• Main image
  • Alex

Alexander Swann

Digital Paint & Roto Artist at Framestore

“I wanted to be part of something bigger!”

Unlike most of our students, Alex Swann didn’t know that he wanted to be a VFX artist. And, he certainly didn’t think that he would be a Digital Paint & Roto Artist at Framestore working on the likes of Steven Spielberg's "War Horse", "Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 2" and “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows". You see, Alex had always wanted to work in TV. But what he didn’t expect was to find him self thinking that he wanted to be part of something much bigger than day-to-day TV programming. Alex tried to narrow down what it was that intrigued him about commercials, films, and TV in general and quickly discovered that it was VFX he loved. Once that bulb had light up, he wasted no time in making plans to forge his brand new career.

Getting started

Before we explain how Alex got to where he is today, it’s probably good to point out that he’s a pretty intelligent guy. Straight A’s at school meant that he was able to pick and choose what he wanted to study at university. He finally settled on Archaeology and Anthropology, thinking that he could utilise this to work on documentaries or for investigative journalism in the TV industry. Alex then embarked on several running jobs, getting a feel for what was involved. Before he knew it, he was working full-time in an editing suite. “Editing was great, but I loved the stuff that had visual effects incorporated into them and it just dawned on me: this is what I want do”.

Alex’s Journey with Escape Studios

Having been a runner before, Alex knew that it wasn’t going to be easy to get a foot in the door of the VFX industry and so after some research he came across our website. “I can remember looking through the website and thinking that all the courses looked amazing, but the two that stuck out for me were the 'Compositing for Production' and 'Visual Effects for Production' courses. Because I couldn’t decide between the two, I went on a 3-day introductory course at Escape and to learn what software each role used – I decided pretty quickly that Compositing was for me”. Alex wanted to ‘geek-up’ on as much compositing information as possible and so checked out what software was included in the Compositing course syllabus. He spoke to some of our Training Team about what reading material he could go through before starting the course. “The professional knowledge offered to us by our tutor throughout the whole course was fantastic and if I hadn't gone to Escape, getting into the CG Industry would have been incredibly difficult for me. I also feel I have got more out of Escape than my degree. It prepared me for a job in the industry through practical knowledge not just by talking about the theory behind it. Many university courses don't consider the practical side of Arts based subjects including CG, which is pretty detrimental when looking for a job. However, establishments like Escape &Framestore are working together to change that.”

Finding a Job

Escape Studios has an in-house recruitment service that helps students polish their showreel and get a job in the industry. When the team put Alex in contact with the Head of Recruitment at Framestore and arranged an interview, Alex didn’t think that he’d be in with a chance. However, six months later, it seemed that they did want Alex after all. “Escape has given me the chance to start a career in what I want to do and I love working at Framestore. Working in VFX makes everything so exciting, no two days are the same and I love that ”.