January 26, 2024

Aaron Gordon on Optic Sky: Pioneering AR/VR in Modern Production

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Welcome to another episode of On Production. Today we're fortunate to have Aaron Gordon, the executive producer and founder of Optics Sky Productions with us. Optic Sky is doing some truly innovative work in the realm of production, VR, AR motion graphics and 3D digital assets. Let's dive in. Aaron, how are you, man? 


I'm awesome, man. How are you doing?


I'm doing great. It's really nice to have you on production to share a bit about your journey and kind of how you are thinking about production as it's evolving very, very quickly. To start, could you share a bit about your professional journey and what led to founding Optic Sky productions? 


I can, yeah, so I, right after college, I did a stint in features as a DIT. And I'd always loved commercials, I'd really at the time wanting to move more into shooting. But I just kind of was always the guy that kind of made it happen, you know, just a make-it-happen type of guy. And so I was in all these features of CIT, you get as a DIT, the craziest requests, because you're the guy at the, you know, at the computer all day, while everyone else is running like a billion calories. And we kind of had moved in, I bought a couple of friends on because they wanted on some edits they wanted, you know, a lot of grading. And weirdly enough, we kind of almost started in editing features and doing posts on features from there on the indie scene. But I had always loved commercials and I had mostly been in New York City for all these features, I'd come back to Western New York. And luckily, because of a mentor of mine, who was a professor at RT when I was there, he was kind of retired. And he started to just randomly say, hey, if I could pass you a couple of clients, like, Would you would you be down? I was like, short, you know, not really knowing at all what that entailed. And he did, and gave us a really cool kind of regional opportunity. But very quickly what became apparent to me, as I then, of course, did my due diligence and started researching all of like Western New York Region and, and kind of beyond was, you know, in New York State outside of New York City, there was no larger form production companies, there was no, no one kind of pushing the edge here. And it was a pretty insular region, where a lot of the agencies here weren't really kind of going out. So a lot of the larger production companies outside of the region. So I kind of had this moment where I was like, Oh, I really want to do commercials doing a lot of features, we have a little bit of revenue coming in because of posts on features. Could we really make a stink here? And more than anything, could we kind of push what I felt like was the region was a little bit stuck in the 90s. And I was like, can we push it to some modern, you know, creative quality. And that's what we set out to do. And kind of very quickly, we got there faster than we thought. And then, you know, one day I turned to the team. And I was like, Okay, guys, national time, like how do we, you know, make a much larger national image. But by the time we had done that, what's really cool about how we had evolved and kind of always learning as we go. This was around the time and

a lot of new technologies were coming out. So we were like, Let's hit the national scene. But we were always a big fan of R&D, kind of pushing the edges trying new things. And so we had really kind of gotten into our hands on the really random stuff through experiential. And we really were pursuing at that point, augmented reality and virtual reality, we kind of formalize that we're like, well, let's, you know, let's actually make this an offering. And then as things have evolved, a lot of those technologies formed around the same tech stack. So we already put all the money in the effort into diving that. And so while we're doing production, and while we've gotten, you know, really into the national scene, doing larger, awesome, scripted productions, we got heavily involved in AR/VR, and then all of a sudden, kind of the newest evolution of virtual production comes along. And so we really dove really quickly into virtual production because it uses the Unreal engine the same as we're using for augmented reality and virtual reality. And that really kind of solidified our journey into what we are now, which is a company that pursues any type of motion. While I think bringing to a lot of our partners, a lot of our clients, this kind of thought process of like, well, most 3D digital assets are transferable. So if you're doing a production with some sort of virtual background, are you using that real estate, on your digital experiences are using that real estate here using it here? Because it has never been more transferable? And it is today and so people are really able to scale creative in a very different way than they have before. So that's kind of what brought us to where we are today. 


That's super fascinating. I mean, so, you know, it sounded like you had this onset experience of dealing with large, you know, tranches of data that turned you kind of your interest into kind of classic post production services, but it's really evolved. I mean, how long have you been in this business yourself? And then how long has Optic Sky been around? 


Yeah, so I really started freelancing, even when I was a student in college, but but Optic Sky itself as a company has been around for nine years either I've been doing it over a decade, 


how have you seen? What are the biggest changes you've seen in the last nine years in terms of your production operation from, like, practical work moving into this really like, digital space? Like? I'm very curious, like how it's evolving in terms of your clients, and then what you're also delivering at the end of the day? That's a great question. 


