School of Motion

Beyond the Dragon Tattoo: Directing for MoGraph, Onur Senturk

  • By Joey Korenman
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Motion Graphics covers a huge range of skills...

Like design, animation, editing, directing, 3D, and much more. There’s a lot of work that goes into one piece, and often there’s a huge team behind some of the best work out there. But occasionally you’ll find a Unicorn in this industry, someone who can do a lot more than just design or animate.

In this episode of our Podcast we talk to Onur Senturk, a Turkish born director who is best known for his work on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo titles. Onur’s skills are not limited to directing alone, he also designs, animates, and he understands the most technical parts of using 3D software. In this interview Joey digs into Onur’s brain and tries to figure out how he comes up with the incredible visuals that he's known for, and how he juggles the conceptual and creative side of this field with the really technical side. They get into the nitty gritty of what it's like to direct for Motion Graphics, working all over the world, and even how much you can make being a director for MoGraph. If you're curious what it's like to direct in this industry you will get a ton out of this episode.

  • Episode 22: Beyond the Dragon Tattoo - Directing for MoGraph, Onur Senturk
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Episode Transcript

Joey Korenman: When I use to teach at the Ringling College of Art and Design, one of the things I used to do was to try and give my students examples of what constitutes motion design. It's kind of a tough thing to put your finger on so, I would always show a really wide variety of work. And, one of the examples that I really liked to show, was the opening credits of the film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Produced at the legendary Blur studio, these credits are insane. You've got some incredible CG imagery, an amazing soundtrack from Trent Reznor, beautiful title design, some really crazy fluid simulation. It's kind of got it all. One of the masterminds behind this title sequence is a man by the name, of Onur Senturk. 

This Turkish born director, designer is kind of a unicorn in our industry. He designs. He animates. He understands the most technical parts of using 3D software, and he's also an incredible visionary director. In this interview, I dig into this man's brain and try to figure out, how Onur comes up with the incredible visuals that he's known for and how he juggles the conceptual and creative side of this field with the really technical side. And, what's it's like to be a director, working on high profile pieces for clients all over the world. 

If you're curious what it's like to direct in this industry, I think you will get a ton out of this episode, so let's dig in.

Well, Onur thank you so much for coming on the podcast. This is really, really exciting for me and I'm so pumped to have you.

Onur Senturk: Hi Joey, thank you very much for having me. I'm excited as well. 

Joey Korenman: Excellent. So, I think our students and people listening to this, they might be familiar with your work, 'cause you've worked on some really high-end, high profile things. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah.

Joey Korenman: But there's not a lot of information about you personally, on the internet. There's some artists and directors that are all over Twitter and you can find out their whole life story really easily. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah. 

Joey Korenman: But you're not like that. I was wondering if you could give us a little background, I saw on your LinkedIn page, when I was stalking you, that you studied fine art and illustration, but ended up getting an animation degree. So, I'm curious if you could talk about your ... like the early days, the educational background?

Onur Senturk: Sure, in my early days let's say ... I will just start more early than that early education as well. In my country, I always watched the scary movies that is done in eighties or a B-class, or C-class, scary movies. And, I'm always obsessed with the title sequences of those.  After that, I went to study on high school. There's an art program in Turkey. It's more specializing on the visual form. 

Joey Korenman: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Onur Senturk: So there you enter it, you do figure studies, you do oil painting, water colors, sculpting, traditional photography, print making, stuff like that. I studied that four years, and afterwards, one day passes, I more obsessed in animation and visual effects. I wanted to learn what is the big mystery behind it? I want to study animation, and enter the college. 

Joey Korenman: Very cool. So, when you graduated-

Onur Senturk: Yeah. 

Joey Korenman: Did you work in Turkey for awhile, or did you immediately move to Los Angeles? 

Onur Senturk: No, that's not very true. Also, I totally worked in Turkey and there's not so much a design scene here. It's more focused on the advertising aspect. We can say that advertising is not the ideal place to start on, if you want to do creative things. So, I first started doing stuff in Turkey. I got really depressed after a while, which comes usual if you're working in the advertising industry. Then I wanted to do some experimental short films. Then I did my first short film, Nokta, in 2010, or 2009. It just become very popular on Vimeo. So, just bring me international attention, which was very cool. So, afterwards, things started happening. 

Joey Korenman: Interesting. Okay. Actually, that was one of the questions I was going to ask you was, what is the creative industry like in Turkey? Obviously in the United States, there's a whole bunch of variety.

Onur Senturk: Yes.

Joey Korenman: You can make a very good living, servicing advertising agencies. That's actually ... Advertising agencies were clients that I worked with the most, when I was still doing client work. I'm curious what about the advertising side made you depressed and drove you away from it?

Onur Senturk: In the advertising industry, first time when I was starting, I started with the post-production. I was doing roto and clean up work. Digital cleaning job.

Joey Korenman: Yeah. 

Onur Senturk: [inaudible 00:05:28] I can say, which was really depressing. So after a while, I did some animation stuff. As I said, things are not really structured in Turkey like US. In US you can do really fine, when you're working with advertising or post-production because you can make a living and you will be fine with that. But in here, it's not like that. Since there is no structure, you can get easily lost in the system. That's what happened to me. 

Joey Korenman: The reason that you moved to the US, it was also financial? You weren't able to find work, or find clients that would pay you what your time was worth. 

Onur Senturk: Yes, you can say that. I also want to prove myself as a international talent because let's say, if I'm only working locally in my country and nobody else knows my work, that means I'm not successful. So, there's a not written rule in Turkey that happens like that. So, I wanted to prove my talent in the world and I wanted to go outside and become an international name.

Joey Korenman: Perfect. Okay. Well you did. So, congratulation. So I can imagine ... I've met a lot of artists that have moved to the US from different countries and I'm very naïve about this. I've lived in the United States, my whole life. I've traveled a little bit, but I've traveled to really easy places, I call it. I've traveled to London. I've traveled to Paris, places like that. 

Onur Senturk: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joey Korenman: I imagine coming from Turkey to the US would be a little more of a challenge. There's a little bit more of a cultural difference, the language barrier obviously. I'm wondering if you could talk about that a little bit. What was that transition like for you? Did you speak English when you came? How hard was it to make the move? 

Onur Senturk: Yeah, it was quite easy, actually because I was always studying in the English format, from my earliest childhood. I was always watching the movies, and reading novels in English. It wasn't that much difficult to say. Also, in US-

Joey Korenman: It's a nation of immigrants, yeah, you know?

Onur Senturk: Yeah, yeah. The core of the United States is always immigrants too. So, it's not a most difficult place to be in, in the first place, because when you go somewhere more established, let's say. In London, that might be a lot more racism and lot more stuff can happen there. Or maybe, somewhere, another place in Europe. You can just experience much more racism and stuff like that. But fortunately, I'm not looking that much like Turkish, so people always mistaking me to French, Italian or Russian. I was totally fine in the US about that too.

