Artist Turned Indie Filmmaker, Layoff Transition, New Artist Tools, Actor Types, E3 Stories, Key Skills For Getting Hired, and LA Traffic, with Mehran Torgoley of Cult Cinema

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On this episode I welcome Mehran Torgoley, Director & Writer at Cult Cinema, LLC. We start by discussing a few projects he’s currently working on and how he began at a small game studio outside of Chicago. While sharing what he wishes he’d known when starting out in the industry, Mehran emphasizes the significance of commitment, pushing through hesitation, and passion. We reminisce on our days at Midway Games before diving into useful advice for people going into game development or film, as well as people looking to advance their careers. He touches on the importance of networking, having a great portfolio, being prepared, and keeping your skills current.

Mehran speaks on the weirdness of auditions and why he doesn’t want to work on games he’d love to play, then shares how Unreal Engine’s being used in film and TV. He shares thoughts on the relevant threats to the game and film industries, such as massive game updates, COVID-19’s impact on theaters, thoughts on TV series, and the power shift in film. We conclude with some funny game and film industry stories, along with details on Mehran’s experience transitioning from an artist to a writer and filmmaker.

Bio:

Mehran Torgoley is a Director & Writer, originally from Chicago, IL. After over a decade working on AAA titles at Midway Games, Shiny Entertainment and Double Helix, Mehran transitioned to directing. His work includes feature films, music videos and commercial projects, including the award winning short film, Committed.

He has contributed to projects for clients such as Justin Bieber, Fox Studios, and Image8nineteen. In 2019, he co-founded Cult Cinema, LLC. Curse of Aurore is Mehran’s feature film directorial debut, and is currently enjoying a successful theatrical release in Canada.

Timeline:

[1:00] Introducing Mehran Torgoley

[2:04] How COVID-19 is impacting him

[2:41] Mehran’s current role and projects plus pivoting from a game artist to film

[4:43] How he got started in game development

[9:16] What he wishes he’d known when starting out in the industry

[13:02] Reminiscing on his times at Midway and making lifelong friends

[14:48] Advice for someone looking to get a first job in game development or film

[16:49] How he hires people for his films plus the challenges around auditions

[21:27] Advice for someone looking to advance their career in game development or film

[24:45] Using game engines to create hit TV series and how film and TV is now catching up with games

[27:30] Mehran’s favorite games and movies

[30:46] Thoughts on the success of Nintendo, the new consoles, and love for Ori and the Will of the Wisps

[32:45] E3 and missing the “exhales” of the game industry

[35:25] Frustration around massive game updates, COVID-19’s impact on theaters, thoughts on TV series, and power shift change

[40:36] Mehran’s candid thoughts on AR, MR, and VR

[41:26] A water bottle prank at Midway

[43:00] One degree of separation from Bruce Willis meeting

[45:05] Working on a mockumentary and a fun dinner with Rooster McConaughey

[47:42] Star Wars, Quentin Tarantino’s influence, and his transition from an artist to a writer

[56:07] How to connect with Mehran

[56:35] Cut to outro

Links:

Terraglyph Interactive Studios

MLB Slugfest

Hash Animation:Master

Softimage

Curse of Aurore

Unreal Engine

Star Wars: The Mandalorian

Metroid

Psi-Ops

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

E3 Expo

Prop Culture on Disney+

Water Sort Puzzle

Room Enough

Blender

Connect:

Curse of Aurore

Twitter

Instagram

YouTube

Game Dev Advice:

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