And it's almost a loaded one, because I think it depends on what angle we take it from. And I always will indulge any of the angles, I think there's kind of three facets of how it's evolved in the way I look at it. The creative asks of all, you know, I think you get a lot of people who say like, oh, you know, productions are getting smaller, or like people, you know, don't want as much traditional production. And I'd say, that's totally not true. I think production is very alive. And well. And I think that it's evolved in a really, really killer way, actually, recently, you know, but a lot of the classic venues have changed. At the same time, though, what I found is, you know, we had

started at the time when broadcast buys were really kind of shifting into taking online seriously. Hey, Aaron, I 


mean, that's super awesome. Your background, you know, coming from production, building a production company, and really kind of going on this journey from practical production, to now where it's evolving so quickly, between web three and AR and VR and digital experiences and meta versus I'm curious, can you walk us through a typical production process at optics sky? 

Like, what do you believe sets your production work apart from others in the industry? 


It's a great, great question, trying to figure out the best way to answer it, because I almost can take very little credit for this. So our Head of Production, Matt O'Neill, he's a total Sharpshooter. And I think one thing that he helped us realize several years back was project management, across any medium is something that we actually see as a weakness in production. Most of the time, I think we take it for granted that productions manage well. But we're an industry that works a lot like construction, you haven't affirmed in upfront budget, your success is defined by did you make the building that you set out to make that look good, but also that you come under budget? And did you make sure there's no like, you know, injuries along the way, right. And so, for us, when we started moving to other mediums, we realized that like that, that has to translate across other projects, we need the project to manage the way. So actually, what we did was he had the whole team train up on traditional project management, and some non traditional project management, and part of our process, having come from kind of mixing it up as we went at the beginning of the stages, right? And not necessarily saying like, from day one, being young kids, we weren't like, oh, we know, AICPA, we know, we really grew into that. And we really grew into the national scene and doing the million dollar productions and doing, you know, the half million dollar productions that somehow are the same side with the million dollar productions, right. And what we really found was managing client expectations by being a true partner and getting them what they actually want, is kind of what actually sets us apart. And the way I say that is for a reason. You know, I think some people will argue, you know, clients never know what they want, and like, no clients know exactly what they want. Most of the time, they are really good at knowing what they want. And they're at least good at knowing what they're tasked with. But production, like construction, is such a huge undertaking, that what they don't have time for is to worry about all the minutiae of how to get there. And I think that, you know, a lot of people think that they can pride themselves on being a little bit like, you know, shepherding clients through and doing that. But I think there is a nuance to it, that we figured out a long time ago, which was, if you really treat it like traditional project management, it's not about trying to overly please a client for what you think they want. It's about really setting up great expectations up front, in setting, but the key performance metrics are the project, so that you can actually give them what they really do want. And a good example of this kind of a contrast I can give is, we've gotten to some, like traditional agency bids, and the agency's prerogative is to make it awesome and creative. But what we're hearing in the calls is like, wow, the client wants it if the client wants to do that, like it's gonna be okay. Like, we'll figure it out. And we're going to like, well, our assumption is you want to make this amazing, or assumption that the client wants something

