School of Motion

Starting Your Own Studio, An Interview with Brett Morris

  • By School of Motion
  • Share

Brett Morris proves that hard work and a killer portfolio can take you anywhere. 

What if you got an email from your favorite studio asking you to work for them? That'd be pretty sweet right? Well our next guest got an email just like that from his previous employer, Capacity (you may have heard of them).

Over his career Brett Morris has traveled the world, refining his skills as a Motion Designer. The interesting thing about Brett is the fact that he uses very common tools to create astounding Motion Graphic projects. Through a combination of After Effects, Cinema 4D, and Octane he is able to create Motion Graphic projects that rival that of the best studios in the world. 

We sat down with Brett to talk about his career in the industry. Brett has also recently partnered up with his friend Steve Panicara to start their own studio, Ranger and Fox, out in Los Angeles. Brett's passion for Motion Design is intoxicating. This is definitely worth a listen.

  • Starting Your Own Studio with Brett Morris
  • School of Motion

  • 00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Brett Morris's Work

We thought it'd be fun to showcase some of Brett's work here. Here's a few selections from his portfolio. 

2016 Portfolio

Pause 2016

There's a good chance that you've seen this project before. Some insane 3D work created in Cinema 4D. 

Confidential Awards Show package

This project was never even presented in the way it was supposed to be, this incredible work of art is an amazing example of Brett's work. 

Ranger & Fox Showreel

This is the latest showreel from Ranger & Fox.

Brett Morris Interview Transcript

Joey: Cinema 4D. How did it make you feel when I said that? Did you get a little excited? Did you get a little nervous? There's something about really cool, technical 3D work that gets motion designers excited. Our guest today is a legitimate wizard with Cinema 4D, and he's also one half of the directing duo that call themselves Ranger and Fox. Brett Morris has had a pretty crazy career that led him from Sydney Australia to Los Angeles. He did some time over at the incredible studio Capacity, and now he's forging ahead with his new company and doing some insane work for clients like Microsoft, Pause Fest, and even MAXON. In this interview we get into the weeds about how Brett developed his formidable 3D skills, how he managed to pick up such a great eye for design, and how he and his partner are structuring Ranger and Fox, which doesn't really follow the typical studio model.

If you're a 3D geek you will love this episode. And you'll also love Cinema 4D basecamp, which will be ready in early 2018, and will be our first bootcamp style Cinema 4D course. We'll be talking about this one quite a bit in the future, so stay tuned. And now here's Brett.

Brett Morris thank you so much for coming on the podcast. Man I'm a big fan of Ranger and Fox, and I can't wait to pick your brain.

Brett: Hey thanks for having me Joey. I'm really excited to be here too.

Joey: Excellent. For those listening who haven't yet heard about Ranger and Fox, because you guys are relatively new, but your work, it's a lot better than most companies that are at your stage. But can you tell people a little bit about your background, about Ranger and Fox, and what your role is there?

Brett: Yeah sure. Thanks for the kind words. We do kind of feel like the new kids on the block at the moment, we've been in operation since March of this year. It's a small company, it's Steve Panicara and myself, and we came from a studio called Capacity. Just through the natural evolution of an artist's career we decided to partner up and do something for ourselves.

Prior to that we were both at the company for five to seven years each. I'm obviously Australian, if you can't tell from the accent.

Joey: You don't say.

Brett: Yeah. And I had had maybe half a decade give or take of experience before coming out to the states, and that had kind of primed me to be able to feel comfortable at a studio like Capacity. Because, we can go into the details as to how I got there later on, but I kind of came from a jack of all trades background in broadcast and film. So it's been a pretty interesting career to get to this point, but Ranger and Fox is certainly something that Steve and I are really proud of, and we feel like every moment in our life, in our career up to this point, was the first baby step. And there's many more to go from here.

Joey: Definitely. Do you mind if I ask how old you are?

Brett: I am turning 32 next week.

Joey: Okay cool. So I'm 36, so we're close. 

Brett: Closeish.

Joey: In age.

Brett: Yeah we're the old guys in the industry.

Joey: Yeah so what you made me think of is that a lot of artists that are in their 30s right now came into this industry ... The way I look at it is the direct route to a motion design job is to learn design, get an education in design and animation, or even go to one of these like motion design schools. And then you're kind of perfectly suited to do this stuff. But 15 years ago, that wasn't an option. Even 10 years ago it wasn't really an option. So a lot of people came in as a jack of all trades. So I did my Google stalking of you before we chatted, and I saw that you studied digital film. That was the only education I could find for you, which digital film to me, I'm assuming means production, and shooting, maybe some editing. I'm assuming it doesn't mean technical 3D and design and compositing.

So can you talk a little bit about that, your education background, and what you learned there?

Brett: Yeah, holistically, that's the nail on the head. I came out of school in 2002, and at the time I knew I wanted to be part of the film industry. My uncle is a film producer and works in television as well, so I had some experience and some insight into that world. And leaving school I wanted to learn how to become an editor, but at the time in Australia there wasn't really an entry point educational path for someone wanting to go into that world.

But there were a couple of small private colleges that were offering sort of like a holistic approach to production. I went to a college called JMC, and at the time the college had been around for a couple of decades, but it was mostly focused on music and audio recording and business management. And they opened up this new sector which was the production side of things, so we kind of came in there, it might have only been a couple years into its program. It was all very new.

And that whole experience was pretty much like you said. It was learning production, it was being on set, it was understanding the post production process. Even backing up a couple of steps before that, pre-production, all the legal work, copyrighting. We kind of walked away from that sort of course feeling well primed to become a runner or a production assistant. But it was a really cool experience. I think everyone at that time, in that area, basically had the pick of the litter of type of work to get into, because there wasn't any defined paths to go into after that point in the education.

So I unlike some of my college buddies ended up going to work for a small production company. Some of them ended up going to work for a big broadcaster, and they went the route of becoming promo producers and now creative directors in the promo world. I went to my uncle's company, which was a small production company. It was basically him, a production manager / producer, and then he would just scale up whenever he needed to. And he would take on different types of jobs from live event broadcasting of many screens upwards of 100 plus different types of screens across the stage, he'd do coding for game shows, so if there was a show like 1 versus 100, he'd actually write the code and integrate it into the hardware for all of the contestants answering the scores, all that sort of stuff. And then he was also a film producer and writer, and was getting a film into development at the time.

