So that we are more prepared and have a better understanding of how interviews in this industry will go we had mock interviews, which are basically trial interviews with our tutors, someone currently in the industry and a student from our class, these interviews are marked and will also be treated as a real interview.
Personally, interviews are my weakness, my worst nightmare even, I get so anxious even at the thought of an interview and play out 100+ different scenarios in my head that end up terrible. I have had a good few interviews in the past and most of them went horrible in my opinion, it is definitely something I need to work on. How I get over it, I do not know.
So in preparation for the interview I had a family member ask me interview questions, I don’t exactly know how to answer most of them or if what I’m saying is okay. Here are the questions and how I basically answered them below;
- Tell us a little bit about yourself / Why have you applied for the job?
I am an animation student focusing on 3D animation, but I especially have a love for 3D sculpting that I have recently gotten into and would like to explore more of. I also have done rigging and texturing and have enjoyed doing that too. The main reason that I applied for a job at your company is so that I can learn as much as I can, I want to learn what it is like to work in the industry and get my foot in the door. I feel that I’d be able to learn a lot and also be of benefit to your company because I have a good amount of knowledge already in many softwares including Maya, Mudbox, zBrush and After effects.
- What part of your reel/portfolio did you find the most challenging?
In my reel I would say that hardest part would have been the rigging of the bird character for Falling For You, it was difficult to learn at first but with a lot of trial and error I was able to create a great rig for my teammates and I to work with.
- What do you believe are your strengths?
I would say that my main strength would be that I am committed to working, I am a team player, I have great time management skills and an avid user of Asana, which all coupled allows me to get the job I have to do done for the deadline and usually with some time to spare for trial and error.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years / What do you ultimately end up doing?
I strive off knowledge, so I ultimately want to keep improving, learning and progressing.
- Have you any questions for us?
Do give your staff training or is it mainly on the job learning? or When will I hear back from you? or What are the main software’s that you use within the company?
For the interview, we also had to create a cover letter directed to a company that you would like to apply for when looking for a job for placement year. I chose to write mine to StreetMonkey, which is a Belfast based Studio that produces animated and live-action television commercials and multimedia presentations. Working for Streetmonkey would be an amazing opportunity, they have created some amazing advertisements and work in many different areas and I would love the opportunity to be able to work with them for my placement year. Greg Maguire mentioned to me that the best way to learn a lot and get your foot into the door is by working on commercials because of the tight deadlines and you really do just jump in and learn a lot at once, rather than if you were working for a bigger company where you work within one section for years. Working with big companies on bigger project like movies is great for when you have a family because you have a stable job to go to and you’ll also have time to spend with them, while working in commercial companies you are always kept busy, always learning and meeting deadlines but this isn’t great for family time as you really are kept busy all the time, so they both have their upsides and downsides.
Below you can see how I wrote my Cover Letter to StreetMonkey;
I also created a resume, because you always need a resume to apply for a job. For my resume I kept it very simple, I looked back at the research that I had done and what Greg Maguire had taught us about creating a CV and went for the less is more style resume. I wanted to keep my resume clear and concise, because the last thing that your employer wants to see is a lot of rambling, essays, and multiple paged resumes, they are more likely not to even look at your resume.
I also created a website to market myself and have an easy way to show my showreel, portfolio and create an easy way for them to contact me also. I used my research from my previous post about what makes a good website and how other artists have done it. I used Wixsite to create it as I feel I had the most control over the layout with this website compared to others. In the future I hope to add more to my website portfolio wise and I also hope to buy my own URL so that I can advertise it better in hopes to market myself more successfully.
My website is: http://animatedrebecca.wixsite.com/animation
I also created a showreel to showcase my work, I hope to improve it more when I’ve completed this year;
We had a Q&A with Philip Campbell. Philip Campbell is from Portrush Northern Ireland, he started off as an architect and then went on to doing the architecture and then got headhunted to do set design for the Tomb Raider games back in the day, this was because they needed someone who was good at knowing how a character would move around a set and create the puzzles that they needed with architecture in mind.
He talked about how he did the fun architecture so he always did theme parks and bars, mainly entertainment, and came over to San Francisco and started to send his CV’s to games because he wanted to be able to make his fun architecture buildings that he couldn’t do in real life. These days Philip mainly does his designs all completely manual rather than on the computer because he prefers to do his concepts that way.
Philip also talked about his work with Greg Maguire and how they found that when the started their business they found that they found it hard to sell a product, you can create a beautiful product but its hard to get it out there and seen to create a following.