amazing. But what we're hearing in the call is that you're kind of willing to settle and we need to, like, have this conversation upfront of what are the non-negotiables, what are the settling points, and what are the points that need to be amazing? We want it to be totally amazing. We also understand that your budget just got slashed in half, for example. So let's as partners have the Creative Conversation what's going to change on the credos to make what we actually you know, execute on amazing and it sounds as simple a lot of companies go like, Oh, yeah, obviously, like that's what you do, but I think a lot of people Well, somewhere in that process kind of backed down in a weird way, or they shut down, and they don't aggressively having those conversations up front. And then what ends up happening is every step of the way, during pre production, there's this dilution that goes on. And so I think, you know, all that to be said, we try to make sure it's run really well. So, we come out with an amazing credit, but it's something that we know and can put our signature on, even though we don't, the media buyer is gonna get results based on what the actual media ask for. And see, we treat our vendors really, really well. And the only way to do all three of those things is the product manage the absolute heck out of a, out of a project, and to have a scalable solution. And I think this is where, like, even the tech stack makes a big difference, like, right, like a shameless plug for Wrapbook. But you know, a lot of people want to have this amazing production management system across all their productions across all the deliverables. But they're hiring producers, freelance that have different processes. And you know, unless you have that book in that Bible, this is exactly how we need every production to be run. And here's what we lay down. And a lot of those are very executional. You know, most of the companies like, you know, the smugglers of the world and other major companies have been long since established, you know, those processes, and we followed in their footsteps, a lot of midsize a smaller production companies don't go through the process, because they think they have to have three offices or a global presence to get to that point. And my argument is that if you don't, if you start from that standpoint, from everything to how you manage the clients, how you hire, how you, you know, structure, the PIO to what your tech stack is, then you'll actually scale faster. And then one day, you're gonna look back. And, you know, thankfully, we did that. And so I think that's one thing. And I think the other thing, too, is, because we've put so much time, effort and money into new technologies and new types of work, you know, we have a lot of opportunity to say, Hey, this is amazing, we noticed that you're also doing this across these mediums, you know, we can we can be a partner in that too. And maybe not this product, but the next project, you know, think of us. And so we become for clients a little bit more than just a singular vendor for a singular purpose. Um, and I think that helps a lot. And you know, agencies appreciate that clients appreciate that a light is pretty good for us. 


That's awesome. Aaron, I mean, so it's not just a kind of classic production operation. Like it sounds like you've built the foundation from kind of classic commercial production work, but now you are repositioning or you're positioning your business to really be a production company focused on motion around 3d digital assets, VR, AR, can you kind of, like, help us understand how you have dived headfirst into this world? And, and what influenced the decision and how this is playing into your overall production strategy at Optic Sky?


Yeah, it's really funny. Like, I think, streaming system words. You know, like, I'll just be the first. I'm just a total nerd man. Yeah, like, I just, you know, I just, I just love this stuff. But originally when I first went to college, back in the days where for film school, I came there to be an animator, and I always had a sick love for animation. But my best friend, who I still am, we're still best friends, and still actually work together all the time, which is great. You know, I was in love with the camera. And so I actually fell in love with the camera because we wanted to collaborate all the time. And, and so how we fell into these technologies was originally like, I just, we had, we were doing post, we're doing animation, we were doing live action production. And someone told me, they're like, Hey, have you seen this be short, you know, and like, you know, this is gonna be really cool. And at the time, I mean, if you think about like, four or five years ago, VR kind of had this like moment where people were like, wait a minute, like, this is going to be the next thing again, you know, like, it's, it's kind of had those moments for the last 30 years, but off and on, but it kind of had this like resurgence again, where I think clients are trying to find different ways to do experiences. And this is pre COVID. So hygiene wasn't as much of an issue of wearing a headset in public, right? So a lot of these like, public experiential things, were kind of moving into this VR space. And so we were like, well, let's, let's dive more into VR. Like, that was our thing. Like we can create narratives in VR, we can have directors work with us to create some dope narratives, we can do some cool experiential stuff. And you know, our 3d animators could, you know, in our roster of extension, could all participate in creating assets for that. And that kind of set the stage for like, where we are today, like all the way back then it was like, we were like, they can create assets for that. And it felt like it was not a whole new offering. It was like an extension of an offering with a little bit of a little bit of a new tick, right? 


What were your first projects and kind of building these sorts of stories in these virtual worlds? 


Well, that's the funny part is like you dive into something thinking you're to walk out with what you expect to walk out with, but we we kind of didn't we we immediately hired because our great relationship with alrighty and Rochester you And just the amazing talent comes out of there, we immediately hired two incredible artists out there that were both kind of a film, they had this amazing VR film as their thesis. And we were like, We're gonna create a narrative, but our client tells us commercials, right? And so, you know, at first I was like, this will just be kind of like an r&d budget. And we'll just do that. But what ended up happening was, we had clients ask me what's what's, what's the utility of this? And so we actually ended up starting to create utilitarian uses for it. So instead of printing the shorts, we actually like, well, what if it was this? Or what if it was that like, what if? What if you could experience that and achieve that? And so we ended up creating, like, a lot of like, use cases for VR, that actually were more applicable to clients, because it was something that was actually usable, it wasn't just like, well, that's cool, someone's gonna watch that, and then they're done with it, it was like, hey, like this is I can train someone to do this, like a totally new way or this, I can do this, like really fun experience, but actually, what they're getting out of is this educational value here. And, and so some of those first products were like everything from like, training modules that were like, really gamified,

