment and they let me extend for a couple of weeks more and more. And then pretty soon I had to get rejected because other people like I want to work for ready. And so I ended up Rennie ended up offering me side jobs to photo assist at night and on the weekends. Basically, under the table, and it was great it was to this day, this knowledge is what I just all the time. It’s just a core skill now in my brain that I think about all the time. When he retired, he was honored as a Disney legend and was presented with a window and the window says Kingdom photo services the magic heights of the world Rene Bardot and it hangs in Main Street over the Camera store. In the middle of all this. During my senior year, I also got a job actually at Disneyland. And I picked the most the one that pays the most and that was foods. So I was like great. I’ll work at a restaurant and so I worked at a restaurant for three and a half years and then they ended up transferring to the safety department because a former ROP person manager became a manager at the Safety Department hired me from pulled me out of foods and turned me into a safety warning in the safety department. It was great you know, working in Disneyland you know all the Disney does all these Disney. There’s a Disney softball league so you join softball because everyone does it. And it’s land versus land or attraction versus attraction. It’s very funny. It’s very organized and it’s taken very seriously and The summer too much in my opinion. So it was this weird thing in high school where I clock out of I go in school look like this on a Wednesday and the back half of my senior year drives us to drive to my internship clock in do my weird job that might be the tiki room or Jungle Cruise or something clock back out, literally go to my other timecard, pick that one up clock in, and then work at a restaurant maybe for like three hours and then close, close the park at like six o’clock, like in the winter or something like that. So it’s very surreal, because I was working as a as like a cook or whatever. And I would walk around and people would be like, how do you know all these people over in New Orleans or like better country or like Venice? And I was like, oh, yeah, I work with them. And so the thing that I do before I work here, and it’s just very strange, anyway, is very surreal. So I got way too much Disney Disneyland time, in my life. It is. But it is one of the most important kind of like, impactful parts of my life. And that it really let me see how purely joyful people can be in a place like seeing their faces, it’s you know, children and adults. twists. So adulting is hard. And I lived in my apartment, out of my mom’s house, when I was probably you know, 19 or so. And I have an apartment, I have a car and I had to get an extra job to pay for that really nice car and that kind of okay, apartment. And so I had to get like, three jobs, really. So I had Disneyland and two other jobs. I worked at a bookstore and I worked at another restaurant. And at some point, I was like, I hit a crisis. And I was just like, I That’s it, I quit all three of my friends are like, What do you mean, I’m like, I’m quitting all of these jobs. And I’m not working again, until I know what I want to do for the rest of my life. Which is what young dumb people do. They just say, I think that’s it. I’m just picking that. And I’m, that’s it and I didn’t care if I got evicted. I didn’t care, whatever. But that is exactly what happened. So I ran out of money. I did get evicted and lived in my car, and then my car got repossessed. Does anybody know what this is? Okay, you know how they work? They are very simple. Does anybody know what those are? On the right. Okay, so when the money was running out, and I was clearly basically my friends were about to kill me because I was couchsurfing too much. I just planned ahead and said, Okay, I gotta get, I gotta get a pager. So I bought an internal panel, the pager, I got an annual plan on a storage facility. And basically, I lived in a storage facility. And I would do things with the pager, I would my friends who were to Disneyland also worked at motels and hotels, that’s usually what you do, because there’s so many hotels and motels. And so I had to set up a system of codes that people could text me up page, sorry, page me with codes, and I would know that that code was for this motel and come over and you can sleep here, but you got to leave before housekeeping gets here. And so I would like take a bike, take my bike and bike over there. And then I would sleep there for a few hours and take a shower or whatever, then get back out. Or people would text me or page me that the student Hall was open or the gym was open. And that I could you know, do refresh and do all that stuff there. I don’t want to romanticize this it was physically mentally brutal. But in California, if you’re gonna be homeless, it’s not bad to be homeless in Southern California to be honest. Sometimes I’d have to call them