Future Proof: How to Thrive Amidst Rapid Change in Entertainment Technology

3:05pm in Studio A

Staying relevant and thriving in the ever-evolving landscape of entertainment technology is a pressing challenge faced by professionals across creative sectors. No matter your level of experience, new tools and workflows are being introduced at a dizzying pace. How can we keep up with our current workload, while also finding time to keep up with the demands of tomorrow?

This panel brings together a range of professionals who have witnessed the birth of groundbreaking roles and tools that were inconceivable just a few years ago. Through their insights, we will explore the keys to staying up to date on the latest technology while dispelling the fear that often accompanies rapid change.

We’ll delve into the innovations that have reshaped the entertainment production landscape and shed light on practical strategies for keeping pace with emerging technologies. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just beginning your journey in entertainment production, this session will equip you with the confidence to navigate the future with grace. Join us and learn how to future-proof your career, embrace innovation, and thrive amidst the waves of change in entertainment technology.

Download Transcript

J.T. Rooney  00:00

All right, well, we’re excited for this next one. I’m excited to get these folks together who mostly we just met recently right for this presentation. So mixing a lot of different people together. So if you want to take a seat and get ready, well listen to this chat. Thanks, everyone.

Elburz Sorkhabi  00:26

I couldn’t hear you. Okay, yeah. Clapping means we’re taking it away. Welcome, everybody. This talk is called Future Proof. How to thrive admits a missed rapid change in entertainment Technology. I don’t know if we’re gonna actually talk about any of that. But it will be relevant. So I think what we can do is go right into our introductions. I’m Elburz. That might be the first time my last name is on screen, I’ve been trying to do a thing like share, you know, like the elbers, just the artist formerly known as I’m the co founder of the interactive and Immersive HQ. It is a comprehensive online training platform for Immersive designers, creative technologists, interactive tech developers, if you’ve never heard of us, we do have very nice little cards at the front desk of the check in that gets you a free month access of all of our materials. Definitely check that out. Before that, I founded a company called N void about one full hair cycle ago. And that company, which I sacrificed my hair to the gods of success. We were doing TouchDesigner specialty programming. And we worked all over the world with all kinds of big clients. We’ve had the victory lap thing you did, there’s a lot of them and they’re big, and they had a lot of money and all that kind of good stuff. And then I started the HQ and really pivoted towards education and empowerment of talent and community. Because I think like we’ve been hearing from a lot of folks, especially Ben’s talk yesterday, I think did a really excellent job highlighting it. The valley of death in between education and career is a valid one and a terrifying one for both sides of the spectrum. So that’s a little bit about me, as well, I’ll pass it to you.

Isabel Clavo  02:24

Hello. I’m Isabel. You know, I have been working in this industry for like, I would say 40 years, only one age myself, but I’m really. And, you know, I’ve been through all kinds of like changes in Technology through the years through the decades, you know, things that don’t exist anymore, things that are upcoming, you know, it’s like, it’s like a crazy roller coaster of things that you have to go through, like, you know, constantly constantly, you know, and then I guess I’ll talk about that more later. But before I go there, I’m gonna show you a picture of what I do. What I’m not doing posing pixels. So that’s me on my motorcycle, my Decarie last fall, like a crank through the twisties. And then that that was last month, the other one playing bluegrass in a in a band in Brooklyn.

Patrick Wambold  03:23

All right, I can’t be the only one that stalks her Facebook to see those motorcycle photos, right. I always think I want to be Isabel when I grew up, like because I’m like, I see that and I’m like, Alright, I’ve got a long way to go. But I’m Patrick Wambold. And I’m a senior Solution Architect at Epic Games, I work on the Unreal Engine team. And honestly, I just wanted to thank everybody for having me out here, Laura and JT were very accommodating to try and get me out here to talk with everybody. It’s just nice to be able to get to hang out with my friends and kind of do the same thing I used to do but on the other side, so like now instead of screaming at software devs I get yelled at and so like I’ve kind of I have a lot more respect for everybody that I used to complain to. I will say that and but other than that, it’s just nice to share the stage with these two also, we did get a talk at least once before so it’s not brand new, but I don’t know a ton about what they do. So this should be interesting for for all of us, I hope.

