Pursuing a Career In VFX Was The Worst Decision i Ever Made


#1

Back in 2010, i left for Los Angeles a starry eyed 17 year old ready to pursue hopeful of all the wonders this city could bring. My past had already been terrible, just plain awful and art was the only thing that got me through it; I believe had it not been for art and music, i would literally be dead. I enrolled in a bachelors degree in visual effects and motion graphics, and quickly made friends with everyone i could, because it was the first time in my life when i felt at home, like i was finally with a group of people i belonged with.

I had taken a couple classes in photoshop and illustrator as a kid and already had begun making a bit of pocket change on the side as an amateur graphic designer. That kind of thing came easily to me but i was more interested in Visual Effects because it was a lot more challenging and something i hadn’t done before, and the movie industry seemed so amazing at the time. I spent the next 4 years learning every software i could get my hands on, every tip and trick that existed on youtube, or gnomon, and i found i could absorb the same information as the other majors and teach myself things like audio design and photography and speak on the level with people who had devoted their whole lives to those things, and i found that visual effects was the perfect intersection to pursue an eclectic set of interests and unite them in new and interesting ways, but i failed to specialize early on and all too late learned that recruiters are extremely superficial and capricious with their recruiting process, its not enough that you can do the work, they want to find the “perfect fit” to everything. And that didn’t work with my philosophy, because i understood the 80/20 principle, that 80% of the skills necessary for mastery are done in 20% of the time and the last 20% are done in 80% of the time. I wanted to cover 80% of 5 different skills rather than focus incessantly on just one, but that doesn’t advertise well. People think you’re a jack of all trades, master of none and then even once you seek mastery on something and go for that last 20% by the mere virtue of including that you can do something else depletes the worth of what you can do by mere proximity. Every year I found less and less freelance jobs at cheaper and cheaper pay than i was as an amateur graphic designer.

By the time i left school, i was 30 grand in student loan debt, and 12 grand i owed the school directly and is now affecting my credit because they failed to file the student loans on time despite the fact that i left 2 dozen voicemails for my financial aid officer and spoke to the dean of student affairs warning him something like this would happen. I’d been applying to jobs when i had time, looking for work to put me through school, and i had taken 2 internships that both later turned out to be illegal that i did not receive school credit for, where i was promised an increase in career prospects and “experience”, while the only experience i learned was how to do my bosses job for him for no pay with zero creative control. When i left school, it was more of the same, but a full time more of the same. The career services department which was promised to get me a job right out of school at a bullshit 90% success rate they pulled right out of their ass gave me a couple pamphlets of publicly available information, and considered their job done. I did not hear from them for another six months despite calling them constantly and i finally ended up just hunting down the information of the career services director and she explained to me that for the past 6 months there has just been no one in that position and they’re not obligated to help me find a job since those 6 months are up.

So at the end of the day i was left with only debt and regret for paying tens of thousands of dollars for what i could have gotten with a 300$ subscription to gnomon with the promise of “networking opportunities” that never panned out. But i wasn’t about to leave my fate up to a failure of action on my part. I set out to apply to every single VFX studio in existence, which is no easy task. After a long while, probably hundreds of unsuccessful applications for all i know, i realized it was probably better to keep a tally of how many studios i applied to, which ones were successful, and to what degree of success. Here is the number in each city/country according to my notes.

Finland - 3
Belgium - 25
LA - 135
New York - 73
All of canada:
Vancouver - 47
Montreal - 29
Toronto - 39
All of australia - 60
All of New Zealand - 13
Most of the netherlands, including all of amsterdam - 25
All of Norway - 12
All of Sweden - 13
All of Malta - 1
Most of the UK, including all of London - 150
All of florida, hawaii - 8
All of copenhagen denmark - 9

To each of these i either applied to the job that best fit my abilities, or a general application for prospective work. About 38 different studios gave me a response that from what i could gather was not an automated, canned response, asking to keep my information in their records if future work came up. None of them has contacted me about it, so from what i can assume, they forgot about it and it is lost in their records. I remind them every now and then and ask them if they need any work, but this is not a successful method. Email and web forms are useless.

So i changed my approach. I printed up 100 resumes and passed them out at malls, coffee shops, burger joints. The promenade, the beverly center, century city mall, every mall this side of LA. I never stuck to just VFX jobs, its what i’m trained in, but i really just need to pay the bills. I got a lot of “while we’re very impressed with your qualifications, we have decided to look at candidates who better fit our needs at this time.” Which is weird considering many of the jobs i applied to were minimum wage with a description that literally states “no experience necessary.”