and say like, what’s going on? This is what a payphone looks like, if you don’t know what to pay for looks like they look like this. So what a homeless people do, I didn’t know you could have jobs as a homeless as a homeless person. What are the jobs back then when pre internet was you could wait in line for concert tickets at Tower Records or other places and sleep in front of the box office and wait till the thing opens and you could buy tickets. So there was a whole network of people of scalpers, hiring homeless people to basically sleep in line from 9pm or midnight, till 9am. And basically what you do is you you sleep in or you hang out, whatever that is, when it’s time to get in line. When you’re the next person up. They hand you like 800 bucks, and go by eight Madonna tickets. And then you punch a Madonna tickets, you turn around, give them the eight tickets, they give you 50 bucks. And this was great, because there’s a lot of concerts and there’s a lot of shows, and it’s games, it’s everything else. So I did this for a long time until I was like, I don’t want to just do that. I actually want to ticket scalp. So I learned from all these people like how to ticket scalp. And it was great because you do this thing. You walk on the walk, but they call the walk. And the walk is the first legal area next to a venue that you can legally sell tickets. And so everyone’s there and sometimes that’s a parking lot and in Anaheim or a Dodgers or you’re at the bowl, you’re at Irvine Meadows or you know and I would be everywhere I jump in a car with somebody we’d go and we’d start with no money and literally just hanging out and like get game get game tickets for free and and be like, Oh, you have free tickets, whatever. You know, I just want to go and they’re like, Oh yeah, sure. And then you just get a bunch of scattered single And then you do some bullshit. Like, you put two scattered signals together and say their apparent like, Hey, I gotta pay for, oh, great, here’s somebody and you’re like, ah, sucker see later you take off, and you go to the other thing, and I, you know, it was great. So you know, start with zero, make a hundreds 1000s of dollars and then even get the best seats in the house. So as a homeless person, you’re like this kind of rat, but I’m still sleeping in storage. So I don’t know how great it is, you know, the one lesson it did teach me was about manufactured scarcity, and that people will pay for experiences. So one of my friends, he says, You gotta get a real job, man, he’s gotta get the fuck out and do some something. He’s an editor. He’s like, I can get you a job ad as a tape operator, in a video facility that, that I sometimes Freelancer was like, okay, they’re looking. And I said, I don’t know what tape operation is, are you gonna tell me he’s like, Yeah, I’ll teach you. And so he would do that he would like help, let me hang out first and understand what the thing is. And then I went into interview. And so this is what the tape room used to look like. Very analog, but also very cold digital. And on the right, that’s an editing bay. And they used to have this very hierarchy, very, like, the labor is down there. And we are two steps up, we are the production company of AMC. And then the client is at the very top. So it’s very Game of Thrones or something very, it’s all about hierarchy. So you know, video machines cetera. And it was a night job I interviewed I got it, it was a graveyard shift. My job is to basically be a tape assist, or an editor assist. And I served, I noticed there was a CGI room, which had one software, one alias box alias, you know, back then was just had this one 3d platform program. I taught myself Camera, I taught myself editing, nonlinear editing, even, which was brand new back then. And I taught myself a little bit of animation, but mostly editing. And it was great, because eventually, I would end up becoming an editor, and editing on the side and freelancing and stuff. And it was really great. And even if it’s so much that I got promoted, because when I left one of my work tapes in one night, and I thought I was in trouble the next day when they found it, and they said, No, we’ll promote you. And it was great. It was awesome. And so now I’m making this decent money, I have a room, I’m having roommates and stuff. And one of my friends that’s working here says, Hey, I’m taking this class at UCLA. It’s for digital visual effects at a VFX facility in Santa Monica called Digital magic. It was 10 courses, 30 hours, you pay X dollars. And I was like, Are they using what we’re using is like they’re using exactly what we’re using. But they’re working on TV shows in visual effects. And it’s like, that’s cool. So I was like, That’s awesome. So you look, I go to this visual effects facility, it looks exactly like our facility. And even those guys are just like, just nerds like us. But they’re like doing me. They’re winning Emmys and stuff. And this is great. So I said, you know, I’ll go Let’s go. We go, we start