Elburz Sorkhabi  04:20

Perfect. So I think that will take us I mean, we have a lot of these pictures. Let’s say I was telling Isabel earlier. You see one you’ve seen them all like they all kind of look the same. There’s a lot of bright lights is a bunch of money down the drain yada yada yadi environment, yada yada yada. So let’s get to them. Tell tell Amex that was down the drain? Yeah, let’s go to the first question that we have on deck. And I love this question. Oh my god. What do you do when asked to work on a project dependent on Technology outside of your skill set? Let me tell you, the short answer is make somebody else pay for me to learn. Usually I consider myself a bit of a delayed learner at this point in my life, as much as I like watching other people be on the cutting edge, I usually wait for somebody to pay me to figure out what I got to do with this thing to get the paycheck that I am required to do this thing for. But I think it’s an interesting approach, and especially the talk, the panel that was on previous talking about risk innovation, figuring out where you can take risks, how you can take risks. I think this is a really core life skill to have in this industry, which is a risk management. But what I talk to a lot of students about and a lot of people earlier in their careers is also stress management and self care. And I know you’re gonna be like, Oh, this guy’s gonna, I was gonna ask so how many people in the room do like mindfulness meditation give me like a hand up? Okay, not way more than how many people didn’t like yoga? Give me like a couple of Yogi’s in the room. How many people do exercise regularly? Oh, my God, we’re so fit bunch of wires. Yeah, and how many people have hobbies? Like, this is a weird question. I’m very new to this hobby game. But like, Okay, do you guys have hobbies? Because I find one of the challenges that I had early in my career was that work was everything. And I didn’t take care of myself. And I think this is a common situation that a lot of folks get into, which is indirectly indirectly related to this question. Because what I found that, you know, we’re naturally I’m a stress sponge. So if I’m in a room with other people, and they’re stressed, I can like Spongebob up their stress, and then they feel like chill, but I’m like dying on the inside. But it allowed me to take on more risk in terms of, yes, somebody comes up to me and says, we’re gonna do water Projection. I’m like, I’ve never done water Projection, but I’m gonna just nod my head and be like, totes, bro, like, we’re gonna project the shit out of this water. And then I’d have to go online and like, figure out like, what is water Projection, and then you learn about like, nozzles. And you’re like, what, and then there’s like a Water Curtain thing, like, Oh, my God is like a lot of shit and well with this. But a lot of that, to me came down to this idea, which you’ll hear me talk about a lot is self care. And yeah, we can even go to the next slide. I mean, you’ve seen them, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, it was a bunch of projects we worked on, they all kind of look good, whatever. But it’s this idea that in any of these projects, I worked on whatever the pictures are, there was always something I didn’t know. And a lot of the time that something was a big portion of the thing itself. And the only way I was able to approach it was to pace myself. Be kind to myself, in a sense of like, okay, if I don’t understand it today, that’s okay, maybe I’ll understand it tomorrow. Let me try and chip away at that. And I think that’s been a really important thing in my kind of journey of learning how to use new skills, and I know, you guys have different experiences with learning new technologies.

Isabel Clavo  07:56

Yeah, well, you know, it’s, it’s maybe different different industry or different application or, but it’s the same thing is like, you know, sometimes you get us projects to do so. What is this thing? You know, how do you approach this, you know, how do you even like, wrap your mind around it, you know, and then, as you say, you know, you have to talk to people, and you have to, like, figure it out. And you have to this, like, big teams, always in the brackets I work on, I do a lot of like, large corporate shows, you know, for like, global companies all around the world. And, you know, it’s like, this constant consultation between all the team players, you know, and then, you know, you have creative directors, one of my friends here in the front row. And, you know, they have, like, technical directors, you have, like, mapping experts, like pixel counts, like lighting designers, like audio designers, and others, original music, right, you know, lighting, everything is custom. Everything is for a show that lasts one day. So basically, production lasts for like, two months, you know, for one day, so everything has to go perfect, you know? And, you know, so it’s a constant learning, you know, because, you know, it’s a constant new challenge. Every challenge is different. Not, I mean, no show is the same as the last one. So that’s,

Patrick Wambold  09:20

yeah, I don’t know, honestly, on this question, it, there’s a lot of different levels where this can happen. And like, my usual answer is like, Well, I mean, as long as you’re not way over your skis, like fake it till you make it, I can, like I hate to say that, but, you know, sometimes it does require taking a leap into something super uncomfortable in order to learn it, you know, like you said, waiting until that job comes that they’re like, you know, I’ve been putting off learning like Unreal Engine, or something like that until it comes along and you have to have that thing you know, that’s specific thing, but I’ve noticed this a little it depends on where you are in the chain sometimes because like, obviously epic, like we have a ton of resources. So if I don’t know what the heck it is, there’s probably somebody who does internally so I have a huge internal network, but I Back when I was freelance that wasn’t the case. So I relied a lot more on my external network and beyond that was all the people in this room and like all the discord chats and stuff like that, like somebody would have the answer. But, you know, I see this a lot where this is where you end up with a lot of sub hires, though, too, right? You know, somebody will hire an ad agency, who will hire somebody else, a production company and eventually gets kicked down to and I’m like, Oh, cool. I know the XR studios, guys, they’re the ones who are going to actually do the work. You know, it’s just like, there’s like three layers of stuff in between there. So sometimes it’s sub hiring, you know, but other you know, other times, you know, that’s the time to double down and like, really, like learn that new thing, that maybe you just didn’t like, the AI talk that was happening earlier. I’m like, I’m gonna get on Kubrick, like, like right now. So like that. That’s exactly, you know, it takes something like maybe seeing it to want to jump in.

Elburz Sorkhabi  10:48

And I think we can move on to the next question as well, because they’re all really related in the sense that it may feel like we’re not talking about the future. Because we feel like we’re talking about the present. But that’s because when you remove this Technology equation, when you remove the shiny objects of like, what’s cool today? What’s cool yesterday, what’s cool tomorrow, the fundamentals that we’re talking about in terms of, you know, how do we learn constantly learning, managing your stress? Those are the things that are going to last a career. Those are the things that are going to travel and keep you successful through whatever ups and downs that are coming your way, as opposed to being like, Oh, I’m just so good at this one thing, but I like don’t want to learn. Oh, my God, it doesn’t matter how good you are at that one thing like that wall is coming real soon.