So I kind of had my real education with him after school. And I mean real as in the hands on part of it, because I think even in those early days when we were at JMC, it was great. It was all theoretical and practical, but I think when you're on a job you get to see the titled people behave the way they do, and you understand that hierarchy, and you definitely know your place in a large scale production. But that was a really cool experience for a young, 19 to probably 24 year old guy, just kind of learning the ropes.

Joey: Yeah, you and I have a very similar history. I did almost the exact same thing, because I studied film and television, which was mostly production with a little bit of editing. Then I worked at a small production company that had one Final Cut Pro editing bay and I was the assistant editor. I was there probably a couple years, and then I saw ... It was either Ultra Love Ninja, it was some MK12 thing. That was my gateway drug.

Brett: Of course, of course.

Joey: Into this industry. So I'm wondering, what was it that pulled you away from that into the world that you're in now?

Brett: Yeah, so I think After Effects was always on the fringe. It was always part of the conversation on any sort of production that we were doing. We were doing a lot of Final Cut editing, so After Effects was this sort of extension that could do titles or effects, and make the production value higher. I really didn't ... I wasn't told After Effects, no one really held my hand in the early days at college, it wasn't really something at college that we were taught. They had a computer animation course, and we integrated with them at some point just to kind of get some crossover information shared, and that was the first time I saw it. I thought, "That's really cool, I didn't know you could do this layering thing," I didn't really know about keyframes, but when we went into production with my uncle, I remember at some point he said to me, "I use After Effects, but if you learn After Effects, I can give you more work." 

So in that process I started to read manuals and books, any book that was available. I mean the Brian Maffitt tapes were floating around at that stage ...

Joey: Yeah legend.

Brett: Yeah. I just absorbed it. And I think at the time, the internet wasn't what it was today. Having access to other people's workflows through tutorials or presentations just wasn't a thing. So it was a lot of reading on the forums, it was digesting all these VHS tapes, and it wasn't until Motionographer started up that there was this exchange of projects. Studios putting out their latest and greatest, and I think whether it was MK12 or Syndrome, Syndrome were one of my early inspiration, studios that I really admired, that I started to see this design being created in After Effects. And that kind of just piqued my interest. I wanted to learn how they did that, because at the time it was all closed doors. People weren't sharing their production techniques, they weren't giving breakdowns or anything like that. So yeah, I think that really got me excited about the potential of what After Effects could do.

Joey: I think that's kind of the gateway drug for a lot of people. That's one of my favorite things about our industry, is that almost every day I see something that I don't know how it was done. I have an idea, and your work has a lot of that quality to it, where I'm sure once you explain it, "Oh that's clever." But it's like a magic trick.

Brett: Right, right.

Joey: You're totally right, because I remember being on And there were some heavy hitters on there, but it was still kind of like the wild west. How the heck did you get the type to look 3D and all that kind of stuff.

Brett: Oh for sure.

Joey: Yeah. So the technical side always drew me in, and then from there I went into the design and the animation side, which I feel is backwards, but that's how it worked for me. Now your work, Ranger and Fox's work, and I'm really curious, I want to get into the division of labor over there, but it's super technical a lot of it. Particles and photorealistic renders, and sculpts and all this crazy stuff. Has that always kind of been your thing? Some people are good at the simple, illustrated, well animated stuff. And then other people don't want to do that at all, the want X particles and Octane [crosstalk 00:12:33] was that kind of what sucked you in?

Brett: Yeah I think so. Even to what you were saying just now about that magic trick, I was always into cineffects. And really obsessed with VFX. I always found that VFX was like the pinnacle of craftsmanship because they were integrating physical effects or practical effects that were recorded on set with CGI. And I just, that whole process blew my mind. So from a very early age I was always really interested in the computer science aspect of what design was. I think I was more interested in reading a VFX article than I would be reading a design branding article. If that sort of puts my focus into context.

I think over the years I've always gravitated towards, what's the latest and greatest coming out of Cgraph? Who's doing the most interesting things with these software platforms that I use that are kind of catering for design or animation. And I've always had an interest in following this new frontier of computer animation, and with Ranger and Fox, just to speak on the division of labor, Steve and I have a pretty good sort of yin and yang skillset. So while I might be considered the 3D guy and Steve's the 2D guy, there's a lot of crossover. Where I think we find the sweet spot is we come together on conceptualizing and working through the issues, and trying to have a narrative. Everything always has to have some sort of intention behind it. So we really come together as equals on the concepting side, and then from there it's iterating on the 3D, doing the R&D. That always comes into Steve's hands, and we'll go through the compositing 2D animation, editing side of things.

And the exchange of work is very fluid, and there's definitely a lot of crossover, but Steve's a tremendously talented topographer. And his sensibilities to rhythm and animation, whether it's seeing in type animation or editing, I think is world class. So I think the combination of the two of us is a pretty fun duo to work within. So every piece of work that we put out, every project that we work on, we always want to stand behind it as being something that we're really proud of. So we tend to invest a lot of ourselves into the projects.

Joey: Is Stephen more the design lead? Or do you guys sort of split design duties?

Brett: I'd say we split them. I think each of us brings a certain perspective to design. There's certainly projects where a lot of it will be on Steve's plate and I'll play support with whatever asset generation, and then there'll be other ones where it might be more 3D, and that's sort of on my plate where Steve will support me with 2D elements. It does swing a little bit, but generally it's 50/50.

Joey: So you didn't go to school for design. If your digital film program was anything like my film and TV program, there was no design mentioned.

Brett: Correct. [crosstalk 00:15:46] 

Joey: But when I look at Ranger and Fox's work, and some of the stuff you worked on at Capacity, there's a clear sense of design and rules being followed, and good color theory, and things like that. So for you, where did that come from? How did you develop that?

Brett: I'd say when I got to Foxtel. If you're breaking down my timeline, the first couple years was school, the next three to four years was at Interactive Originals with my uncle, and the next three and half years I was at Foxtel. While I was at Interactive Originals it was a slew of projects. There was no real consistency to the type of work we were doing, it was a bit of everything. Which was great because it exposed me to a wider gamut of work that was available, and interesting stuff that had to be solved. So when I got to Foxtel it was focusing strictly on broadcast design. And I got that job through John Dickinson of Motionworks.

Joey: Oh great dude.