So after pursuing a career in VFX, i am apparently no longer qualified to flip burgers. Or work at starbucks. Or stack boxes, or clean floors. I went into this with the specific intention that if i didn’t make a whole lot, it would be okay, just as long as i made a liveable wage doing something that i love. I thought i was being pessimistic. I realize now, that was optimism. Because even with a 4 year degree and the 10,000 hours, i can’t even get an entry level job as a PA.

I’m going to be homeless in a month. I’m going to be homeless because i was foolish enough to choose something i love and think that talent and passion and effort were enough to get me by. I can’t pay my rent, i’ve maxed out my credit cards just trying to eat and the bill collectors call every day. And i don’t know what to do. I’ve done everything i can do, everything i can think of, everything within my power to an exhausting amount (and i know its probably exhausting just reading this). I’ve called up everyone i know asking for recommendations, referrals, a couch to sleep on, any suggestion that i haven’t tried. And i look at my art, what i can create, and i wonder if it was all worth it. In not too long, it may be all i have left… Again.




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I know i might not be the best artist on here, there are so many amazing people who have spent their lives doing this. I just want the ability to spend my life doing art as well. Or at the very least to have a roof over my head. There has to be something i can do to help. There has to be some place for me here.


#2

The problem here is you can’t be 80% when the guy that got the job instead of you was 120%. VFX pipelines requires every asset contributor to be able to finish their asset to an certain quality level and beyond. Within time constraints. And there is a HELL of a LOT of competition for you today in VFX. Therefore your portfolio has to answer the job description better than anyone else’s at the time. And since you haven’t gotten a VFX gig you don’t know anybody either. So your portfolio has to be better still. You are off to a good start but your competition is likely too good for you to get the job. If you want the job you have to get better than your competition. It is as simple and at the same time as difficult as that!

If you like being a generalist more than anything I suggest you aim for other CGI industries than VFX at first. Some VFX studios do like generalists actually-but you have to be very good so don’t start looking there exclusively as a junior.

Yup in this day and age it pays to do your research the industry and the school before plunking down big bucks on a school especially if you already have artistic chops. Going to school to just ‘learn button pushing’ is a rip-off. And hardware and software are so frankly cheap today there are plenty of rip-off schools out there. You really need to understand what you need to get from your education. Could you have learned everything you needed online? In your case that might have been enough frankly. If you really felt you needed something else from a school than researching the schools out there is paramount. There are good schools out there-but you need to talk to alumni-not employees to get the real scoop. Plenty of school reviews out there too.
BUT-a school won’t get you the job either. See above. Your competition is too stiff. You need to take what you’ve been taught and take it to job-getting-levels. So months or years of post school portfolio development to get there. A school certificate is not entitlement in this industry-it might not even be acknowledged by those who are needing to fill a position. It begins with your portfolio and gets boosted by who you meet along the way.

As for your international exploits -very tough to get ‘imported’ until you get to intermediate to senior level.
All those places you tried have more than enough juniors living locally that they don’t really need to import you. As a junior you are best off focusing on your own back yard until you get the years of experience required.


#3

If you want the really hard truth of it, it sounds like you’ve got a massively over inflated opinion of your ability to learn and have taken for granted that this would be an easy ride.
Are those current images, or are they what you did when you were 17 and decided to pursue vfx?

Like if you’d said these phrases to me before you signed up to school:
"That kind of thing came easily to me "
“i found i could absorb the same information as the other majors … and speak on the level with people who had devoted their whole lives to those things,”
“And that didn’t work with my philosophy …I wanted to cover 80% of 5 different skills rather than focus incessantly on just one,”
"People think you’re a jack of all trades, master of none "
I’d have laughed and said best of luck with that.

To fix this (and you can fix this) you need to knuckle down. maybe develop a massively negative attitude towards your own work, but balance it so it drives you to get better rather than give up.


#4

Ok hear this asshole. Thinking i’m good enough for at least an entry level job at minimum wage is not an inflated opinion of myself. Thats just self respect. I never claimed to be the best or mindblowingly amazing. But you can damn well bet i’m good enough. So you can take YOUR negative attitude and shove it because i have done absolutely everything within my power to make a liveable wage in this industry. I would not turn down a job as a runner, getting coffee for pissy little fucks like you as long as it paid. I’d even pretend to respect you. But the fact that you think having any sense of self worth at all, or faith in my abilities is arrogant–go fuck yourself 1000 times over.