to get familiar with the teachers, these guys. And they’re like, You should work here because you already know this shit. You’re just not doing TV. You’re just doing these other commercials or like, you know, like, the direct marketing ads and stuff. And I was like, Okay, thanks, since I remember that, and it was great. Another friend, all this is happening, I’m still another. I’m still taking this class, I’m almost done. My friend says, hey, who works at Paramount. She’s, she’s a page. She says, Hey, I have a friend who’s working on a TV show. They need someone. They need an intern in the post production department of this TV show. And I said, Okay, she goes, it’s like what you want to do, right? You want to visualize? I said, Yeah, I do. But I don’t know it. This is like, you don’t have to know you mean intern anyways, you can be a PA. And so I interview with them. And they associate producers like, Okay, so basically, it’s this and you know, you’ll be helping out on the show, and you can do it, you know, it’s everything. It’s running paper around, it’s getting someone to coffee, it’s like, it’s all the things you know, as a PA, and also you’re gonna have to drive around a lot, because we work everywhere and all over LA. So you got to have a good car, and you gotta, you know, and we’ll pay your mileage, etcetera. And I was like, Okay. And I said, Well, I’m familiar with some of the stuff you guys do. He’s like, how are you familiar with all this? And I said, Well, I’m an editor, and I use all this equipment anyways, I just don’t do this. I just do this with other Christians, like you’re an editor. And I was like, Yeah, I did. And I’m gonna tape operator. And he’s like, oh, so why do you want to be an intern? It’s unpaid. And I was like, well, because I think this is what I want to do. And he’s like, it’s a full time internship. It’s five days a week for six months. And it’s probably not gonna be 40 hours probably be like, 60 hours. And I was like, I still want to do it. I’ll drive 32 miles each way to go. And they said, they said, if you can make it work, that’s fine. So I talked to my boss. And he says, This sounds like a great opportunity. Let’s figure it out. You work double shifts on the weekend. Get for us leave your freaking you’re young. You’ll figure it out. You don’t need them asleep anyways, and they support me. And this is incredible, because that usually doesn’t happen. And so I go backwards to go forwards. Right. And so the TV show is Star Trek The Next Generation. But of course, they always want to do add more work. So I’m also working on Star Trek Deep Space Nine. And so this is a core Memories ahead captain. It was suggested in the first week when I worked there that I should buy a Camera because actually we need cameras all the time. film cameras, kids, not digital. And I took a lot of photos for work for models and things like that. But also, because I just kept getting all kinds of film. I just take pictures of everything. And I mean everything. And it was wild because nobody gave a shit back then they were just like, yeah, so that’s fine, because they appreciate Yeah, like there’s no social there’s no internet. nobody even thinks about this. So I you know, pas they ride bikes. We used to deliver blueprints, anything call sheet scripts, drawings, etc. All physical paper, no PDFs, you lazy Gen Z brats. And so yeah, we would have to walk run by Dr. Oliver fucking Holloman all hours of the night to deliver two pages to a director in Glendale, or something. And, you know, I was gonna add snow and stuff like that. But like, it doesn’t snow in LA. So I was like, yeah, anyways, they paid for the mileage. And that was fun. And it was great to get out of the office. Because as we truly we were the only ones that get to leave the set and the stage and the office. So yeah, again, the best film school I never had to pay for that I actually got paid poorly to be it. This is click on on a break. Casting this is what a cattle call looks like if you ever been an actor, just hundreds of you know, people like oh, I want to be a background and I want to get killed in a red shirt. Yeah, this is stage 16, also known as Planet Hell, if you’ve ever seen a cave or a planet where they been down since the original series, and next gen and DS Nine, Voyager. That’s it. That’s Little Alba there. It was sometimes you’d be waiting for shots, you know, and are waiting for someone to do something and they were in between takes so you randomly walk around and I’m seeing a boom, boom, boom. You know, taking pictures wherever I can. Working with lots of models. These are the original three D Space Nine. Sometimes we blow up shapes or have to do things with other parts of chips. Like where’d on your head get to learn about cloud tank and other kinds of special effects photography. That’s actually Rob legato on the Camera. Very famous visual effects supervisor. Yeah, it was really good team man. Good team. beautiful imagery being done in Camera. No CGI. At this