Brett: Yeah. But back in the day, Making it Look Great was also another DVD tutorial series that I'd purchased. I'd always admired John, and obviously he was a big role model and influence prior to even meeting him, just because of who he was in the industry. When he tweeted out that Foxtel was looking for designers, I thought, "I know After Effects, I'll give it a go." Landed in there and really started to focus on design. That environment was really interesting for me because I feel like that was the next stage of my education. Because we were given any type of job from any type of internal channel there, and just for context, Foxtel's kind of like a DirecTV. It's a big, giant cable company in Australia. We would work for some of the boxing pay per view events, we'd do stuff for film trailers that were going on the movie on demand channel. There was stuff that was going out for UKTV with their branding. And I think being in that environment, having to think quickly on your feet, abide by branding guidelines, come up with concepts for campaigns, I think that's where I really sharpened my teeth in the design sense.

And I think a lot of people have the impostor syndrome, and I would say that I have the biggest impostor syndrome, as anyone would say. But I would always feel like I needed to step up to be able to compete with the other guys on the team. Because there were really talented designers in that team, and I would take any design theory book home and just devour it. I think over a couple years started to feel really comfortable in the world of design.

Joey: Were they splitting the design and the animation up amongst the team? Or were you actually expected to do both?

Brett: Both. I think in Australia, as a whole, everyone is a bit of a generalist. It doesn't matter if you're in a design studio or a production studio, you kind of have to wear a couple hats. That team in Foxtel, it was a really small team. They had the print team and the animation team. The print guys really didn't touch After Effects or any animation at all, and they didn't cross over to any of the design work that we were doing. It was kind of like a production side and a print side. And in the production side it was basically JD, myself, and probably four other people, and there might have been five projects. One project per person, and maybe there was another one, there'd be two. So we're expected to work all stages of the project. That's just kind of how it worked out in that studio.

I'm thankful for that, because I think every step in my career, I've always been thrown in the deep end. It's sink or swim, just do whatever you can do to keep up, and then once you feel comfortable, great, we can have a breather and chill out for a second.

Joey: I think that's the best scenario you can find yourself in to be honest. Because I feel like the old model, or it still exists in a lot of places, but the old model of specializing ... You've got the design team, and then you've got the animation production team ... I've been exposed to that quite a bit, and it works, it's great, but it only works at scale. Now I'm sure you're thankful for that experience being one half of Ranger and Fox, because having that generalist skillset and that mentality I'm sure lets you keep your overhead a lot lower than if you needed to have five people just to be able to execute at the level you guys execute at right?

Brett: Oh 100%. Yeah that's a conversation that Steve and I are always having. Between the two of us, while we're at Capacity, there were many projects that we either just did ourselves completely, or between ourselves would do in its entirety. So I think Capacity also had that generalist philosophy with the artists, but just on a bigger scale. So I think now that we're in our own sort of shop, and trying to figure out our own design philosophies and how we want to run a project, we don't really look at any part of the process as saying, "Hey there's a big variable of X in that type of job, we need to fill X." We feel pretty comfortable across the whole spectrum of a project.

But when we do scale, I think we will target those specialist, and I think we will target sort of director level specialists, just because of the caliber that someone can bring in as a specialist weight. That's just something that we haven't fully explored, but it is something that we're always talking about.

Joey: Well let's talk a little bit about the technical end of what you specifically do and are really good at. It's interesting that you mention the caliber of work that a specialist can bring in, because when I think of that, I think of if I have some job come in and it has a fluid simulation. I don't want to do that. I want someone who knows how to do that. Or if it's some really elaborate particle setup. But a lot of what you're doing is very technical and almost ... It's like you're kind of blurring the line between generalist and specialist. So let's just dig in to some of this stuff. I've watched a few of your presentations you've done for MAXON at Siggraph, we're gonna link to those in the show notes, so everyone you can go watch, Brett is a great presenter and the presentations are so cool.

How did you develop these super technical skills in 3D across all these different disciplines?

Brett: Yeah. Good question. I think that's a little bit of everything. I'll back up and put some context around it, John Dickinson and I created a product called Movie Type like 100 years ago, and that was something that really forced me to think about Expresso, and user experience. So in a very early stage in my career I was already tinkering with Expresso to control tools and build tools that had a mass consumption end output. So it wasn't like I was just tinkering with a little particle setup, I was trying to build a robust tool that could do multiple different things in multiple different scenarios, and be super easy and fluid to use to someone that doesn't necessarily or who's not interested in understanding how it works, who can just pick it up and with a couple sliders do something terrific.

So I had that embedded in me in a really early stage in my career. And with that, I've always had a natural curiosity as to how certain effects were achieved in other projects, and what VFX were doing, and like I said always processing what was going on in the computer sciences. With cinema, I've always felt that Expresso has always been one of these dark art secrets that maybe this guy over there knows how to do it, but you want to be careful because you don't want to go down that Expresso route, it's pretty complicated stuff. I've always embraced that, and I always found that it's such a powerful thing to work with.

I don't know man, I just get really obsessive about it. I find that a challenge, whether it be a design or a technical challenge within Expresso, is just critical thinking to solve creative challenges. I've always just loved that part of the process. So whether it be at Capacity, for example like I was just thinking, one of the NFL Total Access jobs, we had a large team that was at scale. At full scale for the studio, of varying degrees of experience. We needed to be able to feed them some pretty complicated pipeline tools that they didn't need to necessarily worry about, so going through that challenge of looking at a project in the sense of how can I build tools to give to an artist, that they don't need to get a headache trying to digest or trying to figure it out, that part of the process I love. That's probably my favorite part of all of the processes that come with motion design. 

And I think just over the years, just baby steps going from one challenge to another, and trying to challenge myself even more and learn more about the other nodes and trying to comprise them together, I think that just opens up a more of an insight as to how to work with particles and when you're starting to think about vector math, it all makes sense because you've been processing it. It's something that feeds itself as time goes on as well.

Joey: Yeah I think you did a really good job of describing the joy ... So there are some motion designers, I'm definitely like that, I could sit there and write After Effects expressions, and spend 12 hours building this thing that I could have just hand animated in like 10 minutes. But it's so satisfying. I want to say, just for anyone listening who doesn't know what Expresso is, inside Cinema 4D there's a lot of different ways to automate things, and Expresso ... Brett maybe you could take a crack at explaining it too. The way I would describe it is it lets you essentially do the same thing as expressions or coding in After Effects. You can automate things, you can create a control that 10 things react to it in different ways. But it's a node based visual system.

Brett: Yeah.

