Writer / Director
HaZ is a Visual Effects Creative and Director in the Motion Pictures Industry. He has been nominated for several Visual Effects Society (VES) Awards for his Visual Effects Supervision work. He transitioned into Writing Directing with his sci-fi short - 'Project Kronos' earning him representation and status as an emerging filmmaker. Following Kronos, HaZ released two proof of concept short films (SYNC and IRIS) which he wrote, produced and directed. He is currently developing a slate of original feature film and TV properties.
Q & A
YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE CG AND VISUAL EFFECTS INDUSTRY FOR OVER A DECADE NOW, HOW HAS YOUR PROCESS AND FOLDER STRUCTURE CHANGED AND WHAT HAS REMAINED THE SAME?
Well, this folder structure that is available for download has evolved over the 11 years I have been doing CG, visual effects and film projects, but the core foundations still remain.
YOU’VE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH STUDIOS AROUND THE WORLD. I’M SURE YOU’VE SEEN BOTH GOOD ORGANIZATIONAL TECHNIQUES AND BAD. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST TAKE AWAY FROM BOTH? AND DO YOU INSTANTLY LABEL EACH?
Working on projects in various studios across the world (on-site and remotely) ensures I pick up good habits as well as be alerted on nasty organized projects which end up in a cluster F**k!
So my project structure today is the result of years of experience.
Things such as common sense naming conventions, but also because the creative industry is made up of mostly freelancers, you want to make sure that your studio or project has got its sh*t together in terms of universal terminologies for task names etc… if not then it’s going to be very embarrassing and no doubt people will hear about it…. And you know what they say – “ it’s a small world.”
DO YOU TAILOR EACH PROJECT WITH A SPECIFIC FOLDER STRUCTURE? OR IS THE FOLDER STRUCTURE YOU HAVE AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD YOUR GO TO STRUCTURE EVERY TIME?
If I am running a purely live action project then I won’t have a VFX based setup with the directories such as 3D, render passes etc. But the root folder would still be the same for things like Assets, Rushes, Output (deliveries with dated folders), animatic etc.
To me, my folder structure allows me to tailor it to each project without any pain, in fact I’m removing folders I don’t need rather than creating new ones.
The folder structure I am providing here is the exact one I use on all my projects whether it’s remotely or on-site at a studio where I am producing the project or creative leading it.
LIKE MOST DIRECTORS, I’M SURE IT FEELS LIKE YOU HAVE TO BE IN THREE PLACES AT ONCE. HOW DO YOU TRACK AND MANAGE EVERYTHING THAT IS GOING ON SIMULTANEOUSLY? ANY PARTICULAR TOOLS THAT YOU HAVE FOUND WORK BEST FOR YOUR WORK FLOW?
As you know, naming conventions are not just for the files and the folder structures, they need to reflect in the project management tools as well. Whether it’s Google docs, Basecamp, wall charts or even tools such as www.ftrack.com, I want to ensure my team working in the studio or remotely across the world are all on the same page and talking the same lingo. So it’s important that the server folder names match and reflect the overall project pipeline.
Attached is an example image from the ftrack project showing my pipeline steps.
To me client feedback is uber important to be in one place and organized to ensure it’s communicated correctly to everyone on the team. I hate it when you ask someone what was the version the client saw and they are trailing through emails!! I mean seriously WTF Get Your Sh*t together!
So in my folder structure I have an output folder with each deliverable, be it a Quicktime of a WIP, edit or shot, mock up images.. anything that goes to the client, is logged and tracked.
I may even be sending it via Dropbox, or WeTransfer or even on a hard drive via a courier, but I am still going to ensure that if that client has forgotten which version is which... I can go back quickly and easily to see exactly what we sent out and when. You don’t need smart software for that… it’s just plain simple organization.