Sebastien Moreau President – Rodeo FX
An exclusive interview with Sebastien Moreau
President, Rodeo FX
Visual effects studio Rodeo FX was incorporated in 2006 by Sebastien Moreau and has now recently announced it’s expansion by opening a new office in Munich, Germany. This is a first chapter on European territory for the company. This new facility, located in the heart of the city, represents not only a gateway to a specialized European workforce, but also the Montreal-based company’s first foray in a promising European market.
This new Rodeo FX Studio under the supervision of Sebastien Moreau shall be managed by Thomas Hullin – Head of Studio Julie Kubbillun – VFX Producer.
Thank-you Sebastien, for taking the time to answer a Direct 10 from your super busy schedule and for joining us. I’ll start with a question.
What shall be the employee strength of the Studio & what type of work are you planning to execute from Munich studio?
Our new production studio is our first foray into Europe, which we’re developing with a long-term vision for this market and for continued growth internationally. The location of this Munich studio gives us access to a wide pool of talent in visual effects, making this decision even more strategic for us. We are aiming to build a team of 20 to 30 in the next year.
Can you share your experience of how and when did you start your career in this VFX industry?
I started my career in 1993 as online editor doing Music Videos and Commercials on the night shift at Buzz. I then had the opportunity to work with Discreet Logic’s — at the time newly released — Flame, and built my reputation as a Flame/Inferno Artist. I continued my career with positions at Hybride, ILM and Weta.
When did you decide to commence Rodeo FX in Montreal & how was the journey to establish it?
It had always been my dream to have my own studio. Often daydreaming about it with close industry friends, until one day I had an opportunity. A friend from ILM became a Director and asked me to recommend someone to do work for him out of Montreal. I saw my chance and told him that I was in the process of opening a small VFX Boutique, which was not actually the case yet, but this opportunity gave me the kick to make it happen. That’s how I started Rodeo FX in Montreal in 2006, in the basement of the building where we are today.
I convinced a good friend, Mathieu Raynaud, to jump in with me in this venture and we hired a common friend from ILM as our Producer. We started Rodeo FX with a team of three: a great Matte Painter, a great Flame artist and an amazing producer, Nina Fallon.
As we were all veterans of ILM, we were able to secure work from ILM, and we slowly grew from 3 to 8, to 12 …. to 420 artists today, based in Montreal, Quebec City, Los Angeles, and Munich.
“For Rodeo FX, Munich is a major hub for the visual effects market in Europe. The new studio will allow us to expand our production capacity, as well as our business development in the European market”
Sébastien Moreau President Rodeo FX
How Rodeo VFX Studio is different from the established players in the market like ILM, Weta and others?
Having worked at ILM and Weta, I have great respect for these companies and draw inspiration from them. We share the same big ambitions, but we are different in our culture and our way of seeing things beyond just the VFX industry.
We invested a lot in Shotgun database, we did program much more than what SG offer out of the box. So, we became pretty good at handling many projects at the same time.
Which is most challenging project till date Rodeo FX has done & how was it handled?
Game of thrones season 7 (Wall destruction)
These scenes had complex VFX work of which we are very proud of. At Rodeo FX, we like to take challenges and create every tool needed to make it happen.
Fantastic Beasts (reconstruction)
Majority of the VFX Studios today are established as a creature specialist or some as a crowd or with some other specialty, will Rodeo FX also establish itself in some special category?
When we were starting out, it made sense to have a focus. We started with Environment (Matte Painting) and Compositing. As we’ve grown, we’ve developed our expertise in FX (Houdini) and we are now servicing every aspect of VFX.
Can you share your initial days experience at Rodeo FX & how did Rodeo FX got its first big project and your cliental approach?
Our first break was our work on Journey to the Center of the Earth, along with work from ILM on other shows. Early on we also secured work on Golden Compass.
For the Year 2018 Rodeo FX has worked on 8 Films out of the 20 Films shortlisted for Oscar. Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Kong: Skull Island and Blade Runner 2049 are now nominated in the best visual effects category and Rodeo FX provided VFX work on all three that’s a great achievement for any Studio, how do you feel about it?
We are very proud to have 8 films in longlist and now 3 films nominated for Best visual effect.
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We are particularly thrilled about Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets making the shortlist as our VFX Supervisor, Francois Dumoulin, got to be on stage in from the of the jury of the Academy Awards for the bake-off.
I’m also personally excited for Blade Runner 2049, as I worked as VFX Supervisor for Rodeo FX on this film.
How has your VFX Artist background helped you in being a President & Founding Member at Rodeo FX Studio today?
Yes, I am a VFX Artist, and I’ve been a Compositor for years. My deep understanding of every part of the industry helps taking well-informed decision, but it also means that like the 400 artists at Rodeo, I’m obsessed with details, completely immersed in my work and relentless when it comes to getting the job done just right.
Lastly please share some great piece of advice of someone who wants to be employed/associated with Rodeo FX Studio either in Montreal or Munich?
We like artists with an attitude. The show must go on and we need a team that will create the highest quality possible in tight deadlines. To thrive at Rodeo FX, you need to be able to deliver your best work fast. I think that a great way to know if Rodeo FX is a good fit, is to see if our core values — Efficiency, Enthusiasm and Caring — resonate with you.