almost like, you know, like DDR style types of training for like, really cool physical things that people need to do to, we created for like, some museums, like interactive, instead of like, totally VR, we created some first VR based interactive exhibits, you know, like for dinosaurs, and like other cool things. And then that actually kind of moved quickly into kind of where we lead, ar, and then kind of virtual production and some of his other offerings, which was, wait a minute, COVID hit, you know, no one wants to touch someone else's anything. Can you create touchless interactions? Can you create interactions that, you know, use the same engine and all these assets that we're creating? And can you do something that's in front of somebody, but they don't have to physically touch it? And that's when we really pushed AR hard. And that's when we pushed I think some of using aspects of VR in either more like projection or LED and all those types of things. So it was kind of like a weird button long journey that took us from point A to B. 


You've mentioned a few times like the power of creating these digital assets for your clients and those being able to be deployed and utilized in all different types of mediums, whether that's AR VR, classic distribution models. I'm curious, have you all been thinking about web three and digital ownership? I'm curious how that's kind of playing into your work if at all? 


Yeah, it's a great question. We have an In fact, it's funny we got into even before it's called Web three, like we got into blockchain technology like 2017. I mean, we had so many direct tech clients at the time. We were at every blockchain conference, you can imagine. And I've ever, I tell this story all the time, if you want to set the scene for like, what blockchain was for people in 2017, like, this conference, one time this guy gets up and start the whole conference, he was like, hey, and one loved conference, like, here's our first panel the day, just to start it off, you know, here's the first question like, I think we can all agree in here, one's like, 2050. And like, half of our governments have collapse, because they, you know, they aren't the strongest economy anymore, because it's global, decentralized economies, you know, like that, this and this, and this can happen, and I just remember being there, but like, what is even in me, like, take a step back, this guy just say, like, you know, governments are going to collapse because of decentralized, you know, of currency. And, you know, the scene was wild back then. But the technology behind the scene, and how it's kind of translated to web three here with the ownership thing was always to make sure that it was super transparent. And that, you know, the Walmart case studies, my favorite, where it used to take him three hours to up to a day to figure out where food contamination is actually using block chain technology takes them three minutes to figure out where food contamination they're in their supply chain is, right. So it's an amazingly fast and transparent technology, which is awesome. And so people then started talking about ownership of digital assets, because of how good this technology was, right? Here's the problem. And why we haven't as a company made an offering that gets us into it, as much as just keep our eye on it. The problem is that if you were original content company, and you want to capitalize on that, you need to keep your eye on not only on the content that you're creating, but on the technology because every other day, a platform that was considered safe, that a platform that is trying to hold your interest and rights in something fails. And then all that's gone,

despite who's interested is and another platform opens up. And our whole thing was for it to be an offering for us because we work with clients. And we're not just an original content company that just distributes ourselves, we have to be able to recommend a new client with pure confidence in liability, and everything that like yeah, we're gonna create this thing and you guys are gonna own this among these platforms, and no one's gonna be able to mess with your usage. And then the next day that platform is not going to crumble. And I think we're at a very interesting, stable, unstable time. Still with web three. And you see a lot of brands that are investing heavy amounts of money into the web through real estate, and all these other things. And I think it's amazing. And they should be doing that. But if you ask any of them, it's still r&d. It's not, you know, like minus live concerts and like some experiential events where they're really making money off of it. Most of this is like a very small r&d budget for them, because they're still testing it out. However, what we have invested in is the concept that is behind web three, which is that to your point, like, what is the glue that brings all these things together? 3d digital assets, and we're happy to create that for other people, and let them do the r&d on like, what the usage is of that, to make sure that they're getting there successfully r&d and and like, you know, getting into the space. But we're not at the moment, going, Hey, here's the route you should take to create this, this, this and this, we don't want to define that for them. Because I think for every brand, we're seeing publicly that some brands are tanking that effort. And some brands are doing it, they're killing it. Right. And for us, we want to be able to guarantee results, if we're saying with confidence that we're going to do this for you. And this is how it's going to work. 


