VFX: 'Priest'
Issue: May 1, 2011

VFX: 'Priest'

Jenny Fulle, formerly of Sony Pictures ImageWorks and now head of her own company, The Creative-Cartel, was visual effects producer on Sony Pictures’ Priest. Here, she shares her experiences on the film.

POST: Tell us a little about The Creative-Cartel?

JENNY FULLE: “The Creative-Cartel (www.thecreative-cartel.com) is company that focuses on the management and infrastructure for production of visual effects on feature films. You can almost think of it as a sort of a visual effects department for hire. Big studio tent-pole effects movies can afford to pay top dollar to hire experienced VFX department heads to assemble, manage the budget and schedule the teams for large VFX films. Shows with more modest budgets (but similar in creative aspirations) generally don’t have that luxury. Our service offers affordable to more modestly budgeted films.”

POST: You have been in visual effects for over 30 year, how have your past relationships and experiences helped you now that you are out on your own?

FULLE: “My relationships and the experience that I have acquired over 30 year in the VFX business have absolutely served me well in starting up my own company. Since my model is a new one — we are the only company I know of set up in this way — my reputation has definitely helped establish my credibility and given my company the benefit of any doubt.”

POST: What are the advantages of the way you are working?

FULLE : “The advantage filmmakers have in working with The Creative-Cartel is that they benefit from our strong knowledge of visual effects companies and individuals around the world. Our strong relationships with visual effects companies allows us to get the best team at the best price, based on the needs of the show.”

POST: What did you do on Priest?

FULLE : “I handled the day to day VFX management for Priest. Together with Eric Torres, my amazing production manager, we oversaw the VFX production aspects through shooting and post.”

POST: How is your role different from the visual effects supervisor? How closely did you work with the VFX supervisor?

FULLE: “The relationship between the VFX supervisor and the VFX producer is very similar to that of a director and producer. It's my job to make sure the supervisor has the biggest digital sandbox possible in which to make his or her magic.”

POST: How did you select the team for Priest?

FULLE : “The work culture is as important as the work ethic for people working at The Creative-Cartel. I started by hiring Eric Torres, my production manager and right hand, and then together we selected the rest of the team. Our philosophy is to find good people and then be able to roll them from show to show. The continuity and camaraderie is a key part of success.”

POST: How did you get involved in Priest? Have you worked with the filmmakers before?  Which ones?  What films? 

FULLE: “My path to Priest was through my strong relationship with Sony. Screen Gems had never undertaken a VFX show of this magnitude and Gary Martin had mentioned my name to Glenn Gainor. Glenn and I really hit it off and he was brave enough to give The Creative-Cartel it's first shot. Something I will be forever grateful to him for.”

POST: When did you first start working on Priest and what material did you use for reference? Were you on set?  Where did you film?  How long?

FULLE: “Priest shot around LA, on the Sony Stages and out in the Mojave Desert. We shot for 60 days.”

POST: How many visual effects shots were there?

FULLE: “We did 750 shots. I am really proud of the work everyone did irrespective of price, but I'm even more proud knowing what we were able to do with a fairly modest budget.”

POST: When did they come to you to discuss the 3D conversion?

FULLE: “The conversion for Priest came just as we were going into post, which was nice because it gave us time to plan for the conversion seven months in advance.”

POST: How did you select the 3D team? What was your role in the 3D conversion?

FULLE : “My group and I oversaw the management of the conversion. Gradient Effects was kind enough to let us set up shop in their facility, where we had full use of their Pablo and 3D screening room, which was a big help in managing so much work. We had several different conversion companies working with us which meant a lot of tracking of what went where and when it should be back.”

POST: How big was the team that worked on Priest?  What about the 3D conversion team?  How many different houses?

FULLE: “We had about 12 houses and different groups working on Priest.”

POST: Did you work with local houses/ artists?

FULLE: “Priest was qualified under the California Film Incentive program, so we kept as much of the work in state as possible.”

POST: What scene/shot are you most proud of and why?

FULLE: “Of the 750 shots we did, I'm most proud of 745 of them!”

POST: What software do you use?

FULLE: “We have a strategic partnership with the Steve Cronan at The 5th Kind. We use his asset management software with the same name. It's a powerful tool that allows us to sort and manage all sorts of incoming and outgoing data. We have servers set up on site and have 30TB of storage for all of our shows.”

POST: Anything the audience should look for when they see the film? What's next up for you and The Creative-Cartel?

FULLE: “The Creative-Cartel is deep in post on Ghost Rider – Spirit of Vengeance (VFX and Conversion), and we've just begun shooting on Ted.”