Profile of the month at the NAD Center

Posted on January 14th, 2010 in Entrepreneurship, CG Community, Blogging by Marc Bourbonnais

Every month the NAD Center interviews on their blog one of their former students to get some insights of their careers and views about the digital effects and games industry. They have been kind enough to have me as their profile of the month. I hope some of my advice can be good for the students; you can never have enough pointers on VFX careering.
You can have a peek at my short interview here.

Blog – The Art of CG Supervision

Posted on July 16th, 2009 in Working in CG, Blogging by Marc Bourbonnais

Here’s a great blog to follow if you’re interested - even remotely - in the challenges of supervising a crew of visual effects artists. That’s the role of the “CG Sup”. The Art of CG Supervision is written by Isa A. Alsup, experienced VFX artist, supervisor and manager, and has been quite active since its start last June.

Some of the interesting topics posted include types of shot breakdowns, managing teams, roles of the CG Sup, the current labour situation… Very thorough and informative; definitely worth reading.  You can check out his blog here.

Two Years Ago

Posted on June 22nd, 2009 in Working in CG, Blogging by Marc Bourbonnais

June 1st, 2007 was my last day as an employee and the first day of this blog, intended to follow my steps in the starting up of a visual effects company. Modus FX will be two years old in a few weeks…

We had a good feeling we could get through the market; we have a strong know-how for client relations, project management and, well, making VFX. The things my associates and I have learned about business administration, management and finances are overwhelming. Quickly identifying your weak spots and taking care of them, one problem at a time with clear, concise and easy solutions is key in entrepreneurship.

I’m not saying we’re on top of the world and our digital effects studio is this well-oiled machine, rendering away while I’m sipping a drink by the beach. We’re pumping a lot of hours; stress is high and our space still in renovations. But at least we have satisfied customers (even repeat business!) and we’re delivering our product.

Siggraph 2007 : Day 1.5

Posted on August 7th, 2007 in Hardware, Software, CG Community by Marc Bourbonnais

Even though I do not have a full conference pass, I’ve had plenty to do during my first 1.5 days at Sigg. The night before my trip to San Diego was rough; I had to finish all the paperwork for our corporate bank account and credit margin. I was all done at around 3:30 am. My plane was leaving Montreal at 7:30, so I had just enough time for a quick shower and a 30 minute “nap”. A night just like a prostproduction crunch.

 But now I’m here in beau-ti-ful San Diego. I spent Sunday afternoon walking around the Convention center meeting old friends. Most of them already knew all about our start-up thanks to this blog; the awesome feedback I keep getting never ceases to amaze me. Best wishes came from all around and my associates and I are thankful for all the encouragement we are receiving. It is quite clear we are on the right track.

 Monday started off with meeting software and hardware vendors so we can start working on quotes. It was great to meet a few of them before the hectic pace of the exhibition. As of now the only hardware we’re buying is…a fax machine, a printer and telephones, but in the next few weeks we’ll have to bring in workstations and servers.

 On Monday afternoon I attended the Softimage Research Summit to have a glimpse at what’s in the works with the fine folks at Soft. The Autodesk User Meet was next, followed by the incredible Autodesk Steel Beach party. An absolute blast, it had everything you need for a killer party: people by the thousands, free food, free booze, 360 flight simulators, music, go-go dancers… all on an aircraft carrier. I’m sure Autodesk, Café FX and their partners are more than happy with the turnout.

 Now I know why deep down inside I wanted to become an entrepreneur. To throw huge parties like that one.

A new VFX blog to check out

Posted on June 30th, 2007 in CG Community, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

Enough about start-ups and enterprising, We should talk about VFX once in a while, no?

Fresh out this month, a new VFX blog “VFXhack” is well worth a visit. It is authored by Andrew Orloff, VFX Supervisor at Zoic Studios in Los Angeles. The site just started a few weeks ago, and already it is a great read. Here’s an excerpt of the first post, “Welcome to VFXhack”:

What I want to do is an in the trenches, real-life, counter-culture VFX blog. Stuff that’s cool that you might not know about cuz it’s not from the majors. Along with “real” tips from the folks on the ground like you and me.

