Meet The Business Owner: Zero VFX’s Sean Devereaux

NAME: Sean Devereaux

COMPANY: Boston’s ZeroVFX (https://www.zerovfx.com, @ZeroVFX)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Zero is a nimble and creative studio that is largely team based. Although we have specialties within our discipline it is common for you to be contributing on an agency call in the morning and finishing a shot with three other artists for a feature film in the afternoon.

We also have a robust technical side, which has helped us develop new technologies that allow us to tap into infinite resources with minimal overhead.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Co-Owner/VFX Supervisor/Creative Director

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
As co-owner, I wear many hats, from HR management to check signing. But my day-to-day focus and passion is on the creative. This often includes concept frames and look development, lots of creative calls with clients and directors and for the majority of the past year I have been on sets supervising the visual effects for four feature films. The first of which came out December 13, American Hustle.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
Sales. Until I owned my own company I didn’t realize how big a role I played in the sales pipeline. Some days I feel like I am more of a salesman than an artist, but it can be equally rewarding.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED OVER THE YEARS ABOUT RUNNING A BUSINESS?
Never, never, never go into debt for your business. My basement was our office for longer then we wanted, we rented software rather than buying it for a couple years, and we took big pay cuts as owners, but we never once had to stress about paying a debtor or consider closing to pay bills. With the current state of the visual effects industry, I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.

A LOT OF IT MUST BE ABOUT TRYING TO KEEP EMPLOYEES AND CLIENTS HAPPY. HOW DO YOU BALANCE THAT?
I think we do a good job with this by treating both groups the same way. Our team members are as vital to our operations as our clients, and we try to roll out the red carpet as much as we can.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Seeing our team come together to push themselves and each other and create work that we are all proud of, especially when we weren’t quite sure how we were going to accomplish it when we started the project.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Anything that distracts from the creative process. Creativity requires experimentation and time, and with the tight schedules we all work under it is tough to stop and start as we work though a challenge.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
Not sure why, but at 4 pm everyday I have usually cleared out my tasks from the day and am able to enjoy a moment of zen before jumping back into the fray.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I would be my wife’s photography assistant. She is uber talented and I love doing all her re-touching work.

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CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT CLIENTS?
Antoine Fuqua, Jake Kasdan, David O. Russell, Annapurna, Sony Pictures, Subway (pictured), and MLB.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Zync, Nuke and Photoshop.


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