Joey: It is super deep. It's incredibly deep. Do you think ... So Cinema 4D, I used to use it every day when I was a creative director and an animator, but I never got the opportunity to work with lots of Cinema 4D artists. I've worked with a few, and I know a bunch, but in your opinion do you think that there are different breeds of Cinema 4D artists or even motion designers in general? Like are there Cinema 4D artists that want no part of that, they want to make key frames, and model things, and light it, make it beautiful. They don't want to touch any of that. And then there's guys like you, that you can go all day into Expresso, and I'm sure you've gone even deeper. I'm sure you've dabbled in Python or COFFEE, and that stuff too. Do you think that there's a split like that? Or do you think you kind of need to have both ends to really be effective?

Brett: Oh, to be effective, no you can be anything. I believe there are certain types of artists, 100% agree with you there, but I think of the gamut of types of artists, Cinema is a very accessible tool that it doesn't really need to have that technical insight to get it to sing, as I would say. I think there's definitely pros and cons of having each approach, each end of the spectrum. I think, I'm obviously biased because I enjoy that side of it, but I do think there's a lot of benefits into having an insight into Expresso, because conceptually speaking, you are essentially making Cinema 4D into, like you're a marionette. You're a puppet master. You're making it do what you want it to do. You're not necessarily hammering in key frames to manually do things, you're creating systems so you pull one lever and it does a complicated task that allows you to think about creative challenges opposed to how do I animate X to Y.

It kind of takes away this element of thought processing when you automate systems. So yeah I would definitely say that there's benefit to each, but I think anyone can be effective at it. I think Cinema's been designed in a way that allows anyone to open it up and be effective. I've certainly worked with each type of artist, and I'd say ... Even if I compare myself to Steve, Steve and I are both very different artists when it comes to working in Cinema. Steve is very design focused, so he uses Cinema in a particular way, and I'm the guy that jumps in and goes, "Oh no you shouldn't do that. Do this, let me build this for you, and hey can can I clean this up for you? And what about this?" But that's just because I like doing things in that manner, whereas Steve can create amazingly beautiful frames, and he's a great lighter, and there's nothing wrong with the way he works. It's just we come at it from different angles.

And I'm always trying to impose a little bit of myself on him and say, "Hey, maybe you can do a little bit of Expresso here." And actually we've had Redshift in the studio for a while, but Steve's finally getting into it. And he has to understand Expresso if he's using Redshift, so that's something that I've really enjoyed talking to him about, because as I explain it and turn these complicated ideas into simple metaphors, I can see he's like, "Oh cool, yeah I get it. I get it." So he's getting really energized about what its capabilities are within the Redshift Expresso, but I'll obviously keep pushing the Expresso thing on him for the lifetime ahead of us.

Joey: Yeah. It is totally intoxicating, once you grasp the power of it and how much time it can save you. And just for people listening, Redshift is the hot new GPU renderer, that seems like it's competing with Octane a little bit, and I know a lot of people have been telling us about it and how great it is. One of our teaching assistants, Liam Clisham, has been making tutorials about Redshift and he's obsessed with it. So let's talk about, the Cinema 4D ecosystem is really cool to me, especially if you compare it to say the Maya ecosystem of artists. If you go into Visual FX, or you go into Pixar, like character animation world, people do tend to specialize, and you have modelers and you have riggers and texture artists and stuff like that.

But Cinema 4D, for a really long time, it seemed like there weren't enough Cinema 4D artists to justify that. And the app seems to be designed to encourage people to be generalists. So do you think that the ecosystem of the C4D world, is it broad enough that people can start specializing now? Like you could just be the Expresso guy that gets called in, like the fixer who comes in, or you could just model. Or do you recommend that people who want to use C4D still take this generalist approach?

Brett: Yeah good question. It's a tricky one to answer, because I think everyone that uses Cinema has a different entrypoint. I think certainly as an industry there is room for specialists, 100%. There's definitely people that I know that are terrific modelers in Cinema. There's character animators that are just really good at character animating in Cinema. I think the industry will certainly take in more specialists as time goes on, and especially if things start to go in this sort of smaller studio route like Ranger and Fox is going, we are gonna look outwards for those specialists that fit our pipeline. So I can definitely see over the next couple of years that's going to be more important, to be a specialist. But on the flip side, a generalist is a generalist. I mean, if you can throw anyone into any part of the pipeline or the project, that's an amazing skill to have. 

I don't know, it's a big question to ask. But I think generally the ecosystem for Cinema has been based around design and motion design. So the skills that generally people take on are of cameras, types, just animation general, lighting. The character animation stuff hasn't been a big push in the past, because you're right, Maya pretty much absorbed them. Or Pixar absorbed those ones. So I always think that we're at a tipping point with a lot of these sorts of ideas in the industry, but it's always constantly changing, that I don't really have a concrete answer other than it kind of works both ways. 

Joey: Yeah I agree with you, I think we are at a tipping point. And my theory, it will be interesting to see how this pans out, is that there's going to be more and more generalists, and less and less people specializing. I think in Los Angeles where you've just got this enormous cool scene of motion design and visual effects studios and production, stuff like that, I think you can support specialists there. But I live in Florida. If someone's a really good C4D particles expert, unless they can really sell themselves all over the world, it's tough to just do that.

So let's talk about what makes someone hirable. You guys are growing, and you actually said, I wrote it down, you said the words, "When we do scale," it wasn't, "If we decide to scale." It was, "When we do scale." So everybody send your reels. [crosstalk 00:34:20] So if you need to hire a Cinema 4D artist to execute a job, what are you looking for? What are things you hope they can do, and are there any things that you don't want them to do, bad habits, stuff like that?

Brett: Oh for sure. Bad habits will definitely be something that will raise an eyebrow, but that's just me being particular. I would say, look, I think it all comes down to attitude. I've met some younger guys and girls over the years that I would say objectively, the work is still in its infancy. They're still growing and they're still figuring a lot of stuff out, but their attitude is spot on. They have a willingness to learn and a willingness to fail, and I think that speaks volumes to me. 

I would much prefer to work with that type of person than the person with a little bit of an attitude adjustment that they need to make, so I'd say it's about the personal connection first and foremost. Then from there based on the skillset, I would make a path for them into the project that I feel like would be a challenge without numbing them to the process. I would make sure they felt like their place was something that was of importance to the project. I think it's about trying to fit the right person to the right project, and the right attitude.

Joey: It's really interesting, that's basically what everybody says when I ask them a question like this. And we've done surveys, and I think when you're new to the industry, it might seem sort of like a meritocracy, like as long as your work's good enough you'll get booked over someone whose work isn't as good. And in truth it doesn't work that way at all [crosstalk 00:36:15]

Brett: Yeah 100% man.

