San Diego Comic-Con was a bit different this year, and many panels tackled how geek culture is adjusting during the pandemic. One panel that covered that subject was Remote Real-Time: The Age of Virtual Production, featuring Halon Entertainment.
Halon Entertainment is the creative entity behind so many VFX for geeky properties that we know and love such as The Mandalorian, Ford v Ferrari, and Borderlands 3. While much of the in-person production for film and TV shows has been put to a halt due to social distancing, many of the technical creatives behind the scenes are still working remotely and bringing our favorite franchises closer to their premieres.
A lot of us have been curious about how they are managing to get work done during lockdown, which is exactly what the panel sought to address. And, thankfully, I also had a chance to speak with Halon Supervisor Kenny DiGiordano and ask him a few questions about what life has been like for them during the whole ordeal.
From a logistical perspective, how difficult has it been for you and Halon Entertainment to do your work at home?
Logistically it’s been quite easy. As a company we were a little ahead of the game and had a plan in place prior to the lockdown back in March. Those that didn’t have the adequate equipment at home were given loaner machines that were more than capable to do the remote work.
The difficulties experienced do not stray far from a typical day in the office. I must commend our IT department for being on top of things. They are doing an awesome job on the support. If anything, it’s helped encourage our artists to put in a ticket rather than just talking to them about their problems or IM’ing them right away.
Can you tell us what projects Halon Entertainment might currently be working on?
As some of you know, we are involved early on in most projects and sometimes it doesn’t even get a trailer for 2 years after we’ve had our hands on it. One of the recent projects I had worked on that I can briefly mention is Bill and Ted: Face the Music. I was such a big fan of the first two movies as a kid and to be a part of this legacy is a childhood dream come true.
Have you been to San Diego Comic-Con before?
Unfortunately I have never been to Comic-Con before. Most people I tell this to are always surprised and ask how I can deny myself this experience. I’ve been waiting for my son to be old enough. I want to go to see all the booths, artwork, and cosplay around. I must add that I was really looking forward to being there this year and being a part of Halon’s panel in person. I love spreading the news about what we do as a company and I like to answer people’s questions because they are always so curious.
Stepping away from your work for a moment, how have you managed to adjust things in your personal life – such as hobbies – to the current situation with the pandemic?
With the amount of time that goes into work, most hobbies pretty much get left for the weekend. Prior to the lockdown I was traveling on the weekends to visit with my son and family and playing golf around LA. I’m not the greatest but it’s nice to get out and enjoy the day, in all kinds of different weather, hang out with friends, and not talk about work.
Since the lockdown I’ve had to avoid traveling since there is still that risk of exposing the ones that you love. I’ve been on lots of Facetime and Google chats to keep up with people. I get out on lots of walks to keep the blood flowing and try to eat healthy and it has maybe even allowed for an extra lazy day with video games that you don’t have to feel guilty about. I have been able to dive into tutorials and learn some stuff that I’ve been putting off and it’s also encouraged me to pick my guitars again that I’ve neglected so much. I guess you can say it’s allowed more time to get back to old hobbies too. Definitely trying to stay busy and safe during these times.
Thank you for talking to us, Kenny. Stay safe and I hope you get to travel again soon! And we also hope you get to see San Diego Comic-Con in person some day, because it’s truly a con like no other. Let’s hope we kick this virus in the butt and you can go in 2021.
You can watch Halon Entertainment’s full panel below.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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