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We interview Video Producer Nick about his background in game trailers, film school, and passion for Flight Simulation!
Today we're delighted to introduce Nick Gillin, our new CRYENGINE Video Producer and Tutorial Author. You may have already met Nick in our latest learning video, the first in a new series about creating UI in CRYENGINE 5.7, and you'll be seeing a lot more content from him on our YouTube channel. We spoke to Nick about his background in video production, making game trailers, and more.
Hey Nick! Welcome to CRYENGINE! Can you tell us about your background and your journey to Crytek?
I was born in New York and grew up on Long Island. After High School, I moved to San Francisco to attend SFAI, and two years later to Los Angeles, where I lived for seven years and graduated from Art Center College of Design with a BFA in Film Production. After graduating, I stayed in Los Angeles. Most people think of Los Angeles as a tropical city with warm weather, beaches, and electric cars. But the best California nights were the ones where I made a fire somewhere between "who knows" and "nowhere" in some corner of the Mojave desert along some dirt road and freight train lines and watched these 4km double-stack freight trains roll by at 100kph. It was an absolute mood. To me, that’s heaven, the real California.
I started my own company making trailers for video games and created and ran a Youtube Channel. But after a while, especially with the world seemingly closing itself for the last two years, I was itching to get out and meet people again. I wanted to go somewhere new, meet more people in person, learn new skills from them, and teach them my own skills. CRYENGINE was a great fit for both my personal interests and business skills. Not only is the work rewarding, but the people I work at Crytek with are just fantastic.
How did you get into video production?
The Machinima-era was peaking as I was growing up. Those short films made in games always inspired me, and I thought, "I want to make THAT." So I did. I went to the Art Center College of California for film production. Despite many fellow students working in studio lots and on sound stages for their projects, I found myself spending more time filming within video games and game engines, retexturing models, and making video game trailers. I experimented with traditional animation styles and applied a lot of what I learned at a traditional film school to making videos in the virtual world of video games.
What attracted you to your role here?
There are several factors at play here. Of course, the obvious one is that I like video games! I also like videos. My older brother is a school teacher in Utah, and I always admired his skill of being able to put together lessons and explain things in ways that interest the students and keep them from feeling like it's "just another class." He is the kind of teacher that I remember everyone loved in High School, the 'cool' teacher. But his way of being able to be relatable but also concise with his lessons is something I have always wanted to emulate.
What does a regular day look like for you?
I ride my bike for 20 minutes to work, and a lovely ride it is. I cross a bridge, pass a farm, and go through a classic German neighborhood. It's like something right out of Sim City. When I show up at the office, I get a coffee, wave to Christina at the front desk, and get comfortable at my desk. If I am already making a tutorial, it depends on what stage of production I am at. Sometimes I will spend an entire day recording audio, sometimes organizing my notes for a script. Some days are just recording screen captures or meeting with others to discuss what topic to cover next. Every day is a bit different!
Have you got any tips for people aspiring to work in your field?
Don't box yourself into one role. One thing I learned from film school is that they make you try everything. You take an audio editing class, a directing class, an acting class, a screenwriting class, a storyboard class, a film history class – and don't think that means you have to find one that you really like and fall into line. It's ok to like and follow as many of those things as you want. I loved audio editing, game production, cinematography, screenwriting, and drawing storyboards - and now I am using pretty much all of these skills for one job. Jack of all trades, master of none. This has helped me adapt and be flexible.
What are you playing at the moment?
Currently, I am playing Microsoft Flight Simulator! While some think of it as slow and boring, it's that idea of it being 'boring' and letting your guard down that can get you into trouble. Flight Simulator can really be a horror game. I remember trying to land this one flight at night, with no moon, overcast skies, and steep mountains surrounding the approach. Watching your altimeter needle drop below the max terrain height in the area, knowing you're somewhere in a valley and the idea that I could hit a mountain at any moment and not even know or see it was terrifying. Constantly referring to my instruments and the map and charts to fly the approach and weave through the valley down to safety was a sweat-inducing thrill.
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Are you looking for your next career move? At Crytek, we value diversity. We actively encourage people from all backgrounds and experience levels to apply to our open positions, so join us over at LinkedIn and check out our careers page.