#5

Yeah i made some mistakes early on. I didn’t know what they’d cost me and i wasn’t informed. I have been spending a lot of time and effort catching up on the last 20% since i’ve graduated. Its all i do when i’m not applying to jobs or running my resumes around town or networking like my life depends on it. (because it kinda does)

And is it just me or does the excessive competition feel like 1000 rabid dogs fighting over a single steak? With the amount of people spreading the bullshit “there has never been a better time to get into VFX!” and the record number of films that use it, it really feels like this is just manufactured demand. There is a huge contradiction between market projections and actual experiences. People totally mislead you about the prospects but from what i can gather its basically at great depression levels, only you’re not waiting around in some fenced off alleyway waiting for a factory man to show up with a pickup truck to pay you a dime a day, you’re waiting in an application queue in some recruiters email inbox, and since its not overt you don’t know how fucked you are.

But honestly, you ever been on one of those online dating sites where the women constantly whine about getting hundreds of messages and they get real picky even though thats just par for the course for a typical girl but if you look at the total registrants theres a roughly equal number of guys and girls and if they actually paired everyone up, there wouldn’t be that many guys who are left single? Its just a theory but from what i can tell this whole digital application process is a lot like that.


#6

Ben, as someone who has helped out a lot of younger artists like yourself I have to say that your images look really great.

I feel, however, that your shotgun approach to trying to move forward has both consumed a large amount of time, but also burned you out.

I understand how this happened. The massive debt burden would push anyone to think of doing everything and anything.

But as you have found out. It isn’t effective.

Have you tried backtracking a bit to where your actual ability and true knowledge of your personal work ethic is more substantial? You mentioned networking in schools. Frequently there’s dotted lines there such as lecturers who either actually work in the industry, or are very close to people in the industry.

You see, if you cold-call people you have to do a LOT of talking before they’d know your work and your person to the extent that other people you have actually interacted with and worked with would have. Yes, it can seem “capricious”. But it’s also a function of them having to look at thousands of applicants in a day. It’s just usually more effective to go back to these “old hunting grounds” and see if maybe there is an opportunity.

Have you tried really scouring your immediate area? Learn what is needed there and try to focus a bit. Think of it as trying to win the Regionals before going for the Nationals. Try not to think of getting on the next VFX blockbuster immediately. There’s nothing wrong with starting small. It’s all about starting it right.

Have you tried asking your classmates where they might have work and if the places they are at may need more help?

It’s easy for young artists to feel like they are in some kind of beauty pageant to try and out-shine other asipiring artists. To an extent that is true. But I don’t think that is your current problem.

What you need to do is find a suitable target to get in and really get started.


#7

You wont get work with images like those in your post, and someone with a solid awareness of where they fit wouldn’t have applied for 400 jobs with them.
you could’ve used that time to make better images, but you didnt because you felt your work was (and i quote) ‘good enough’

I was a little too harsh given your financial situation but if you’re still trying to get a job in this industry you really need to take a step back.


#8

hehe, no idea why you didn’t find job with that attitude :smiley:
seriously though, I know it’s hard (or even impossible) for you to see that your images are still not in the ballpark of many juniors out there. I’d suggest to select one image, tune the hell out of it, post it into some WIP forum, get comfortable being criticized :wink: and continue tuning until your eyes bleed.

on a sidenote… why would VFX ruin your career changes in burgerflipping? :wink:

–s


#9

There’s places and smaller scope work areas where his skills could result in a placement. But I agree he probably wasn’t going to land at WETA or something like that. I doubt anybody straight out of school can land a place like that without connections or at least being a native artist in New Zealand.

I understand what he feels though. His work, while not super stellar, is far from terrible and shows quite a bit of attention to detail.


#10

I have been trying to stick around the Santa Monica area because thats where all the studios are located and i need to remain in close proximity in case they need me. I’ve been trying to court some of their recruiters like hell with the specific targeted approach… Make sure to come in often enough or to make an impression… I get that they have to know me better to know my skills and work ethic and i just want a chance to prove it to them. I’ve even suggested that they give me a test to see my abilities. I know once they do know me they will be happy with it. And i have tried a lot of the B studios that do smaller commercial work and such. 3rdfloor and bakedfx have hit me up about possible freelance work over the summer and i had a pretty good interview over the phone with the recruiter from 3rdfloor. Don’t know much about the details of the projects or when if ever they’re going to hit me up about it.

