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April 2014

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Page 24 of 59 Post • April 2014 23 Vincent cirelli VP/VFX Supervisor luma Pictures Santa Monica, cA I've played music my entire life, and had aspirations of becoming a performing/recording artist, so it's strange that I ended up in a visual medium rather than an audio one. I grew up in my grandfather's music store, watching him play and repair instruments. He was a real craftsman. It was here that my father before me had become what many would consider an accomplished pianist. My father has an engineer's mind, coupled with a musi- cian's ear. That said, I had one of the very first computers with MIDI built in, and spent a lot of time at a young age, playing with various audio programs, and paint programs on my awesome Atari ST with 512k. I taught saxophone and trumpet at the local music store, while performing in orchestral honor bands in the US. As I got a little older, I had the oppor tu- nity to play in a popular jump blues band, hitting major clubs in San Francisco and LA, yet still playing with computers any chance I got. All signs pointed towards performance music as a career. However… I met a girl (now my wife of 15 years), and I was hooked. She explained to me that she could never date a guy that was on the road all the time, and that in order for us to get seri- ous, I would have to get serious. By that, she meant a stable job. I loved performing, but had less of a desire to compose music, so I knew that I would need to find something to do that was centered around technology and the arts that was easily employable. At the time, I was playing with a drummer, who was also a really sharp programmer. He mentioned that computer design was in high demand, given the tech boom. That's when I had a "Eureka!" moment. I had always been awestruck with 3D rendering and animation, since its early conception and my first real exposure to it on a demo laser disc that my father purchased. It had very crude renderings by companies like Wavefront, Alias and Pixar. As a kid, I'd make him loop it over and over. I'm a bit of an OCD personality type, so this became my new, intense focus, and music transitioned a bit to the back- ground. By day, I washed dishes and did whatever I could to stay afloat, then by night, I read and learned as much as I could about drawing perspective, light, composition, animation, cameras and obviously 3D. There were no real tutorials online back then, so everything I learned I did by downloading manuals and trials of software, reading the newsgroups, then playing with each feature until I under- stood exactly how it worked, and how it could be applied to a goal. I put myself through an incredibly rigorous training regiment, with one goal in mind: I wanted to earn a living as an artist, immersed in technology. As the years passed, I became more and more proficient, picking up new skills along the way. I began to learn what marketing and branding was, eventually becoming an art director, and then later a creative director, working on major campaigns for Fortune 500 companies. Around this time, I met a friend who described some of the higher-end technology that was being developed for visual effects. Being a tech geek, I was immediately drawn in and started probing around to see if I could get work outside the agency sector and in the film or broadcast arena. I got my foot in the door, working on a sci-fi TV show from home. Security was a lot looser back then, to say the least. From there, with the help of a friend, I landed a job at Stan Winston's workshop. At the time, there was a small group of digital artists surrounded by a brilliant staff of concept artists, model makers and sculptors. It was a great gig that made me want to continue learning and refining my skills. Always looking to learn from the best around me, whether it was playing music, or developing my skills as an artist or technician, I've always surrounded myself with brilliant people from whom I can learn and share. This is what ultimately led me to Luma. A mutual friend introduced me to Luma. He raved about the new studio, stating that it had a great core group of people. Indeed it did. All of a sudden perfectionists, unlike those I had ever met before, surrounded me. Sincere artists and programmers who gave everything they could to make something beautiful (or horrifically terrifying, depending on the show). Although they took the work very seriously, they didn't take them- selves seriously at all. To me, this was the perfect recipe to nurture real creativity and ingenuity. They inspired me. Now, almost a decade later, I look back and can't imagine working with a finer group of people. Although Luma has grown substantially over the years, now having a worldwide presence, it hasn't lost its "can-do," "nothing-is-impossible" outlook, and most importantly... we still don't take ourselves too seriously. JuAn AceVeS Mixer Sound lounge new York city When I was a baby, my mom used to tape my ears to the sides of my head, so they didn't permanently stick out like Dumbo's. I don't think her efforts caused any lasting trauma, nor were they were responsible for the way my ears turned out. What I do think, though, is that my ears were that way because they were meant to hear. Eight years later, my father brought home a small and shiny device. It had but- tons and used tape, albeit a different kind than my mom's. Most importantly, it allowed for stories to be captured and then re-told; stories of spacecraft reach- ing the moon, propelled by engines that got their roar from a needle on a spin- ning turntable without a record, and of the fire that threatened the lives of the astronauts inside their tiny lunar capsule, brought to life by the sound of crum- pling paper. Juan Aceves put his ears to good use as an audio mixer. His sound-for-animation credits include Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago? and Dora the Explorer.

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