Victoria Alonso Talks VFX Production, Marvel and The Avengers
VA: If you start looking at the volume that we do, how big these movies are and how many we’re doing, it’s a little overwhelming. So, we just look at the task that we have to cover today for the task that needs to be done tomorrow for that release date. It’s like you eat an elephant the same way that you eat a rabbit. One chew at a time. You just take one bite and then you go at it, and go at it, and go at it, and go at it.
It’s really about making sure that we hit the important marks. Even though we have less time - which I’m not a proponent of by the way - I don’t go into these meetings and say, “Sure, take this time off!” You look at the variables and the reasons why you are reducing the post schedule. Sometimes there are actor conflicts - all of our actors work in movies all the time. So, if a movie goes long and we need to get that person at this time, but their movie has gone long, then we have to start pushing things. Then the location may not be ready or we can’t get that permit or it can’t be built in time.
You consistently are juggling in all of these productions. The script may not be ready. We don’t want to get started if we don’t have something that is pseudo-solid. The script is hardly 100% ready on any of these films when you go [start]. So it’s the juggle dance, you know sometimes it just means there are more 20 hour days. I wish that would change but I’m not sure it will.
DS: You’re working with VFX studios all over the world. Do you ever wonder if the deal you’ve cut with a studio, or the specifics of what and when they have to deliver, has put so much pressure on them that is jeopardizes the quality of the work?
VA: You rely on the honesty and trust that you build with these facilities, and if they don’t have it because they haven’t worked with you before, hopefully they’ve done their homework on who they’re working with and they realize that that’s the only way to get through on very tight and important deadlines. If you don’t have that trust and if you don’t have that honesty, then you will fail. I have found that the best way is to open the communication to those folks. They don’t know or they don’t think that I want to hear what the reasons are or why or when. But I do. My responsibility is to be in the know of why and when, if these facilities are having any issues.
I can say up to today we’ve been able to keep the communication open. When people do encounter issues, sometimes they want to fix it before they tell you. I'd rather hear it and then be in the process of fixing it, so then we can anticipate. If you don’t know, then you go into that black hole of, “What happened,” and that’s a very scary place to be as a producer. You have no control. Or, you are flying high and all of a sudden you’re coming down and you’re like, “What? Nobody told me the engines are coming down!” It’s really hard to anticipate, but we’ve been so far very lucky.
DS: How do you see technology helping you make better films, whether it’s just to enable more creativity or whether it’s to do it quicker? How do you see technology playing a key role in what you do?