When he worked on LegoLand he was able to be really creative with his designs, he talked about how he was able to point at a place and go “could you make a lego dinosaur there” he had a lot of fun with this project. He recently tried to fund a play of Romeo and Juliet but instead for it be set in Belfast, with the controversial sides of Catholic and Protestant. He then discussed how his writing actually affects his designs, this is evident through his work on The Godfather as he ended up near enough doing all of the writing for it and he also did some writing for Marvel games and Heavy Rain. Infinexus is a game that he first worked on for the set design which made him see how creative he could be with his architecture and it influenced how he designs his sets now.
Philip does a lot of visual development posters so that he is able to project his ideas in a visual way, he uses this to make it compelling and bring people together to collaborate. He makes these visual development pages and then blows them up to a huge size so that your team can all stand around it and talk about everything. He talked about how not all of his visual development pages are all understandable as it’s mainly to show how his brain works, so it will make sense to him but not to everyone else.
Marion Strunck is an animator currently working at Framestore.
Marion did 3 years at an animation workshop in Denmark, she did a lot of 2D animation rather than 3D animation and felt that she would be more interested in 3D animation rather than the 2D cartoonish stuff. When she worked on her showreel she made sure to put in some realism animation as well so that it showed that she wanted to get into that area.
She was having no luck in getting jobs when she was done with her workshop and went to an animation festival and was talking to some people that then called her later on and Framestore hired her. She has now had great opportunities working on Fantastic Beasts, Avengers, the new Jungle Book and a lot more.
Since Marion works on characters and their animation she would be first shown the previs and work from there. Since the blocking phase would already be done in high quality anyway so is able to see what she is able to do to make is perfect.
Marion works with a lot of larger companies like Warner Bros and Marvel Studios so she spends a lot of time polishing the work. She also talked about how they have to make sure that there aren’t any leaks, especially when working with well-known companies.
When working on your reel you should make sure you show what you want to specialize in. You should definitely change it according to what you are applying for, so say a movie has a lot of animals in it, then you would show work that you have done on animals. It should always be directed to the director’s vision. This goes for the same for when you are actually working in the industry, you should always make sure that the work that you do is aimed towards the director’s vision.
In animation your imagination is the limit, you can keep learning and creating. Its important that if you find an artist that you admire, you can message them, study their work. You can even take their animation work, slow it down, draw over it so that you can learn how they have moved the character.
When in the studio its a big jump from university work, you are constantly learning in the industry and it definitely goes way up big time. There are a lot of 3D animators that are great at what they do but they are not good at drawing, this just shows you that you don’t have to be good at drawing to be good at 3D and get a job. When in the industry you also don’t work together in a sense that you aren’t working close knit together, you would just talk a lot about the stuff you are working on so you both have a sense of what needs to be done.
In London they have a BYOA (bring your own animation) where you are able to show people in the industry you animation on a tablet and they will give you critique. Also go to animation festivals to get your foot in the door too, it’s a great way to network.
Laura Livingstone is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and a founding member of The Irish VFX & Animation Summit. She is currently based in Los Angeles as a senior VFX Producer and currently works at Zoic Studios overseeing VFX for Banshee (HBO/Cinemax), Arrow (CW Network/Warner Bros), The Bridge (FX), White Collar (Fox) and Flash (CW Network/Warner Bros). The company also does a lot of advertising work as well as working with Unity.
Laura made the transition from physical production to post and VFX in 2009 when she took a post with Industrial, Light and Magic to work on Iron Man 2. Since then Laura has worked on a host of projects from game cinematics, commercials, TV shows to feature films such as Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Flight, Jack and Jill, That’s My Boy, Looper, Underworld Awakening, A Good Day to Die Hard.
In our interview she talked about how she is constantly learning throughout her work, always having to learn new things about the different software that she uses. Laura started off with an internship which gave her big break into the industry as from there she was able to travel the world as a producer creating lots of different things.
When she was living and working in LA she felt that she wasn’t getting any of the action on the big films and tried hard to get into the big films but they told her she didn’t know enough of the right things to be useful in the companies, so they told her to come back to them once she’s learned them. So laura then went back to university and learned more about VFX.