Joey Korenman: Gosh, when you moved, did you move directly to Los Angeles or did you go somewhere else first? 

Onur Senturk: Yes, at first I went to Los Angeles, because I was really curious about the place and I wanted to see what was Hollywood like. So, it is not quite what you imagine.

Joey Korenman: Okay, well, Los Angeles is probably great because there are so many cultures there and there are so many people, as opposed to if you moved to the Midwest, somewhere in Kansas or something.

Onur Senturk: That's totally right. 

Joey Korenman: Yeah, exactly, okay. When you moved here, did you have work lined up or did you have worked lined up, or did you just move here and cross your fingers and hope you'd find work. 

Onur Senturk: No that's happens when you are coming from another country to- It's not happen at all.

Joey Korenman: Not a good idea? Yeah.

Onur Senturk: Before coming to US, I was talking with Kyle Cooper, which is a very important person in my life.

Joey Korenman: I'm familiar with Kyle Cooper, yeah. He's a name.

Onur Senturk: He [inaudible 00:09:23] me work,  and I was always imagining to one day, to go and meet with the guy and see his studio, so it was a good chance to meet with him with email, and we just signed a contract and I went there, in Los Angeles and I moved to Venice. I enjoy it there, more than a year. Hopefully, yeah, more than a year. 

Joey Korenman: Were you working for Prologue or were you freelance? 

Onur Senturk: I was working for Prologue during that time, so I started there as a designer and animator.

Joey Korenman: Okay. 

Onur Senturk: I did many things. 

Joey Korenman: Here's something I wanted to ask you about and to be honest, when we booked you on the podcast, I wasn't even entirely sure what your role was on a lot of your projects because a lot of your work ... I guess the way I would describe it, it's very, very technical looking. It's very "effect-sy" and there's particles and there's these crazy simulations and liquid and these really organize 3D forms and beautiful lighting and everything. Is that your skill set? Is that what you brought to Prologue, a technical skill set or were you more involved in the design end over there?

Onur Senturk: I think it's a bit of both. [crosstalk 00:10:46] Because I was more focused on the effects side than the animation side because I was knowing ... I was always familiar with the technical side, when I just started. I just grew my design skills later on, in the studio. Because, as I said, it's just my dream to be working in Los Angeles and just working with Kyle Cooper, so it was a good experience overall. 

I worked on five or six feature films there. Very, very different stuff from one another. It just grew me as a person as well, because in each project I learned something new, that I didn't know and I am not familiar with. 

Joey Korenman: I'm sure you learned a lot about design and storytelling there. I want to get back to the technical stuff. How did you learn to do all of this? Because, from your educational background, you started in a fine arts sense and you went into this animation program, but a lot of the things that I see in your work, these are things that people specialize in. You can be a fluid simulation specialist. You can be a Houdini particle system specialist. There's not that many people out there that do it, and the one's that do it, tend to not end up being directors in the end. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah.

Joey Korenman: So, I'm just curious, how did you develop these skills? Because they're at a very high level and they're in very difficult parts of the process.

Onur Senturk: Yeah, yeah. It's a very technical and difficult process. I know that, but what I wanted to achieve in the end is to create the things I imagined and translate it to the screen, the perfect way possible. Since there was no solution, I said, "I can create my own solution," and I just created my solution and learned these stuff. I am still doing the same thing when there's a new project comes in, and just something new is necessary, I go and learn that. Either it is live-action, CG or any specific technique. It's good to step out of your comfort zone, and learn new stuff. 

Joey Korenman: Yeah, absolutely. Were you always technically inclined, when you were a kid, were you into math and science and things that are a little more-

Onur Senturk: Not at all.

Joey Korenman: Not really. Okay.

Onur Senturk: We can imagine Turkey. There is not much science going on. I got big dreams though. My dream was just always oriented in translating what I imagine to the screen. That's all I wanted to do. I wasn't after money, or just fame or whatever it is. I just want to do, what I want to create and just see it on the screen. It was just the biggest power I guess, and just makes me very, very happy and proud. Hopefully, people who watches it, can just enjoy it. 

Joey Korenman: Yeah, I mean it's amazing stuff. We're going to link to a bunch of your work in the show notes for this episode, and obviously to your site. Every one can go look at what you've done, and learn more about you. Did you learn a lot of these skills just by downloading the software and just playing around and staying up late and figuring out how to do it? Or, does this stuff come intuitively to you?

Onur Senturk: Exactly. You got to break some stuff to learn some stuff. You just go ahead and just learn it.

Joey Korenman: I got to tell you, this is an answer, this comes up a lot when I talk to artist like you, and I always try to dig to see if there's a secret that you know that the rest of us don't know. 

Onur Senturk: No there's no secret.

Joey Korenman: There never is. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah, there's just a very simple thing, just a feeling comes. Just close your eyes and just go with it. 

Joey Korenman: I love that. I love that. All right, so let's talk about the early days at Prologue. You graduated I think, in 2008. Is that when you got your degree? 

Onur Senturk: Yes.

Joey Korenman: Okay. It looked like by 2010/2011 you were already working on major film title sequences. What was it like on your first few projects there? What was the learning curve like to go from working on your own stuff, in school, to now working on jobs that are very expensive and have a very high bar.

Onur Senturk: Well, it didn't change much, to be honest. Because when I was doing something for myself, I was just aiming for a specific quality that I wanted to catch. This was just perfectly aligning with the stuff I do deliver at [inaudible 00:15:27] as well. So it wasn't that much difficult. I always aim for the highest quality possible. Either, I'm doing that job alone, or small team or just a big team. It doesn't matter. I just aim for the highest quality possible and just do whatever I can to make it best way possible. 

Joey Korenman: Was there any difference working on a bigger team, because I'm imagining on some of the title sequences you worked on, there must have been multiple artists. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Social it is very different. There's a big social difference in there. When you are working with a small team, just becomes very small but very personalized as well. But in a big team, that becomes another thing. Becomes a huge party to deal with. 

Joey Korenman: Yeah, and I want to get into that in a little bit, when we get into some of your later stuff. You basically had the best education you possibly could have by working at Prologue and with Kyle. Then you ended up, and I think the way I first heard about you, was your involvement on the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo titles, which are to this day, one of my favorite motion design pieces. I think they're brilliant. I love the song that plays underneath. Can you tell us, how did you end up working with Blur? And, what was your role on that project?

Onur Senturk: It's very complicated to answer these questions. 

Joey Korenman: Take all the time you need.

Onur Senturk: Before doing that, I was doing some stuff at Prologue. But I guess some people at Blur just saw my short films, which are in line with the Girl with Dragon Tattoo, and that mood comes with it. It just a very edgy and a very black stuff. Just screams at your face type of stuff. I guess that's happened like that. I stepped in the process and do many things for the title. I can tell them all with detail, if you want. 