Joey: Yeah, which I think is a good thing. I'm curious, because you seem to have an opinion, what are some bad habits that you think people have in Cinema 4D, or things, just common mistakes that you wish would go away?

Brett: Okay, so my biggest things are scene optimization. I'd say if there's a large scale scene that's being passed around between multiple artists and everyone needs to kind of jump in, jump out, and do their thing, if the scene optimization and layout isn't great, the exchange of data, the exchange of information I think is one of my pet peeves. So when someone comes into a project and doesn't use instances correctly, or if the shaders, it's the wild west of how they're working with shaders, little things like that add up quickly in a big production. So that's something I'm always trying to police. For the right reasons, to make sure the pipeline is clean and the exchange of data is efficient. That's where I like to put my imprint on a project.

That's not to say that those things should be known, a lot of that stuff is learned over time. So in the past I've always tried to work with people, and try to explain why setting an instance to a render instance is better in this particular case. Or why we shouldn't use subdivision surfaces inside of a cloner, or why we should use a connect here. It's those sorts of things, which are more on like the ... It's just strictly optimizing, that is a big thing for me.

Joey: That's a really good one. And I think that's one of those things too where the simplicity of Cinema is a blessing and a curse. Because if it's just you and you're learning it, you can make a lot of "mistakes" and get these amazing results, and it looks fantastic, and you have no idea that what you're doing is multiplying your polygon count times ten for no reason.

Brett: 100%. 

Joey: Yeah. So I kind of split Cinema 4D, like I've taught it before, and I tried to split it into there's Cinema 4D skills, but then there's this general 3D knowledge theory that you kind of have to have, or that you should have I think. Things like understanding polygons and edges and points and subdivision, and things like that. Did you just pick that stuff up through osmosis throughout your career? Did you learn any of that in school?

Brett: Yeah I think it's just something that I've learned over time. I've picked up many computer science books, and especially ones that are about 3D renderers, and how a 3D program just fundamentally works. And I think all of that has kind of just added to the language over the years, and how I sort of approach the work. I do see the blessing and the curse of the way that Cinema is designed, and I think what they've done is the right way to bring people into 3D. Because if our only option was something like Houdini, I don't think the 3D industry would be as big as it is. I think Houdini is insanely powerful and I've got a tremendous amount of respect for it, but I've sat there for months on end and tried to just absorb it, and I think with my general curiosity I have to kind of know everything about it. And with Houdini, you really need to know everything about it to be effective with it. 

Cinema, you don't need to know much at all to be effective with it. As far as the 3D foundation sort of knowledge. So I think Cinema, or MAXON have done a terrific job of introducing a whole wave of designers and animators and modelers into the 3D world, without letting them peek under the hood and not let them worry about what a vertex is or any vector math or anything like that. It's definitely a thing that I've really enjoyed learning over the time, but it's all been just on my own time, picking up all that stuff.

Joey: Yeah. And I'll reiterate what you said about MAXON too, they've clearly changed the industry with Cinema 4D. And I think, it's not even a downside, it's just a reality that when you abstract things in software to make it easy for the user, then in a production setting where you have 10 Cinema 4D artists sharing assets, one of them may have done something that's going to slow things down. But I think you're right, that comes with time, and hopefully ... We're actually putting together a Cinema 4D course now, and we're going to hopefully address some of that stuff. [crosstalk 00:41:06] Try and get some bad habits out before you get too far up.

So let's now progress through your career. So before starting Ranger and Fox, you worked at Capacity. I used to teach an animation class at a school here in Florida called Ringling, and one of the assignments was to do an on-air graphics package for a network. I would try to find good examples, and I think half of them came from Capacity. It's one of my favorite shops. So how did you end up getting hired there, and what was your role there?

Brett: Oh yeah. It's funny you say that, because back in Australia when I was a young kid just looking from the outside into the motion industry, which is LA and London and New York, Capacity always stood out as one of the most impressive studios. I think like you say, with the references in your class, I was also referencing probably one of their projects in every project that I was doing at some point. So I took a special interest in the company as I was growing up.

It wasn't until I did some branding stuff for Foxtel that had a little bit of success going around the web, it went on my Vimeo page, and of all the projects I put up it had the most views. It happened to get in front of the creative director over there. I don't think anything came of it the first time around, but one of the other guys that worked there, [Billy Cummins 00:42:45] at the time, he was an ex The Onion and ESPN designer, and I really liked his work. I thought he was really really cool. He was doing some of the really cool Sportcenter graphics back in the day, where it was like super meaty 3D stuff. And I naively wrote him a message on his website, thinking that it was a private message, but it was actually a public comment. So it was like a really shitty Wordpress website that he had. 

So it was like, "Hey Billy, love what you're doing, really good stuff. Cheers, Brett." So somehow someone at Capacity saw that comment on Billy's site, went to my site through the link, and noticed that I had done this branding piece that they had seen. Coincidentally, I had just updated my website, and part of my bio actually said, the very last line which I was encouraged to write by my partner, she said, "You should say what your goals are in your bio." So the very last line was, "Brett's end goal is to work with design studios around the world such as Capacity," and named a couple others.

So the creative director went to my site, was like, "Oh hey that's the guy that did this stuff," went to my bio, saw that I wanted to work with them, and then he was like, "We're looking for someone." So out of the blue I got this email saying, "Hey, we really like what you're doing, any interest in working with us?" Signed Capacity. I just went, "Fuck me."

Joey: Wow. [crosstalk 00:44:16]

Brett: One of my friends is taking the piss right now. I was shocked. It was like an out of body experience. I could not believe that I'd got that email. And sure enough, following through with more communications and Skype and everything, it was legit. And they were prepared to sponsor me. I resigned from Foxtel and worked from Sydney with Capacity for a few months until the visa stuff got signed over. Then I made the transition to LA full time. And that's basically how it went down.

For the longest time, at least the first year or so, I was just driving to work from Venice where I was living at the time, and driving to Capacity to work. It was such a surreal thing that this goal of mine, one was to work on a global platform, a company that was doing really high profile stuff, two live in America, specifically LA, and then three working for a studio that I had such respect for like Capacity. It was the dream come true. It was very much enjoyed.

