So many of our escapees succeed in getting jobs once they've finished a course with us, and it’s so good to hear that lots of them are very talented young women. As a result, we thought some congratulations were in order, starting with Evgenia Golubeva who accepted the role of Director at Animated Storyboards, a fantastic position and one which we want to wish her every success in!
As Escape’s Recruitment Manager, it’s my job to know exactly what employers are looking for when they’re hiring candidates. The thing to remember is that it’s different for every company – you have to tailor your showreel and CV to the position and company you’re applying for (Tips you can check out here). We place lots of escapees and freelancers at The Mill and last week, I caught up with Claire Anderson their Talent Manager, who explained exactly what it takes to cut it at their company. For those of you eager to secure a position, pay attention and check out the interview.
A few weeks ago, we posted some details of changes and improvements we were making to our courses. We promised we would be giving details of these improvements soon, and today we are going to be talking to you about Houdini.
After a busy year of new course launches, we now have Visual Effects and Compositing training to suit everyone, whether that’s Classroom Training or Online Mentored study. We know what you need to learn but also understand that everyday life can sometimes make this difficult. This is why we’ve tackled this head on and ensured that our training is flexible and works for you.
Last Thursday, the winners of CG Whiz 2011 were announced at the much anticipated Reveal Event held at our Escape Studios headquarters in London. The room was busy with noise and champagne as Daniel Danielsson waited patiently to find out whether he had scooped first place. He needn’t have worried though as Mark Cass our General Manager and head judge Lee Danskin soon explained why Daniel deserved first place. With no professional training at all, he took it upon himself to learn all of the software that enabled him to create such a professional looking showreel. Check out the Reveal Event video, created by The Mill, to find out why Daniel was pretty much speechless when he found out.
This Friday, our Character Animation Tutor Alex Williams will be presenting a talk at the Aesthetica Short Film festival. Aesthetica Film Festival is hosted by Aesthetica Magazine a respected voice in contemporary art and culture. The talk being given by Alex is called: Creating and Designing Memorable Animated Characters and its aim is to help you achieve just that! There is certainly no better man for the job. Alex understands exactly what it takes to get to the heart of characters, giving them their very own personalities and making them totally believable. If you don’t believe us, you should check out his CV which includes: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Lion King and The Iron Giant, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawntreader.
Once again we are going to be running a couple of course specific Open Days for those would like to find out more about our courses and the sort of training we offer here at Escape.
One of the most entertaining parts of the Character Animation course that I teach at Escape studios is the lesson where the students invent, design and pitch an original animated character to myself and the rest of the class. The purpose of the exercise is to get students thinking not just about the technical side of character motion and action but also to think inventively and creatively. Can we invent characters as well as animate them? The visual effects industry is often demanding in terms of time and energy, and one of the best antidotes to the problem of "burn out" is to keep the creative spirit alive. After all, we all went into the arts to invent and create, not just to polish other people's ideas.
Shapes In Motion was founded in 2010 by Sarah Perry who is not just an actor but an acting and movement coach. Having met Sarah recently at Escape Studios I wanted to tell you more about the interesting coaching work she does with animators. Sarah has been working in the visual effects industry in various tutoring/coaching capacities on a freelance basis since 2008, with recent clients including MPC and Double Negative.
Not many traditional artists ever imagine that they’d be able to transfer their artistics skills from the studio to the computer but in fact it’s quite the opposite. The current growth of the VFX industry in the UK means there is a growing demand for fresh creative talent. Learning the skills is the easy bit; it’s the creativity that the industry is looking for and that really is something that you’re born with.
We just caught up with Stu Schwartz—last year’s CG Whiz winner. Here’s what he had to say about the experience and knowledge he’s gained and, of course, a few tips for this year’s submissions:
I learned a lot this last summer at Escape Studios as a student and intern but one of the most important things I want to make sure students and aspiring artists know is that I found out how important networking can be. The more you get out there and meet people, the more opportunities will present themselves. Escape is located right near the heart of countless studios and is always putting on events and connecting with other studios and industry professionals. It's been a great environment for meeting other artists and potential employers. So keep that in mind as you move forward in your careers.
Most of you who keep up with industry news will know that compositing skills - in particular NUKE skills - are in very high demand at the moment. There are more jobs out there than candidates, and we have never had so many compositing students studying with us.
Seems like August was a great month for many of our recent graduates, who were quite literally snapped up as soon as they finished their courses.
Giuseppe Candido is not only a recent character animation course escapee, but now also a very talented animator and a skilled Maya Generalist. He has put together one of the most charming demo reels we have seen here at Escape Studios. Giuseppe combined many of his student exercises into a circus project - creating a stunning short film in the process, and all completed from scratch in just six weeks.
We currently have one final seat available on our hugely popular compositing evening course which is starting this week! This course has been booked up for some time but we have just had a late cancellation which has freed up a space. If you're interested, be sure to contact us straight away. But don't worry too much if you can't make this one, we do have a new round of evening courses starting October for compositing and Maya Core on October 10th.
Changing career is never easy. It takes lots of thought, and above all courage and commitment. But that's exactly what escapee Richard Sowerby did. He sudied multimedia at Cheltenham University and forged a very successful career as a systems/graphics analyst. It took him 7 years to pluck the courage to follow his dream of working in the VFX industry and start looking for courses in compositing. And boy, did his determination pay off!
I'm really honoured to have been asked to join a panel of speakers for a session on Continual Professional Development (CPD) Education and Training at the International Animation Festival (LIAF) in London.
I felt a little bit like an old-school headmaster last week, taking our latest set of compositing students to MPC where they were to have their work critiqued for the second time. Lots of worried faces trudged behind me - nerves apparent and laughter a little thin on the ground. As usual, all of their concerns were completely unfounded and they all actually left the place beaming and proud of their achievements. But I do understand how showing your work to a bunch of seasoned professionals can be very daunting - despite the team at MPC doing their best to make the experience a relaxed one for our students.