Cutting it in VFX - The Mill Explain What it Takes

Cutting it in VFX - The Mill Explain What it Takes

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.

It’s a very simple question but an important one - what qualities do you look for in candidates?
Nice people! We love people who have a varied backgound or a variety of skills. Perhaps they have studied VFX, computer science, physics or architecture. It’s good to see people who work really well in a team, have creative interests and are not afraid to get stuck in.

Tell us about the environment at The Mill, what’s it like to work there?
It’s pretty fast paced and busy, but we try our best to make it a fun and relaxed working environment. We’re very encouraging of staff – so if you have an idea, we really want to hear about it. Also, we’re keen on personal development – we like people who take the time to study as well as work – technology changes so quickly, making sure you have the latest skills is an absolute must. Escapees tend to already have lots of these skills – we just help get them settled to industry life.

So, what makes escapees stand out from the crowd?
They come to us with an understanding of the VFX pipeline and the industry which is so important. They also learn specific production skills on their course which is a very good starting point.

Are there any escapees who are doing particularly well at The Mill?
There are actually several, but two that are really shining are Jacob Flint and Amy Cuthbertson who works in our TV and Film department. Amy especially is doing very well. She is managing a team of up to 10 people who look to her for constant support – it’s a big responsibility and one that she does amazingly well.

What are your ultimate showreel tips?

  1. Keep it short. No matter how many times I reinforce this we still get reels at up to 5 minutes long! One minute and a half. Any longer and  we won’t get a chance to make it through the reel, no matter how good it is.

  2. Be your biggest critic and only put your best work in. Again, it’s such a simple concept and yet people assume they should fill their reel with everything they have ever created. You have to lose the sentimentality – no one else will care that it took you 10 weeks to make the biggest sci-fi monster in the universe. If it’s not very good, it shouldn’t be in there.

  3. Don’t show the same thing lots of different ways. Show something once that demonstrates a particular skill, we don’t need to see 5 examples of what is essentially the same thing.

  4. Explain what you’re capable of, visually. If you can texture – let’s see it – if you can light – give an exemplary example. We look for small things done exceptionally well, there is no need to create an epic!

  5. Finally, we need to remember who you are – don’t let us put you in the top drawer and forget! Organise your website, CV ,Vimeo or You Tube links well.  Make it as easy as possible for the person looking at it to get an understanding of who you are and what your interests are.


Just a quick thank you to Claire for taking the time to speak to us but that’s not all. On April 12th, Claire and our Training Manager Miles Pettit will be divulging the secrets of how to cut it in the industry live from The Mill’s headquarters. The webinar will be online and is completely free – you can sign up here – its not one that you want to miss.

If you already think you have what it takes – check out our jobs board for the latest and greatest in the industry.  

1 Comments Garreth Gaydon

Posted by
Garreth Gaydon
Tue 24 Jan 2012: 1:39pm

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  • Juha Tuomimaki:

    Is there a recording of this webinar to be watched somewhere?

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