time. CGI shots used to cost like $200,000 for six seconds. It’s insane. For models. Rip Gary Hutsul on the left and amazing visual effects supervisor. He just basically did all the Battlestar Galactica stuff for Ron Moore. We used to use big brutal machines here in Hollywood on Highland that’s a place called image g. It’s a DOS operated, repeatable moving Camera on a rake. Sometimes we have to edit ourselves, I would have to edit clips. They’re like how do you know how to edit? Right? I’m like, yeah, he’s like, can you and Wendy figure it out? We you know, so I don’t know some some Planet Hollywood needs clips. Or like you get random licensing questions all the time, right? Licensing requests for all kinds of things. Or a card or something like toys, toys, you get tons of toys, requests, book requests, a lot of lots of nonsense. And so you just do it. It was great. Nice, some nice my MC and some trivia. If there was a lunch and they weren’t using the shuttlebay or they weren’t using it as a holodeck. They make it as lunch room. has been baby elbow there. That is a black and white laptop. And that’s a phone right next to it. If you don’t know what a phone is. Join a softball. They trusted me enough to put me on the softball team. Whooping other TV shows asses. In the summertime. I was like needed feel it was slow. In the summertime. A lot of people were shooting the feature. I was slightly working on the feature called generations. And yeah, I said I did I need to I need a project that’s like, what’s what could I do? I was getting frustrated because I didn’t know the show. So they’re like, you gotta watch the show. Because you got to know all this shit. You got to know what to click on getting out. It looks like I was like, Okay. And so I was like, Well, how do you do that? How do you keep trying? It’s like, well, we have this piece of paper that said, I was like, Can we make a database? Because even back then I know what a database was. I was like, I have Excel, I can make a database. Excel has led to database by the way. But can I just what I wanted to do is I want to be able to identify, I want some naming convention and I want to put Polaroids on the outsides of these massive crates, so I don’t have to open them up and discover that it’s the wrong model. And they’re like, if you do it, we’ll get a you get a transport guy. We’ll drive you around and we’ll go to where all the models apart to most of them are parked in Van Nuys back then but some of them are all over the the different houses for shooting. So I had to go to work and I started just grabbing opening up every model taking pictures, really detailed pictures and Polaroids, making a database in Excel. And I got to basically hand touch almost every model that’s ever existed. Uh, in the entire Trek Universe, even the movie model that we sent to ilm, you know, that got logged in other props, you know, like, there’s a miniature mountain range for a movie for a show. And it was great. And I had a really fun time doing it. Some things I learned from this sort of family slash crews that behind every big problem are a bunch of smaller problems waiting to be solved thinking pieces. It’s a jigsaw puzzle. So for each piece, and you’ll complete the picture, embrace happy accidents, things simply and focus on what matters. There’s always another way to do something. High Fidelity, where needed, low fidelity elsewhere. So the Enterprise D bridge, there, Show’s over gets destroyed in the feature film, its remains are not even cold yet. And they build the Voyager bridge right on top of it. Through a series of events from a friend, I got offered a really interesting opportunity. And so all things was coming to an end. And after two seasons, I move on. But again, the best film school I ever attended, I worked on over 100 episodes of television for that series. Next Gen, DS, Nine, Voyager. And then generations, affectionately known as two captains one herpes. So another thing about being supported when you’re kind of like a PA, or an intern is that people know you don’t know anything. They just know, you don’t know anything. So they’re just like, okay, but and I always tell students, it’s okay to say, I don’t know. But you gotta say, but I’ll find out because that’s really that’s really the Job. Job is yeah, we know you don’t know. Go find out. Right. I also when I was pulling photos, they just noticed that everybody’s on fucking phones here. Phones, phones, phones. I love phones. I still make phone calls all the time. So that’s trek. So here we are. And now another friend says, Hey, I know you’re a PA on Star Trek. Do you want to be a visual effects supervisor on another TV show in Vancouver? And I said, Is that how it works? You just go and become like, well, we know you know it. So just do it. Like just be on set and do the thing and shoot it and do all the stuff. And so I kind of said, Okay, I’ll do it. And I kind of laughed, and we’ll Trek was cool. Because there was like, You’re gonna go take that