Legend 3D Bolsters Exec Team with Multiple Hires

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Leading 3D conversion, VFX and VR studio Legend 3D has brought onboard several new hires to its executive leadership team as the company strengthens its resources and looks to expand its global footprint. Legend 3D has been key to creating visual spectacles for blockbusters such as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Ben-Hur and Ghostbusters.

“These key roles reflect Legend’s ongoing commitment to provide clients with the most experienced and accomplished professionals in our business,” said CEO Aidan Foley. “As an industry leader, Legend takes serious our obligation to engage world class talent in all facets of our operations. We’re very pleased to welcome these respected and skilled new members to the Legend family.”

Building out the team under the leadership of Foley, who joined the company in December, are eight experienced digital entertainment veterans:

Richard Baker, Chief Creative Officer – With some 15 years of VFX experience, the former Creative Director and Senior Stereographer for Prime Focus World’s Stereo Conversion division brings to Legend a wealth of 3D conversion expertise, having supervised such films as Beauty and the Beast, World War Z, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, which earned him the International 3D & Advanced Imaging Society Creative Arts Award for Best 2D to 3D Conversion.

Barry Stagg, Chief Marketing Officer – Stagg brings more than two decades of marketing communications experience to the Legend team, having handled marketing communications for such studios as Warner Bros./Lorimar Television, Fox Family Worldwide, Ascent Media, 4Kids Entertainment and Norman Lear’s Tandem/TAT/Embassy Communications. He’s also led these efforts for several web-based businesses including the former Homestore.com (now Move.com).

Scott Willman, Chief Information Officer – Willman has played pivotal roles for both major film studios and tech companies, with experience ranging from oversight of a department of 50+ artists, production staff, and software engineers and completely redesigning and building a 3D film conversion pipeline at two major VFX studios. He has personally supervised 3D output on 15 major theatrical films and has served as the sole 3D supervisor on films for 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate and New Regency Enterprises. In 2013, Scott founded Dimension X with production partner (and wife) Heather Willman, to provide a full range of 3D services directly to studio production teams and VFX companies including full creative supervision, production management and editorial support. Under his direction, the company has developed extensive automation and proprietary techniques for post-processing natively captured stereo images — seen on such films as The Martian, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and the X-Men franchise.

Crys Forsyth-Smith, Vice President, Production – Forsyth-Smith boasts more than 20 years’ experience in all aspects of production, including visual effects, from budgeting, scheduling and on-set work to crewing, pipelines and stereo deliverables, including serving as Vice President, Production for Method Studios, as VFX Producer at Sony Pictures Imageworks, and as Production Manager for several companies including Digital Domain.

Prasanna Kodipadi, Vice President, International Operations – A respected and experienced veteran of motion picture production services, Kodipadi joins Legend from Stereo D, where, over the past five years he served as Creative Outsource Supervisor, as well as a Compositor. In addition to helping Legend expand its presence beyond North America to support an increasing list of projects, he will also be managing all third party vendors the company engages.

Chris McClintock, Senior Producer – With 15 years’ experience in on-set production, post-production, animation, VFX and virtual reality, McClintock has worked on blockbuster hits such as Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. Leveraging an understanding of emerging film technologies, he helped build stereoscopic workflows at companies including Stereo D, and as a producer at Prime Focus World, where he led the high- quality stereo conversion of Men in Black 3, Green Lantern and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. He also contributed to the studio’s VFX production work on Avatar.

Lisa Sepp-Wilson, Head of VFX Production – Toronto – Sepp-Wilson’s extensive VFX background includes over 20 years of on-set production, post production and animation in both Vancouver and Toronto, two Gemini and Leo Award wins and several Emmy and Visual Effects Society Award nominations. She served as VFX Producer and CFO at Anthem Visual Effects, the Vancouver-based agency she co-founded, as well as working as VFX Producer and Executive Producer for Encore in both their Vancouver and Toronto studios, on such TV series as Under the Dome, Homeland, Newsroom and Orange Is the New Black, to name a few.