Joey Korenman: Yeah, I'd be curious to know because I'm imagining that that had to be a pretty big team. There's modeling and lighting and animation and simulation and I read a little bit on the art of the title. There were actually a third party companies doing some of the simulation because it was so heavy. So, I've never worked on a project of that scale, so I'd love to hear how it works and specifically what your role was. Because, you have David Fincher who was the director of the movie, and you have Tim Miller who is the director at Blur. At what point did they bring you in?

Onur Senturk: Yeah, I just started in the beginning to be honest. So, I did the concepts and every project just starts very simple and just goes crazy over time. 

Joey Korenman: Right. 

Onur Senturk: The same thing happened with this as well. First, one or two months went into concept design, mostly. So Tim Miller is writing the concepts, the small vignettes and I was illustrating those vignettes for him and just creating the language of the sequence overall. Later on, there was time to make the previews and the layout animation and I did some camera movements and camera animation on that part. Later on, the team got bigger and bigger and bigger, so some modelings has been done. Some scanning stuff had been done and some fluid stuff has been done and I worked on the fluid stuff also, and I did some lighting. I also do type animation and type placement over the sequence, so I can say pretty much I did most of the stuff that was imaginable.

Joey Korenman: Is that typical? I haven't met many people who can do all of that. Is that typical at a place like Blur that you can have someone who's got the design, and the conceptual chops to actually do concept art but then also can jump in and start doing some fluid simulations?

Onur Senturk: I don't think it is possible. But I guess it is a special for me, I guess. Because I like to get my hands dirty, when I just enter a project. Even on my personal directing work. I start with the pre-production. I do some story boards myself, or if I don't have enough time, I just give the storyboard task to another person. If I have enough time, I do the story boarding myself. Also, I do previews myself. I do the editing myself. [inaudible 00:20:03] If there's time, also I can do the entire work myself as well. It's just a crazy thing. 

Joey Korenman: I definitely want to come back to that when we get into directing, 'cause that was a big question I had. But back to this particular project, whenever I've had designers that I've worked with who do concept art, and I guess and my, I usually call them style frames, 'cause I'm working on commercials, right? But it's basically concept art.

Onur Senturk: Yeah. 

Joey Korenman: I'll usually have a conversation with them beforehand, "Hey, so this is the client. This is what we're thinking. These are the goals and the artist, the designer has a lot of leeway in what they design. So, I'm curious, you mention that Tim was writing these written treatments.

Onur Senturk: Yes.

Joey Korenman: So, What would he have written that you would have then translated into these black, shiny 3D people covered in this liquid with hands all over them? At what point did that visual take off?

Onur Senturk: It just started from the scratch as like that. At first ... when projects first starting, I prepared three frames for them. It was the perfect summarization of the entire thing that I had in mind, when taking black over black, and a very shiny surfaces. Just makes the details readable. Then, I guess, it's somewhere in between. All this conversation was happening with Mr.Fincher, and Tim Miller. So, they just planned a lot of vignettes themselves. I can also read some of the vignettes, so I have it in my desk here, if you want I can read them to you.

Joey Korenman: I would love to hear that. 'Cause I'm always curious, at what point the thing we see on screen, becomes clear. Because there's always that phase in the beginning where it's just words, and it's an image in someone else's brain and you have to somehow give life to it. 

Onur Senturk: Basically, most of the vignettes just written from the book. This is a trilogy.

Joey Korenman: Yep. 

Onur Senturk: Like the first scenes we started with the Salander's motorcycle. So the first lady's motorcycle and the accessories. 

Joey Korenman: Mm-hmm (affirmative). 

Onur Senturk: Starts like that. There's also some story beats there, so when she attacks her father, stuff like that. His relationship with the Daniel Craig starts like. So, just go [inaudible 00:22:38]. There was 30 or 35 small vignettes we illustrated in total, before going in to lay-out stage. 

Joey Korenman: Right. So, the overall concept was black on black, shiny surfaces abstracting everything a bit. Then from there you layer on, there's some story beats here, we're going to see. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah. Exactly. 

Joey Korenman: Then it's up to you. So, what does the motorcycle look like? Does it look like a photo-realistic motorcycle-

Onur Senturk: No.

Joey Korenman: Or is it some super-stylized thing and that's kind of where you come in. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah, yeah. Exactly but we stick to the one rule in there. It was just black on black and shiny surfaces, just makes the detail readable. That was the plan and we stick with that idea and it just worked. 

Joey Korenman: Yeah, all right. So, let me ask you this, Blur's very interesting to me and I don't know a lot about them. When I think of them and when I look at their work, to me they standout because they create short films and they're Pixar level CG. It's like a film studio basically. I don't think of them the same way I think of Buck and Royale and Oddfellows and more motion designing studios. So, I'm curious, how does design fit in over there? Because there must be a huge team of very technically minded artists, so I'm curious if design is as important at a place like Blur, as it is at a place like Buck?

Onur Senturk: I think so, it is important because whenever you do something, you are creating a story there. Blur was no different, just on that particular projects, The Girl with Dragon Tattoo titles, there was a ... the design source was much more visible. That's why it happened. 

Joey Korenman: Right.

Onur Senturk: But I think Blur is no different from any other studio, but they do great work, and they are very crowded and they do top of the line work, in terms of CG and cinematography. So, it's just really photo-realistic looking. In terms of camera-wise, very cinematography is just perfect. 

Joey Korenman: Yeah, and that's one of the things that ... so, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's title, is one of my favorite things they've done, because it's photo-realistic. They're using their 3D chops to make it look like it was photographed. But it's not realistic. I think it's a little bit different than most of the things I've seen from them, their game trailers and cinematics and stuff. Even though there might be wizards and magic spells and stuff, it looks like it was shot with actors, but this doesn't. So, I'm just curious, was that process at lur, was that a smooth process to get the artists to make it look stylized but photo real?

Onur Senturk: It just happened when we were doing all the vignettes and illustrating them, because we are doing a course correct thing ourselves, to the shots. Then we are doing the designs as well. Whenever I was doing, for example, one vignette, another artist just coming and preparing some draft 3D models and created camera moves around them. We were always testing stuff, if it translates well, or not. 

Joey Korenman: Were you leading the art direction of it and okaying shots or was there a separate VFX supervisor finally?

Onur Senturk: [crosstalk 00:26:16] multiple supervisors at Blur. 

Joey Korenman: Yeah. 

Onur Senturk: Tim Miller is leading the entire studio and there was one layout supervisor, if I'm not mistaken, Franck Balson was the layout supervisor. And there's a CG supervisor as well. So I just forgot his name. Sorry. There's two or three different supervisors are just doing the multiple tasks. As you know, there is also an effects supervisor as well. Just some flame and just fragmenting and stuff like that happens and visual effects supervisors just more focused on that part. But there's multiple branches in that pipeline. Since it is very huge, I guess, in total maybe a hundred people work on that titles. 

