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Amy Cuthbertson

Camera TD at Weta Digital

"I'm really proud to be one of the first escapees"

It wasn't long ago that Amy was heading up the VFX tracking team at The Mill, London. Now at the top of her game (with a BAFTA under her belt), Amy has started an exciting new opportunity at the VFX home for Hobbits, Gollum and Middle Earth, Weta Digital in New Zealand. Amy has come a long way since her days as a student at Escape Studios, which she tells us ‘feels just like yesterday’.

“Once an escapee always an escapee – it’s like being a member of an elite gang and it definitely gives you a little bit more kudos in the industry!” Amy started off a long way from CG however. After studying at University, she started thinking about becoming an animator – the only problem being that Amy felt she couldn’t draw. “Honestly, putting pen to paper just doesn’t work for me. It was when I realised it might be possible to pursue this career using software that I started doing some research.” Amy thought in the same way that most of our graduates do, that going back to university for another three years just wasn’t a viable option. “I needed the skills to get a job and that’s exactly what Escape gave me”.

Amy was at a graduation fair with her sister when she found Escape Studios’ stand. Amy openly admits that she had no idea of the processes involved in CG at that point - to her it seemed like “some hugely complicated thing that very clever people did with computers in Hollywood”. But as soon as Amy discovered that it was possible to gain the VFX skills she needed in three months, it seemed like the perfect avenue to go down and follow her ambition to work in animation. Amy studied our Character Animation course and enjoyed every minute of it. “It was great fun learning about animation principles in general and how they translate to Maya – hard work, but worth all of the effort”.

Amy’s list of credits are impressive, from 'Les Misérables', '47 Ronin', '‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’, ‘127 Hours’, ‘Clash of the Titans’, ‘Dr Who’, ‘Sherlock’, ‘Merlin’ and ‘Nike: Write the Future’, the list goes on. “The Mill was a great company to work for and I can honestly say, no matter how long the day was, I was always happy to get up for work in the morning”.

Thinking back on her time at Escape Studios, Amy tells us that “Escape didn’t just help me when it came to study and skills, it was the contacts that they had. The recruitment service was excellent – they introduced me to companies that I had never heard of before. They placed me in lots of jobs before I got to The Mill and it was a great way of getting comfortable with industry practice”.