That makes a lot of sense. So Aaron, we've spoken very broadly about this kind of classic production, the evolution of practical productions into this kind of new digital world that we're going into, can you tell us about one of your favorite projects you've worked on at Optic Sky? And what makes it stand out for you? 


In traditional production, one comes to mind still to date, because it's before what we would do today, if we were to do this the Wegmans meals to go project is called layer. And it was when they just first introduced their meals to go offering. And the reason we loved it was it was a funny Comedy Spot. It was great if you know, the idea behind it was an astronaut, like, you know, totally like perfectly replica lands on the moon with like the classic lunar lander. And then it just reveals that there's just like an alien in front of him. And then it turns out, all he was doing was just delivering his Wegmans meals to go to him and they know each other. And like, it was just a fun spot, right classic, like comedy dialogue, but we loved about the spot was, we practically recreated the pit, we did 5000 square feet of Moon service, we recreated to a accurate percentage of scale, the winner lender, we use the same suit Ryan Gosling was in for his his classic movies, or you know, of land for Sunday on the moon. And like, you know, like we got to do, we got to do the whole thing. And we did very little post, you know, we had blocked up the whole studio around it. And all we did was that little, little atmosphere and a little Earth. And we even mean, literally, like I said, I'm a nerd. Even down to like the gaffer did the calculations like point lighting from a sun, right, like we did like everything to try to make it you know, as accurate within a small studio as you could, right. But what I love about that project today, is that

I can think of seven different ways we could have executed on that probably now. And I don't know if I would have done it differently. But I love that there was only one way to do this, that was that it made sense for the budget. Today for that same budget, we could have done three different bids. And we could have thought of three different ways. And each one has advantages we could have done in virtual production, we could have done it in a giant LED studio, we could have done it the way we did it where we blacked out the whole studio and created the whole surface and, and did a little bit of post we could have done it where we live we're able to kind of green screen carpet and actually see a few things and pick different sections that kind of cop out. But either way the project had such good vibes right. And what we ended up having to do to tackle that project, to quality, was pretty pretty wild within the budget. And so I love that it's like one of my favorite projects. Another one that comes to mind for traditional rock shows is called fruit in the bottom but the idea of the agency is ideal is just awesome. It was fruit on the bottom yogurt, but they wanted to kind of do fake commercials. It's like a fake fashion commercial. So they actually created the jeweled like, like fruit on the bottom like fruit Bejeweled patches for jeans on the boat. And it was just like the whole commercial you think you're watching in the most ridiculous fashion and then it just turns out it's like a total total bait and switch. So there's probably my two favorites there and then I think probably on the digital side. I think one of my favorite project to date was for this band Joy ways very good friends of ours we did the first ever augmented reality solving drop in an interactive way so so like you get these all the time now but we actually did we created this like called Joy wave radio and you could actually tune in there was like an AR filter on social deployed on social and you could actually tune the radio and not only did we drop is when you know Mehta was first had really kind of first on spark AR, you could tune the radio, there's 12 minutes original content on there. So they actually re-recorded the previous song they had dropped and in a totally different, fun way. They had a talk show station that had four minutes of like a talk show that was just making fun of themselves, basically. And then they had the new song drop. And so people had to, like tune it, like use the filter. And then they realized when I tuned it, that they didn't recognize the song. And then they realized that the song dropped, but it was very unbranded for the band, because it's very, you know, very cool and fun and meta. But I think that was my favorite one still today, because they were just so cool, but how did they go about the content? 


That's super awesome. I mean, I'm really curious about your thoughts, Aaron of like, the meta quest, Apple's new vision pro how these types of experiences you think are going to augment or change, or kind of practical production, advertising in these spaces. You know, something that I just love about, as an aside before, you know, giving you space, it's that question, like, I just love about our industry. It feels like it's finally happening, where the very best of technology is really starting to integrate with production. You know, like, I think production has always been a technology, it always has been, it's always been its own kind of corner of the technology landscape versus like Silicon Valley. But like, it really is starting to come together. And you're seeing this from Amazon and Apple, doing production work, but then also building these incredible hardware experiences. And it's all starting to just blend. So curious how you all optic skiers think about these experiences. And I'm also really curious if you know, from there, you

could kind of share your vision of what Optic Sky is becoming, and how you kind of plan to utilize your digital asset creation and services across these different platforms. 