Joey Korenman: That's amazing. That's a side of the business I don't know a lot about. That's a big scale. Can you talk about ... 'cause I know I'll probably get emails about this, if I don't ask you, but what's the software that was used to create all of this? Most of our students and our audience are familiar with After Effects and Cinema 4D, those are the two things we use every day. But to get the simulations and all that kind of stuff, I know you have to go to more sophisticated tools. What was used on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?

Onur Senturk: When the studio gets larger, that means it becomes slower in a sense. So, it's a very different discipline, in a sense. It's not like C 4D and After Effects scenario. 

Joey Korenman: Right.

Onur Senturk: There's multiple branches and they're just very specialized in their own things. So, people are using mostly the Softimage at that time, and 2DS Max. So most of the stuff has been done in 2DS Max. The camera works in layout and shaving and effects is done in 2DS Max. Fluid simulations are done in Real Flow and some of them are just modeling. So we just faked some stuff, that is looking like fluid, what is not fluid at all. 

Joey Korenman: Right, it's just brute force. Key framing fluid basically. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah, yeah, Because you cannot really art direct some of this stuff, when you want fluid to do it.

Joey Korenman: I have a little bit of experience with Real Flow, and it's interesting. I think this is something that listeners should latch on to, 'cause I use to teach at a college for a year. There was this tendency of students to get infatuated with really hi-tech software. To think that it's going to help them creatively, and Real Flow was always on that list because it's just so cool. What it does. But it's not like animation or design where you can be precise. I'm sure the best Real Flow artists can be pretty precise, but there's always this randomness to it. You've no idea what's going to happen until you wait an hour, you know?

Onur Senturk: It just happens with the CG and the physics, so you can never know what's going to happen in a physics affair. So you can just go crazy. First thing that comes into my mind, when you are doing C 4D, you can never guess how physics going to working on certain objects because of the nature of the object let's say, the vortexes and stuff like that. It can always go crazy or nuts, easily.

Joey Korenman: Exactly. Was any of the look of those titles done in the compositing phase, or was it all pretty much captured in CG?

Onur Senturk: We captured everything on CG because Blur's method is just capture everything as much as they can on the 3D software, just leave a very detail work in the compositing. Their discipline is more oriented in that fashion. 

Joey Korenman: Okay.

Onur Senturk: Which was a good experience overall but in my early career or just doing them now, I always fake stuff because there is not enough render machines or just render boxes there, so just come up with alternative solutions. But at Blur, these guys are like factory. They have hundreds of machines they do the rendering. 

Joey Korenman: It's a different mentality. I'm the way you just described. I fake everything. What's the quickest way I can do this. I stay 2D as long as possible and only go to 3D if I need. Then there's more and more artists, especially now with GP renderers-

Onur Senturk: Yeah.

Joey Korenman: Especially, like that, it kind of makes it easier to just try and capture it. Are you keeping up with that stuff. Are you getting into Octane or I know V-Ray, in certain software platforms they can do it. Are you doing that now?

Onur Senturk: No I was always using the end GPU. When I started on The Girl with Dragon Tattoos title sequence, I was using the V-Ray RT at that time. So it was 2011 and just really started to blossom all these GP rendering stuff. I also use Octane and [Rad Shift 00:31:24]. Pretty much I learn whatever's going to lead me the way and just solve my problem. 

Joey Korenman: Right and I'm guessing that those tools ... is it less about solving problems and more about letting you play around more and iterate quicker. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah, I think solving problems is much more important. 

Joey Korenman: Excellent. All right. So, let's move on from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo titles. Man, everyone, if you haven't seen that you have to go look at it and the song they picked ... I think Trent Reznor did this cover of a Led Zeppelin song. [crosstalk 00:32:02] It's amazing. 

After you worked on that, what was the effect on your career of having that on your resume? I assume it must have opened a lot of doors?

Onur Senturk: Yeah, yeah, When I was completing that project, the first directing job came to me. I was directing a commercial for Magnum, the ice cream brand. I think it's a very high class looking ice cream brand and I was more impressed with their branding and I was always fun of them, in terms of look and the luxury style stuff. So, I did that after The Girl with Dragon Tattoo titles and my directing career just took off and I did many things after that.

Joey Korenman: Okay, I'm glad you clarified that it was the ice cream brand, 'cause there's also a condom brand called Magnum.

Onur Senturk: Ice cream.

Joey Korenman: Yeah, not that Magnum. All right. How did that happen. It sounds like your role on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo titles was similar to what a director does in some ways, but then a lot of ... there's always this Catch-22 I feel like, with careers where, it's hard to get someone to pay you to do something, unless you've already been paid to do it. How did you get hired as a director on that?

Onur Senturk: It took some time and convincing. I have one manager working in Spain at that time. He just get me this job to direct for Magnum.

Joey Korenman: Essentially you had a rep, someone representing you. 

Onur Senturk: Yes. And I created really nice style frames and I always create draft editing and like some story boards [crosstalk 00:33:59]

Joey Korenman: Oh okay. Did you have to pitch? You pitched to win that gig?

Onur Senturk: I pitch against six different companies. 

Joey Korenman: Ah, interesting. Okay, so this is where my knowledge totally breaks down because this side of the industry is totally foreign to me. How does this work? Does the brand hire you? Does their ad agency hire you? Does the ad agency hire a production company, which then hires you? How does this all fit together. 

Onur Senturk: It's very interesting to answer, because all of them happened. All possible scenarios are possible because in my career sometimes just the brand comes in or sometimes it's just agency comes in and with the agency or with the client, we pick the production company who will be responsible of the production and the post-production. Sometimes, just the production company comes in and just brings my name to the agency and client. Sometimes my manager just brings me to the production company of the client. All the scenarios are possible. 

Joey Korenman: Why don't production companies or even post-production companies, just hire full-time directors to direct the work that comes in? Why have this model where you have a bunch of 3D artists and a VFX supervisor but then you have to hire a freelance director for jobs.

Onur Senturk: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I think each project is different and there's not much of a continuity of that project or that particular discipline. That's why it is not happening. Because then you're telling someone to come in-house and do the same thing for a year. It's a very different scenario than come there, do it for three months or two months and just be done with it. That's why. 

Joey Korenman: Okay, so it's more about having a variety of people you can call on. Onur Senturk might be the perfect director for this ice cream brand, but then we have a brand for kids and it needs to be fun and playful and we don't see that on his reel, so we need somebody else for that. Is that the idea?

Onur Senturk: Exactly, exactly. Because advertising and production companies just more focus on the proven success. They just define successful event in someone else's carrier and just take that person to that client and just introduce them. That's how it functions as a system, which I don't agree to but it happens as it is. 

Joey Korenman: It does make sense.

Onur Senturk: Yes.