I have talked to a lot of my classmates and i’ve gotten some teachers to recommend me on linkedin (who were actually way more generous with their praise then i expected them to be). I mean one friend went back to teach at an elementary school, one is working for a jewelry manufacturer, one is a tattoo artist, my best friend actually got me some design work doing posters for the wu tang killa beez that i still havent got paid for… Theres a lot all over the place and honestly not a lot of them actually work in the industry they went to school for. One acquaintance who really doesn’t owe me any favors works as a matte painter for pixomondo. I know i’m above the level he was at when he got the job, i havent seen his current stuff though. My career services advisor said that my portfolio (which at the time was super half assed) was one of the best she’d seen come out of that school, before she left like a week later. Which doesn’t really help me, it just kinda feels like mommy putting that art on the refrigerator, i don’t want praise, i want to get paid. All the work i’ve gotten so far is just odd jobs in other industries, archvis for a seasteading startup, promotional material for a mosque, titles for a student film, photography for musical artists… I take what theres demand for. VFX is what i love, its what i’ve wanted to do but i can’t find anything that pays and everything else pulls me away from it.


#11

Yeah i doubt that myself haha… though i would love a look at their proprietary digital tissue system. I am by no means perfect, but i’m always improving and i know what i’m worth. I mean if you’re hiring a plumber, it would be ridiculous to expect them to be a rockstar plumber who is the best in the galaxy–you just want them to fix your damn sink. I can do the job and do it well. I’m not the best in the business but i’m also not expecting a 100k salary at an A level house working directly under peter jackson… I just want something liveable and at my level, with the amount of effort i’ve put into this business i deserve that. I don’t know why people think thats a bad attitude. A bad attitude is thinking i don’t.

You know that dave chappelle sketch? “No, no no! What you need to do is visualize some roast beef and some mashed potatoes! The problem is you have a bad attitude about starving to death!”

Lmao but seriously though my situation might desperate but i still have self respect. I know how fucking ridiculous it is when people say shit like that.


#12

Hey, just here to drop you a bit of advice I learnt throughout the years as a freelancer. Do NOT be afraid to do ANY kind of work. My passion is videogames, and while now I work on a AAA game, it wasn’t always like that. Before, I did anything 3D I could get my hands on, ArchViz (turning CAD into 3D), UI work, photo retouch in Photoshop…you name it, just to get a few bucks for food and rent. You have 3D skills, use them for everything you can to earn you some money.

Your network of employers will begin to grow that way, and so the people that know and like your work. I am not the greatest artist ever (people in these forums kick my ass), but I have a few companies that call me all the time for more work. Eventually, one of those companies might ask you to relocate if you make a good impression.

Don’t give up just yet!


#13

I don’t think VFX is your problem. I think your business acumen may be the problem. Sometimes artist and business minds don’t go in the same brain.

You need to keep working on your CG skills but think more and more like a business person and become more independent.

I’ll give you some ideas you can try.

Here are several ideas.

  1. Niche market 3d asset building

I noticed you have some pretty decent props. If you were into affiliate marketing you would want a niche market to sell products. Guess what? As a CG artist you have a great Niche marked of hobbyists and professionals needing props. Head over to to DAZ 3d and start selling Vehicle and scenes. Check out Stonemason. Start building a store. Pick a unique city and do a street blocks. I’ll even give you a hint. Do the streets of Japan. Look up Shibuya. Start modeling. If you need someone to rig it for you go to Renderosity.com or DAZ forums. If you can model a scene pretty well you’ll find a rigger and you can start to build a store very quickly. Just pop in as many nice quality scenes as you can. Start with streets of Japan and move your way up. Okay maybe not streets of Japan but I think you get the idea. Scenes and vehicles do pretty good.
Here is an idea
http://www.daz3d.com/stonemason
This could be a nice residual income.
Also if you can learn how to geograft they need a real anime girl and guy if you can do that type of modeling.

  1. Build business assets and sell them.
    Go through and put some assets together and create a generic commercial for different niches. Create a template you can reuse and sell it to businesses wanting video. For example create a generic commercial for plumbers. “do you need a plumber, then call here” Then go through the phonebooks for a plumber, sell them on the idea of video, get paid, then repeat. But use the same generic that you can customize in each city. Then go through electricians, landscapers, etc. You don’t even have to make the sales. Hire sales reps at a commission rate. Put an add in craigslist and have them sell it for you.

  2. Compile the templates
    Once you create several templates and have sold tons of commercials, compile the templates and sell it as a business in a box over at Jvzoo or the Warriorforum.