show. They don’t even know if they’re gonna get picked up after season one. And I was like, I know, but it’s kind of cool, isn’t it? They’re like, maybe let’s talk, they talk to the show. They’re like, okay, yeah. And then they even said, like, hey, if it doesn’t go, well, like, come back, we’ll hire you, we’ll figure out a place. And I was like, that’s great. So I become a visual effects supervisor, I move and I become this VFX supervisor. And I’m learning on the fly. I’m like, trying to figure stuff out, I don’t have this whole deep network of like eight mentors who have won Emmys and Oscars, so like, teach me stuff. And so also my Soft Skills and producing are also horrible. I didn’t know all the drama that goes on, and budgeting and politics of departments try to steal your money, etc. I had zero understanding of that, but I learned really quickly. And so yeah, you know, tearing muscle, just trying to figure shit out. There’s no softball, so I joined a curling team. You know, just trying to experiment at first you’re just imitating and then you have to insert your own kind of theories on it. That did not work out. By the way, that’s a bad shot is bad. You get to work with interesting talent. And sometimes the talent also needs other talent. Like a puppet. I got to work on really interesting Camera rigs. Sometimes in some really weird situations, very unsafe situations. And I just want to continue to try and do in Camera visual effects and try not rely on CGI so much. So just practicing, you know, keep keep practicing my craft so I can keep moving and get getting better at something is art pieces called paradox of practice. It’s something sometimes making something leads to nothing. MEXICO CITY 1997 Praxis means it’s Greek, its verb, its exercise or practice of an art science idea or skill. What Francis did was, he pushed a block of ice in July 99, seven Mexico City. And he basically it’s a video piece, but it’s an active live piece that he does. So at first he’s pushing and pushing and pushing the tablecloths. And then pretty soon he’s just kind of kicking it. And then pretty soon, it’s so tiny that it just it’s really easy. It goes far and then it just at some point, it just melts and that’s really the practice the practice doesn’t inevitably lead to something. That’s why there’s making and then there’s doing and practice is doing to me anyway. So I’ve been doing this for a while. And I’m noticing something consistent that I’m building it out of blue screens and A lot of green screens. And it’s just that’s like my job now is just being a green screen guy. And I’m really over it. So I start to like pivot and do other things that are like not supervising green screens all the time. So I ended up doing a lot of things and consulting and building facilities for studios to build to basically do the effects for movies. And so I become this kind of like person who can facilitate create from scratch facilities, like in Austin, Texas, I had to do it for a movie. And then all over Asia, I stood up a bunch of studios in the Philippines, in Hong Kong, in Singapore, and consulted in did some stuff in Seoul and Bangkok as well for years. And I also started to look for science documentaries, because I was kind of sick of arbitrary creative decisions. I also was, you know, out of frustration, because I kept having to do it, I just templatized everything, I would use these tools I would use, like tracking markers and lens grids. And so I thought there’s got to be other people that need this to have this problem too. So I just published them all. And these trackers are everywhere. These markers are everywhere, not not so much now. But these lens grids are also everywhere. They’ve been downloaded over 10,000 times I saw on Dropbox not too long ago. Yeah. And I just it’s just me sharing again, knowledge. And I also took a really detailed at the time, sort of photo dump of my visual effects kit for for starting supervisors. Oh, I’m behind, sorry. So yeah, keep keep on doing that. Switching the science documentaries still itching for something new, I noticing that there’s this thing called motion design, and that they are using our tools and visual effects for something that is not photorealistic or like live action. And I’m like, What the hell is that? What is this? Why are they doing that? Why are they taking these tools? And so I was like, you know, I thought it was interesting, because usually my whole job is just to like, make it look real, that it’s integrated. And instead, it’s like, how do you start with a white frame and looked at for this? And what the hell is a solid frame? And who the fuck is doing this? And chances are most of the time it’s a New York. And so I moved to New York, I’m like I’m moving. So I got to move to New York, I find that I’m only one of three real visual effects supervisors in New York. So I started to trade my services, to learn about design jobs as a producer, because I wanted to know like, how to do this, like the process of