Joey Korenman: And I guess that answers the question about "Why do directors need reps?" It's because of the hundred production companies and you're marketing to all of them. Let me ask you this, is there ever a situation where you ever flip that model on its head and you hire the production company to execute the idea that you've bene hired for. 

Onur Senturk: Yes, that happened. On my second commercial for Magnum, that happened. Because the production company in US didn't solve it, the production company in Europe couldn't solve the problem. The last case scenario, the client came in and just send me an email. That huge brand. So, we just picked one production company somewhere in Turkey, and we just solved this problem of theirs, in two weeks. 

Joey Korenman: Interesting. When you're working on a project ... let's say that you get hired to work with ... I know you've worked with Post Panic before-

Onur Senturk: Yes.

Joey Korenman: THey're in Amsterdam, correct? Do you go and live in Amsterdam, the length of that project?

Onur Senturk: For this project yes. But that [inaudible 00:38:07] project first started in Istanbul. The storyboards and the layout process happened in Istanbul, Turkey. Then, later on, after a month later, I went to Amsterdam for the shoot and the post-production process. It took almost two months more to complete it.

Joey Korenman: Okay, that makes sense. You do the part remotely that you can do remotely but then when you have ten 3D artists working on the shots, you want to be there in person. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah, whatever is just healthy for the production, to be honest. The most important thing is the result, so if I can show the result better, I travel. 

Joey Korenman: Yeah. I'm interested in this because I have a family. I have three small children. [crosstalk 00:39:01] The idea of- Yeah, exactly. That's a different podcast my friend.

Onur Senturk: Yes. 

Joey Korenman: The thought of ... as fun and as great as it would be for me to go to Amsterdam for two months ... let's say if I was a director ... Is it harder ... I mean, obviously it is harder to do that if you have a family. Do you have a family? Does that influence you're thinking about it at all? Because it seems that would almost be a big obstacle to doing this way.

Onur Senturk: You shouldn't think of it as an obstacle, because in that case, your family can some with you, in the Amsterdam. It's not a problem. Because in Post Panic, those guys they are just really family oriented people. That was completely fine. They booked me a really huge house, and I stayed there alone. I totally wished that there would be a wife and some children to be with me but that was not the case. 

Joey Korenman: Right. That will be your next project. Okay. It's funny, I think that shows my American mentality, that it would be weird to bring your family with you for work. But actually, it makes perfect sense.

Onur Senturk: Not that you're bringing the family to work, but they will just be in Amsterdam, and they will be at your side. You do your job and you can come back from job and spend some time with them. 

Joey Korenman: Right, and they can wander around, they can eat some poffertjes and ... absolutely.

Onur Senturk: But you know, when I was working with Post Panic, to be honest, they are really organized and planned people. When we were doing that project, there was no overtime issues and there was and no late nights. It's a perfect scenario to bring the family on that project.

Joey Korenman: I'm going to have to interview them, and ask them how they pull that off.

Onur Senturk: Yeah, that could be good.

Joey Korenman: Because that's very hard. 

Onur Senturk: I totally respect them. Their scheduled day starts at ten and they just leave at six or seven. They are completely fine. There is no overtime, so it was really a perfect place. I visited many studios and I worked with multiple place. But, the very first time I seen such discipline and commitment. 

Joey Korenman: That's amazing. The job you're talking about, I believe in the Amnesty International one. And I want to get to that one in a little bit. But I want to learn a little bit more about what directing means. Because I've talked to a lot of motion designers, and you say, "Hey what's your goal in ten years?" They say, "Oh I kind of want to get into directing."

Onur Senturk: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joey Korenman: I honestly don't know what that means. So, let's start with this. What are some things about directing that you think people don't know. What are some things that surprised you when you started directing?

Onur Senturk: I think from outside, when you're looking from the outside, it looks like the ideal place to be in. But when you're inside it's just totally different because you're responsible for everything. Either it is good decisions or bad decisions, it's your decisions and you are responsible from everything. It's a very. Very difficult task. 

Joey Korenman: It's more pressure. 

Onur Senturk: Yes, a lot of pressure. You have to speak with the client and you have to speak with the visual effects people and you have to do the animations. If you do the animations ... if you do the editing, as well. After talking all these different people, you still have to do your own thing. Directing is like that. It starts from pre-production, extends into production phase. There's a live-action shoot happens and stuff like that. It just more extends into post-production process, until the delivery of the project. It's like completely same. I don't think myself as a leading man, but as a team member still. Because you are still delivering a job.

Joey Korenman: That's an interesting way to look at it. You kind of have a dual role. You might be unique because you're still in there, getting your hands dirty and your animating shots. I'm guessing some directors do, do that. They let their team handle all of that, but was there any challenge transitioning from being a member of a team with a leader, a supervisor over you, and it's their ass on the line, if it goes wrong, to being the leader and having that on you. What was the biggest challenge about becoming ... even though you said you don't think of yourself as a leader, you are the leader of the job. What were the challenges there? 

Onur Senturk: Yeah, you look like a leader, but in reality, as I said, you are serving for a cause. So, you want to complete that film at the end of the day. So, you are serving for that job to be completed. You are still a team member. 

Joey Korenman: Right.

Onur Senturk: Maybe a high-class team member, but still a team member. But that doesn't matter. At the end of the day when I think about and oversee the complete process. For example, Director Of pHotography just comes in, in a certain stage of the process. He comes in, after pre-production is done. First you're planning the live-action shoot. He shoots your film or whatever. You shoot with him. He just takes off after a few days. But as the director of that project, you stick with that project, in the post-production phase, in editing phase. In every phase possible.

Joey Korenman: Did you find it was difficult at all to ... as a director, as any type of supervisor on a project like this, you have to sometimes tell people that what they did, isn't working. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah.

Joey Korenman: You know, "It's not good enough and you may have to stay a little late to fix it." Was that difficult for you at all? Have you learned any tricks to make that part easier?

Onur Senturk: Yeah, of course. You can see that coming. If a problem is blossoming, you will see that coming from a mile away. This kind of sensibility just grows over time. In my first early career days, I couldn't see that coming. Later, [crosstalk 00:45:29] I can see that coming easily and I just take my plan B's and plan C's under my arms and go with this is something bad happens. Also, there's producers helping you on that task as well. You are not along in that because when you are directing something you are just more focused on conveying the message to the audience, you are responsible. Some practicalities in that process belong to the producer. For example, if that audio problem, is in the live-action area, it's up to live producer to deal with that. If it's more in the post-production side, the post-producer has to deal with that as well, they will help you with this. 

Joey Korenman: It's really about paying attention and having the producers, that are managing the artists pat attention as well, so you are catching potential issues before they become show stoppers. \

Onur Senturk: Yeah, because as an artist you just first, more focused on the material you are getting. You are not really focused on the practicalities of some things, during the process. That practicality is producer's task to solve and help you on that because their specialty is that. I totally respect this because without the producers, some problems can go to really huge levels and you can experience very nightmare scenarios. 

