International Women’s Day! – Interview With PhantomFX Wonder Women

International Women’s Day! – Interview With PhantomFX Wonder Women

Brindha C

Brindha C, Senior Project Manager, PhantomFX(Chennai)

  • Working in a VFX Studio is magical. Building something that doesn’t exist when seen on a big screen brings a lot of joy when you know you are a small part of it. I worked as a Project Manager in the Software industry and VFX is new and exciting.
  • Beast is a recent show in which the major VFX work was done by us. It was a tremendous show with a large number of shots, huge scope of work, and quick delivery. Every single day was crucial and such a challenging deadline show kept us engaged and enjoyable.
  • The VFX industry is creative and with shorter turnaround shows, availability around the clock is essential which is a major challenge to have a work-life balance. With amazing team support, we split the work and try to balance it.
  • We do a detailed technical breakdown in the project kick-off phase followed by detailed planning and scheduling. Once the master shots/tasks are worked upon, the other shots are an easy go.
  • A positive approach and a supporting shoulder are all that is needed in a VFX team. Every single shot is new and creative, so having a positive atmosphere in the team with proper planning helps the team to work seamlessly
  • Every show is new and challenging and the most common problem faced is the shorter turnaround time. Better shot approaches with smarter planning and having a good Client relationship help us to tackle the problem.
  • The smarter plan always helps to save budget and time which in turn saves man-days so a reasonable creative change in the shots can be accommodated by balancing the Client relationships along with the budget limit.
  • I am a person from a Non-VFX background with a different vision for every situation. The solutions I propose and my approach to handling the team make me an asset to our team.
Annesha Das Gupta

Annesha Das Gupta- Senior Liner Producer, PhantomFX(Chennai)

  • My total years of work experience is 15 glorious years. I’ve had the privilege to sail through gaming, CGI, and VFX, collaborating as a project associate, Production Coordinator, and Senior Line Producer roles.
  • Too many to list for the projects,  I think I’ll say Aranyak, which was an 8 episodic series. This project came to me while I was working from home during the 3rd wave of covid. I was getting to know my team and It was a wonderful learning experience as I was already sharing 4 episodes with my colleague. And it was smoother to consult or face the same challenges and find solutions together. 
  • Yes, being a woman in the VFX industry has its interesting and challenging sides. But over the years, it only helped me to be methodical and organized with the information that was passed to me. I’ve also learned about different approaches and understanding people’s perspectives. My fave phrase if you don’t understand it well enough, nobody else will.
  • The best way to keep getting yourself educated would be through discussions with your peers. What’s new, what’s updated? What is out of the game? It’s an evolving industry, which keeps updating with its method and technologies.
  • When a project comes in, I approach it as the

              3 mains “CTL”

  1. Cost/value: the value of the project could be anything, but staying within the budget is one of the primary jobs. 
  2. Timeline: the timeline of the show could be months/ years 
  3. Frames: 
  • The most effective strategy that always works is let’s drive towards solutions and not problems. This way we are helping the team find a solution in return for helping ourselves. An open mind is a good way to handle things. I strongly believe in where there is will there is a way, so nothing moves till you are willing to. 
  • Keeping budget in mind is imperative along with timelines that are most stringent. The creative inputs can be weighed practically when the client has set a certain standard or a benchmark quality on the show.
    Evita Chander

    Evita Chander- Production Coordinator, PhantomFX(Chennai)

    • Before being in VFX, I was into 3D (subject-wise) projects for innovative classes (for school students). I have been working in this VFX industry for the past 5 plus years as a production coordinator. And it’s really been a roller coaster ride. Every day has its own new twists and turns. I have grown, learned, and enjoyed most of the days.
    • There are multiple projects I enjoyed working but below are a few memorable ones and learned a lot. 
    • PTH and Dangerous- Due to covid lockdown we had to switch to WFH and both these projects were completely WFH projects with quick turnovers. There were multiple challenges in communication, technical retakes, render hiccups, arranging dailies, etc. But we made it on Time with good outputs.
    • Shakuntalam and Beast- Both these had their challenges. With BST we had a whole new team of unreal artists for the climax sequence, which was a major challenge for us as we were new to the software and the process. On the other hand, SHAK had a complete sequence that was reworked and Another crucial sequence had and is still going through many changes and back and forth to bring the best outputs. Through these two projects, I got to learn how the agile method works to speed up the workflow.
    • At times we do have a few heated moments which end up in disappointments and pull our mood completely down, there is no challenge in our work if we don’t face these situations. But at the end of the day, it’s part of our job. And when being supported by really good teams, motivates us to get back on track and keep going.
    • Initially, we need to have an understanding of what they are working on. This common goal can guide the team throughout the process to make sure everyone works towards the same output. Secondly, we need to list out the workflow we are going to follow for a particular project and keep the team informed so it can make everyone’s task easier. Thirdly, We can pull out the strengths of the team members for the better and quick achievement of tasks in a smart way. Schedule regular meetings to make sure everyone stays on the same page and has updates regarding the project. Need to give more responsibility to the team members so they feel more responsible in the completion of the project.
    • I Haven’t got much into the budgeting side. But to balance the creative input along with time constraints has always been a challenge for us as few projects come with quick turnover and we have a discussion with the creative leads or managers if we can invest more resources, try to work parallel on certain departments to speed up the process and find ways on what can be the best possible way to achieve the deadline and very close follow up with the team to achieve the same. 
    • I come to work in an optimistic way, I always give my best in what I do. Being friendly and approachable with good communication skills. Always ready to help and guide anyone who is in need. I easily adapt to new methods or procedures as the company tries new ways to make our work better. And to put in that extra effort in a project and be dedicated to work
    T Sandhiya