There you go. Build your own business. Don’t rely on someone else. Make them come to you. I have like 10 other ways you could make money but I’m going to start selling that information, (hint another way to make money, sell what you know).

How do I know about this stuff? I quit the rat race, work 2 days a week and live all over the world. I control my life and not the JOB. Go for it bro. You should do it yourself.

The truth is there are many VFX artists who are way better than you but they are not business people and go the standard JOB route, trying to find work at the VFX house and rely on them which is great if you can find those jobs but if you can’t then shape your own destiny.

And when are these folks going to learn not to go to school for VFX. No reason. So many worthless type degrees.

Hey if you have a bachelors though why not go teach in China if English is your native tongue. They pay about 2-4k a month, pay for your house, benefits and trips home. While you are there you can look into training VFX.

So there you have it. I’m sure this can help you fix your problem.

Go for it and let us know how it works for you. Look forward not back.


#14

Oh yeah i forgot about the photo retouching!! I did a lot of that in college, though i mostly pursued artsy fashion stuff for fun, the paying gigs were doing promo shoots for music artists and event work. A bit weird cause i always felt i wasn’t as good at the stuff i got paid for as the stuff i wanted to do. Its actually what got me a bit more into matte painting as my concepts got more and more adventurous.

Unfortunately the kind of clients that i work with don’t work in the same industry as the kind of clients who are going to provide more steady work. Its a really weird mixed bag and none of them really intermingle. I am so sick of freelancing though. It really is not enough. But some of the people here kick my ass too, thats why i come here. It is hard on the open web to find artists who are constantly pushing that next level, and i have to surround myself with people who are better than me if i want to keep improving, this is one of the few places you can find that level of discipline concentrated… here and motionographer, and maybe gnomon. I mean most of the shit that is on lynda.com or deviantart or creativecow or digitaltutors is basically a shitshow compared to this, you can tell they might understand the software but they have absolutely no attention to artistic mastery or creative refinement and you have to look hard for it. Here its on the front page.


#15

You are absolutely right. if i had the money an MBA or marketing associates would be nice. i do look for courses on that stuff on coursera and edx. Selling props and stuff is something i’ve definitely considered, i have a photoreal horse model and a praetorian that i have been trying to fix the rig on so i can sell it in turbosquid or something. I have had a lot more luck building my own thing than trying to join someone elses. I wrote a screenplay and part of the reason i’m moving to vegas for a couple months besides cheaper rent (the funds i have left will last me 3 months out there vs 1 month out here) is that there is also my producer out there who is trying to get my screenplay in the hands of execs and stuff, he’s got a way better business acumen then i do and i’m hoping to learn some stuff from him while i’m out there. and i’m meeting with a VFX supervisor tomorrow to pitch him it before i leave who worked on a bunch of the avengers films and stuff, i mean… its ridiculous, man. It feels like the top of something new is easier to reach then the bottom of something old. And its not like i haven’t tried to use the same clout to get a job working for these people, its just easier to work with them as equals. Maybe theres something to the psychology of it or something that makes them value me more in certain contexts, i have no clue.

And the language thing is also something i’ve looked into but i don’t know any chinese. My french is probably the best out of the languages i know but i can write way better than i speak. Italian too. Its enough to construct simple sentences, but i have to ask people to slow down when they speak. My german is probably not good enough. Theres the whole TEFL certification and whatnot and i’m going to get around to it once i have a chance (probably around the same time i take the IELTS for an international work visa) but all this relocation is pretty hectic.

EDIT: great note on shibuya. i’m always looking for great locations for reference imagery. And a lot of the stuff you mentioned on how to market templates and stuff is gold, i will definitely try it out in greater detail. thank you so much for giving advice that is actually practical and useful. many people give vague advice that is either intended to crush someone elses spirits for personal satisfaction or reassure themselves for personal satisfaction. The fact that you’re able to provide something tangible says a lot about your mindset and i think you are someone that i really want to know.


#16

To get this out of the way ASAP: People don’t like hiring people who get nasty or have an attitude with others - especially if they’re juniors who haven’t established themselves yet or have the career breadth to carry any real weight. Be careful with any attitude online. Even if you think you have the right to be pissed at someone, you might consider editing your post for the sake of your career - especially if your name is listed under your screen name since it’s amazing what a google search will bring up theses days…just saying.

About the minimum wage comments - everyone who works should be entitled to earn at least minimum wage, but there’s only so many entry CG jobs to go around. If the competition is tough, you might not earn THAT particular minimum wage job, if it hasn’t already been designated a ‘volunteer’ job with no pay.