Patrick Wambold  11:35

Yeah, yeah. No, you’re good.

Isabel Clavo  11:39

I’m gonna go to the neck. I’m gonna move to the next question.

Elburz Sorkhabi  11:42

And thank you to Isabel. Also, who volunteered to put our slides together, which is why it looks so beautiful. Yep. And you’re ready to see like animations. And yes, as a random Yeah,

Patrick Wambold  11:49

she did a really good job on

Elburz Sorkhabi  11:51

some work of a hero.

Isabel Clavo  11:53

Okay, so this is my question. Oh, wait a minute. Yes. Yeah. Yes. Sorry. I’m a little nervous. I never speak in public. But I think this is a trick question. I don’t agree with this question. I mean, we discuss possible questions. And this came up as the possibility and the list. And there’s like, Okay, well, I’ll take that one. So basically, my first approach when I see this question, is this. I cross that out? Because? Because, you know, I disagree. I was like, what is more about it? I mean, the experience will have, you know, it’s like, it changes through the years, and then that does make it generalists or specialists, you know, but you know, because I think we become specialists in what we do all the time, you know, and then sometimes you had to take the role of a generalist, and sometimes you take the role of specialists in different areas, you know, so, I rephrase the question, too. Am I generally so specialists, you know, because to me, I asked myself the question, you know, and then I tried to answer it, you know, I’m gonna put my my pretty background here when I tried to answer some of that. He just said some stuff with some things. I work through the years. This is mostly recent stuff. Yeah. But that’s me on the corner. Losing my religion.

Patrick Wambold  13:34

Okay, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one thinking that because