Time to bookmark.

A few books

Posted on June 28th, 2007 in Entrepreneurship, Working in CG, Blogging by Marc Bourbonnais

I always have book to read. When I finish one, I have a couple just waiting to be started. I do not have a particular schedule, but I try to read a few chapters every other day. Here are some of the books I’ve enjoyed. You’ll notice that some of these are classics written a long time ago, way before the CG/VFX business even existed. It proves the value of their ideas.



Art of the StartGuy Kawasaki : The Art of The Start
A very inspirational book about… starting up. Fun to read and to the point, Guy tells you the basic steps in starting a business, or any project for that matter. This book will give you that extra little push you need to get goin’.

People / Negotiation

Love is the killer appTim Sanders : Love is the Killer App
Great thoughts about the positive aspects of being an all-around nice guy that likes to connect with others. It’s a good depiction of this new era of forums, mailing-lists, social bookmarking and other forms of information sharing.


How to Win Friends & Influence PeopleDale Carnegie : How to Win Friends & Influence People
A classic from the 1930’s about general people skills. Forget the modern easy success stories, this is the real deal.



The Corporate Blogging BookDebbie Weil : The Corporate Blogging Book
A book I read before going into blogging for the first time. The first few weeks of a blog, especially with a corporate flavor, is a crucial step. This book can help you steer clear of newbie mistakes.

Project Management

The Mythical Man-MonthFrederick P. Brooks : The Mythical Man-Month
There are a lot of modern project management books available, many of them dealing with software engineering which can be loosely applied to the CG/VFX industry. This book, originally published in 1975, is the grand-daddy of them all.

PeoplewareTom DeMarco, Timothy Lister : Peopleware
Another classic written in the 1980s when computer programming was starting to be a huge industry. It primarily deals with software management, but you can find great insights on general staff management as well.


Making it HappenMackenzie Kyle : Making it Happen
The only book I know that explains project management in precise details through a fictional story. It’s a bit corny like a bad Hollywood script, but it works.


AmazonBrenda Ueland : If You Want to Write
This book was published in 1938 and is about the process of writing. This book is so full of insights on creativity and inspiration that it can relate to any creative thinking.

Why write this blog?

Posted on June 4th, 2007 in Blogging by Marc Bourbonnais

You’ve probably read somewhere one of those dreadful statistics about the very slim possibility that a start-up company will turn out to be successful. So if I have a definite chance I’ll fail miserably, why share it with the world? Here are some reasons that just forced me to get this blog going:

  • Writing the basic steps, day by day, of this endeavor will help me think straight. What’s been done yesterday, what needs my attention today, what needs to be done tomorrow.
  • I have always been in favor of information sharing. Because producing movies cost a boatload of money, this business is heavy on secrecy, copyrights, encryption, proprietary stuff and whatnot. Not everything can and should be shared, but a little openness goes a long way. While on the subject I highly recommend Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders.
  • Like I mentioned in my last post, I like to try new things. My new thing this week is this blog. Setting it up from scratch on a dedicated website took about 4 minutes. Add a few days to find a theme I like, tailor it to my needs, workout the English and French translation, here you go. I’ve done something I’ve never done before.
  • Every blog writer I’ve read is very clear: your writing skills will improve dramatically with a well-kept blog. I hope the same will happen to me. Since I’m writing this blog in two languages, I should get double points… if I don’t throw my English-French dictionary out the window first.
  • This is the cheapest form of instant worldwide visibility I know. Very soon I’ll need help and advice; this blog will keep me connected to old friends and I’ll meet new interesting people for sure.

So for now it’s a lot of work, but in a very short time I’m sure it will be well worth it. For the time being, I’m yearning for any form of encouragement, and the private and public responses I got thanks to this blog have been most welcomed.

A phrase I thought I’d never say

Posted on June 1st, 2007 in Blogging by Marc Bourbonnais

Said to the girlfriend: “My mom and dad just left me a comment on my blog”

Woah. My folks are already Web2.0-friendly.

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