A chat with Ryan, CG Supervisor in Vancouver...
Now in his second stint at MPC, Ryan Mintenko is a seasoned visual effects artist who has worked in the Vancouver market on a roll-call of challenging projects. His career has included time at Zoic, Prime Focus and Rainmaker with credits including Watchmen, New Moon, TRON Legacy, SuckerPunch and The Great Gatsby. He took 5 to share a few thoughts on his career to date as well as working in the VFX industry.
What is your name, job title and how long have you been at MPC?
Ryan Mintenko, CG Supervisor. I've been here around 2.5 years - but I worked for MPC from 2007-2009 as well.
What and where did you study?
Back in 2000 I attended CDIS, graduated from the VEDAM program. "Visual Effects and Digital Animation Masters" program.
How did you get started in VFX?
First job in vfx was at Toybox West which was essentially MPC Vancouver before Technicolor and MPC joined forces to become what we are today. Seems like yesterday. Some of the people I worked with there 16 years ago are STILL at MPC presently and are my superiors now as they were back then. Pete Dione, Mike Shapcotte, Doug Oddy, Eric Nordby to name a few. Also funny thing is, I worked on a tvMOW version of a Wrinkle in Time, which is currently in production at MPC with Myself and Pete on the team!
What single piece of advice would you give someone looking to get into the industry?
Always be prepared to adapt and learn new things as you progress and further your career. The industry is always changing and those who advance themselves along with the changes happening, obviously have an easier time being successful. The industry has many rewards and advantages if you are willing to keep an open mind and become a multi-faceted asset to your company.
What excites you most about your job at MPC?
Learning new things, working on cool shows and collaborating with many great people as part of a team.
What your favourite shot that you've worked on?
Hard to pick a favorite but to stick to MPC examples, some of the simple (non glamorous) type work going on a current show called Solutrean was a fun challenge. There are many times that a glamorous "money shot" of a super hero flies across screen, or in my case Mystique from Xmen transitions to other forms gets assigned to me (which is totally cool!), I'm definitely happy about it, but I find it more fulfilling to work on VFX that the audience has a hard time distinguishing what is real and what is CG. In fact,, the more they don't even know VFX is present, the better! The subtle CG work being done on Solutrean is a good example as is the water recreation we did on Sully. It was nominated for a VES award and served a practical purpose for the movie, rather then elaborate VFX just for the sake of showing off something cool. (which I also appreciate though)
What’s your favourite VFX movie?
Probably the original Jurrasic Park (above). Back in the day this movie was one of a few that created inspiration for me to get involved in VFX in the first place. Dinosaurs are cool!
Which 3 words best describe your job?
Creative, Collaboration, Communication (the 3 Cs)
What major developments in technology do you see in VFX over the next 5 /10 years?
I expect to see the same sort of strides technology has taken in the previous 5-10 years to continue at the same pace in the next 5-10. The realtime game engine renderers I could see improving to allow artists even quicker feedback in their workflow. Also the amount of data/geometry able to load into our scenes was somewhat limited in the past. I could see a big jump in this regard giving us the ability to make more things, render more things, and, ultimately create even more complex shots.
What do you think the biggest challenges are in your role?
Biggest challenge is most definitely time. Having enough time in the work day to get around to everyone, give each department the support needed to keep momentum moving forward, solving technical issues, articulating creative feedback are all things that need to be done on a daily basis. MPC is a large company with many simultaneous moving parts. A lot of communication is required. I hope I can use my time effectively in order to support all departments.
What inspires you?
Learning new things and collaborating with some of the most talented artists in the industry. There are a bunch of people I work with currently that are mentors, and people to emulate and look up to. Those people are huge factors as to why I want to come to work everyday to do a good job. Outside of the walls of MPC, other creative outlets like photography preoccupy my time and go hand in hand with VFX.
How would you describe your approach to work?
My approach to my work is definitely trying to stay calm cool and collected - anticipate things before being forced to be reactionary. I gravitate more towards the creative aspect of my job while continuing to be on top of technical aspects to get the job done.
What does it feel like to work as part of a Global team at MPC?
It's pretty awesome to have such a large global entity to back you up on the work we are doing. I think that is one of the major things that separates MPC from other companies. MPC can literally do anything. There are so many talented artists and software support teams across the globe, that no matter what clients come up with or what a movie demands, there are people here that can say "been there, done that". Its always nice to know that there are people on our team in different parts of the world that are all collaborating together to create the best product possible. Even on the most challenging of shows/schedules, MPC is able to pull resources from all facilities and work together to be an unstoppable machine.
If you'd like to work with talented people like Ryan you can apply online for a role at mpc at www.mpc.jobs