MPC Green Room - Meet Spencer

A chat with Spencer Cook, Animation Supervisor in Montréal...

MPC Green Room - Meet the artist

MPC has some amazing animation projects crewing up in MPC Montréal right now including The Predator, Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Dumbo.

Animation Supervisor Spencer Cook recently joined our senior team in Quebec and he took a minute to share some thoughts on the world of VFX, what he loves about Montréal and more....

What is your name, job title and how long have you been at MPC?

Hi, I'm Spencer Cook, Animation Supervisor. I've been with MPC for a little over a month.

What and where did you study?

I studied Filmmaking at The School of Visual Arts in New York City. 

How did you get started in the VFX industry?

I decided to become an animator at an early age. I grew up on monster movies. I was particularly inspired by the films of legendary stop motion animator Ray Harryhausen. By age 11, I was making my own stop motion films at home.

After I graduated from The School of Visual Arts I began my career as a stop motion animator. I animated dozens of TV commercials in New York, Los Angeles and Europe for the next decade. Animating classic commercial characters like the Pillsbury Doughboy and segments of the Saturday morning TV series Pee Wee's Playhouse.

Pay attention to life. Be present. Study how people move and interact. As artists we need to see things that most people take for granted.

What single piece of advice would you give someone looking to get into VFX production?

I think it's important to love movies and have a good understanding of the visual language of cinema.

Pay attention to life. Be present. Study how people move and interact. As artists we need to see things that most people take for granted.

Don't say "CG" or "CGI" :) I've always disliked the term "Computer Generated" since it over-emphasizes the tool. Would you call the Mona Lisa a “Paintbrush Generated Image”? I wouldn't. Computers are tools. They don't make images, talented artists and technicians do.

What attracted you to work at MPC?

The creature projects

What excites you most about your job at MPC?

Godzilla!

How would you describe the culture at MPC?

I'm still learning about the culture of the studio as a whole but I can say that the animation department is a friendly and talented group.

Which 3 words best describe your job?

Decisive

Persistent

Collaborative

What do you think are the biggest challenges in your role?

Navigating the politics of production.

Do you have a favourite shot that you’ve worked on in your career?

It's hard to pick one. I've enjoyed (almost) every project I've worked on. I'm particularly proud of the first Spider-Man wall crawl shot in the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man (2002) movie. At that time I was still fairly new to digital animation. I learned a lot about animating on a computer and about the movie biz in general while working on that movie.

What’s the best thing about Montreal?

The seasons. Coming from LA I miss the seasons. I may change my tune after a couple of winters but for now my wife and I are loving it here. Also, the restaurants and outdoor festivals.

What inspires you?

Movies, travel, people.

I try to stay as flexible as possible during a production. Schedules and priorities can change quickly. I think it's important to stay focused and be ready to pivot in a new direction at any time

How would you describe your approach to work?

I really enjoy this kind of work. I'm grateful that I can make a living doing it. Production can be difficult and stressful but I try to keep that sense of enjoyment everyday and I want my team to feel the same way.

I try to stay as flexible as possible during a production. Schedules and priorities can change quickly. I think it's important to stay focused and be ready to pivot in a new direction at any time.

Do You Have a Favourite VFX movie?

Wow, I have so many, however if I had to pick one it would be the original King Kong from 1932. I was spellbound when I first saw that movie as a small child. It's not just a pioneering achievement in animation and vfx but it's one of the most iconic movies in cinema history. Who doesn't recognize the image of a giant ape atop the Empire State Building fighting off biplanes? It never gets old, in fact talking about it now makes me want to watch it again this weekend :)

What does it feel like to work as part of a Global team at MPC?

It has its challenges. I wish the rigging team was in Montreal.

What skill do you wish you had?

Levitation.

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Want to join the team in Montreal and work alongside Spencer? We're hiring for a range of shows and across a number of different disciplines including animation.

Apply now online.