Last we spoke with you was shortly after the release of Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow. What have you been doing since then?
It's hard to believe the release of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was eight years ago. It was a truly amazing beginning to a winding, inspiring, occasionally heart-breaking, but always invigorating career. I'll always remember Kevin and Kerry Conran, the creator brothers of the film, for their willingness to share their moment in the sun with the entire team and their ability to encourage everyone involved to take ownership and credit for their efforts. It's also hard to forget them because I still meet with Kevin down at the local pub where, over a pint, we share our latest project concepts for critique and refinement.
Since the days I spent on Sky Captain – days that seem both incredibly distant and as if they just happened -- I've started a family, started a studio, began to develop my own projects and have had the pleasure of working with some of the most talented artists in the entertainment industry. I've worked on several video games, films, and film concepts in their earliest stages of development. Many of the film concepts are something the general public will never see, but there are some that will soon release worldwide. I don't know if most people realize how frequently films, or incarnations of films, don't make it to the big screen. For example, I spent several months on John Carter but it wasn't the version that was recently released. In fact, it wasn’t even the version before this version. Also, two years ago I was fortunate enough to join the incredibly talented team of artists at Disney Feature Animation, gaining exposure to an entirely new level of world design and story development.
Every project in my career, from the first to the current, has been an amazing experience that helped define where I am as an artist and with Zack Petroc Studios today.
Where will we be seeing your work appear in the near future?
This November the world will be introduced to Wrek-it Ralph, Disney Animation Studio's next feature. I have the pleasure of being the Model Supervisor on this epic film. With over 180 characters and four distinct worlds, the sheer volume of assets we have already created is astounding. The team has done an absolutely amazing job and we plan to wrap asset production this May. Maybe this November we can catch up again for an inside tour of our team's process. I'll be happy to show you how we utilized ZBrush on almost every character we created, as well as several of the organic sets.
A project you can begin to explore right now is Adaboy, Zack Petroc Studios' first intellectual property. Viewers have direct access to the entire process of development, including the research, world logic, character creation and story. From the concept's inception to the first script, story boards and the iterative loops of refinement, viewers can follow along as the entire project comes to life.
Tell us about Zack Petroc Studios. What is the company, and what is your focus? How did it come about?
I founded Zack Petroc Studios just over five years ago to offer innovative solutions to the digital entertainment industry. We set our sights on improving production work-flow, generating quality pre-production designs, providing unequaled artist training and creating unique intellectual properties that explore the potential of transmedia. We have had some amazing experiences, many of which directly inspired me to expand and redefine one of our core competencies. I've always been passionate about teaching and I'm excited that we recently grew to offer new levels of artist training resources.
In addition to growing our library of instant download models and lectures, I've spent the past several months collecting my most challenging and beneficial industry lessons and focused them into new, intense Master Classes. They are not your average class! They are aimed at creating an artistic and career-changing experience for students and professionals alike. I have been very fortunate in my career to have encountered extremely unique, one-of-a-kind experiences with design and story development, as well as having the chance to work with, learn from and be mentored by some of the most amazing artists in the world. I've consolidated the ideas that redefined my own awareness as an artist, together with the experiences that elevated my art and career in profound ways and created a direct format to share them. These classes are explicit, legitimate and kick-you-in-the-digital-flesh intense. A detailed syllabus of our next class, which will start this Spring, can be found here.
We have also drastically expanded our list of instant-download models and video lectures and created a new all-inclusive Premium Membership program.
Another focus of Zack Petroc Studios that I've had a great experience growing is the creation of unique content, also known as intellectual properties (or IP’s). What sets our studio apart is that we will showcase the development of our properties throughout their evolution, giving unique access to world and story development techniques. Some of the most inspiring experiences I've had were behind the scenes access into the world of story development. These ran the gamut from properties that redefine the boundaries of viewer interaction like Kevin Conran's The Black Mailbox (currently in development with Scott Free Productions) to Disney and Pixar's truly amazing process for bringing the art of story and character creation to the highest level of execution. Personally, I've found it fascinating to see first-hand how gritty, unpredictable and incredibly challenging the entire process is - and that's when things go well! These are the experiences I want to share with fans of my work.