The official info…
The new General Manager of Cinesite London has been announced as Melissa Taylor
Throughout her career, Melissa has acquired a wealth of industry knowledge and contacts; she has an impressive roster of credits on ground-breaking films like Spider-Man: Far From Home, Blade Runner 2049, Wonder Woman, Godzilla, and Star Trek Beyond.
A specialist in VFX management, Melissa will oversee all aspects of production along with driving operations and strategy in the London studio, working closely with her counterparts at Cinesite Montreal and group VFX brands Image Engine and TRIXTER. A 30-year VFX veteran, Taylor was Global Head of Business Development at Framestore. Prior to that, she was an Executive Producer at DNEG for 15 years, from which she brings a wealth of valuable and extensive experience to her new role.
Now let’s get to know her better!
Melissa is uber-experienced, uber-talented and we couldn’t be happier that she’s joined us!
We remotely caught up with Melissa to get to know her a little better and to find out
where Cinesite London is headed into the future.
CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME BACKGROUND ON YOUR CAREER? I.E. HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE INDUSTRY?
Following a BA in Women’s Studies at the University of California, I pursued my passion for film and went on to study a graduate film program at New York University. I started out in the industry at ILM, as a VFX coordinator on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, directed by Steven Spielberg. I progressed through the production department and after moving to Los Angeles went on to produce and executive produce VFX for feature films including Kundun, Moses (where I met my husband, on location in Morocco), Zoolander, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and many others.
WHAT ARE YOUR INITIAL IMPRESSIONS OF CINESITE, ANY SURPRISES SO FAR?
The Cinesite studio in London was one of the first in town. I have the utmost respect and admiration for the creative talent and ambitious ideas within the studio and wider network of facilities across Europe, and Canada. Everyone has been very welcoming and generous with their time as I get up to speed.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN THE VFX INDUSTRY?
Seeing teams exceed my own ambitions. Allowing people to innovate and devise original solutions is so satisfying. We have some very ambitious clients who not only expect the highest levels of artistic craft but also want to see something new and original each time. Time and time again the teams step up to this challenge and it always amazes me. I’m never bored of seeing how everything progresses.
The collective collaboration is also very inspiring. People successfully working together toward a common goal is rewarding in any occupation that requires more than one person. I think it’s particularly true of visual effects. Much of my job is problem-solving, so being able to call upon people from different disciplines and skillsets to find the best solution is such a privilege. I’m constantly surprised by people’s ingenuity.
WHAT ARE YOUR LONG-TERM GOALS FOR CINESITE LONDON?
I am beyond excited to have the opportunity now to lead such a grounded and talented team, whose singular mission is to deliver high quality VFX across the full spectrum of studio and SVOD clients. Looking ahead, there’s so much potential. Watch this space!
DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES AND INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF WORK THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
I’m a writer in my free time and have a couple of projects on the go right now, one of which is a screenplay that I’m collaborating with my daughter on, which is really fun and exciting.
WHAT VALUES DO YOU THINK YOU WILL BRING TO CINESITE?
I believe leaders have a responsibility to demonstrate the beliefs of the company and reinforce behaviours that reflect those values; “Be the change you want to see,” essentially. I can’t delegate creating the culture our employees experience. If I want to reflect particular values, I need to demonstrate them in my own actions. Therefore, I’ll be working hard to bring these qualities to Cinesite:
• Big Picture/Small actions – see the big picture concurrent with managing the details
WHAT IS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE YOU THINK YOU WILL DEAL WITH AS THE NEW GM?
Taking up a new leadership role during a global pandemic is a challenge!
COVID-19 requires me to build relationships with a new team virtually and focus and cut through the noise and identify and address the most critical tasks in each department. It also demands that I think ahead and keep sight of the bigger picture to avoid decisions that could have unintended adverse consequences for the team, today as well as down the line. In addition, the rapidly changing nature of this crisis means I must be agile in thought as well as action, I’ll need to evaluate and continually recalibrate the way forward for the London crew as the situation evolves.
AND LAST, BUT MOST IMPORTANT – WHAT WILL YOUR APPOINTMENT MEAN TO CINESITE PARTNERS AND CLIENTS?
They’ll soon find out as I’m looking forward to connecting with Cinesite’s network. I strongly believe business leaders should be accessible and actively OWN these important relationships. Specifically, Cinesite’s clients will come to know my key area of focus will be to craft a strategic vision for the studio whilst developing talent to work on their upcoming projects.