As we've all been living (and navigating) these difficult past few months thanks to COVID-19, we wanted to reach out to our incredible featured profiles to find out what they've been up to, their thoughts on the industry and how they've actively shifted their business during this time.
Each week, we'll share a different interview with an incredible production professional in a series we're coining,
The COVID Chronicles: Working Through a Pandemic. Our first interview features Charlie Breakiron, CG Artist and Owner of BREAKIRON® Animation&Design
PH: Can you tell us a little about the work you do / your company?
Charlie Breakiron: BREAKIRON® Animation&Design, serves production houses, filmmakers, directors and end clients using a well-rounded, highly skilled team of some of the best animation, visual effects and 3D graphics specialists in the business. Fast and efficient when it comes to quick-turnaround projects, BREAKIRON brings innovative ideas, flexibility and a positive attitude to every engagement.
PH: Are you continuing to work on any projects? What are they?
Charlie Breakiron: Fortunately, we had just wrapped on a large project prior to the pandemic hitting. At the moment it's slow, so I've used this time for system maintenance and software upgrades. We are also working on our social media presence, our website, linked-in and Facebook pages are among the top.
PH: How has your day to day changed?
Charlie Breakiron: I'm getting more sleep these days. At first, it was an [oh, crap] moment. After a week or so, I realized there was absolutely nothing I could do to change the tides. So, I went with it and honestly, nothing is different except my blood pressure is back to normal.
PH: How does live streaming take on new meaning during this time?
Charlie Breakiron: My previous jobs had me traveling A LOT, a strain on family life. I have always been a fan of working remotely. I started the company in 2001 on a freelance basis. In 2007, incorporated and became BREAKIRON® Animation&Design, LLC., all the while working remotely across the country. At first the evolving internet made things a little problematic, but now it has been much faster and more stable. I tell clients with web conferencing and screen sharing it's like we are in the next room.
PH: What new trends have you seen emerging?
Charlie Breakiron: Software has been switching to subscription rather than ownership. This allows for more flexibility in obtaining software on a job by job basis; thereby keeping the overhead manageable during these trying times. Online project management and file share software is becoming more abundant allowing better integration with artists and clients.
PH: How have you been actively supporting the community and industry during this time?
Charlie Breakiron: Hiring local talent for jobs rather than taking the work offshore. I mean, the attraction is certainly there if you are able to work across the country, why not work remotely to another country for less, right? The fact is there is plenty of artist's right here that benefit from even the smallest of jobs. We have an abundance of highly skilled artists (looking for work) and I aim to keep hiring them.
PH: In your opinion, what will the future of the industry look like? How will it evolve?
Charlie Breakiron: Change, the only constant... We are ever evolving and that's not a bad thing. If we didn't, life would get pretty boring. Work is being done differently for sure. Look at it like this, artists used to be sharks wanting to take a big bite out of a project, do it all. Now, it's more like piranha with multiple artists each taking a task aka bite and moving on. The job still gets done and for the most part faster and better with collective minds. Weird, but computers are working in the same way. Take rendering for instance, little repetitive bites instead of taxing the hardware.
PH: Where can we find you on social?
Charlie Breakiron: We are on Linked-in, Facebook, Twitter and our website. I know there is Instagram and host of others, but we simply cannot keep up to all of the trends. Currently, they are being evaluated and updated.
PH: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Charlie Breakiron: I am thankful of the Payroll Protection Program, SBA Disaster Loan Assistance and the stimulus checks. It has allowed us to focus and not panic under pressure. We know it is only meant as a band-aide until work picks up (and it will). We have been non-stop with RFP's, when things settle and economy loosens I am bracing for a Tsunami of 4th quarter activity.