    T Sandhiya – Junior Roto Artist, PhantomFX(Chennai)

    • I have experience in work-related and also extra activities. They give the best to all.  My role in the past company is the compositor.
    • My favorite project is (the 1899) Netflix series. I think that’s the best and also the toughest project. 
    • When we had passion and work is same we have improved technologies easily way. 
    • When I have doubts I ask the seniors.
    •  I think my strength is my family I am the first woman in this field. I have the full effort and output in a perfect way.
    • When I had a problem I will discuss it with Tl and find the solution. 
    Natalie Millar Jadhav

    Natalie Millar Jadhav, Executive Producer, PhantomFX(Mumbai)

    • I studied animation in London and started out working there as a freelance animator and CG generalist. After a few years, I switched over to production management. As an artist, I really didn’t like things being disorganized. I wanted my projects to be really professionally run! So I worked in different studios in Australia and New Zealand on bigger Hollywood films in the production department. When I came to India I got involved in live-action films as an associate producer. That really helped to put VFX in a broader context for me. In the last few years, I’ve worked as an executive producer in VFX. Relationships and business are what make our world go around! So being in an EP role has brought my work in VFX to focus on this side of things now.
    • I loved working on Happy Feet Two and Wonder Woman 84.  It wasn’t so much about the films themselves, but it was the experience of great camaraderie on those projects. There’s nothing better than feeling part of a happy team.
    • As a woman, I feel I lacked a bit of confidence at many points and felt more comfortable taking a supporting role rather than leading. Overall I think we need to use our natural tendencies to our advantage, rather than struggle against them. Eventually, we can find our way ahead, even if it takes a bit longer for some of us to feel confident
    • I love LinkedIn! It’s such a great portal for seeing all the different things people are working on around the world and getting VFX news updates. It’s also good to be involved in the different animation and VFX societies and online events they run in India and around the world. It has directly impacted my work by meeting people and hearing about opportunities at such events.
    • I like to dive into tasks, and not hesitate. Generally, a task takes a few rounds to get all aspects of the task sorted out. So the most important step for me is just starting it!
    • Listening and talking are equally important. It means we are engaging with each other. For me, that is how teamwork works!
    • For me, sometimes problems don’t get solved in the ways we would like them to. If we can be open to seeing how things actually are, rather than how we think they should be, we won’t get too surprised when things go a different way! Rather than see those situations as a failure, we can see them as resolved in an unexpected way.
    • The most important thing is delivering work on time. We have to be practical and plan it like that. If we get extra time after that, it’s a bonus. Creativity has to fit within those boundaries in our industry, or else we won’t survive very long. The more experienced we are, the more we will be able to make creative decisions and ask questions earlier in the process.
    Ramya Kalyanaraman

    Ramya Kalyanaraman – Assistant Manager HR, PhantomFX (Hyderabad)

    • My career as an HR in VFX kick-started in 2019. Ever since this industry has never failed to blow my mind. I started as an HR Executive and found that being an HR in VFX is so much more challenging as compared to any other industry.
    • Retention of artists in a place has been the most challenging. When you hire an artist, they become one of those people you want to ensure is having an engaged office space. With newer organizations coming up, engaging an artist to stay in a place becomes a task. Hiring women in VFX is also a challenge – but with time, I find that getting better.
    • I find social media, especially LinkedIn to be extremely informative on new technologies that come up. While these are not a major forte for me, there have been times when I sit with the training team to learn what the artists are learning too.
    • Training meetings have always worked for me. When it comes to a team, there is nothing like learning something new together that would bind the team closer.
    • The ability to be able to get people to understand what is expected out of them and why you want them on board while also not forcing them to do anything usually gets my game going.
    Sai Brindha

    Sai Brindha – Assistant Manager HR, PhantomFX(Chennai)

    • I am working as an HR Assistant Manager at PhantomFx, a leading visual effects company known for its exceptional work in the film industry. I have been an integral part of the company, contributing to its success and growth.
    • As a woman working in the visual effects industry, I have faced many challenges and obstacles. However, my dedication and passion for my work have helped me to overcome these challenges and emerge as a successful HR professional.
    • I have been instrumental in bringing in more women and people from diverse backgrounds into the company and have also worked towards creating a safe and supportive work environment for everyone.
    • Apart from my HR responsibilities, I have also been involved in several company initiatives aimed at promoting women in the visual effects industry. I have been a mentor to many young women who are just starting out in the industry and have also been actively involved in organizing workshops and training programs to help women develop their skills and advance their careers.
    • My contribution towards creating a more inclusive and diverse workplace has not only benefited the company but has also helped pave the way for more women to succeed in the industry.
    Shobana S

    Shobana S, Marketing, PhantomFX(Chennai)

    • As a Marketing Professional, working in a booming industry like VFX and Animation is a great opportunity to explore new arenas of digital marketing. Though this is a lesser-known and sought-after domain, it holds lots of potential to explore new trends and put marketing strategies to use. 
    • Working at PhantomFX has been a rewarding experience as I could strike the right balance between digital marketing and the creative side of the business. The work culture at PhantomFX is awesome and facilitates a good work-life balance and the team is really supportive.
    • The initial learning curve was a challenging part as I need to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to understand and work with the technical side of the VFX industry. 
    • After 8 years of working as a professional in the VFX industry, this is a space where I can learn a lot about the upcoming trends in the industry and use my marketing and communication skills to work my way up the ladder.

    Thank you all for your Great time with us and to share your experience on behalf of Vfxexpress we wish Happy International Women’s Day! Today we celebrate the remarkable achievements of women throughout history and around the world. We honor the women who have fought for gender equality and paved the way for future generations, and we commit to continuing this important work.

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