Maxon’s VFX and Chill YouTube series was created by Daniel “Hashi” Hashimoto (aka Action Movie Dad, and a veteran of DreamWorks Animation) and Seth Worley, an award-winning director of short films, commercials, and explainer videos (both of whom are content creators at Maxon). Following the success of its other popular series, the two set out to peel back the curtain on a part of the VFX creation process that’s mostly omitted from tutorials: the exploratory, beginning stages of creating an effect, where artists throw ideas and iterations at the wall to see what sticks. It’s in that trial and error that the creator often discovers new workflows and tricks they never knew even existed. The goal was to inspire and educate, while introducing a few new techniques and tools (including those from Maxon) along the way.
VFX and Chill is a weekly live talk show where Maxon's own Hashi and Seth break open visual effects shots from film, TV or games, and attempt to show viewers how to put them back together. The 90-minute show streams live every Friday at 10am PDT. “VFX and Chill is more of an entertainment talk show format than an instructional tutorial,” Seth explains. “Sort of like if ‘VFX Artists React’ and a conversational podcast collided and there were no survivors.”
“Sometimes we’re going to ace it, break it all down perfectly and deliver a finished shot,” adds Hashi. “Other times we’re going to fail horribly. Either way, everyone will learn something.”
VFX and Chill is a unique combination of an entertainment talk show format and an instructional tutorial, perfect for anyone who has ever been blown away by the almost magical motion graphics in a movie and thought, “Wow! I wonder how they did that… And how would it look if it was done quickly?”
Now in its third season and amassing thousands of views each week, the web series is typically an improvised visual effects show based on live suggestions and questions from the audience and has covered a number of film breakdowns, including "Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness," "Uncharted," "Matrix Resurrections," and many, many more. The team are frequently joined by guest artists: Doug Appleton from Perception, the creative agency behind a number of Marvel tech design and title sequences; Cinecom, industry leading creators of VFX, Editing & Filmmaking tutorial videos; Darby Faccinto from Cantina Creative, design and visual effects for blockbuster films, games, and series; and Ryan Connolly from Film Riot, producer of how-to videos and a unique exploration of filmmaking. The entire VFX team for "Everything Everywhere All at Once" even joined for a particularly special episode to talk about taking on Hollywood-level VFX with such a small crew and how sometimes the silly way is the right way! (Watch that episode here).
Following the release of Maxon’s EPIC April Fools joke in 2022, “Universe Raptorize,” the April 1st VFX and Chill show saw the team use the (totally real…okay not really) software to convert Tom Cruise into Velociraptor Cruise, with movies like "Mission Impossible" and "Jerry Maguire" suddenly starring a tall, lanky, and loud Raptor saving the world and sliding across living rooms (watch here). The video went viral overnight and Hashi and Seth decided to give the internet what they want: more raptor. Their follow-up video, the tragic tale of a raptorized Tony in "West Side Story" gained even more popularity, and earned a retweet from Maria (Rachel Zegler) herself! Their newly created @ButWithRaptors twitter account (https://twitter.com/ButWithRaptors) dedicated to showcasing all their raptorized movies, has amassed an impressive 123.5K dino-curious followers in less than 10 months, all keen to see what the team will do next.
With a slew of highly anticipated VFX blockbusters coming out in 2023 - "Avatar: The Way of Water," "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" - each week, the VFX and Chill breaks down and tries to recreate the latest jaw-dropping visual effects feats that these movies have achieved, but on a significantly tighter time crunch.
The team’s unofficial objective was to find a way to put out quality content more consistently, particularly for those in Maxon’s audience who were constantly asking when there would be a new tutorial from Action Movie Dad Hashi, who became known in the VFX world for his Cheap Tricks tutorials. The tutorials would help viewers learn how to better master Maxon’s toolset, but were becoming more and more work, making consistent output at the quality Hashi, Seth and the Maxon team are known for very unsustainable. VFX and Chill, while weekly (meaning regular episodes), requires little prep time, as the purpose of the show is such that the team is performing visual effects on the fly in a talk show style format. This new approach enabled the team to be incredibly successful in producing highly engaging content that both entertains and educates the Maxon audience. Episodes regularly draw in thousands of viewers, who participate in the YouTube channel chat and come back each week for more.
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