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View Full Version : So you wanna break into VFX?

05-28-2005, 01:18 AM
Just about every VFX board has quite a few questions about "how to break into the industry?!" and I love my job so much I'll give a few tips.

1) Experience
2) Being in the right place at the right time

Everyone wants experience, but how do you get that experience if no one is willing to hire you? Ah, the eternal question. It's like a circle; no entrance, but once you're in you can go round and round.

The answer is internships. The bottom line is that you need production experience or no one will take you seriously. Pick a school that has an internship program. Find out about the local VFX companies and what software they use and practice using the free demos and don't give up til' they let you work for free.

I had a lot of luck, with a big VFX company in my hometown that was working on a film that needed TONS of roto during the semester I started the multimedia arts program at the local college. I got an internship with only two weeks of After Effects experience.

I worked for free for six months, and during that time I got three feature films under my belt and fairly impressive demo reel. Now I'm in L.A. making a decent living, doing what I love, and showing off my name in the credits to friends and family.

You can do it, but you gotta pay your dues... VFX rocks, you gotta love our job!

05-29-2005, 07:36 PM
Good advice from a different perspective.. Chad, you're not listed in IMDB, time to jump onto that bandwagon! ;)

05-31-2005, 04:44 PM
that's a good point ! :)
the other thing..... if you want to apply in a company (specialy here in london) sometimes you have too much experience !
i know some really good guys (with good experience), they get a job, but the fresh one's from school get the job...
the reason is, they are cheap..... many company wants just young cheap guys to do the work and save money !
irony: if have no experience you can't get a job if you have good experience --> you are too expensive ! :shrug:

06-01-2005, 04:29 PM
How about if you have just the right amount of experience, but you live in the wrong place?! I live in Boston and I'd love to move to LA where the work is but you can't get a job until you move and, especially in this economy, you can't move until you get a job! The days of relocation assistance are over!

06-01-2005, 04:33 PM
True, I was living three hours north of L.A. and THAT lost me a few jobs, I can imagine the other side of the country would make things real tough. I think the companies here don't worry about relocation cuz they expect all the freelancers to already be here in L.A.

The company I was interning at, Cafe FX, which is headquartered three hours north of L.A. has missed out on a job or two because they're not in L.A.

Good luck bro!

06-02-2005, 11:33 PM
I'm with mdurwin where I was living in the wrong area....took me a couple of tries, but finally caught a break. I'm doing what I love and glad I didn't give up. People like Aruna were nice enough to keep encouraging me (thanks again!).

An internship is a great experience, but the school I went to didn't allow for it during the school year. That would have been a great route, but hard work can get you in too :D

Good points though hiphopcr

06-03-2005, 12:04 AM
I'm hearing that buzz again that is telling me to head out west since there is hardly any to zero VFX studios here in Orlando.

I value your suggestion 'hip' thx for the tip.

06-03-2005, 04:06 PM
Hey XenaTrek,

The wrong area I was referring to was Orlando. I just got a job in FX after moving out of Orlando. MUCH quicker once I was in the right place. So come on out, tons more jobs.
Did you go to school in the area?

Oh, and I dodged hurricane season :D

06-03-2005, 04:33 PM
Hey XenaTrek,

The wrong area I was referring to was Orlando. I just got a job in FX after moving out of Orlando. MUCH quicker once I was in the right place. So come on out, tons more jobs.
Did you go to school in the area?

Oh, and I dodged hurricane season :D

I've moved down here from Michigan about 6 years ago under the pretense that there was a market for various media, if there are, they are definetly hard to find (unless you know someone) or very, very small. 6 years is a little long, and I do plan on heading out west as soon as I fatten my bank account. Its a little on the low side as I was laid off at Lockheed Martin a few years ago and maxed out all of my credit cards. Also I need to get cracking on my demo reel which I put off last summer. Eep!

Yeah Hurricane season is a drag. I'm really looking forward to this one.

I really wanted to go to SIGGRAPH this year but can't make it this year. I definately want to try for next year, maybe I can find someone on this forum to see if they want to share the cost for a hotel room. :o)

Anyway, there is a supposed trip out Southern California planned for this December, (I was in SF in 1998 for a few days). When that trip come about, I hope to have a decent demo reel and see what the market has to offer. Maybe I can hook up with some members of this forum. :o)

06-03-2005, 04:44 PM
Hey XenaTrek,

Did you go to school in the area?

Forgot to answer this question... sorry about that. Currently I'm going to both Valencia CC and Seminole CC taking random classes here and there to 'enhance' my BA in Telecommunications (w/ an emphasis in Digital Media and Media Arts) from Michigan State University. 3D Modeling and Animation up at SCC with Maya and AfterEffects and Adobe, Macromedia Products and Motion Picture classes at VCC.


06-03-2005, 05:59 PM
I was in a very similar situation that you're in now. Definitely keep in touch with the members here...helps later. It's too bad you can't make it to Siggraph this year, there is usually a thread in the Siggraph forum (will come soon) here on CGTalk where you can discuss sharing hotel rooms, costs, etc....maybe that can help you make it out this year. I'm originally from Boston so next year is a given :D

Oh, and I went to VCC, UCF, and Full Sail. You should definitely see if you can get a reel together, there has been a lot of hiring out here. And some good internships too, so that goes right with hiphopcr' advice.

good luck!

06-04-2005, 10:34 AM
Oh, and I went to VCC, UCF, and Full Sail.
good luck!

Hi just a question, how did you actuly get into Full Sail?! And is it a good school?! I live in The Netherlands - Amsterdam and im 17 years old. But i also was thinking to go to Full Sail but i heard getting admission there is pretty tough? And when you graduate you get a job somewhere or something.


06-05-2005, 12:22 PM
nice advise

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