COMPANY: I currently work at ILM as a Roto Paint Artist, and it's been fantastic so far. I've only just started, so I can't tell you much about what I'm working on.
Before ILM, I was working at MPC as a Roto/Prep Artist on films such as The Lone Ranger, World War Z, 300: Rise Of An Empire, Maleficent and Guardians of the Galaxy - which involved some quite challenging wire, set and crew removals.
FAVOURITE MOVIE ONE LINER: From Raisers of the Lost Ark - "Asps... very dangerous, you go first!" A classic!
PROJECTS : Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie has to have been my favourite project to date. It was a real challenge but I got to do a lot of different prep and also some compositing work on it. The film turned out to be really good as well – which is always a good feeling!
WHY VFX? Like many people in the industry, my initial interest was to get involved in animation. I think this stems back to seeing Jurassic Park in the cinema as a 9 year old and being convinced that the Dinosaurs were real! I went on to study computer animation at Teesside University but post Uni I struggled to really get anywhere with it. Looking back now I realise I was pretty awful at it... Ha!
ABOUT? Before I started at Escape I was running at some stop motion animation companies in Cardiff. It was there I met a chap who was doing some compositing for the shows in after effects. I was watching him work and a light bulb went off above my head - but I had no idea where to begin in terms of pursuing this as a career.
Through a contact of my uncle I was able to secure an internship at ReelFX in Dallas, Texas. There was a small problem though, in order to get the required visa I needed to prove to the US Embassy that I had been in recent education. I then began to Google around and found out about the compositing evening class at escape. This was ideal for me as I did not live in London and the timing of the course was perfect for when ReelFX wanted me to fly over the US. Now I’ve come full circle and find myself in London at ILM. It’s been an interesting journey so far!
Paul's Top Tips
First and foremost you need to be 100% sure that you want to enter this industry. It's very competitive out there especially when you are starting out in the industry. It's also hard, tiring work, the hours can be long but the job satisfaction can’t be beaten. I have done work in film and commercials and I think that film is where I want to focus on. It's a much longer process requiring pixel perfection but I think a great VFX film reaches a much bigger audience.
I would of course advise people to consider a course at Escape. It ended up being far more valuable to me than a university degree. Just be prepared to work hard outside of the classroom perfecting your reel. Once that is ready, be patient, but also persistent in looking for work.