Joey: What an incredible story man. That's amazing. I'm trying to figure out what's the takeaway here for everyone listening. I think you did a lot of things that probably seemed like an accident, and just happened to work out, but they're actually things people say to do. Like you reached out to people you admire, and what's really interesting is that you wrote down your goal, which it seems like one of these New Age-y things like, "Write down your goal and if you want it bad enough it will happen." I don't think it works that way. But writing it down, it clearly influenced the series of events. That, man, that might be the best origin story of anyone in this industry I've ever heard. That's really good [crosstalk 00:46:13]

Brett: Yeah.

Joey: So on your LinkedIn page it said that your title there was technical director. What does that mean at a place like Capacity?

Brett: Yeah, I was there for all in all like five years. I think after the first two or three years I was definitely in a position where I felt like I was pushing the pipeline. Trying to influence and integrate other packages into the studio, and trying to overcome larger scale technical challenges. So we had the discussion of like okay, I want to be defined with a different title, whether it be head of 3D, or CG lead, or technical director. So technical director was given just because one of the other creative directors had previously been called a technical director.

So at the time, it was mostly looking at pushing some of those ideas into the studio. And when a large scale project came in, that was when that role had the spotlight on it. Because there would be a lot of moving parts, taking design iterations that are mid-approval, trying to figure out how these are going to be seeing themselves all the way through the pipeline, so looking after the render pipeline, the compositing pipeline, looking at any After Effects scripting and expressions that can automate certain things as well as ... Sorry Cinema with Expresso or Python, whatever it was. So it was basically having that 30 foot view over a project, and making sure that whether it be a new shot or a new sequence or a new deliverable, there were certain tools that had been developed that could get the project from the starting line to the finishing line as quickly as possible. Without any friction.

So it was a bit of everything, but it really was pipeline management. And I think larger studios, a technical director I believe, is someone that is doing a lot of scripting. That is building proprietary software to automate huge scale hardware and software automation with hundreds of thousands of artists between countries. Like there's real work that goes into that title. But I think for a design studio, it can be a little bit of a generalist, in that technical role. So I would play many different roles, whether it be if there were simulations, particle work, that would always come through my plate. If there was any R&D for any renderer, that would always go through me. If it was, "Hey we need to scale our hardware and try and figure out what the render pipeline looks like going forward," it was a lot of those sorts of challenges that I had to figure out. 

And I really loved that role. To me it was always something like I'd play with my left side of the brain for a couple months, and then I'd go to my right brain for another month and do a creative project, so it was kind of like a good balance as well.

Joey: What was the pipeline there?

Brett: At the time it was Cinema, After Effects, pretty standard. And then we integrated Octane when they first were able to render animation. So that was probably like version 1 point something. And we scaled out a whole new GPU farm, we had Turbulence, we had X-Particles, we had all those tools. We tinkered with Houdini a little bit, but it wasn't something that we relied on and used sparingly. And all the designers obviously used Photoshop and Illustrator. So it was pretty standardized tools, but I think the creative challenges that we had were at scale, or like full capacity for the studio, so it was just trying to alleviate pressure and trying to figure out ways that we could optimize the process. In any which way possible.

Joey: Yeah that does sound like kind of the perfect fit for you. Being the guy that loves to figure things out and solve problems. Were you designing and animating as well?

Brett: Yeah.

Joey: Or were you mostly sort of assisting in production?

Brett: No I'd say most projects I'd have some level of design input. Some obviously were just handled by other designers and I'd take over on the 3D side. I really enjoy designing. Any of the design frames that are on my site, they're ones that I have actually designed. So I'm pretty careful about not putting up other people's designs, up on my site. But concepting and trying to figure out sequencing, and making sure that what you're creating to a brief is a challenge that I find equally rewarding. It's just that I probably do more of the technical stuff than the creative challenges.

Joey: So Capacity always struck me as more than some other shops. Like a design-driven shop. I remember the NBC more colorful rebrand, which it's so simple but it's so smart, and brilliant. And we'll link to that, there's a case study on Capacity's site. So you must have been around some pretty heavy hitter design talent there. I'm curious what sort of lessons you took away from being around that level of design?

Brett: I think it's kind of like you're able to witness something incredible being created, and you're able to talk about the process along the way. Everyone there has a pretty high standard of what good design is, and I think even when you hit that standard, you need to go further. Like I just think, it's a place that really thrives on doing the best work possible. And they're pretty selective about the types of clients and types of projects that they work with, because it something special that they bring to the table, and they want to be able to compliment the brand. So I think that's also something that attributes to really good design, is that there's a good partnership between the client and the studio, that they're able to make something really special.

Whether it be the client trusting the studio, or the client coming in and really letting them run with ideas that are going to be something special that they can get behind. So it's definitely a combination of everything, but it's also personality. I mean they've cultivated a pretty fun culture there. There's not much ego in that studio. I think a lot of the people there are genuinely good friends and love hanging out with each other. So I think when you've got that support network around you, and you're trying to do good design, I think it just generally breeds good work.

Joey: Yeah. I think the shops that I've freelanced at and stuff like that, that have strong design ethic, it's almost like the culture there elevates everybody's design chops.

Brett: Yep.

Joey: And having just the right combination of competition, and trying to show off for your buddy across the room and stuff like that. Was there like a design culture there that you think people could plug in, and instantly their design would elevate because of the process and the culture? Or were they just really picky about the talent that they hired too? Becauase these days, you can hire anybody from anywhere in the world freelance, so you can make yourself look like you have all these design chops, when really you just hired a really good freelance designer. But Capacity was so consistent, that it was clear that they had figured out how to get good design consistently with their staff. I'm just curious if you have any insight into the design process, or the design culture there.

Brett: Yeah. That's an interesting question. I would say of my time being there, I didn't see too many people leave the company. So I think first and foremost, they look for people that have good design skills, that think about their design being like a tangible problem to solve, and they have complementary aesthetics. And then second to all that is the personality traits. So I think they have a pretty strict requirement of the type of people they hire, but evidently they've hired the right people over their period of time.

They wouldn't work with freelancers unless they really needed to, and that was to keep that house style sort of pure. That was intentional the whole way through. It was something that I wasn't sure about at first, but then I could see over the years that you keep the talent all under the one roof, and they learn and grow, and inevitably people have moved on but when people do move on the next person that's behind them is ready to fill the shoes pretty quickly. So I think that's very intentional, and they played the long game on that.

Joey: That's really cool. Yeah, and it's something that not a lot of ... I'm not sure I've ever heard anybody say that about a studio, that they intentionally try not to use freelancers, not because they don't want to, but because they want to maintain the style that they're known for. That's a very smart move, that's really interesting. You mentioned that while you were there you didn't see too many people leave, however you left.