Joey Korenman: I've been there. I think producers are the unsung heroes of the industry. 

Onur Senturk: I think they deserve a huge credit as well. When we are thinking of filmmaking, it's a really collaborative process. You can do that alone but you are crazy to do that alone. When you are doing it with somebody else, you have to be a team, you have to be on the same side and fighting for a cause. 

Joey Korenman: Exactly. You mentioned that, even things you are directing where you have a team working with you, you still like to get your hands dirty with design and doing shots and animating and even simulating stuff?

Onur Senturk: Yes. 

Joey Korenman: Why is that? 'Cause I've heard interview with other directors who start that way, but then in the end they transition off of that and they like to find people more talented than themselves to do things. I'm curious, why do you still like to be in the trenches like that?

Onur Senturk: I want to make this a personalized experience. It's not like a somebody else comes in and fix things for you. If there's a way that I want to touch the more [inaudible 00:48:16] as much as I can. For example, if I can do the editing on my piece alone, I do that, because it's really just hurts me to tell an editor, just cut these three frames early or cut this one second early, or stuff like that, because I can do that. I don't want to hire people and just tell them because I'm in my head already and I know what I want to do, and what I want to achieve in that part of the project. So, telling somebody else is just making more complicated for me, to be honest. 

Joey Korenman: That makes sense and I can totally relate to that too. It almost sounds like there's a term for that, which is Superhero Syndrome, where you're like, "Oh I'll just do it. It's faster if I just do it." 

Onur Senturk: I guess so. 

Joey Korenman: There's a little bit of that. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah. 

Joey Korenman: All right. So, let's get into a little nitty-gritty here. My career, I've been full-time, I've been freelance, and I've been a creative director at a studio that I had a stake in.

Onur Senturk: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joey Korenman: And the way that you earn income in those situations is fairly cut and dry, but how does a director figure out how much to charge and how does that work. I'm curious if you could just give us an overview of how directors bill for their services?

Onur Senturk: Yeah, if you are more focused on the live-action directing you charge per day. But if it's more leaning on the visual effects side or post-production side, I usually get a percentage out of the job. Let's say 10% of the total budget. But, when I just came across a project, which I feel much more personal link, and I felt that link between, I can take the initiate that I want to do. So I can say that I will take less money and, "Let's spend a bit more on the production side." and "Let's do a greater job."

Joey Korenman: Yeah that's the same thing that happens in motion design studios, where there are jobs that they're not very excited to do, but they have a big budget and they'll keep the lights on. Then there's jobs that they're going to lose money on, but they'll do it because it's going to help their portfolio. It works the same way in directing it sounds like?

Onur Senturk: Yes. Totally same.

Joey Korenman: Looking at your portfolio, if you go to your site, all the work on there is really, really cool, really, really good. Is there stuff that you're directing that you don't put on there, that pays the bills and stuff like that?

Onur Senturk: Yeah there are like a couple of stuff, but it's a very rare occasions that happens. Because nobody starts with the project that would be the worst things that we are going to do, but somewhere along the way, it just becomes a catastrophe. When you complete the projects some people will be happy with that, but as a director you are not happy at the end. These projects happen. 

Joey Korenman: Do you every turn projects down?

Onur Senturk: Yeah, of course. Every time. 

Joey Korenman: What would be a reason that you would turn it down?

Onur Senturk: Whenever it's not looking healthy or it's not looking good enough, you turn their project down because the other side is the worst. It becomes much, much worse because you hurt your career and you hurt your reputation at the end. You hurt your credibility as well, so it's just higher stakes.

Joey Korenman: Yeah, and how many projects can you direct in a year?

Onur Senturk: Oh there is multiple things I can do. I can direct 12 projects in a year, for sure. [crosstalk 00:52:10]

Joey Korenman: 12 projects a year, that's a good amount but I guess you would need to be picky because if two of those end up being stinkers than, that's a big percentage.

Onur Senturk: Yes, still a big percentage but I prefer to do less because I wanted to grow as an intellectual myself because I do less of reading and watching stuff because by each thing that I want to do, I wanted to do a big step up. Even though I'm doing animation sometimes or composing or whatever, but I wanted to step up intellectually. So, I'll be very picky about the projects I accept. 

Joey Korenman: Yeah, that's great because you need your name. Your name is your brand and you need it to be associated with quality so how do you get your name out there, as a director? Especially when you're starting? How do you get people to take you seriously?

Onur Senturk: It just takes a lot of time and effort, of course. It's good to have your personal voice out there. Because other than that, it would be impossible to be known or just people recognize your name. 

Joey Korenman: You said, it has to be your personal voice and you got noticed through personal projects, so is that really the secret ... not the secret, but that's a good way in, is through personal projects. 

Onur Senturk: That's the obvious secret, you can say. Yeah, unspoken, but obvious. 

Joey Korenman: Okay. There's not an obvious career path to become a director without putting in a bunch of your time. You have to do ... you have to direct something and show people that it turns out good, even though you did it for free. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah, you have to step out of your comfort zone because directing is just taking the charge. You have to take the charge and just accept whatever comes with it, either it is misery or it's just a big fame. You have to accept that. There's no middle ground on that. 

Joey Korenman: Yeah, misery or fame and nothing in between. I love it. That's great, Onur. Let me ask you this question. For a short time I did work in the production realm, and I worked around some pretty successful commercial directors, live-action, not visual effects. Some of them, could charge a thirty-thousand dollar fee just to show up on a commercial, plus whatever they charged per day.

Onur Senturk: Yep.

Joey Korenman: These guys would make a pretty good living.

Onur Senturk: Yeah.

Joey Korenman: I'm curious, how much money can a successful ... so, when I say director I'm talking about a director like you, like a visual effects, motion designing kind of director. Like a Patrick Clair or David Lewandowski, someone like that. How much can you earn doing this?

Onur Senturk: Well, it's not like you said. But as I said, I get a percentage out of a project whenever something comes up. The amount you mentioned is more relying on the live action side and it just comes ... I guess they are doing it for all the years. They are just doing this like 40 years I guess the same thing. The director comes in and they just get a daily rate and be done with that. But, in post-production and CG heavy works, it's never like that. As a person-

Joey Korenman: And what are the budget- Oh, sorry go ahead.

Onur Senturk: Yeah. As a director, I just do the- I take the initiative sometimes. So, let's say there's a hundred thousand Euros budgets, of a particular project, you get just ten thousand Euros of it and you just spend ninety-thousand to the production of it. Or, if you want much more good results, you just get five-thousand and just spend everything on the production. 

Joey Korenman: Right, and that's interesting and it gives you that option, if you think this is something that it's worth putting a couple of months into because you'll get a lot of work afterwards. You can take a smaller fee, 

Onur Senturk: It's just important to get your name out there. It's not just important to get the money at the end of the day. It's not the most important thing, because-

Joey Korenman: Oh, of course. Yeah. 

