As Training Advisor here at Escape Studios, I speak with a lot of people looking to take the leap into VFX. Although everyone’s situation differs considerably, I do find that many have the same concerns. So after speaking with past student Ashley Miles about his experience on the VFX for Production course, I thought I should share some pearls of wisdom, to help clear up any concerns you have about embarking on this new career path.
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself and a bit of your academic/work experience background prior to coming to Escape Studios?
After college I'd decided to find work abroad and spent a season as a chalet host in Austria. Upon my return I spent a year baking bread, then a few years working in construction before deciding that I hated it passionately and wanted to do something fun for the rest of my life. In my search for something new and fun, I found Escape.
Q. Most importantly, why did you choose VFX?
When you're a kid, there's always a struggle between work and play. The trick is, when you grow up, to find work that feels like play. VFX is LOTS of fun...
I think there's two types of people who are drawn to VFX. If you spent your childhood doing amazing sketches and brilliant oil paintings, you've probably got a good eye for compositing. If, like me, you spent days building giant space lava castles out of Lego, or giant walking roller coasters from K'NEX, then you might prefer the creativity of VFX.
Q. How was your classroom experience throughout the duration of the 18 weeks VFX Professional course? Given that you had no previous CG knowledge?
At first, it was daunting. Jumping from construction to VFX meant learning an entire new world; new software, new jargon, new skills. Thankfully, the Escape courses are designed from the ground up for people who have never touched the programs before, and they all start out slow. As your skills improve, so does the pace of the course, but since I was the only person in my class with no 3D experience, I put extra effort in - coming in early, staying late, and spending my weekends revisiting the weeks lessons via three online tutorials
Q. And now you're working as a VFX Studio Assistant at Escape Studios. Could you tell us a bit about what you do on a daily basis?
It's basically my job to sneak into the back of classrooms and make sure students are keeping up with the lessons, and help them with their projects. We also act as a bridge between the students and the staff, passing on concerns, solving problems, helping make dreams come true.
Q. When you look back and think about how your life was two years ago and how your life is right now - what would you say is your biggest achievement and do you have any regrets?
Two years ago, I was a pushing paper around desks in a company I hated, living in a small boring town, working alongside people who hated their jobs but never had the drive to leave. Jacking it all in to take a chance on Escape was the best thing I ever did; now I live and work in the greatest city in the country, I work in one of the coolest industries in the world, I enjoy it, and I’m actually proud of what I do. No regrets.
Q. Have you got any advice or tips for students who want to change their career to VFX without any previous CG backrground?
If you're worried about the courses, don’t be; Escape will ease you in. As long as you're prepared to put the effort in, you'll pick VFX up in no time, and become great at it while you're here. If you start now, who knows, you might be modelling the next Batmobile in a few years!
To learn more about the training we offer, and how your career could benefit, why not come along to one of our open days. We're holding one next week, Wednesday 14th November. Register here to book your place. But if you can't make that one, get in touch and we can arrange a day that suits you better.