Fostering Innovation at Scale with Barbara Ford Grant Ep 29

Barbara Ford Grant is President, NEP Prysm Stages, a business of NEP Virtual Studios. She is responsible for growing NEP’s global network of permanent virtual production facilities, stage partnerships and client relationships in Film and TV, and for building solutions with her team to empower artists and storytelling.
Barbara has contributed to media and entertainment for nearly 30 years across both creative and technical aspects of film production. Her experience includes emerging technologies, large-scale production operations, research and development, visual effects, animation and enterprise level management.

Before joining NEP, Barbara was Chief Technology Officer at arts and entertainment company Meow Wolf overseeing the company’s mixed-reality platform and IT divisions. Before Meow Wolf, she served as SVP, Digital Production Services at HBO overseeing studio production and post-production operations and growth, and next-gen technologies. Prior to that, she worked at entertainment companies Digital Domain, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and DreamWorks Animation, where she enabled new digital human animation and rendering, digital story and post production workflows, and simulations technologies. Her credits include groundbreaking Film and TV productions Game of Thrones, Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland and the Shrek franchise.

Barbara has been active throughout her career in recognizing and mentoring current and new talent. She is a member of both the Television Academy and the Motion Picture Academy, currently serving as Chair of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee, is a member of the Technology Committee of the Visual Effects Society, and recently worked as a strategy consultant to MovieLabs, a non-profit R&D joint venture providing universities, corporations, start-ups and others technical guidance and funding for innovative technologies in the distribution and use of motion pictures.

She studied Art History and Photography at the University of New Mexico and currently lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Highlights of the Episode:
0:23 Introduction to Barbara Ford Grant
1:19 Journey into visual effects
7:11 Coding
16:28 Starting in New Mexico
20:45 What it’s like working on….
24:16 Is it possible to retain creative spirit in a bigger institution
31:38 The hardest part to scale
34:10 Role as President of NEP Prysm Stages
39:02 Currently working in Production
40:43 Building tools independent of the engine
43:51 Having a healthy R&D team
48:41 Stage plans for the New York Metro area
48:56 Opportunities to see the Atlanta stage
50:19 Favorite aspects in virtual production
53:08 Machine learning AI tools coming out
1:01:39 A short film
1:02:57 Being multi disciplinary


"If you've been in visual effects this long nothing drives you’re more crazy than rebuilding the same asset over and over again for a different purpose." - Barbara Ford Grant

"The advantage of a big company is that they were the IP and the advantage of a small company is they were kind of a punk scrappy collective that kinda started the whole thing." - Barbara Ford Grant

"It's a sketch with technology, they're sketching out something that's never been sketched before and using some amounts of technology to help illustrate that."
- Barbara Ford Grant

“It's not about policy it's like what's necessary, what's actually gonna have the biggest impact.” - Barbara Ford Grant

“Maintaining our passions is important to our career growth.” - Barbara Ford Grant

Connecting with the Guest:
Instagram: @barbarafordgrant

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