It’s hard to conceive, now, of the time when film production and visual effects were an American concern. Not much over a decade ago the majority of big blockbusters shot in and around LA, and effects houses in Malibu or the Presidio gave them their visual oomph. But things have swung so fast and so decidedly towards the UK that it now feels almost quaint to see a film made in the US. Next year’s biggest films – Avengers, Star Wars, Bond, Mission: Impossible – are all based here in Blighty, and more are queuing behind them.
Seeing a film at the cinema is often a contained experience - you'll go with one or two other people, silently praying that no one else in the theatre makes a noise for the next three hours, arrive just in time then leave straight away afterwards, casually asking the opinion of your companions as you leave to see if the cramp in your butt was worth it.
If you haven’t already seen, every Sunday over the last few months, we’ve been uploading the showreel of a different escapee, aptly naming the day on our Social Media channels as #ShowreelSunday.
A few weeks back, August 14th, we said our farewells to another class of Compositing graduates, ready to embark on a professional career in VFX. An exciting day for all involved, we had the opportunity to check out their end of course projects. Presented to tutors as well as fellow students, each project got some constructive feedback from the pros on where improvements could be made, and where their talents excelled.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Escape students possess a unique ability to intake an insanely-high level of caffeine. Some claim it assists their CGI wizardry in the classroom, others argue it's due in part to our breakout space housing the largest cappucino machine ever created by mortal hands.
There have been some exciting changes at Escape Studios recently, and with that we are very pleased to welcome our new Relationship Manager, Anita Gribble. In this role Anita will have two main responsibilities. One is to work closely with post houses up and down the country to continue building on the industry coaching scheme we currently have for our full-time students. As well as this she will be helping to maintain our relationship with recruiters at a variety of post houses to further benefit our students.
Last week I accompanied the current Compositing class on a trip to the MPC studio in London. It's all part of the industry mentoring scheme we're encouraging at Escape, as we work to prepare our students for the working world. With aspirations for one day working in the industry, we feel it's really important for all our students to get a taste for what is expected from them as early as possible in their training. Irene Bonilla was one student who joined us that day, and here's what she had to say about it...
Welcome to the Studio Assistant workshop, with Ashley Miles and Brad Collier-Brown, and here's our debut issue. As studio assistants, our main job is to make sure both students and escapees are getting the most out of the Escape Studios experience, which involves answering a lot of weird and wonderful questions. We thought it'd be a good idea if we blogged a few of the most common queries and solutions every week, so you guys at home could learn a little something from us too.
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.
For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, here is a great video that shows life behind the scenes at Dneg. It is a really good way to get an idea of what it would be like to work for a world class Visual Effects house like Double Negative. They are one of the fastest growing Visual Effects houses in the UK and one of the top Visual Effects houses in the world.