Wow, yeah, what a great question. I could talk all day about this, just FYI. So I will try to keep it brief. Because I probably talked for two days with friends after the apple release. We've been looking forward to this for a long time, you know, being in the VR space, we are pre devs for a lot of companies. So we kind of knew what was coming. And here's what I'll say about production, kind of coming together with these worlds. Everything that we do comes back to what the audience feels. And today the audience interacts with content in such a different way. You know, it used to be that I still love watching trailers before movies, at the theater, and I still go into the theater. But a lot of people have dope home entertainment systems now. And they're at home. And the way they watch trailers is they go to YouTube, the good IMDb, and they watch the trailers there, because they don't need to watch ads or trailers, when they're, you know, at their TV, a lot of those same people are now using, you know, what they call a second screen, where they're interacting with their phone based on the content, they're watching on the TV to your point about really production and kind of moving and merging technologies. All that to say, whether you're on your phone, and you're interacting with an AR filter or technology, whether you're you're in a headset, whether you're at your home theater, or you're at the actual theater, our whole positioning of the sky has has been and is embrace what's changed to do what hasn't, and people want to feel something, you know, they just want to walk away move, they want to feel something, they want to be there, laugh hysterically, they want to shut a really dramatic tear, or they want to you know, they want to get amped up, right. And so I'm with you. I love how productions, I think, are really kind of merging and embracing technology. What's really happening, in my opinion, is that creation is getting merged, not just production, right, but like creation of content is getting merged. So we create a commercial, they go cool, when that commercial is running, we want to have the tech stack now so that we can actually buzz someone's phone. So the deal that we're advertising on that basis, we know that they're on our email list or text list, and that's gonna lead into this cool, interactive thing that they do. And if they do, they win the competition, and they get this like, people are finding ways to gamify life right now. And I think whereas creating video content is a passive experience, you can still really evoke emotion. Everything else right now is a very active experience. And so where I think all this is going with Apple's announcement with some of the quest improvements, and you know, where AR is going is I think it's gonna take longer than we think, for people to get past watching and big screens of unity. Look at Apple's interface for the new, the new, you know, the new goggles is like that you still have squares, the interface is still squares all around you in front of you, because we're not embracing it. The idea that I can walk around in 3D content, and I'm watching a 3D object. I want to watch a screen but within a 3D space, right? I want to watch many of them. I want to be able to move them around and do all that. So we're not past that age yet. But we are in the generation and I think that is literally kids right now. By the time they're grown up. Is going To embrace 3d space in general, and what we have to be ready for when it comes to embracing 3d space, is that the way they visualize data, content, everything is going to be wildly different. And why I keep talking about 3d assets across multiple channels is that I think today, until Apple's goggles are this, this form factor, there's still an escapism. You know,

do I want to? I already hate being in front of my laptop all day, like doing zoom calls. And in typing, I love white, you know, I love walking and being on calls much more than being on that, do I want to have a four or five pound goggle on my head? And and literally be worried about tripping over something that's in front of me, you know, because I'm stuck, you know, not? Maybe, maybe the interface is so good, that is useful, but I'm just like, entertainment content emerging that production technology, what I think we're entering the day and age of is, how do I make my content so relevant on a passively that people will be willing to watch it in a 3d space? And then what extension of that content Am I creating that they can interact with? That makes them want to actually engage with it past that, and I think that everyone's coming to a similar conclusion of how that's going to work. I don't think anyone's nailed it yet. And I think in the next five years or so we're gonna see some kind of nail. And I want to say it's gonna be apple. But there's a little way that we have to go, I think before that, totally nails it. And I know, this is like a long answer. But if I could summarize, like, all of my thoughts with today versus tomorrow, and like, one thought, today, we're evolving, we're using technology to evolve how we create passive content, and merge it with active content. Tomorrow, we're going to be talking, everything's going to be active content, and engagement that we can truly interact with in a 3d space. And it's going to be in a form factor that like we can't even fathom right now, or we can fathom but definitely is nowhere near there yet. And so any production company that thinks that five years from now, someone's just gonna be watching an ad on our television. And that's it. And that's enough to get someone to take a buying action, they're totally gonna be lost in five years. But people that are embracing some of the newer technologies to go, Hey, we know enough about this, to know that maybe while you're running this campaign that we're doing, this might be happening, those people are going to be along the curve. And those that are understanding. When you are in a VR space, and you walk around an object, that object can interact with you. And that object ended up itself as its own real estate ad. Those people are going to be ahead of the curve and in five years, anything. And so that's kind of where we're we're taking him I think that's where I think a lot of people are going to be going, 