Isabel Clavo  13:39

anyway, so I’m gonna go try to answer the question. I have five live stories. I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to cover all of them. But I’m gonna try to make them very short. Okay. So, the product museum. I was 14 years old. And then my dad, you know, came for dinner. You know, it’s like, you have been working on this project for the private museum. Go Yeah, see, with the dark paintings of this glorious and witches and all the paintings are like, basically black with some brown, brown faces and things like that, you know? And then he said, you know, we have a problem. We the exhibit starts tomorrow. And I know you have a good mind, and you have a good head. I need your help tonight. So we go to the product museum. And he has like, 12 screens over there. I’m talking this is like, early 80s. You know, late 70s. I was really young. And then I’m looking at this thing fascinate. It’s like, oh my god, what is this thing? You know, the first my first immersion, my first contact with multimedia? I say, you know, a Senate and an exhibit, you know, first of all I have to say that the computer was like the size of a refrigerator. You know, he was like this giant thing. It has like this punch they would like little release like by clicking things and you know, and then with tape rolling, you know, it was like, it was crazy. But you know, I mean, we solved the problem, we stayed all night at the problem Museum in the, in the Gaza Gallery, which was amazing the way. And then the point to me is like, this is what I got fascinated with this industry. That’s when I got me into this. Wow, this is amazing, you know, it’s like, I want to do this, you know, so I’m gonna fast forward, like 10 years. I’m sorry. The King and I, you know, I would say after having been working in this business for like, several years, you know, and then we did the like this, we did this multimedia experience with like lasers and lights, and film Projectors, everything was like slides. We were computers, graphics didn’t exist yet. You know, we did this putting on a trade show in Madrid. And then the king came to the trade show, he went to the whole trade show, but he missed the arena, where we had our experience. So like, a week later, like, we got a call from the Department of Tourism in Spanish, like, so the king wants to see the experience, and you had to bring it to his house. So I was like, Okay, well, you know, we did like a scouting a little bit, we bring the whole gear to the house, like, you know, and then this, I mean, the king’s house is not a small thing. You know, I mean, he was not the pilots, but he was like, where he lives. And I was like, much more comfortable than the balance, right? And then we’re going there. In like a big living room, you know, like a really small room. I mean, we’ve had, we came from an arena to do a living room with somebody like a large living room, we set up everything ran the thing. The Queen first came, you said, you cannot talk to the keynote, unless he talks to you. And this is how you’re dressed again and Delilah. So she was like, like the project manager of the of their royal house. And then we did we run the thing. They look at it, they say, Oh, this is beautiful. And then the king looks behind. And I’m sitting behind the computer, which was controlling all this stuff, you know? And then it’s like, are you running this thing? It’s like, yeah, and then he comes in, he sits next to me, like, can you show me how it works? This is really cool. So I’m pointing at the screen like, Oh, see, this is the time code. And this is the clock and I can see time synchronized with the music. And this is little, this little flashing lights. You know, I’m not gonna get into that. But anyway, 10 years, fast forward 10 years, I started working on widescreen cells with like, Projection, you know, digital, you know, animation movements, stuff like that. I’m talking 2003. So we were we went on like regular screens to like wide screens. And then it’s like, oh, I think I need a computer that can run moving backgrounds. I can do animations and lens players and thing I can blah, blah, blah, you know, so that doesn’t exist. I’m talking 2003 There’s there was no watch out. And there was no disguise yet. They came out like 2005 or something like that. I was working for an agency at the moment. So I’d say what do you know? Let’s let’s put a computer together for a couple of disk arrays, a lot of memory, some like graphic card passes graphic card, and then we start doing like a widescreen shelves. So my first wife can show I go and I had made a movie moving background Sunday speaker intro the speaker, I will put the music that the player owns in our player live videos. And then the stage manager on headset says, you know video has to come from video on earlier has to come from audio. I said no. But this is the future. There was some skepticism. So I used that successfully like seven years, you know, in the meantime, disguise and watch out watch out in person, these guys. They came along and then they started you know, I left that company. I couldn’t commercialize the product they have made, you know, I like a custom code and stuff like that to make it work. And then I started working independently but I kept using the system for a while you know, and then one day a client comes to me and says, Hey, we have a show for like a friend’s cosmetic company in Paris in in a planetarium. Can you make an IMAX experience movie, like three minutes would like the products flying around and stuff like that? I see an IMAX movie. And then you know you have to like okay, so I had to figure out how to make an IMAX movie, you know, and then we conduct an IMAX. IMAX lapse. It’s like okay, what’s the formula? Where’s the pixel count? Where’s the pixel resolution? How long does it take to process the film, what’s you know, blah, blah, blah, blah stuff? I say, Well, you know, we can’t help you. Because our lab is completely book with Kung Fu Panda too. So they didn’t have any room for to process this opening experience. They were supposed to be in this planetarium was very cold map in Paris, right? So why would you can you can try our lab in London anyway. Long story short, we made it work. It was amazing. It was like, completely like, you know, it was like, mind blowing, you would end this entire scene, all these like, gigantic products, like mascara, some eyeshadow or something, you know, anyway, flying around, you know. So that fast forward. Now we’re in the 2016, or 1516. And then, and then some flying says me, I said rendering, we’d like 15 screens, like, all kinds of shapes, curves, floating, like moving some of the some of the screens were like, dynamic, they were looking like, with motors and things like that, you know. And then I look at the outlet side rendering, and then I tell my client, on your your mind. Because he was, he was like this, he was, I have never done anything so big in my life, you know, but, you know, fortunately, most of my clients are friends, because we go through so much working together and such like crazy ideas, you know, that we we become friends because it’s like, such a intimate relationship. We’re working together, you know. So 100 million pixels, what, that’s what I can show some pictures and unguarded super and super fast, because we still have a lot to talk about. Yep. So this was the one look from the front, the front of the house, you know, this was for, like, 10,000 people, or 1000, people were willing. So what you can see all these people out here, this is us, you know, this is us, this is the people who are in this business. And this is just part of the setup, the whole disguise set up because at this point, we were using these guys already was on the left side of the house, and there’s some other apartment in the right side. But you can see that it takes it takes an army to put together something like that. And really, you need to talk to all these people time, you know, to consult and then figure out there’s things you know, so this is like, this, sorry, this for my iPhone, and then I was working on it go down, like a walking loop kind of thing, you know, so I have to render everything, 100 million pixels, there’s no real time rendering. In this case, it’s you know. And this is me, my computer in my, in my office, Brooklyn, I in Manhattan, is working on some of these animations, you know, you can see the 64 Projectors, you know, anyway, so but you know, it’s a very different when you look at it in your screen, and when you walk into that space, when you walk into a space and see this, like, giant thing that is so overwhelming, you know, I mean, I could picture I could imagine how the screens were moving. And bragger only see it on my little screen. And then when I walked in there, my heart stopped for a minute, you know, for a moment like, wow, this is incredible. You know? Right? I mean, this is why anyway, that’s another show I just gonna go through these very fast there instead of the lighting here is beautiful. You know, this is my pictures are the same. So some other show some other show. We’ve worked on that together. I’m sorry. See, see the size of the people. It’s always like, it’s always these giant, like experiences this some building map in, in LA. This is another show that I was working along with rific an adult when I wasn’t working along with him. This was his show. And then my client asked me, Can you make something like repik An adult to go in between his he’s like hmm, you know? Okay, well, I try I’ll try so I came up with this like a thing you know, which is kind of some kind of like a galaxy particles kind of like ploy that like 12 million cubes down a notch you know, and then like, you know, we mapped it into in disguise and stuff like that. This was a prototype for the interactive wall with laser Sensors. This was something else within New York a few years ago before COVID. This is some other show that we did with dancers and and then we were digitizing the dancers because sometimes the dancers were on screen as well as live on stage. And then it’s a moment. retransmissions. And then we had Digital’s this dancer in some studio, this is gonna show up as deputy, you know, and he’s dancing inside the cube. And then the other dancers are there. You know, I mean, this was like, 20,000 people, I believe, you know, it’s like 1211 screens and lemons games, I think, yeah,