Brett: Yep.

Joey: So what was it, just time? You'd been there for many years, you wanted to leave, what was the thought process?

Brett: Yeah I just said, "Fuck it, I'm out." [crosstalk 00:56:05]

Joey: Yeah, peace. Flipped your desk over.

Brett: Yeah. Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.

Joey: You're cool.

Brett: You're cool. Yeah no, I was on a visa, and that visa was a two year term. After the second term I had an extension on it. So I basically played out five years total there. Coming from Australia I had a different experience when it came to vacation time. In Australia we'd have four weeks off, and a little bit more relaxed about that sort of stuff versus America. So I always felt that was a bit of a struggle for me.

I was sitting on the fence whether or not I should renew my visa for another term, or maybe try my luck at another studio. And I wasn't really sure, but it was approaching, and what helped me make the decision to commit and leave, was we found out we were expecting our first child. That really got the gears turning.

Joey: Oh it does, doesn't it.

Brett: Oh yeah. Big time. I think I was time poor ... You know financially comfortable, but it was time poor. I just thought about, what if scenario where I switched my visa to a talent visa, which would allow me to go freelance. Thankfully I've got a good support network of other designers in LA that held my hand and walked me through the what if scenario. And I thought it made the most sense to me, because I was able to control the finances, and I was also able to control my time.

My partner and I, we're out here by ourselves, both from Australia. And she's got a really great job that she's doing tremendously well in, and it wasn't really something that she was ... She was pretty committed on going back to work I should say. So it made sense for one of us at least to have a flexible schedule, so that's what got us into the idea of, yeah, let's try something else. So I went through the process of getting a visa, which is not an easy process, and was approved thankfully. And once the previous visa expired I resigned, and said hello to a new world.

Joey: You really just described the first half of my freelancing book I wrote, which is like why you want to freelance.

Brett: Absolutely.

Joey: Because you use the word time poor.

Brett: Yep.

Joey: And you also brought up something that I feel pretty strongly about, just the general work yourself silly culture in this culture sucks. The idea of two weeks of vacation being okay sucks. Yeah and you obviously had a lot to say about that, coming from a country where that is just not the norm. Yeah, so that's really interesting. So how long were you freelance?

Brett: Gosh, I left ... It's funny because July 4th was actually the first working day after I left, so that's kind of like my own Independence Day now that I get to celebrate.

Joey: That's awesome.

Brett: So I was officially out July 4th, and then Steve and I started the company basically March 1st of this year. So what is that, like nine months basically. So it was a short run, but it was long enough for me to know that freelancing wasn't something that was going to be long term.

Joey: Interesting. Now why'd you come to that decision?

Brett: I think for more like selfish reasons. I think when I started freelancing with other companies, first and foremost I had a really good time with the people that I worked with. I worked with Laundry who are a great studio in LA, Jake Sergeant who's a phenomenal designer, and then MadMicrobe which is [inaudible 00:59:58] studio. Joel Dubin. I just felt that I'm still working under someone else's banner, and I think that really helped me shift my perspective. Especially when I was talking to other studios about coming in, and this whole idea that, "You can design and animate, and you also do technical direction, and you can build a pipeline and build tools," I always felt like I'm giving up quite a lot to this studio for a day rate. It wasn't like I was talking about profit sharing or anything like that with projects, it was just strictly coming for a day rate, and I felt like maybe I should do this by myself.

And Steve and I had talked loosely about setting up our own studio for quite some time. We certainly had intention behind some of the projects that we'd done, specifically Pause Fest. It's like, what if we were just working on our own, outside of the studio, what would it look like? So we had a little bit of work behind us to encourage us that it would be possible. So I think after a couple of months [Liam 01:01:02] my son came along, and Steve was also feeling the urge to move on from Capacity as well, so we thought yeah, let's do it, feels right.

Joey: That's really cool. So what's the difference then between ... There's the two of you, and it's called Ranger and Fox, what's the difference between what you're doing and what it would be if it were just Brett and Stephen, freelance buddies, who share an office?

Brett: It's two things. It's creating a brand, it's creating something that someone can come and purchase a product from. And it also gives us an umbrella to build something bigger than us. So with those in mind, I think for the time being and especially the run we've had since the beginning of the year, it has just been us. But we've started to build a little bit of a wider net, or a wider perimeter of people we have in this entity now, as far as business manager, legal, IT, a pool of freelancers, and I think as we start to build more brand awareness and put more work out that generates more work for us, hopefully there's a tipping point where we can start saying, "You know what? We can actually hire another, say, a creative director, or another director to spearhead this particular project that we can work with."

Or we can start bringing in a junior, and try to grow them into a director. I think it just gives us opportunity to take on many different paths that we might want to take.

Joey: That makes a lot of sense. Essentially you're setting up Ranger and Fox as the brand behind the two of you, knowing that if it goes well, that's going to enable you to bring other people into the fold, and actually build a true "studio." I listened to your interview with Ash Thorp, and we should link to that in the show notes too, that's a really good episode. And you guys mentioned that you kind of made a conscious decision to start really small. It's just the two of you, and I'm assuming ... Do you guys have an office? Tell me about the overhead of Ranger and Fox.

Brett: The overhead is minimal. We spent the first four months working out of my spare bedroom, which was probably like 400 square feet. Maybe less actually. It was pretty [crosstalk 01:03:27]

Joey: Cozy.

Brett: Very cozy. In the middle of summer in southern California. It was not nice. But we moved on to a big boy studio, and we have a pretty nice loft in the arts district downtown. It's exposed brick, polished concrete, exposed rafters, it's a really cool loft to work out of. And we're going through a bit of a facelift where we're getting some actual interior design in there, so we can actually bring clients over, and actually have a place that people want to come to, not just the place that we chucked a couple of computers.

When we first started the company, and I think to that point that we were making in the other podcast, was we had all these grand ideas of, "It's gonna be great if we scale, and we need an executive producer, we need a line producer, we need this, this, and this, and how cool's it gonna be when we do this and this." We were just intoxicated with the idea of growing this huge thing. And I think when we started to look at it objectively, and then start to analyze other studios, and think about sales, and how the sales pipeline would affect X and Y in that process, we started to think, "You know what, we are super small. We can operate on a really low overhead operating cost platform. Let's just see this through as small as we can be for as long as we can be, until we actually need to grow."

