What do you do and why?
What do I do is fluid and always changing just because I love doing a lot of things and almost everything that pertains to my mission and bringing my ideas to life. It is hard to pin down any one passion for me, as I have stepped into many industries from film and television, to virtual reality and games, trading and real estate, and even e-commerce, education and teaching. I suppose you could say that I am a creator, and my job is to create and bring my ideas to life. Sure, we all love to learn and grow as individuals but nothing keeps the fire burning inside more than knowing that every day I spend, I create, execute and actualize my ideas and thoughts – doing all that is necessary to create a reality of my ambitions. But, to answer the question as is – I am currently a founder of a virtual reality content creation studio, visual effects freelancer on Hollywood film and VR projects, and online instructor for aspiring VFX artists and filmmakers, just to name a few. The enjoyment of being involved with the entertainment industry in so many ways as a leader (employer), student (employee), mentor and teacher is due to my passion to grow and evolve as an individual while also paying it forward to the industry that helped set me off onto other paths and opportunities on my trajectory to achieving my fullest potential.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
Hate to break stereotypes, but though I appear reserved and quiet, the last thing I want to do is stay indoors and read a book. I love doing exciting things and experiencing new sensations at their greatest intensity. I will be the first to arrive at a dance party and the last to leave K1 Speed. Thus far, I’ve done rodeo (and some bull-wrangling), solo paragliding, flyboarding, and even walked under water. Shark caging, taking flying lessons and living in a rural village without any access to the connected world are a few things that I am currently planning for in the future. Ok… so I cheated, that was more than one fun fact.
How are you changing the world?
Having worked with over 20+ companies and filmmakers as a visual effects compositor, artist, supervisor and VR specialist, mentored new employees and interns (some of whom are taking their first step into the entertainment industry with us) as well as taught over 22,000 students from about 165 countries, I would say that I am creating an impact on the masses not only by bringing my own ideas to life but by also helping others bring their visions to fruition. From blockbuster movies and TV shows such as Guardians of the Galaxy and The Walking Dead that have touched so many lives around the globe, to guiding aspiring college graduates and indie filmmakers in bringing their stories to the big screen, and even teaching a bunch of entry and mid-level VFX artists in India and the Philippines virtually, I believe I am changing the world by being the conduit of self-empowerment and inspiration to others in the visual effects and film community; sharing my wealth of knowledge, insights and tips to newcomers or people with no access to this information based on where they are in the world, whilst creating my own creative content (in this case, a VR game that my startup has launched) that gives people that special place to be their true selves without consequences.
Who do you admire and why?
To be absolutely candid, I don’t actually admire anyone, for my admiration is more so for the abstract and intangible (such as ideas and visions) more so than any individual come and gone. For example, I admire ideas, movements and daring creative shifts in thinking that fundamentally challenge the status quo or upheave established traditions or systems that are no longer working. Sure, I follow and read up about some people such as Mark Cuban and Christine Lagarde, but that is only because I believe in the mission or vision they are advocating for. I believe that whoever is the bearer of that idea or movement is simply a conduit for the idea – an executioner and force of change for the greater vision. As such, I admire the construct of these grand visions rather than the people who bring them to life. If bringing ideas to life were a religion, I would be a devout follower.
Why did you join IVY?
Having set up a meetup group once as well as attended many meetup events over the years that are geared towards startups, entrepreneurs, filmmaking and technology, I noticed a pattern of transience with these meetups. Usually what happens is that people come and go and form very brittle relationships during these networking sessions. Most of the time, the relationships formed are purely transactional and have no strong foundation backing them other than the fact that the two met at that one meetup event some time ago. Although it is on the onus of the people to follow up and continue building the relationship over time, the nature of meetups is just too transient to facilitate that easily. That’s when I was so happy to be invited to be a part of the IVY community. After doing a bit of research as well as hearing about what the community was all about, I simply had to join IVY because it was the kind of collective environment that I have been seeking for a long time. Not only does IVY bring together diverse like-minded individuals who are kicking it in real life, but its varied exclusive events, member opportunities as well as skilled and knowledgeable guests, speakers and staff make me proud to be part of such a prestigious and classy group. I really enjoy getting to meet people from various walks of life as well as from different industries; after all, the best ideas and the best connections are usually forged with people who have different experiences and skillsets from you.
What has been your most memorable IVY Experience?
Thus far, the most memorable IVY Experience would be the Virtual Reality Escape Room Experience at Virtual Room in Hollywood, CA. I personally felt it was an excellent way to get up close and personal with members, new and old, and get to know who they are as individuals in ways that traditional conversations could never reveal. After all, when one is immersed into an experience like that and grouped together to solve problems in a time-sensitive virtual environment, it brings out one’s character, which is a truly unique way of getting to know someone and establishing genuine connections.