Patrick Wambold  25:23

well, it’s interesting, because every one of these is like, individually a highly specialized thing, right? Like, you know, if you think about it, but if you look at them all together as like a collage, you would think, Oh, well, she’s a generalist, right? She can do all these different things. There’s, you know, 10, different, you know, disciplines that she’s showing. So, it’s kind of interesting how sometimes they both work together, you know, and so I don’t know, the question was asked about, you know, are we going to be more specialist or generalist, I’ve always been like, a jack of all trades, kind of Master of None person, and especially now, working over at Epic, like, no one person knows all of unreal, like, there’s, it’s just impossible. But that’s not to say you don’t need specialist, you know, I mean, you do, like, when you get to that point where you’re like, wow, we need to squeeze every ounce of performance out of this thing. You might need a specialist or back when you had flame operators and things like that, like, we’re like, we can only do this on this one platform. You know, we just can’t get the look any other way. So I don’t think there’s any, like wrong answer to that. But like, I just I, the thing, I caution anybody about who kind of just like too, specialized is just like kind of then turn your mind off to new opportunities. You know, again, like, if you’re, you know, if you’ve invested your entire life into 2d animation, and you saw the first 3d animation box, you’d be like, great, I’ve just, I’ve just wasted my life, you know, and so, you know, it’s not to say that you can’t be a specialist and still, like, do that kind of stuff. But I think it just, it kind of closes your mind off. And so I always encourage people like, you know, be be curious, right? If you’re not judgmental, right. So,

Elburz Sorkhabi  26:51

and I think there’s a really interesting element, going back to what Isabel kind of renamed the slide to is whether Am I a generalist or a specialist. And I think there’s a really valuable act of self reflection in there. Because I think we’re at a point in the industry where both are commercially viable, highly functioning teams, as Patrick was saying, you will have some specialists who are the Guru’s of a thing. And you will have a bunch of people who are great at a bunch of tools, and they’re not experts at anything. And that sounds to me, like a highly functioning team, we’ve got people that can really solve Tight, tight little problems, really squeeze optimization. And we’ve got people who, in a lot of times are just great Content, folks, they can hop into notch, unreal, TouchDesigner, Maximus P, put together a lot of really interesting things. And I think there is a little bit of just understanding what your personality is like, because I come from a little bit of a different background is in that I am a specialist in the sense that I am a touch designer specialist by training, and I spent 10 years basically trying to be like LeBron James, a touch designer, I’m not gonna lie, like that’s how I kind of like imagined myself in my head. Wow. And I know humblebrag there. And Rich, Paul got a shoe deal now. So I’m like Nike, where am I shoes, like it was let’s work on some shoes. But the Joking aside is is for my personality, I really like getting obsessive about a thing. And I could sit and I remember, like, I would be sitting in front of a TouchDesigner screen for 12 hours a day, just eating it up, just um, nom, nom, nom nom, like, oh, like corn on the cob all day long I. And back then when you learn TouchDesigner, it meant just like reading wiki, I read the like the whole wiki like top to bottom. And I think this is my favorite reading material. Like I love the wiki. And I made a whole career out of that. Now it’s a little bit different now because I think with the power of tools and the accessibility they have, you know, an intermediate at unreal or TouchDesigner is kind of capable of what an expert used to be able to do and was required to do in the similar tools. So I think it really does open up a lot of potential and not to get too deep into it. But I think an interesting concept we’re talking about on the phone previously was like this T shaped skill set, which is a concept like I didn’t invent by any stretch, but I’ve kind of been like preaching the gospel, because I really appreciated how it worked. Wherever you think of the top of the tee, and I kind of like move my head at the mic as I’m like gesturing, like the top of the tee is things that you’re just learning things that you’re a beginner of things that I think are useful to you because it gives you communication ability when you’re on a team to be able to talk to somebody and a little bit of a better language. And then you might if you’re a specialist, just have one stem on your tea that just goes real all the way down to the floor. Whereas if you’re a generalist, you might say you know what, I’m going to make two or three stems from this tea. I really liked these two or three platforms. Let me become like pretty proficient, not a guru by any stretch, but let me get into the intermediate or higher intermediate. Stage of them and become a really effective person on a team. And I think that’s, that’s an interesting concept, we’re thrown on the yeah shaped idea.

Patrick Wambold  30:07

Well, that was really weird too, because like, just thinking about this in terms of like, what, you know, when I was back kind of freelancing, and doing shows and events and stuff like that, like, I would see a lot of what I would call like, one man and one woman armies, you know, we’re like, there was like, one person who like, made the Content ran the lighting desk, like, you know, like, make the Content was also 10 things, right? It’s like, you could model you could texture you, you lit the scene yourself, you rendered it at home, or in a render farm. And like, that’s an insane, like, like level of like knowledge and trying to find more people like that, or, God forbid, that person had to bail on a tour and replace that person. Like, that is a tough ask anymore. And the other thing that like I, I kind of cringe saying this, but you know, but it, you know, that one person is not going to create, like, the Mandalorian. Right, like, you know, that’s just not the level that they’re looking for, you know, and it’s a different, it’s a different thing. So different teams and different projects are gonna require different skill sets. So that’s kind of why I lean towards more of like being a generalist. Because like, I never want somebody to be like, oh, you know what? I mean, now, it’s too late. They’re like, that’s the real guy. But like, you know, I never wanted to be that before where they’re like, oh, all he does is program moving lights. He doesn’t know how to do like media servers. I can, I was like, that’s not true. I can do that, you know. And so I was just always anxious to do more than so. For me, that’s, that was my answer. Like you said, Are you one or the other? Like, you kind of gravitate towards one or the other? I don’t think there’s a wrong answer. Yeah. So

