Pipeline Heroes Inside-Out: Part Four

Jul 4, 2018




For four years, the Pipeline Awards have recognized excellence in pipeline tool development, integration, engineering, and usage. They have honored creative visionaries who have given artists and studios across the globe the ability to focus on the things that matter. Although their work is not always publicly recognized, they remain devoted to improving laborious processes and achieving new best practices in the field of pipeline. We have seen some incredible work from extraordinary individuals that we fondly call our "Pipeline Heroes".

Pipeline Heroes Inside-Out is intended to celebrate the achievements of past Pipeline Award recipients and get to know them better. In this last installment of the series, our heroes share with us...


What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?


Andy Jones, Psyop

2017 Shotty Award for Cryptomatte


I think some of my favorite advice I ever got was from my Dad, which was “They can’t eat you.”  I think every seasoned pipeline developer can probably infer what that advice means - even if they don’t fully agree with it.  


I think it’s important not to let fear of angry users get in the way of progress. Smart deployment and a test suite go a long way, as does actual bravery. If you’re still worried, maybe cover yourself in hot sauce so that their mouths will burn after the first few bites. But don’t just keep your code to yourself because you don’t want to deal with other people.



Janice Collier, Mammal Studios

2016 Pipeline Hero Award


It wasn't personally issued-- it's a longstanding tenet of the neurodiversity  and disability communities-- but it's both simple and effective:


*Presume competence.*


Always approach your team with their strengths in mind, and take their inherent competence as read. You might not initially get where their user stories are going, but they do know what they're talking about-- it's up to you to empathize with the problem and elicit a statement you can take back to the desk and turn into a successful ticket or tool.


Like any skill, though, it's easier with practice, and harder than it looks.




Benoit Leveau, Milk VFX

2015 Shotty Award for Smart Publish Notifications


What comes to mind is what James Cameron says at the end of his TED talk:


"Failure is an option, but fear is not"


At various points in my career, when I was looking for new work opportunities, I would find something that seemed daunting at first. Later I realized that this fear is irrational and that if a company believes in you, then there's a good chance you can do it! So, really, it's down to believing in yourself and facing the challenges that come your way.

Chris Bennett, Dreamworks Animation

2017 Shotty Award for DWATV Credits Tool


A friend of mine once told me that perspective is one of the more difficult things to program against.


After experiencing that myself, I have tried to write my tools with objectivity in mind, keeping a vision of what my user would find helpful above what I think they would find helpful.



We'd like to give a special thanks to our pipeline heroes Janice Collier, Chris Bennett, Andy Jones and Benoit Leveau for sharing a bit of themselves and more importantly, for contributing to the pipeline community! We hope this series has inspired you to push the limits of tool development or has even taught you a little something you didn't know before. 


We can't wait to see all the new heroes emerge at the 5th Annual Pipeline Awards!




More on the Pipeline Awards HERE


Submit a nomination for the 5th Annual Pipeline Awards