That's basically what we've been doing this year. We've been thankful that we've had enough work come in that it's kept us busy, and we've definitely hit our bandwidth with a couple of overlapping projects, but we felt the need that, "It'd be good if we had a producer that could offload this from us," or maybe we had a third designer, or an editor, or someone just to help with that pressure. So I think this year is all about tripping over and just getting back up, and understanding what it's going to take to run when we're ready for it.

Joey: So between the two of you, who's going out and doing sales? Who's producing? What does it look like when you guys have overlapping jobs and you're both in the trenches designing and animating?

Brett: Yeah good question. We're trying different scenarios. So both of us take an active part in sales, and it's something that we're just dipping our toes in frequently enough that there's momentum, but it's not something that we're dedicating a lot of time to. The work has come first up until this point. That's something that we're looking at a long term play, just planting seeds, getting that dialogue going. Thinking about marketing and how we can present ourselves outward facing as we're getting those dialogues off the ground.

The producing side of stuff, at Capacity we were I guess in a position where we had to play the part of the producer in the way that studio is set up. So the producing roles weren't foreign to us. And when we got things off the ground there was a period of time where I was doing a lot of the producing side of stuff, and we got all our spreadsheets in order, we got all our contracts in order, and the dialogue with the client was all handled on my side, and that allowed Steve to really focus on what he was handling at the time.

Just recently we switched roles, because there was a lot of stuff that I was learning as I was going on, a lot of nuanced stuff that I hadn't really had to process before. And we realized that it's in both of our benefits for both of us to be equally skilled and experienced in these types of roles. I think at the moment we're just trying to take on as much as we can possibly take on, until we absolutely cannot take on any more. And at that point, that's when we'll start talking to a producer or an EP or something to take over those jobs on a more full time level. But like I said, without the overhead, we don't have to worry about the sales cycle as much as if we went down the path of scaling out and really building something big quickly.

Joey: I bet there's a lot of studio owners who envy the flexibility that you have. And I think it's great too, that you're able to do it because of your background, of being a generalist and being able to design and animate, and having the technical skills. Because not everybody would be able to essentially run a full studio with two people. That's really amazing what you guys have done. What was the reason that you guys stayed in LA? Was it just, "We live here, we like it, our friends are here," or was there any business decision going on there?

Brett: Yeah, it's a bit of everything. Obviously I'm from Sydney, that's my home, that's where my friends and family are. Julia my partner is from Sydney as well, we just had a child. There was definitely a natural urge to move home, but because of how expensive Sydney is, and how much we love LA and how well Julia is doing in her career, it wasn't an option that we wanted to consider. It just made sense to stay here in LA.

Steve is actually from Michigan, and likewise his family, his support network is over there. But he's been in LA for so long that he's happy here. Him and his wife are both from Michigan, and they've created a really nice life for themselves here. I think we could have tried another city, but it's just happenstance of where we are right now. In a perfect world I'd love to move to somewhere in Texas and buy a giant ranch, or Montana or something, and have a huge lot of land like Michael Jones bought up in Portland, and just build a beautiful house and work from there remotely. I don't think clients are gonna worry too much about where you are. But hey, we're in LA, so let's just set up shop and see what happens.

Coincidentally, we haven't really worked with any clients in LA since we've been here. So I think it's probably less important than it had been in the past. I think the prestige of having LA or New York or London in your address is probably somewhat important still, but not as much as it was.

Joey: Yeah. I remember, I kind of came up in the industry in Boston. For a while the big thing to do was to grow your shop in Boston and then open some tiny, basically get a PO box in LA and have your west coast office just for the cache of it.

Brett: Yeah for sure.

Joey: That's really funny. And I'm guessing, I was going to ask you about your clients, but it seems like getting clients now is a lot less dependent on where you live, where your office is. But how about freelance talent? I would have to imagine that if you're thinking about growing, it sounds like you are, that talent is going to be a consideration. I would imagine LA's gotta be a lot easier to find talent right?

Brett: Yeah. I mean, it's something that I don't know what it will eventually look like. I think the type of freelancers that I would bring in for projects are international. Good friends of mine like Twistedpoly, Nate who you've talked to before-

Joey: Oh yeah. Nate, yeah.

Brett: Him and I have been friends forever, and now that I've set the company up I'm like, "Yeah dude when there's the right project or right internal project, you're coming on board and we're gonna make something great." So I think those sorts of collaborations are what we're going to look forward to. Simon Fiedler in Germany is just a tremendous Houdini artist, that I'd love to bring him on board for something. There are certainly amazing talent in LA, and I think it's all yet to be seen. I think we've got a small roster of people that we trust, that we've worked with in the past, that certainly can knock it out of the park with whatever you send them. And I think it's just something that we've just gotta figure out as we go along. But being in LA certainly gives you a lot of boots on the ground talent to work with.

Joey: This has been amazing, man. I think the last thing I want to ask you about is where this is all going. Because you're in an amazing position now, because you've got low overhead, two very talented founders already getting great work, I went to your site and I saw something you just did I guess for Microsoft. And it's super high end design, animation's great for a huge client, you're doing stuff like that right off the bat, you probably don't have much to worry about. Where do you want Ranger and Fox to be? Do you want to try and stay small for as long as possible? Or one day do you have images in your head of looking out over a sea of 20 people all working for Ranger and Fox?

Brett: I think the former. I think we'll keep it small, and tight, and really grow the potential of capabilities, and directing output that we can create for our clients. I think one thing that we're really interested in exploring is the counterbalance of client work. One benefit that we have is if we have a client and we're doing work that we're able to show and happy to show and proud to show, and they're also paying the bills, well let's fill the downtime with something as creative as some of the Pause Fest or the Confidential Awards, stuff that we've done in the past, that Steve and I have done, that we can start to really grow and explore what we're fully capable of doing.

Hopefully those passion projects and internal pieces have enough intention and focus that we can go after newer clients in a different sector, and start to grow a family of clients. For us, I think the relationship is most important and most valuable. So we might only have a client roster of three or four companies, but that's all we're looking for, to maintain the level of work and level of output that we're striving for at this stage.

And hey, if we are lucky enough to get too much work, then that's when we'll figure out the scaling thing. Maybe one day we'll inevitably look out to 20 artists, but I think it's gonna be an interesting journey, and I think it's something that Steve and I are really proud of, of what we've seen so far, and we're definitely really excited about what's ahead of us.

Joey: Check out Ranger and Fox at, and check out the show notes on our site for links to everything that we talked about today. I want to thank Brett for coming on and being so generous for his time, and I want to thank you. Yes, you, for listening in. Until next time.