Isabel Clavo  31:29

what I did is I reword that question. Are you a generalist? Am I a generalist or specialist? I tend to this one, what drives us? You know, because what we do, I mean, it changes all the time. And it’s like, we, we strive to make it happen to make it work. And then, you know, and this is, like, that’s part of the challenge part of our, that’s our specialty. You know, I mean, the specialty that Technology is changes all the time, you know, it’s like, Oh, are you a specialist on this on that, you know, and then specialists shift and change, and they learn new things, and they leave things behind, you know, and then, but one of the most important thing as an answer to this question, what drives us? I put these five, I mean, you’re welcome to comment on any of them, of course, you know, but to me is amazing, working with amazing people all the time, you know, from top to bottom to all the aspects of the production, it’s just amazing. I love working with these people, with all this paper with you guys. You know, right now, the way the past the speed, the Technology is changing, you can basically gets updated every week, you know, I mean, I part of several meetups early,

Patrick Wambold  32:45

like outwardly, right?

Isabel Clavo  32:50

Especially with AI, you know, collaboration is more crucial than our, you know, collaboration with people who we are the experts in the interest of so I think we should like work together as much as we can. Because sometimes, somebody knows something that somebody else has now, you know, specialties are constantly constantly updated. And we always pushing pushing boundaries, you know. And then AI is a real revolution. And it’s like, it’s in its infancy, but it’s gonna change everything, the way we do everything. I mean, we might not be able to put the the, like 100 million pixel show, but it’s definitely changing broadcast. And it’s changing, you know, I mean,

Elburz Sorkhabi  33:33

and one thing I think that’s, like, really interesting about this is the idea that collaboration is more crucial than ever. And I think that’s a really important element to focus on. And I think it was Laura, who was mentioning yesterday at the end of one of the panels, and I think it was when we were talking to drink Ben’s talk, how do we expose folks to collaborative environments to build their collaboration skill earlier in their journey, so that we don’t end up with what I think a lot of the times happens now, which is people get good at stuff. And they haven’t really collaborated, then they’re dropped into these high pressure team environments. And you’re trying to figure out like, oh, well, I’m good at something. But I’m completely running around like a headless chicken. Because I have no idea who I have to ask this question to, I don’t know the hierarchy of this like operation. I don’t know the language that a lot of these different software’s use. And I think that’s one of the things that I’ve found to be really productive in my practice. And something that I always try and communicate to folks in our school is that there is so many ways that just understanding what somebody else does, can be really valuable to you. I know a personal thing that I’ve been doing a lot lately as I just put on tutorials of other platforms, I have no intention of ever learning And I can put those on in the background. And for example, I could talk all day about Niagra module scripts, I have no idea how to build one or what the interface looks like. But I could talk all day about like, oh, yeah, either module scripts, we can do a lot of custom sampling. That’s up all kinds of stuff. But I think that then the power that it gives me is that I can work on a team with somebody who is actually proficient at that. And I just understand a little bit what they’re going through, I understand that if I’m interfacing with them, how I may want to change my approach, how they might want to change their approach. So I think that the collaboration also comes with the elements of communication. And I think just a really quick little end of this is that I think some people, there’s always this question is like, do you like to work alone? Or do you like to work on teams, it doesn’t matter, you got to communicate neither one. Like, if you don’t have the skills of being able to communicate, working alone is going to be very difficult. If you don’t have the skills of communication, working on teams is going to be difficult. And I think, being able to practice that, and this is a great place for it, because there’s so many folks you just get to communicate with and chit chat and learn about there were so many great resources online, so many free ones, paid ones, whatever, just throw them on in the background and learn how other people are communicating, I think is a really crucial skill.

Patrick Wambold  36:17

I mean, now it’s easier than ever to collaborate though, too, right? I mean, like, there the pandemic, like really kind of pushed that forward, I think, in a way that maybe we weren’t forced to before where like, I mean, now I sit on zoom all day. I mean, you know, that was something that, you know, we would do occasionally, but like now it’s like, oh, yeah, everything, everybody’s available, everybody’s got it, which is another whole topic of wellness and stuff that maybe we can do another time. But yeah, collaborating between teams, and especially cross pollination between industries, because, I mean, we all know, all this stuff is coming together, right? Like, this is not new news. I hoped anybody but like, you know, we see it all the time where everything is related. Now you can have one kind of, you know, like, when you look at what like, what these mega franchises are doing, you know, like a Marvel or something like that, where you’re like, we’ve got a game, we’ve got a book series, we’ve got comic books, you’ve got TV, we’ve got streaming, there’s, you know, there’s all these things, and they’re all kind of converging together. And so the more you can get a little bit of experience from all of those, the better, you’re going to be positioned for the future in this stuff. And like, that’s not even to leave out, like actual businesses, like enterprise, you know, and same thing, like they all you know, they all use the same tools to whether you know it or not. And it’s not just for corporate presentations, like they use it for visualization for digital twins, for marketing for all kinds of things. So I think we have one more question, though. So let’s see if we can knock it out. Oh, into that one. Oh, yeah, you gotta show your OMO