Aaron, super helpful. You know, as we wrap up our conversation, I want to ask for your advice, which is, you know, we have listeners out there who are passionate about production, they are so brilliant, and are able to bring crazy ideas to life on screen. For folks that are really curious in the production world of digging into VR, AR motion graphics, 3d digital assets, based on your experience and journey. Like what advice would you give them? Where Should folks be focusing on learning? And what kind of mindset should they have as they navigate this, like, very emergent and very fascinating, sort of next wave of production? 


It's a great question. I mean, you know, take what I say with a grain of salt, because everyone's gonna find their own path, I sure found my own path, despite different pieces of advice. But if I had to give any sort of thought starter, maybe rather than advice, it would be to acquire talent and treat them well, that have a diverse perspective on this, that aren't just another production person trying to get into it, like acquiring the talent that like knows this world. First, our biggest strength as production people is to tell a narrative, that at the end of the day, every single thing

that we create tells a story, whether it's AR filter, VR, you know, even if it's a training engagement, you're still trying to evoke emotion and tell a story. So we should be using, I think anyone should be using our strength as, as production people as storytellers, to merge ourselves with people that are maybe technologically a little bit more geared towards some of these newer deliverables. And that way, it's a win win. We're helping them understand how to tell a story, and they're helping us understand how to embrace technology. I think as long as we can do that, we're gonna keep making people truly feel something. And we're really going to actually, like touch them, not just kind of force technology on them. And the other thing that I would say is anyone who's afraid of you know, on the other hand of what you ask if people are afraid of this, just ask yourself the last time you shot something on green screen. And was that there when he first started? Because green screen wasn't, wasn't, you know, we take it for granted. Now it's everywhere. But the green screen changed for visual effects. You know, we didn't have this all that long ago, right. And so, you know, it seems so scary today, but tomorrow it's gonna seem so normal, and it's gonna be everywhere. And so you know, if for anyone that's afraid to embrace some of these new things, just find someone who's not afraid, because they're probably afraid to touch production. And, you know, as long as it's a mutually beneficial relationship, you know, just find people that take you out of your comfort zone. That's what I, I feel like do every day, just find people that know way better than I do on things that I'm like, Ah, it's scary. 


That's so awesome. So I'm actually kicking off a new tradition to end these on production podcasts, which is, I want to ask guests, who is it that in their career in production really helped them out a lot? You know, for me, in my journey in production, I have found that I became a better producer, and a better creator of stories, based off of just amazing people around me project after project. So I'm curious, I'm sure that there's a number of people, but what's just one person that had an incredible influence on your career as a producer and storyteller? 


Oh, man, that is? That's a great question. I'm trying to man I'm trying to think of just what i There are so many people that have affected me positively my career, like, I, I take so little credit for the amount that I know today, because it's like, usually, somebody else told me this. Goose. But if I'm being honest with you, our head of production, Matt, like, he not only makes me a better person, you know, and I is a dear friend, but like, you know, going all the way back when we talked about earlier, like, I think from the how to make an amazing production standpoint, he changed my whole life. From a storytelling standpoint, I would say, probably Sullivan, who was one of the first directors who worked a lot with, you know, he really saw I think, stories and things that are so mundane, and was like, Oh, my God, there's a whole narrative here, you know, but I think, you know, today I have a whole new set of you know, that's that's the classics, right? But today we have a whole new set of people. I mean, you know, my partners over at synapse as well, you know, the, the new virtual production company that we're opening out in LA, like, there's some of those guys are vets, and I've been around much longer than I have, and those guys are pushing me in ways that I, it's hard to limit the list down to one person, but man, I'll give you a whole a whole bible worth of them, you know.


That's awesome. Aaron. Well, thank you so much for being On Production and sharing a bit of your story. Really appreciate the time. 


Oh, my gosh, I appreciate it as well. Thank you for having me.

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