Meet Pixar media systems manager M.T. Silvia

NAME: M.T. Silvia

COMPANY: Emeryville, California-based Pixar Animation Studios (@DisneyPixar)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Pixar Animation Studios has created award-winning animated feature and short films for over 25 years.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Media Systems Manager

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I manage Media Systems at Pixar; we are embedded in the IT Systems Department. We are the audio/video engineering team and are known as the “AVengers” throughout the studio. We are responsible for the design, integration and maintenance of all the audio/video infrastructure for Pixar. This includes the screening rooms, theaters, recording studios, editing suites, review rooms, conference rooms, color correction suites and media control center. We also do event support.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
We also design and install a media piece called Artscape for Pixar’s art exhibit, which travels worldwide. Artscape v1.0 opened with the exhibit in 2005 at New York’s MOMA. We are now on v.3.0 in Madrid.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
My favorite part of the job is the people. Pixar is home to an incredibly smart, creative and innovative group of folks, and I am constantly in awe of the talent.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
My least favorite part of the job is all the email. We do a lot of communication via email and sometimes it’s daunting to keep up with it all.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
Early morning is my favorite time of the day. I like to eat breakfast in the café. There’s a lot you can get done at the coffee bar without having to book a meeting or send an email.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I am also an independent filmmaker outside of Pixar. I would be making more of my own films.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PROFESSION? HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I didn’t really choose it; I fell into it. I was going to be an elementary school teacher, but the year I graduated the city of San Francisco laid off many public school teachers and I couldn’t get a job.

Around that time a few friends were in a band and taught me how to plug in their mics, so I soon became their live sound engineer and started doing sound in a nightclub. At the same time, an old roommate had just graduated from Heald School of Electronics and got a job with Skywalker Sound. She got me an interview with the wiring subcontractor, who asked me if I knew how to solder. I lied and said yes. He asked me to come in to make a mic cable that afternoon, I told him I was busy but could come in on Monday and spent the weekend learning how to solder.

Luckily, I passed the test and was hired to build and install all the AV cabling for the new Tech Building at Skywalker Ranch. Nine months later the job was complete and my contract was over, but the next day an engineer from Skywalker called me and asked if I would come and stuff circuit boards. I said I didn’t know what they were but would give it a try. It was only supposed to be a four-week job, and I ended up staying on for eight years.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
We recently built a new building on campus with lots of AV infrastructure, including a theater, screening room, review room, video conferencing room and recording studio. It holds a number of edit suites, conference rooms and story and art rooms. We are currently revamping the recording studio in the main building, which came online in 2000. This is the last room from the original build to be rewired.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
My Canon 60D DSLR camera, my iPhone and my MacBook Air.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I try to keep moving by walking a lot and doing Pilates. I have a back injury that limits the physical activity I can do, but every day I walk for an hour, usually early in the morning. It clears my head for the day.


One thought on “Meet Pixar media systems manager M.T. Silvia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.