Isabel Clavo  37:37

into that one, I have to show you a picture of my living room during COVID. Because we have to adapt so fast. So this is my living room. This is the air conditioner on the right. And using my TV as an outboard, I had to get feeds from all this stage, man, you know, it’s like being backstage, but in your living room, you know, and he had to say it all up, you know, like, in the air connections, like, you name it. Anyway, that’s, those are funny pictures. I’m gonna go to the next one. So I would like to answer these very quickly, which is the topic of this panel, how to thrive in this rap intense, amidst rapid change in entertainment Technology. So I don’t know, you guys went out like, Well, I think we’ve covered all this, you know, it’s about being passionate, you know, constant curiosity for like, what’s changing and what’s coming. Learn in the new as a life philosophy, because that’s what this is a business where we have to learn in the new stuff all the time, you know, and you have to reinvent yourself every day, or in every project or every month. But whenever, whenever that comes, it’s just an expression, right?

Patrick Wambold  38:47

It’s just an expression. What do we do? Like, I’d like when I saw her set up again, I was like, see what I mean about wanting to be her when I grow up. It’s like, that is way better than what I had. So

Isabel Clavo  39:01

we have one more question. That will go

Elburz Sorkhabi  39:04

over time. It’s fine. But soon we go through.

Patrick Wambold  39:06

Yeah, not sure. What Oh, no, I’m sorry. What was the right, right, right. My personal approach?

Isabel Clavo  39:16

Yes, yeah. personal approach

Patrick Wambold  39:18

to this. It’s one of those things, at least for me where I’m sure like everybody else do you have a laundry list of things you would like to learn and they kind of just usually go into, you know, some sort of a task or reminders thing for me, and usually I forget about it. So what I actually had to do is literally just set aside time, it sounds stupid, but like, if you schedule it, you’ll probably do it. If it’s not in your calendar, at least for me. I don’t even know I don’t know where I’m going tomorrow. Unless I can look at my calendar and see it’s there. So for me, it was something that luckily, my lead over at Epic was is he’s pretty passionate about this. He’s like, You guys need to take some time, you know, set aside certain amount of hours a week to learn something new because like, there’s just so much out there. And if you don’t force yourself to do it, you’re gonna have to figure it out eventually. And so, for me, it’s that’s kind of where I get to is like, I just have to set aside the time schedule it in there. No, that’s what it’s for. And this is the hardest part, I have to turn off everything else. Because like, you know, if I’m getting slack messages, I’m not paying attention, you know, I’m getting emails, I’m not listening, you know, it’s something that it requires active participation, at least for me. But you know, for other people, they can just like you said, listen in the background and kind of know, I gotta be a little more engaged in that, you know, especially, you know, listening to somebody talk about a really complex topic like neural, or, you know, radiance fields, stuff like that, like I have to have a little bit more, just like paying attention. So

Elburz Sorkhabi  40:40

a quick follow up question I’m just curious is how much time do you set aside? Because I think that’s always something that’s a little bit different for everybody. Is it like a big chunk? Like, are you setting the 90 block 90 minute blocks?

Patrick Wambold  40:50

I mean, to me, I don’t know about you guys, but it takes me a long time to like get sometimes get into something. So I try to get a little deep work. And if I can, usually, like a two hour block is like, what the minimum amount of time is, you know, half an hour. And like a guy depends on what it is the topic sometimes, but like, so, for example, like a couple of us, like every Friday, we do you know, where we kind of beta test some of the new tools that aren’t available yet. Right. And so we just got to set aside time to do that. And then usually, I have another couple hours each night that I try and like learn something else, that’s not unreal, because I spent all day doing that. So I’m like, why not? I need to get my head out of that a little bit, and kind of just like go to these other things. But you know, I mean, anything can help. It could be you know, sometimes you got to, sometimes you got to force yourself at like a conference, you know, or something like that. Or, like with lighting, I took the MA two or MA three for me to users thing. Like I had to force myself to do it because I tried to watch YouTube videos. And I was like, this is just not cutting it. So I just had to block off the times. If you guys want to answer I forgot to do q&a Or

J.T. Rooney  41:52

think yeah, we can go into q&a actual time. Thank you everyone so much for their time, please give them round of applause. But we do have a few moments for questions for these folks. If you have any. We have a couple of mics around.

Elburz Sorkhabi  42:07

Give us that good stuff, the hard hitting stuff where the journalists in the audience. So everyone is just richly rich and successful. There’s no questions about thriving in a feud. No one’s scared about the future. I’m terrified. Terrified,

J.T. Rooney  42:22

I got one for you overs. How do you as your with your guyses program, you teach new Technology? How do you know what new Technology to teach? And like learn it at the same time that you’re teaching it in or anything like how do you keep up with that sort of speed of things?

