With approximately 30 shows and movies this year between Montreal and Toronto, including Shazam!, Ad Astra, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, MR. X continues to grow as an award-winning visual effects studio that thrives on crafting creative solutions to seemingly impossible scripted moments in film and television. To accommodate this growth, MR. X has expanded its studio in Montreal, Canada, completing four bases around the world (Toronto, Montreal, Bangalore, Los Angeles).
(WATCH: MR. X 2019 Demo Reel)
As part of marking the opening of a new studio, The Focus will be hosting a Meet and Greet event in Montreal, where the studio’s team leaders can talk about current projects and what’s to come.
Ahead of that event, The Focus spoke to Becca Donohoe, the Head of Production at MR. X Montreal, and Mike DiCarlo, VFX Producer for MR. X, for more insight into the new studio.
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The Focus: The MR. X studio in Montreal is organizing a Meet and Greet on August 14th for artists to get an insight into life at the VFX studio. Can you tell us more about the event and why artists should drop by?
Becca: The event is an informal way for people to stop by and find out who MR. X is and what we have to offer. Many of our leads, managers and long-timers will be there, so it’s a great way to get a quick snapshot of the company as a whole. This event will be held at The Focus since half of our new studio is still under construction. Open house to come in the future!
TF: Is there any difference between the studio in Montreal and Toronto?
Becca: For me, the only difference is that the studio here in Montreal is currently smaller than Toronto. When I first started at Mr. X 10 years ago, we were 60 people in the studio, which is about the same size that we are here. It’s nice for me because it’s like going back to the beginning of my time with Mr. X. I really appreciate being able to walk around and say good morning to everybody in one or two minutes. Crew size aside, we’re always trying to make sure that there’s a cohesiveness between the studios and it works. Here, the studio functions in the same way as in Toronto.
Mike: I came to Montreal because I like the city, but we have the same culture here and the same approach to our work, clients and crew as we do in Toronto.
TF: What do you think makes MR. X stand out compared to other VFX studios?
Mike: We are a small team which offers high quality effects — and this stands up against anything that anyone else is doing right now. We might do two or three hundred shots on a show instead of two or three thousand.
Becca: We truly feel part of the filmmaking process. The whole crew is encouraged to understand and embrace the vision of our clients. We read scripts, research, watch previous or original seasons, take field trips and we even play video games if it will help us understand the story we’re telling! Everyone’s ideas and input are valued — we can all have a big impact on what appears on the screen. MR. X is also a place you can grow. We value our team and we always strive to create an environment where people feel valued and creatively fulfilled. We don’t offer specific projects — we focus instead on building a successful, productive team who can learn and grow together long-term.
TF: What would you say are the qualities you value most in team members?
Becca: Care — genuine care for the work, the team, the clients. An eagerness to learn and grow, and help others do the same. A positive attitude and energy.
TF: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the VFX industry?
Mike: Be open minded and learn things as you go. The people who I most enjoy working with are the ones who aren’t afraid to learn something new.
Becca: Be someone who people want to work with — be punctual, have a positive attitude and sense of responsibility and care.– thefocus.com
To attend the Meet and Greet on August 14th, sign up through this Google form: http://bit.ly/MrXMontreal. An e-mail confirming your attendance and the venue address will be sent one day before the event.
These interviews have been lightly edited for clarity.