Joe Viola is a CG Supervisor at Sony Pictures Imageworks. He is currently working on HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA: TRANSFORMANIA.
Viola began his career at Imageworks in 2006 as a production assistant and worked his way up to senior production service technician, technical director, and lighting lead. His film credits include: the Academy Award®-winning SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES, MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL, GHOSTBUSTERS, THE SMURFS, BEOWULF, and SPIDER-MAN 3.
Joe is originally from New Ipswich, New Hampshire. He is a graduate of Emerson College.
Name your three favorite movies:
CHILDREN OF MEN, STAR WARS, and THE MATRIX
What is your proudest achievement while working at Imageworks?
I was a lighting lead on SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE. A few weeks before we wrapped, my CG Supervisor called out sick. It then fell on me to present my team’s work to the clients for final approval. One of the shots I was presenting that day was a shot they had never seen before. It happened to be one of mine that I was working on with a compositor. The clients loved it and approved it right away. It’s called a “first-look final” and as anyone in animation could tell you, those are rare. It was the tradition on that film to pause in review for a moment after every final to congratulate the artist(s). The directors and art directors were always so complimentary, so imagine how proud I was when I announced “This one was worked on by Laura and… Me!” Heads turned in the theater to look back at me, congratulations were offered, and my face turned beet red! A few months later, when SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE won the Oscar for animated feature, one of the shots they played on TV as the crew was walking up to the podium was that same first look final.
What inspired you to become involved in making movies?
I’ve always wanted to make movies. My freshman year of film school I got my first real taste of it. I hated it! The jobs I was doing, Production Assistant, Grip were so boring and I felt depressed about my future. During that first Christmas break, I was working a job at a grocery store when I had the realization that I really liked movies that were pushing the technology envelope and maybe that’s more the part about filmmaking I was interested in. After my shift that night, I drove to the nearest book store and picked up a massive book on how to teach oneself the basics of computer graphics. Modeling, animation, lighting, etc. I loved everything about it! I devoted myself to learning and I came back to school re-energized. At the time, visual effects were still a relatively new discipline so CG artists were rare there. A few months later when I had a handle of the basics, I had my choice of film projects to work on. I was hooked!