from the desk of the coo – mar 1st, 2023
it certainly doesn’t feel like 4 weeks has already blown by, but turns out, it’s march, and time for another newsletter.
while the shifts and changes of dft can feel almost imperceptible at the rate in which we run, i’ve grown to realize that sharing those big, but “small to us” moments are more important than ever.
when i look at the team we’ve assembled, and more over, the teams within that team and how you all operate, it’s hard to remember that we’re yet a “small business”.
for those who remember when this was a small, but mighty team of 19 people, to look around feels a bit… dizzying at times. those of you who’ve only recently come aboard dft within the last 6mos might think this is a culture and operating unit that’s been in place for ages – we worked hard for those feelings. a culture that prioritizes it’s people, clients who respect them, and leadership that is genuinely and deeply concerned for your well being on the job and how the job affects you outside of these walls.
“dft’s stance is that we care for our people first – and that extends to our contractors and vendors. just because we can do something to our advantage doesn’t mean we will if it risks the well being of another person.”
walking down the hall today i heard someone say that. they’re one of our best, they get “it” and that this team is only as highly functioning as it is because we have each others backs. that still blew me away.
thing is, no matter what ramy or i do, how fun, fancy, obnoxiously innovative or industry stirring we do, we’re still people at the end of every and any day. and our hope is that we can, have and will continue to build a place that you’re proud of every day, grateful to come into or log into every day. that we hire teammates you’re excited to work with every day and projects that excite and/or challenge you every day.
maybe you get to work with cameron ake & joshua gluck more than most on the team, but for those who don’t, you’re going to be incredibly and exceptionally proud of them on this upcoming season of manifest. they’ve put an insane amount of hard work, long nights and excruciatingly detailed attention into their work on this show. i need you to know how very much we see them as heroes, not for the work, but for the care. and, i hope, the passion for their art, their own comradery and their team. they amaze me every day, every shot.
this place is filled with people like them. and i could write long winded, overly mushy love letters to many of you on this team, but you already know erin white, thomas galyon, avital shalev, greg filkins, andrea aniceto-chavez and many others who shoulder tremendous burdens for this team – putting out fires, creating better workflows, battling through some of our toughest shows, and delivering astounding work time and time again…
but it’s this space between i keep sitting in – who we were and who we’re yet to become – it’s this moment now, who we are that blows me away. we have people at 20yrs like dylan chudzynski and lakan de leon who shoulder so much both on workload and mentorship, but also serve as a genuine touchstone of context and clarity. i don’t know that either would admit to being wise and sage like, but there they are – the calm in most any storm. henry and tim – here since day one. having gone on a walk about or two, but truly foundational to who we are and the care we have for you, our clients and the impact we have on our peers.
and everyone “new.” whether that’s a 18mos or 3 weeks. it’s been WILD. to say we didn’t see *that* coming is an understatement. the dissolution of peers like level3 or the widespread buyouts by competitors, the layoffs during the pandemic, the insane injection of cash into streaming and studio efforts to meet the demands of people more at home and in front of their tvs than ever… well, we’ve always been very hand to the plow, but cognizant of the need to look up and look around – so we also netted ourselves some incredibly gifted, kind, humble and uniquely talented people like silvia spinelli, kevin stevens, jeremy derringer, omar ellison, rachel slott, samantha tengco, roger matthews, jared kengla and even now, sophie siegel who continues that search for extraordinary talent, and exceptionally kind people.
in the last newsletter i meant it when i said we were entering a period of sustainability. we know who we are today. we know from whence we came. we have it in our heads and hearts where we’re going, but as quincy jones liked to say “you gotta leave space for god to walk through.” and that’s where we are.
there is so much yet undiscovered about THIS team. there’s no greater future than tomorrow. big picture, yes. long term goals and opportunities, yes. but this month, i hope you dig in on learning a bit more about the team we have, the shows you haven’t yet touched and the people giving their all to them.
dailies, you’ve never touched manifest (vfx) or horizon (cinecode) – maybe say hey to someone you don’t know on the next allco or make it weird and awesome by just sending an email to say “i saw this thing and i think i heard you worked on it – hell of a job; congrats!”
cinecode, you’ve never touched resident alien (dailies), the prince projects (color and online) or collab’d with some of the wild coding and workflows happening in infrastructure – reach out, pick some brains, say “wow is that mind blowing!
honestly, the minds on this team are humbling. the people here are insanely rad – and i hope you remain as proud of one another as you are/should be of the work you do.