Elburz Sorkhabi  42:35

That is a good question, which I think it ties in a little bit to how we as professionals choose what to learn. And I think it for me being like mainly an educator now, I do feel a little bit of like responsibility for it because we can’t make unlimited Content. So we’re making Content, like what are we making it about? And I think there’s a lot of factors are probably similar to what we make as professionals, which is, what might the longevity of this skill be? How useful might it be creatively? How useful might it be financially? There’s also a little bit of, and I think it’s probably something game devs talk a lot about which is what does the person learning me that they don’t know they actually need? Because there’s a lot of skills that we kind of try and cover from like business side of things. I mean, there’s literally my favorite workshop not gonna lie is one I made, obviously, but

Patrick Wambold  43:34

it is I humblebrag. Again,

Elburz Sorkhabi  43:37

I love to hear myself talk. It’s a situation. I open Google Docs, and I have an NDA and SLA an S O W and an MSA and I literally just read them line by line explaining every single line of these contracts in like English, and telling people where they should either fight for changes if they see a bad one or concede changes to get bargaining power later. Oh, I love this workshop is so good. Other people it’s one of those things where they don’t know they need it yet, but I’d be curious as well, because I think it’s similar to how we choose personally to learn skills.

Isabel Clavo  44:10

Yeah, I, I go through that a lot. And basically, you know, every time I make a project, and sometimes I make prototype, things that I’ve never done before, but then you know, I always like looking at the Technology what other people are doing or interested in what I see. I spend a lot of time online looking for things or saying oh, look at this. Well, you know, and then there’s always something that piqued my piques my interest that is like you know, and I cannot say what it is going to be next you know right now is I have been working on it for like six months something like that. I started working on it with general generative adversarial networks like three years ago Oh, this is new but you know it was it was wasn’t really working that well three years. Well, you know, but now it seems to be working so is what I’ve been trying to learn how to use it. And I already using it Three projects. So I don’t know, what’s the next thing? No. But you know, I don’t know about you, but

Patrick Wambold  45:04

I’m a little biased. So I might have to pass. I mean, for me, like, I usually it’s like, there’s enough stuff internally that I could just kind of just try and learn more the tools that that we have. But I think that just kind of narrows your scope a little bit. And so like, I hate to say like, it’s almost like FOMO, that drives, like what I’m looking at, I look at what other people are doing. And I’m like, that is cool stuff. Like, I need to know what they’re doing. And honestly, like, that’s kind of what drives me a little bit like, I don’t know, if it’s a healthy way to look at it, but like, I’m just like, alright, that’s, that’s something interesting. So

Isabel Clavo  45:36

sense. When I learned something new, I’m gonna use it in the next show. You know,

J.T. Rooney  45:43

one last question here on the side.


I was wondering, you know, we’re not we’re all working on bigger projects, they’re all international. They’re different time zones are different languages. What tools do you use? Or how do you learn tools that help you collaborate better? And then how do you manage that information as it flows back and forth between your clients and you as the creator.

Elburz Sorkhabi  46:08

I can start with just a quick one. Because what’s really fun as our schools team is fully remote, like we’re a fully remote company. And one of the things that I find I learned from that, that I carry over into professional projects is patience, readjusting expectations around communication. And then making sure that everyone also has similar set expectations, because I think that’s probably the number one thing is that once people are in different time zones, and all this kind of stuff. You can’t just say, Hey, I have a quick question for you and wait for them to say yes, and then get the answer. You kind of have to put a little bit more effort into your message forward, so that they have everything they need when they’re about to answer it. And then they kind of give you everything that they can coming back. And I think setting that expectation throughout the process has been like a really major thing for me. I don’t know if you guys Yeah,

Patrick Wambold  47:02

I mean, learning to work asynchronously is definitely a skill. You know, I mean, it’s either a blessing or a curse. Like I love it. Because somebody’s working overnight while I’m sleeping, you know, and like, so to me, it’s great. Like, I get up and like, Oh, cool. Look, they push the ball a little further forward. And so, but it does take a lot of you know, communication is obviously the top of this one, like I don’t know, like, I always kind of have to do this talk where I’m like, alright, you know, we’re big on source control. We’re big on collaboration. But these tools are not a substitute for communication. I can’t tell somebody’s intent by whether or not they checked out a file. Like, I need to know why I need to know what other ramifications are behind it. And so communication is still key on any of these types of things. I mean, we use all kinds of tools, it just depends on the team. So I don’t think it’s so much the tool is that it is just making like you said, knowing who you’re working with and kind of setting that up ahead of time helps tremendously. So but I think we’re out of time.

J.T. Rooney  47:58

Cool, thank you so much, everyone. You can find these lovely folks elsewhere, I’m sure. And we’ll be back at 4:10 on stage with the presentation from for wall so please come on back in there won’t be anything and be after this point. So just on a thanks


working, people, talk, learn, specialist, screens, question, set, tools, skill, projects, answer, generalist, years, team, little bit, interesting, pictures, bit, pixels


Isabel Clavo, Patrick Wambold, J.T. Rooney, Elburz Sorkhabi