Simon Kern, Stereo Supervisor – Kern brings a decade of VFX professional experience to the Legend team, developing new tools, pipelines, and techniques while working directly with clients to bring their vision to life on such films as Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, Scott Waugh’s Need for Speed, and Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, which won the Advanced Imaging Society’s 3D Scene of the Year honor. Kern has trained artists in the skills of stereo compositing and paint, aided in Real-Time Depth Grading development, and introduced filmmakers to the art of stereoscopic 3D while working with Marvel, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Alcon, and 20th Century Fox, among other studios.

All newcomers (except for Sepp-Wilson) will be based at the new Legend Studio Offices on the Columbia Square campus in Hollywood, a 27k sq. ft. LEED building which the company moved into last November.

Legend 3D

Legend 3D

  • Concerned Artist

    Legend also recently fired 70% of their artist staff in the US, and another portion in Toronto. I’m quite disappointed by this fluff piece. It’s not news, it’s promotion of yet another studio that has fired it’s North American staff to set up shop overseas.

    • A Happy Artist

      There’s also justified reason behind the layoffs and the only reason people would be let go is due to the work performance of individuals, just like any other studio. I keep seeing posts like this from people who were let go because they are upset which isn’t fair to the company or to people concidering going to work there. Don’t let negative biases sway you away from Legend as a company because they are clearly doing something right considering the contribution they’ve made to the film industry.

      • Outsourcing

        You don’t lay off 70% of your staff for work performance, it’s to set up shop overseas and to outsource to take advantage of cheap labor. Look at the description for international operations. A ton of studios have already done the same, same as why legend first moved to Toronto, tax incentives for clients.

        • A Happy Artist

          To be clear it was a ramp down which is normal with any VFX company at the close of projects. Yes it was around 50 but considering there were over 400 staff employees this is hardly 70% it amounts to about 12.5%. Opinions are welcome as long as they are accurate.

          • Some Girl

            I’ve been a freelancer for years and dont work for Legend but I can concur that the industry is up and down at times. You work for one company for six months on a project and then go to another company for a few months and then back to the first one for another gig. The best thing to do is become a professional and take your own career into your own hands. If you are a good artist then you will most likely be invited back when another project ramps up.

          • van_vfx_dude

            Yea this is normal for the VFX industry, MPC laid of loads in London and grew in India, IMAX just laid of 100+. Its the business I’m afraid and as always its the Vendors that suffer from Studio delays and changes. As ‘some girl’ said you need to control your own career and build your skills so you can be flexible and change companies when this happens.

          • PayAttention

            The only difference would be whether they told the artists that their contracts would not be extended within the common courtesy timeline that most companies fallow. Walking in one day to be let go, is not a ramp down. It’s a culling due to lost contracts.

        • Concerned Artist

          To be clear, I was not one of the artists laid off. I left Legend well before this happened after seeing the direction it was headed.

          This was not typical ramping up and down. The 70% was a number given to artists during the layoff – it applies specifically to the Hollywood location. The layoffs in Toronto may have been part of a typical fluctuation in workforce.

          For those who are unaware of the niche differences, VFX studios generally fluctuate from a skeleton crew (10-20%) and back up depending on the projects in house – 3D conversion studios generally fluctuate from about 70-80% and back up depending on projects in house. Most of the artists at Legend in Hollywood had been with them since they officially moved to the area, or before (approximately 2 1/2 years ago).

          I think we can all agree that it’s the general trend of the VFX industry to lay off North American artists to hire overseas workers. My initial disappointment was not the article’s focus on executive hires, but the complete lack of comment on the other things happening within the company – which suggest not a company growing stronger, but yet another company following the typical “only money matters” mentality.

  • Indifferent Artist

    Based on what I’ve heard from contacts within the company they seem to be in financial trouble. It doesn’t make sense why they recently bought such an expensive office space if they can’t afford to staff it. Whatever their plans were must have changed suddenly. Mass layoffs combined with multiple costly executive hires within a short span of time plus a push to send more of the work offshore smells like a desperate company hoping to be acquired before the money-well runs dry.