Onur Senturk: Your reputation is much more important because, in future, that will just bring the jobs to you. Not that making the day or just living the day [inaudible 00:56:41] just save you at the end. 

Joey Korenman: I've heard from a lot of studio owners over the past couple of years that, budgets for these projects just keep going down.

Onur Senturk: Yeah, yeah.

Joey Korenman: What's the range of budgets that you're seeing out there for the kind of work that you do?

Onur Senturk: It varies from project to project. But as you said, it's just going down and down because I guess, post-production and visual effects are really hard thing to do. So the advertising agencies just stay away from it, and they want to keep it much more simple and just straightforward. 

Joey Korenman: Do you think that there's ... so, the visual effects industry that services feature films, is going through an interesting phase. They have been for the past few years, where a lot of the work is being outsourced to countries where labor is much more cheaper, India, and places like that. [crosstalk 00:57:37] Do you see any of that in the commercial visual effects realm? Is that happening in your world?

Onur Senturk: Yeah I think the visual effects of feature films is making a big transition now. This transition has been happening for at least five years. It is very visible. So, the last time when I was in Los Angeles, it was like a visual effects cemetery. Rhythm and Hues went bankrupt, during that year and most of the artists were laid off, and looking for a place to work, in the motion industry or the commercials. The same thing happening in the commercials as well. Commercials getting smaller, and they just making much more leaning on the live-action side. Just create much more simpler thing to handle. 

Joey Korenman: And trickier to outsource, because if you want to shoot and commercial in Amsterdam, you hire a Dutch production company, you don't hire a production company from India, and fly them over.

Onur Senturk: Yeah. 

Joey Korenman: Do you think that at some point you might be a director on a spot, but you're directing artists somewhere where you could hire a good CG artist for $15.00 an hour?

Onur Senturk: No, no. 

Joey Korenman: That's good. 

Onur Senturk: Because I like to get a good artist, with less there is to work with, than a cheap artist more there is to work on. Because getting the artist the perfect level is very difficult task, because it takes an understanding and a philosophy. So, if that artist doesn't have that range in their career or their mind as a person, they can never reach that level. Even if you try your best, you cannot get that out of them. [crosstalk 00:59:33]

Joey Korenman: Yeah. There's that saying, "You get what you pay for." I think it's especially true with talent at super high levels like that. If you want your work to be top-quality, you're going to pay top-dollar. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah, yeah. You have to pay.

Joey Korenman: Yep. Let's talk about a couple of your projects. There's a project that we're going to link to and I definitely recommend everybody check it out, because it's beautiful. It's a great message and a great piece and also, just technically, incredible execution. I'm talking about the Amnesty International piece. For everyone listening, if you haven't seen it yet, it's essentially, there's this toy that has all of these pins and you can stick your hand under it, and see your hand stick up like a topographical map built by these pins. It's this entire story that's told in that way. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah.

Joey Korenman: I'm wondering, can you just describe how did that project come about? How did you get involved?

Onur Senturk: During that time, there was some political events happening in Turkey and I was really sensible about that subject. Because whenever someone's making a protest, some aggressive suspension system just comes in, just proves violence will be a solution to that current event.

Joey Korenman: Right. 

Onur Senturk: As a result. That project can in the perfect timing in 2013. After I finish directing Guinness commercial. It came from Trouble Makers, a French portion company, which is presenting me in Paris. We designed this thing with TV-WA Paris, together. The entire production time took five months to complete. I guess the first one and a half month, we went into animating and design phase and the technical tests. 

As far as I remember, there is just one inspirational piece I remember, again from David Fincher. There's a Nine Inch Nails video, I don't remember that song. I guess it's called Only.

Joey Korenman: Okay.

Onur Senturk: It used the same technique, but it just uses on an expressive level. It's not telling a story, but again, the same toy using a figure and we are  seeing that thing doing the music video. That is the only reference I had in mind for this one. I think, "How can we top that?" And "How can we just use this to tell a story?" We team with another visual effects company in Paris. It's called One More Productions. 

Joey Korenman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Onur Senturk: These guys did the Pixels short film. I guess also worked on Pixels feature film, but I'm not sure. 

Joey Korenman: The short film was much better.

Onur Senturk: Yeah, they did the short film. I remember that but I'm not sure about the feature film. [crosstalk 01:02:34]

Joey Korenman: I remember that, that was great.

Onur Senturk: Yeah, yeah, So, I work with these guys and we  came up with the technique and methods to make it the best looking possible work. 

Joey Korenman: Was it your idea to have this be rendered using the pins?

Onur Senturk: No, the idea came from agency. But whenever agency comes with that kind of ideas, they came up with alternative questions with them. They say, "Can we do that?" It's my job to answer them that we can do or not, we cannot do it. I wanted to challenge the technique to tell a story using this methods. [crosstalk 01:03:19] So, unfortunately the idea came from the agency.

Joey Korenman: Did you work on any of the concept art that proved you could use this technique and it would work?

Onur Senturk: Yes. 

Joey Korenman: I'm imagining this had to be a fairly technical execution. 

Onur Senturk: Yes. 

Joey Korenman: How did you approach, even figuring out how you would do it, not even what it would look like, but just how it would actually get done? 

Onur Senturk: We were thinking with one more together on this, how we can do it. There was two solutions came up. The first solution was doing a live-action shoot and using 2D masking and rotoing techniques to create this 3D illusion and it will be much more expensive work. The other solution was doing a [inaudible 01:04:10] shoots and get them out of 3D with special rendering passes, and again, putting them in 3D software and apply the same effects. We went with the second choice on this one.

Joey Korenman: So, you built 3D scenes and I'm assuming you rendered a depth map and then you used that to drive the height of the pins. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah. But early on I work with three actors and get the performance out of them. We did the entire blocking of the commercial once in MAYA. This time I used MAYA. Because the studio was using MAYA. I did the blocking and we did all the cinematography and perfect editing. Then we rendered out each sequence, each shot. Then put them again through 2DS MAX and create the effect out and again, render it out. It's like a double toasted. 

Joey Korenman: Right, that's a lot of rendering. Let me ask you this, in that piece in particular, the performance of the motion capture actors and even the facial performances, I'm assuming those were just animated traditionally with key frames or something?

Onur Senturk: Yeah, yeah exactly.

Joey Korenman: You were directing essentially actors there. There is some more of that in your work, but not a lot. That piece is the one that I've seen that has the most human emotion in it. 

Onur Senturk: Yes.

Joey Korenman: I'm curious if there was a learning curve for that because that's not a technical skill that you can just practice on your computer at home, right?

Onur Senturk: Yeah. It's just a learning curve happened. I just do it more and more.

Joey Korenman: What are some of the lesson you've learned about getting good performances out of humans and not just out of computers?

Onur Senturk: You just try multiple things. Each project is different and each actor is different. Because at that project I work with French people and French actors, so they were not speaking very good English and my producer and my first AD did a good job on that. 