Anyway the images you posted, to my eyes fall in the ~PS3 quality-level, which is still very viable within the mobile cell phone gaming market, VR gaming market, and web sales/marketing field. Those are markets that could make use of your current skill-set right now, so it might be worth looking into more vs VFX.

In regards to VFX, if that’s the industry you really want to pursue, then IMO you should specialize in one thing to make yourself more marketable. If you do enjoy being a generalist though, then I’d shoot for alternate markets. Maybe find an indie-game developer/programmer to work for where you might get a wide range of tasks to tackle and not be under intense scrutiny for realism perfection. It’ll also help keep things fun and fresh for you in regards to where you’re currently at.

Earlier you mentioned you think you did your boss’s job for them. Their job isn’t always to do the actual work if that’s not how their time is best spent. Often times a lead/boss is managing other people/projects/emails - keeping everyone on the same page, communicating, discussing budgets, juggling future projects/clients, dealing with pipeline issues, helping other employees, going to meetings, keeping things running that you just expect to work (servers, render farm, software subscriptions/updates, databases) fixing other people’s mistakes, etc.

They might not even involve you in a lot of the communications/emails for every little thing. If you’re down in the trenches working on a project for a long time, it’s understandable that you might feel like you’re the only one doing the actual work - because for that particular task, you might be! That doesn’t mean the guy higher than you is lazy though.

If they can direct juniors how to do things and jump in to give guidance when necessary, then that is what they’ll be doing a lot of if the rest of their time is used up with other things. It’s not something you can necessarily appreciate until you’re faced with doing it and then will also feel guilty for not being as hands-on with the work as you once were.

The other thing is…the VFX market seems to be struggling right now in terms of number of viable jobs still in CA or even the US.

It sounds to me like you should really pursue some of the non-AAA studios in alternative markets - of which it sounds like you’ve already had some success with, so keep at it! The alternative is to specialize and really master a particular skill that’s in strong demand, but you might not have the time needed to really do that while also paying the bills.

The days of getting an automatic job because you know how to turn the dials in ____software have been over for about 15 years now. Studios expect a lot more


#17

From the images you posted, I’m not sure what job position you would be applying for. It seems you might have been depending too much on what the college had to offer and you needed to look at what jobs are available and what type of skills they are looking for for those jobs.


#18

So far everyone on here has offered advice to you, some hard truths or tough love but I’d take Sentry’s advice and delete that earlier response before it comes back to bite you.

Besides that you sound clued up and even if VFX was/is your dream you have tried other areas of 3D, if you have time can you develop portfolios geared more to those areas of 3D, one for arch-vis for example? - perhaps there’s too much variety in your portfolio. I hope things turn around for you, it sounds tough, I wasn’t nearly as capable in 3D when I got my foot in the door - I think my USP was that I was an Englishman who applied for a job in an obscure city in Germany, that novelty was enough to get me in.

Great advice from ‘ilovekaiju’ too, ‘I control my life and not the JOB’ - I want that!


#19

Wow. This is not the right attitude you should have, and it’s certainly not how you should respond to those with the balls to respond honestly. You made some poor choices with your education and it’s unfortunately had some serious ramifications and that totally sucks (unfortunately a lot of people fall into similar traps), but you need to stop thinking you’re entitled to a job, and prove it. Because the hard reality is that your work is not at a level where it’s competitive for a VFX role, not even for a junior role. I’m sorry but that’s just how it is. Now you can post an insulting reply to me if you want to, or you can take this as the advice it’s intended to be: practice more, refine your skills, and improve your reel. The VFX industry is ridiculously competitive these days; furthermore, you chose to move to a city where you’ll be competing for what few jobs there are with loads of people who are already skilled and experienced. You have to up your game a lot if you want to compete with them on an even playing field. That’s not being negative, that’s being realistic.

Lastly, being a generalist isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all. In fact, in some studios these days there’s been an increasing trend towards having a team of generalists. But you really need to have a killer reel to get yourself seen. If you want to work in VFX, have a reel which shows CG elements comped into live plates. However, at the same time, you might want to consider diversifying to broaden your employment scope; right now, it sounds like you need just any work to survive, so maybe don’t just focus on VFX, but rather all potential CG avenues. You can then work towards eventually working in VFX while being able to pay your bills.


#20

Maybe you put too much faith in the fact that only learning the software will get you a job. It doesnt mean much if you dont produce good images with it. I would invest some time in traditional techniques.