it. So I get paired up with really, really great creative directors and designers. And I work at places like SIOP and Buck and Brandon school in Digital Kitchen and troll back as a producer that whose value add is I really know Cameron visual effects. And again, keep practicing. And now I’m learning about design work. And then even in design work, I’m noticing a different trend. And that’s like, all these things are not these outputs are not now for linear rectilinear media. They’re for chaos and Projection mapping and different canvases. And now who the fuck is doing this now, so I find out, and I started researching them and stalking them and asking them to hire me. And they’re like, We don’t need you. You don’t know anything about this stuff. And so I keep doing it. And I’m like, Okay, now I know what this is. At least I didn’t research. And I found out this place called harsh livestock them. I said, I want to hire, I’m going to be hired by you. And they’re like, we don’t we don’t do that. Until one day, they needed a visual effects supervisor. And they said, Hey, can you do this one? It’s a one day shoot. It’s really low budget and Senate. What’s the budget that yeah, that’s low budget, I’ll do it. And I get there on the day, we have to shoot in Baltimore, I do it. And not only do I do the visual next revision, I said, Well, you know, I could ask for stay D this also produced the shoot. And I’ll also post produce the spot, all for the same rate, which they love to hear. And so once I did that, the H O the hood of productions, like, you know, you got a knack for stuff. I we have this project. It’s really crazy. It’s a 10 day event. It’s got all this like Technology and stuff and like we think you could produce it. And I said, I don’t know, 90% of this shit. But what the owner said, they said, We know but we know you’re gonna figure it out. So they had real trust. For me. What I loved about this, it put me into a totally different world of design thinking, research, prototyping, and then you know, full scale testing, and it’s just really fantastic from there was more considered thinking and work being done. This is very scrappy hushes a very scrappy shop back then. Right next to the trains every five minutes, we get disrupted by the Q train. And it’s a you know, work hard play hard, very family friendly. What I loved about it was the strategy and design thinking, always asking why why why understanding the goal and the intention of these experiences, design an appropriate strategy, and map a tactic back to it to hit those intentions and that strategy. I love that we can prototype and test things and see them all the way through fruition. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they don’t. And again, very scrappy, just kind of like, does it work? We might, it might work. We don’t know. Sometimes you have to rent a asbestos written fucking warehouse and read, you know, two tiles of a thing, just to kind of test for two days. what the capabilities are of this tech at the time. And again, this idea of like mixing low and low fidelity and high fidelity, you don’t need high fidelity at scale. You just need scale. And did you slice high fidelity and this, these concepts are great to me. It’s exactly how I think. So I’m like, Yeah, next fidelity is this totally makes sense. Again, only where needed. And then there’s this thing called Value Engineering, which is a horrible term, and nobody likes it, but it’s real. And it’s this idea of like, sometimes you have to kill things. But you don’t have to kill all of it. And so you see that it’s a strike and strike, so we have to kill LEDs. But that was okay. Because all we did was just add reflective surfaces when it comes to LEDs and dark, reflective surfaces are your friend most of the time. And so you can see that here, you can see that. Oh, look at that. Oh, there it is right there. Well, now I’m backwards. But you can see the reflection on the right between and on the left. And no one ever said anything. Nobody ever said, Hey, that screens are big enough. Again, this is just Projection, low fidelity, high fidelity. Clients don’t care, they get it. They’re like, yeah, we get the process, you’re managing our expectations. We know it doesn’t look like this. But we’re only supposed to look at this. And sometimes you know what sneakernet is sneakernet is basically, the Wi Fi doesn’t work at the track and field. So someone’s going to run around with a USB stick. So that’s Alba. That’s what Alba gets to do. Welcome to Producing. And sometimes it’s just about pixels. So it’s not about the material. So the material can be anything. And maybe the screens aren’t determined yet. So you use Projection. And sometimes it’s about the combination of the materials and the pixels. So you got to test with real samples. And sometimes you got to batch things together and invent new things like 360 rigs made out of seven GoPros. And then you got to figure out how to get a bunch of iPads that talked to GoPros. together