Laura then got her first job in VFX on Iron Man 2, and she talked about how she worked on the pipeline making things go smoothly. Laura also talked about how she learned so much that she didn’t know and didn’t learn in university, she was basically learned on the job. As a producer she deals with making sure that the artists have what they need, if they don’t it can cause a delay in the pipeline and then the client won’t be happy because they aren’t seeing the progress. So Laura needs to make sure that there is good communication within the pipeline and to lend an ear for the artists so that they know that they can go to someone if the have a query or problem. The producer needs to know what’s happening at all times so that they can deal with problems faster and so that it won’t cause delays because, in this industry, time management is incredibly important.
Laura uses Shotgun to time manage and to assign people to tasks and keep track of data. It’s incredibly important to do this so that she can keep track of everything so that the workflow goes smoothly and efficiently. This is like us using Asana but its also good to try others so that when going in the industry that you can say you are familiar with this.
Laura gave us advice and said about how we should have industry awareness and know what everyone is doing, especially with the different software. She recommends being on LinkedIn and looking up people in the industry to talk to them about what they do and how to break into the industry and maybe even meet up with the for coffee. Don’t be afraid of rejection there is no harm in trying, the worst that could happen is them not getting back to you and even then that’s not bad as you can always talk to more people in the industry.
One of the main things that employers look for is the software that they use because they want people that can use their software to a good enough standard that they are looking for. Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door because you will make connections from this.
When creating CV’s and cover letters you need to keep in mind that you are using power words this will make you CV stand out and you will have more chance of getting hired. This is because if you have the cliche sentences that are being used then this will more than likely make the employer just skim past your CV, so make sure to use power words in your CV and cover letter.
When showing what you are good at and what you know to make sure that you aren’t making yourself seem like you know more than you do, be realistic because you will be quizzed on this by your employer.
Name your interests to connect with your employer, to show your and human and that you are more than just complete robotic work. Keep in mind to link your interests, “I love these series because of the story is so well done”.
Carlos Huante is a character designer for film and animation that he has been working as for the last 30 years. For this class, we got to have an interview with him to hear his story and to gain advice about animation as a career and his area in character design and concept art. In Carlos’s career, he has had opportunities to work with many skilled and well-known directors, his main clients that he has worked for has been Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, and Tim Burton. Carlos worked on a lot of movies, include; Prometheus, Men in Black, The Mummy, Shrek, X-Men, Jumanji, Planet of the Apes and so much more. He has also worked on games for EA including Lord of the Rings and Evil Dead.
Here is some artwork that he did:
When Carlos was in high school he didn’t have a plan on what he wanted to do but soon went to his first life drawing class in college and felt like he wasn’t being challenged enough, he felt that his tutors weren’t that great, so he decided to go to an art center and worked with a guy who worked on He Man. This allowed him to get into Layouting which he didnt enjoy so he then worked for a company called Ruby Spears, which got him to work on Alvin and the Chipmunks where he was hired to draw the characters. After working on Alvin he worked on the Ghost Busters animated series. These jobs allowed him to continually meet more people that gave him more job opportunities, so you can really see how contacts mean a lot and how important they are.
Carlos also talked about how he worked on Prometheus and how they just came to him and went, hey could you draw some aliens? but he had to ask questions like how were these aliens going to be made? will they before 3D or makeup because they both need completely different approaches.
It was great hearing his story in the interview that we did with him and it really makes you see how important it is to keep networking throughout your career and how hard that you need to work to do well.
When doing a CV you need to keep in mind that the person looking at CV’s will probably only spend a small amount of time looking at it so it would need to be eye catching to actually draw their attention. For those looking for a job in a new area that they have not been in the employer will look for why they want a new job. Employers will also look at the companies who you have already worked for, recognizable companies
Employers will also look at the companies who you have already worked for, recognizable companies will be more attractive to employers. Make sure to proofread your CV and make sure to have a clear and professional layout. If they spot things wrong with your CV right off the bad they will be more inclined to throw it out and not look into it further.Some companies will also keyword search your CV so make sure it is a PDF and not done in Photoshop. You want them to be able to search for keywords in your CV so that yours will pop up for what they are looking for.
Your online footprint is extremely important these days, I remember being in a lecture a few years ago, it was about your online footprint and how you need to make sure that everything that you say or do online is something that is okay for your employers to see. So if you have pictures of you getting wasted and doing dumb things, your employer is more than likely going to search for you and see that which may cost you your job.
Fancy formatting, it is a hit or miss, it’s still important to have a clear professional layout but most companies will put it through computers that will just scrape off the text and your fancy layout is gone. So make sure the information on your CV is okay is the text is just scraped off.
