The final RTS Futures event of the year turned the spotlight on motion graphics and visual effects.
Emma Kolasinska, an executive producer at Moonraker VFX who recently worked on Netflix wildlife series Night on Earth, started out as a receptionist at an editing facility, before moving into producing. The key to getting on, she said, is “working hard, not pretending to know everything but finding out quite quickly”.
Junior compositor Michael Vodden said: “Take opportunities and run with them – you never know where [they will lead]… a job can come out of everywhere.”
Vodden recently graduated from Escape Studios in London with a first-class degree in the art of visual effects and has worked on this year’s CBeebies Christmas show.
Having studied graphic design for his degree and then worked in advertising in his native Columbia, VFX compositor and motion designer Sergio Rincón moved to San Francisco to take a master’s degree in animation and visual effects. “It helped me a lot… it was a mix of artistic, technical and communication skills,” he said. Rincón is currently working in New York for Conex Digital.
A degree, though, is not essential. Kolasinska stressed that, when recruiting for VFX artists, she looks for “attention to detail in CVs and the show reel … If the show reel and work are strong enough, and the person in their own time has learnt their software well, then I might not always look at their [education].”
Rincón said the pandemic has offered the chance “to spend time working by himself improving software and technical skills … I’ve created my own projects and tried to network as much as [possible].”
Kolasinska, who leads the global e-mentoring initiative at Access: VFX, the industry-led body aiming to improve diversity in visual effects, advised newcomers to look beyond the large, London-based visual effects companies: “There are a lot of smaller companies popping up regionally.”
She usually fills jobs with “artists I’ve used previously or by word of mouth [recommendations]… I might [also] look at LinkedIn.”
Vodden added: “Every job I’ve had so far has been through my network, whether that be from Escape Studios… or friends I’ve made while working on productions. LinkedIn has been a huge help – that’s where I’ve been contacted a lot.”
Summing up the appeal of working in VFX, Vodden said: “It’s really cool… you get to take stuff that is not real and, as an compositor, to put that on the other side of the lens and make it look like it really happened – there’s something magical about that.”
The RTS Futures event, ‘Kick-start your career in motion graphics/VFX’ was held in collaboration with Access VFX on 14 December, chaired by Nutopia head of talent Natalie Spanier, and produced by Spanier and Alex Wootten.