Joey Korenman: Oh interesting. Okay. You had to translate-

Onur Senturk: Also likewise, whenever I go to another country, Amsterdam or China or whatever, there's just another team of local people supporting the production as well. It's just never left out of the chance to ... the last project I directed, there's a child actor but the actor I picked couldn't perform very well, so I had another actor in back-up. I bring that actor and use that. There is just more back up plans. 

On that particular project all these three actors are really physical actors and their body language is really very, very, very well done. They can go into much more uncomfortable situations. The one guy, who played the lead guy Romano [Geru 01:07:17]. He's doing more the motion capture work for the games, so he was more comfortable and I used as a main actor on this one. Sometimes he just become the guy who's being tortured, the protestor also.

Joey Korenman: Right. 

Onur Senturk: At one point I made him to be the police officer as well. It just becomes a very different thing. He just tortures himself at some points. 

Joey Korenman: That's the dream gig I guess. Casting is important but also having a back-up plan if it doesn't go well.

Onur Senturk: Yeah, yeah. The live-action productions is always scheduled for that date and you have to be prepared whatever comes. That's all I can say.

Joey Korenman: Yeah. You're working without a net a little more than you are in post. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah, yeah. But again, we are in a computer age. I cannot imagine myself, like 20 yrs ago, or 30 years ago. I do previews all the time and I define the shot early on, I pick the lenses early on, so to test everything without going to the set. It's a big luxury. 

Joey Korenman: Right, then there's less guess work on the day. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah. 

Joey Korenman: That Amnesty piece won you a whole bunch of awards. I'm sure that helped your career even more. But recently you released a personal project called Genesis, which is gorgeous. I highly recommend everyone see it and it's going to sell a lot of- [crosstalk 01:08:58] it's going to sell a lot of 3D software I think. It sounds like you did that by yourself?

Onur Senturk: Yeah.

Joey Korenman: I can't imagine how long that took. Can you talk about, why at this point in your career where the work you're doing is beautiful and technical and cool, and has great messages, why do you still do personal work and that piece in particular?

Onur Senturk: Because no matter what I do in terms of commercials, they will never bring me or ad agencies or production companies will never bring me the jobs I'm imagining in the future. So, in that case, I take initiative and do the work myself. That's why.

Joey Korenman: It's to scratch your own itch, basically? This piece in particular is very technical again. Lots of particles and shallow depth-of-field and stuff like that. 

Onur Senturk: Thank you.

Joey Korenman: How long did this take to make?

Onur Senturk: It took a couple of months. But I don't have much job to do during that time, and I was doing lots of reading and just watching some documentaries and just doing one shot a day, something like that. 

Joey Korenman: When you do a personal project, do you follow the same process that you would for a client, where you board things out, you do [prevas 01:10:18], you rough edit? How do you manage personal projects versus commercial?

Onur Senturk: It is similar. There's a big reason that people do these [prevas 01:10:31] and doing the draft editings. I still do that for my own pieces as well. I wanted to experiment something new, and since I'm not telling what I'm going to do a big crew or people, I can do whatever I want on that, so it just becomes more personal and you can become much more dirty. But since it's very technical, that I have to follow a certain guides, not to become a very [inaudible 01:10:51] mess at the end, in terms of project files and everything. I have a project structure that I follow.

Joey Korenman: That makes sense because I can imagine with simulations and render passes and final renders and version one, version two-

Onur Senturk: Yeah.

Joey Korenman: So that piece took you two months. What was the thought behind it. You mentioned at the very beginning of this interview, that you used to be obsessed with 80's horror title sequences, [crosstalk 01:11:31]. Genesis, I think maybe it's the music or something, it kind of has that feel to it. 

Onur Senturk: Yeah. 

Joey Korenman: What was the drive behind making that piece?

Onur Senturk: During that time I was watching lots of Star Trek and I was watching Aliens and Aliens.

Joey Korenman: Yep.

Onur Senturk: All of the franchises. I was also watched again a couple of times, the 2001 Space Odyssey. So, I was very obsessed with the existentialist, science fiction stuff. 

Joey Korenman: Right.

Onur Senturk: Just wanted to do a one minute piece or something like this. 

Joey Korenman: That's fantastic. Then when you do a personal project like this, do you heavily promote it so that other people might see it and then more opportunities open up? Or do you just do it for you? 

Onur Senturk: I just do it for myself, but if it's good enough, it's always gets the attention because whenever you are making the film, that's the important. You just make it for yourself in the first place. If it's cool enough, if it get more ... if it gain more attention, it becomes important for somebody else as well. 

Joey Korenman: That's really good advice. All right so I have two more questions for you, Onur.

Onur Senturk: Okay. 

Joey Korenman: The first one is, if anyone listening, hearing you talk about your experiences as a director in this visual effects, motion design realm, if they want to become a director one day, what advice would you give someone who's at the beginning of their career?

Onur Senturk: They have to take the initiative and they have to take the charge for themselves. Not for the commercial projects but the self-initiated projects as a start. I think this is the most important thing to begin with. 

Joey Korenman: Yeah, you have to do the work, before someone is willing to pay you for it. 

Onur Senturk: Advertising, as I said, it just always relies on the proven success. You have to prove you're successful, then they will come for you. 

Joey Korenman: I agree. I agree totally. My last question Onur, bringing you way back to the beginning, to the 80's horror movies.

Onur Senturk: Yeah.

Joey Korenman: I'm curious because I was a child of the 80's also, and I loved 80's horror movies, Nightmare on Elm Street-

Onur Senturk: Yeah, me too. 

Joey Korenman: And all that stuff. I'm curious what your favorite 80's horror film is and then I will tell you what mine is.

Onur Senturk: My favorite 80's horror film is The Thing. 

Joey Korenman: Oh yeah, a classic, The Thing. Good choice. I would say mine is, it's an obscure one. I don't know if you've ever seen this one. It's called Monster Squad. 

Onur Senturk: No, I didn't watch this one. I will watch it. Tonight. 

Joey Korenman: Yeah, you're going to have to go check that one out. THere's some really good 80's music in it. [crosstalk 01:14:19] Thank you so much for doing this interview, man. I learned a ton. I know everyone listening learned a ton. This was so much fun, man.

Onur Senturk: Thank you very much, Joey, for having me. It's a pleasure to be here on the show. 

Joey Korenman: Incredible dude, right? Make sure you check out Onur's work. It's amazing and we're going to link to it, in the show notes. I want to say thanks again to Onur for coming on and for being so open about his experiences as a director and for sharing so much of the behind-the-scenes stuff, that we never really get to hear about. I also want to thank you as always for listening to the School of Motion podcast and if you dig this, you should also go to our site and sign up for our free student account, so you can gain access to our hundreds of project file downloads, exclusive discounts and our famous Motion Mondays newsletter. Thanks again and I will see you on the next one.