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Danny
Guest speaker
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senior

VFX / Animation at OutpostVFX
Q&A

Q: What is your job and what does your typical day involve?

A: As Managing Director I'm part of the management team, overseeing production, new business, finance and also creatively feeding back on work in production. My role is both client facing in and inwardly nurturing, often focused on being sure the team are happy and engaged in the work they're doing.

Q: How did you decide that you wanted to be a part of your industry?

A: When I was younger I really didn't know what I wanted to do, until one day it dawned on me (almost with a choir of angels!). I knew I was creative and loved art, and have had a passion for film and games since I was very little. However, I'd never really considered how this amazing stuff I saw on screen was actually made. That is, until one day I decided to find out and make sure it's what I did for the rest of my life. So far it seems to be working.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your industry?

A: Diversity. No two days are the same and that's also true of each project. I work with amazing people who are funny, dedicated, creative and into the same things as I am. We talk about films and games that we love (or hate) and it's a great environment with really fantastic challenges to over come every day.

Q: Since starting your job, what's your greatest achievement?

A: When I started out I knew I wanted to make Star Wars. My first job after University was working on Free Radical's version of Star Wars: Battlefront III during which LucasArts approved my concept for an entirely new Star Wars space craft. Since then Star Wars has had a recurring theme in my career, with a number of video games and also with a couple of commercials. Next up is hopefully some feature film work! It'll be a dream come true.

Q: Where were you born, and what made you come to Bournemouth?

A: I was born in Dorchester so Bournemouth was a great location for me to study, not just because of the closeness to home, but because of it's world wide reputation for excellence in animation and digital art. When I graduated, there wasn't a related industry in Bournemouth, meaning I had to move away to find work. Having started a family, I wanted to be closer to home and came back to Dorset. Since then I've been lucky enough to forge a fantastic career here in Bournemouth across both games and VFX. It's a hive of creative talent, with a burgeoning film industry, so I see a great future for graduates of today if they chose to stay in the town.

Q: What do you remember about your first day at your job?

A: My first day here at Outpost meant watching a really emotional film that the rest of the team had just finished working on. Being the new guy my new colleagues turned to me afterwards to find out what I thought and I was pretty choked up. With a lump in my throat, all I could manage was to say '....pretty good'. Instead of 'Wow, I'm completely blown away. What an amazing film.' All the while thinking they must all have thought the 'new guy is a bit odd!'

Q: When you were a child, what did you want to be?

A: Aside from brief spells where I wanted to be Luke Skywalker, Thor, a Fireman or an Astronaut, I didn't really know. I guess I always knew I was going to be creative though.

Q: When was the last time you learnt something new?

A: Everyday, whether its an easier way of working with spreadsheets or whether its how to relate to clients / employees with respect. There's always something new to learn that helps us to develop.

Q: What was your first job?

A: Environment Artist at Free Radical Design, making a Rebellion era Troop transport akin to the LA-AT, and also spending much of my time geeking out at amazing Star Wars concept art.

Q: How are your company's Christmas parties?

A: Great fun. We try and do something different every year, whether it's something adventurous outdoors, or just a really great meal with plenty of cocktails.

Q: What was the best advice somebody gave you?

A: Don't be a d*ck. It's crass but it means, be the good guy! Make sure that whoever you speak to you give them all of your attention. Ensure everything you do you, do to the best of your ability. Everything else will fall into place, especially if you take a chance and reach for what seems to be impossible.

Q: What would you name the autobiography of your life?

A: 'Star Wars and me'. Or Maybe, 'The Last Star Fighter is better than Star Wars, and other playground fights from the 1980s'.

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Danny Duke
Danny Duke interview