to make it look like one preview monitor. And then also, how do you charge these goddamn bat cameras that we’re gonna have to shoot with, because one row of those cameras is the actual footage. And one row those cameras is just a preview monitor. And it kind of worked sort of tiny copro we’re gonna set it on a Segway. This is a paper prototype with one pico projector. That’s an iphone four for scale. And now it worked. We think that we think it’s gonna work, we think it’s going to work. So we have a use of foam core model. Now this is more accurate for say there’s a cut out there. That’s so that our CEO can put his head in it and look at it eye level, because this is poor man’s VR guys. So now we’re out in sight we’re building. There’s Baby elbers Right there. Check it out, helping us map some stuff. And again, prototype reality. Mini model, prototype. Prototype. Can’t afford LEDs inside each of these slots too expensive, too much labor to build it just project on it. It’s the same thing. Prototype. This is tailored for the museum, the future prototype, take the blueprints, put it down in scale, laser CNC, some shapes. And then again, just to figure out if it’s going to work, right. Prototype, you just need to know what the joysticks do. We use the cardboard boxes from the light stands for the monitors. And then again, it works Sphere also prototypes. They have a 25% scale test dome and Burbank that’s a one for one in the interior dome. That’s a one for one pixel duplicate. It’s just a smaller pitch. And currently, this is the largest in spherical led dome screen right now until Sphere in Vegas opens very soon. It’s big. This is just the 25%. So that’s it. I’m grateful for these experiences. A lot of things didn’t work out. But a lot of things did work out. Again, it’s like, my thing is all these experiences, all my friends showed me all these things, you know. And so I think these three takeaways are very simple. constant learning is your friend. Be fearless. You don’t have to be an expert. And it is absolutely okay to change lanes. So for me, what’s the future? What do I try to do? I want to do colorful, playful projects, with very contemplative moments. They should change your perception of what space can be. They should feel larger than life magical using Technology that is invisible. And they should be alive, they should be human centered. They should connect to humans and inspire humans. And I’ll also continue to mentor and support my peers. And I’m researching to create programs that give access to these kinds of technologies to those who might otherwise afford it like artist residency programs and student development programs. So that’s that’s my journey as much as I went over this is it. And so, you know, I don’t know what the future is. Where am I headed? what’s not going to be something familiar? Easy. It’s not horrible. But according to history, I’m probably going to go for the unknown and the uncomfortable. So one more thing. Do you remember the person that gave you your first break? This is a good time to take out your phones. Do you remember what that felt like when you first got that first job. So here’s a request. I want you to scan this QR code. This QR code is going to take you to a list of students and recent graduates with the skills needed to work in this industry in our profession. I made a black and white version, little icon as well, hopefully you get it. These people may not have been able to attend this event physically may have graduated into a pandemic, they may be struggling to grow or connect with the network to know publications and portals, they may just need a job. I’m not asking you to give them a job. What I’m asking you to do is give them 30 minutes of your time, answer questions, connect them to somebody else, connect them to a resource, point them towards an organization. These are folks who may not have been able to build their network and grow as a professional post pandemic. So let’s correct this and start doing connecting and building our community and workbench for the future. And if you know a student that’s not on this list or recent grad let Laura know let framework know. Thank you I don’t know if we have time for q&a.

Laura Frank  46:39

I think we can sneak a couple of questions in if anybody has any. Eric is around you can find them at happy hour to thanks, man that was off. There’s a happier there’s a happier there’s two happy hours,

Eric Alba  46:52

I hope yeah, I hope I’m so sorry. I went overtime.

Laura Frank  46:55

No, please it we can get one or two questions. And otherwise I’ll give us a break and we’ll come back in about 15 and hear from a couple of sponsors. We’re good. Thank you Eric. Thanks, guys.

Eric Alba  47:14

Let’s try not to talk fast


visual effects, job, friends, disneyland, work, shoot, camera, prototype, taught, alba, visual effects supervisor, put, future, learned, model, thinking, pay, digital, high fidelity, build


Eric Alba, Laura Frank

Session Highlight Reel