Team Cheesecake

Jonathan Stone

Head of Studio

More than 26 years ago Jonathan started his career in film after attending the UCLA Film Extension Program. This program led to amazing opportunities and ultimately afforded Jonathan the ability to work on multiple live-action film sets and in the production offices of films and television programs. From 1994 to 1998 he spent time serving as a post-production coordinator and supervisor on multiple television shows for Saban Entertainment.

He transitioned to visual effects in 1998, spending over a decade as a visual effects producer for award-winning companies CafeFX and The Syndicate. There he produced visual effects on commercials, music videos, and feature films, including the Oscar-nominated film Master and Commander, Shutter Island, and The Aviator, just to name a few. Jonathan also spent time in executive management serving as the Human Resource Manager and Head Recruiter. His ability to find and hire top industry talent was integral in staffing teams on feature and commercial projects including the Academy Award winning film Pans Labyrinth, a film co-produced by CafeFx.

In 2009 Jonathan joined award-winning visual effects company Pixomondo, where he produced visual effects for the films Sucker Punch, The Green Hornet, and Hugo, which won the 2011 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

Presently, Jonathan serves as Head of Studio for Crafty Apes, NYC, where he oversees the effective day-to-day running of the local NYC studio and ensures alignment to the global framework and strategy for Crafty Apes. This involves shaping and planning, managing financial and operational risk assessment, analyzing capacity needs and ensuring hiring and training compliance.

While the film industry certainly provides wonderful opportunities and the ability to work with and meet academy award winning supervisors, artists, and crew, there was nothing quite like being on the open ocean. Jonathan spent 4 years as a young man working in the commercial seafood industry as both the General Manager for Cordero/Winston Seafood and as a commercial fisherman on a 65’ trawler out of Morro Bay, California.

Robin Graham

Senior VFX Supervisor
Producer

Robin’s VFX career began all the way back in high school, when he taught himself 3D Studio and used that knowledge to teach an adult class on 3D animation two years before he even graduated. With a never-ending quest to learn more and excel, Robin went on to win an Emmy for outstanding VFX on one of his first compositing jobs ever. After comping on dozens of feature films, he taught himself computer programming and managed a crew of artists while simultaneously programming the pipeline tools that would tie the entire team together. Robin is never satisfied with ``good enough,`` and is always pushing the envelope for both ultimate efficiency and artistic quality.

Sarah McCulley

Senior VFX Producer

Growing up outside of Boston, Sarah's interest in film was sparked directing elaborate horror films in her basement with a cast of her friends and neighbors. Realizing all this fun could actually become a career, she attended Emerson College to cultivate her interest in film. After finding her feet as a PA, Sarah entered the world of VFX just as the NYC industry took off. Sarah's VFX producing credits include True Detective, Manhunt: Unabomber, Wu-Tang: An American Saga and Ray Donovan. Sarah is excited to be a part of the Crafty Apes team and continue their incredible work in film and television. In her precious spare time, you can find Sarah trying out new recipes, headed to the movies with friends, or running as far as she can.

Leslie Chung

VFX Supervisor
Producer

Leslie’s dreams of being an artist began when she was three years old, drawing on the walls and furniture of her childhood home in New York City. In time, her artistic pursuits led her to the School of Visual Arts, where she majored in computer art before landing in the world of VFX. Now a 12 year veteran of the industry, Leslie has worked on films and TV shows as a compositor, producer, and supervisor, with credits including VFX designer for The Knick and senior compositor for Black Swan. Leslie has spent the last six years helping to grow the VFX community in New York, and is currently the chair of the VES NY board, but she still makes time for her artistic passions, including illustration, painting, and photography, along with taking care of her three adorable pet rats.

Blake Goedde

VFX Supervisor

Blake grew up wanting to work in the film industry, but it seemed too lofty a goal for someone in Southern Indiana. After spending a year in business school and finding it dissatisfying, however, he moved to Florida to study computer animation. Shortly after graduating, Blake met his future wife Brooke, moved to Atlanta, and began working with Crafty Apes as a junior compositor. When the company expanded, Blake and his wife moved to NYC where he is now a VFX supervisor. As a hobbyist, he enjoys playing guitar and programming. As a sinner saved by grace, he and his wife pursue knowing and worshiping Christ and gathering with their local church in Manhattan throughout the week.

Erin Hewitt

VFX Producer

A Connecticut native, Erin earned her degree in New Media Production before moving to NYC to pursue a career in post production. After spending a couple of years as a PA, she landed a position as a VFX Coordinator and soon struck out on her own as a freelancer. As VFX Coordinator, Erin worked on titles such as Gemini Man and The Plot Against America. Erin is excited to join the Crafty Apes team as VFX Producer. In her free time, Erin enjoys playing softball and spending time with her nieces.

Charles Self

VFX Producer

Although a transplanted New Yorker, Charles’ creative roots can be traced back to his native Texas where his love of cinema and music thrived in Austin’s creative community while studying Radio-TV-Film at the University of Texas. His career path has included working in Mexico City, New York, Berlin and Los Angeles. He has produced VFX for a wide-range of projects, including features, episodics and commercials. When not at work, he spends his time enjoying New York’s endless cultural offerings with his wife Amanda -- and traveling every chance he gets.

Liz Christofaro

VFX Producer

Born in Elmira, New York, Liz pursued a BFA in Interior Design before finding her way into VFX as a receptionist at Psyop, where she quickly moved up from receptionist to coordinator. Trying her hand at the production side of the industry, she went freelance and worked on projects such as Netflix's Maniac and The Irishman. After a few years on the production side she realized how much she missed collaborating closely with VFX artists. Meeting the team at Crafty was the perfect opportunity to get back into a VFX studio to produce. Liz is excited to join the Crafty Family and to learn from and grow with them. In her spare time, Liz loves to kayak and take her dog for hikes, try out breweries, work on DIY projects and continues to pursue a few design projects a year.

1 Second Everyday

1 Second Everyday

By Blake Goedde, VFX Supervisor

New York Style Vanilla Cheesecake

This classic New York-style cheesecake is rich and dense. Follow the cooling directions to prevent the top from cracking.

Ingredients

1 and 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 and 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon McCormick® All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F (or to 325°F if using a dark nonstick springform pan). Mix crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and butter in small bowl. Press evenly into bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

Beat cream cheese, remaining 1 cup sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Gently stir in sour cream. Pour into crust.

Bake 1 hour or until center is almost set. Turn off oven. Leave cheesecake in oven 1 hour. Remove from oven. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Run small knife around sides of pan to loosen crust; remove sides of pan. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.