Do not get too personal with your CV, you do not need to put your weight and height on your CV, nor do you need your picture on your CV. You can be humorous in your CV but there if a fine line between confidence and arrogance.
The cover letter is your way of expressing yourself and making you suited for the job. If you say how you can be a good fit for their company this will give you more of a chance of getting the job at that company.
In your CV list key personal projects, this will allow the employer to see what other interests but still tie them to the job you are wanting to go for.
In the end, recruiters are paid to be judgemental.
For our next lecture, we are going to be having Gerard Dunleavy Skype in from England to talk about his work and his experience in the industry, which will be extremely interesting and I’ll be blogging what he talks about.
Gerard Dunleavy is a professional Concept artist and Matte Painter from Ireland, who is now working in London for the Film, Advertising and Game industries. Gerard specializes in Concept art, Illustration, Matte Painting, Digital Environments and VFX. He has worked for a lot of big names including, Nike, Honda, Ubisoft, MPC, Marvel Nissan, BMW, legendary Pictures, Double Negative and The Mill.
Gerard’s recent big projects have been on film projects such as Assassins Creed, Thor: The Dark World and Godzilla, which I can’t even begin to imagine how big of an opportunity that must have been for him.
In the interview Gerard talked about when he was in high school he first got his inspiration to be in animation when he saw the behind the scenes of Lord of The Rings and he saw matte paintors drawing in the backgrounds and he instantly wanted to do that. So he took A-Level art and put all his work into painting and drawing. He then went to Jordanstown to do imd in graphics and then did the masters in Greg Maguire’s class to get started in 3D animation. Gerard talked about how he never had any tutorials in using Maya and he had to buy a book in explaining how to use Autodesk Maya properly, as well as watching people who are already experienced in Maya.
Gerard also mentioned how he didn’t know what he wanted to do in the beginning as he liked doing Irish, so it took him a while to figure out what he wanted to do and trying different things to find what would click. When Gerard was doing the 3D he realized he wanted to mainly to concepts and matte painting but the 3D got him into the business so that he could then do concept art and matte painting.
When asked if working in London was what he expected it to be, he said he was relieved to find that he was on the same level as everyone else. Gerard went in expecting to be a complete novice but was pretty much the same or even better than his peers. Since Gerard had experience using multiple software he found that the companies were happy giving him different jobs, whether it was lighting, modeling or concept art, so there’s no one subject that they keep him to. I think this would be good because he’s able to refresh his mind on the different areas rather than sticking to one area.
Gerard talked about how he worked on the new John Lewis advert and how he would do two versions, one being to suit the director so he can show both ideas and to see which one would look best. Gerard also said about being able to sit in on the meetings so that he is able to see what the directors want, but he wouldn’t agree or accept anything until hes had time to go back to his desk to plan it all out so he’d be able to see if the project will be able to be done in the time frame that they want. It’s all about planning, research and time management, if you don’t have this then you will be making false promises because you won’t be getting the work is done in time, which definitely won’t go down well in the company either, also leading to a delay in the cycle.
Ryan Woodward has an a stunning website, he showcases his work well and has a very professional yet fun take on it, this is because when you move your cursor across the top it moves and has animations of the work related to that topic. It also has ways for you to contact him, who he is and as well as a link to his own store. His website is also nicely designed with the background as it looks scraps of paper, its very artistic and you can see his style show through.
Quentin has a great website design, its very professionally done as when you move your cursor over the different pieces of work that he has done you can see his a brief description of what it is and what he used to create it, which I love and would love to apply to my own website. It is also very simplistic as you have the black background which keeps the focus on his work. I also like that on every page there is a description box describing each section. The typography in the header is also nicely done and shows hes logo in a professional way.
Leesha Hannigan is a very simplistic website to showcase her work but it works for her as her pictures really do speak for itself, they are beautiful, very realistic and wonderfully detailed, so the website really just allows you to focuses on the paintings. Although I would love if it said on her concepts how she created them and what programs she uses.
Matt shows is work really well in his website layout and you can click the images for more information and a higher resolution view of the work. However there is no personal information on how to contact him, it does link to his Facebook though. There is also a link to his Resume that is empty and 2 home buttons that is not needed.
Aaron Griffins website has a white background behind his pictures to make the pictures stand out, which the layout is all uniform and professional. When you click the images to see the bigger higher resolution version. There are ways to contact him, and he links to social media.
Dylan Ekrens website isn’t that great and needs updating, he has worked with big name companies so it would be good for him to update his website. As well as his resume being filled with random letters which isn’t very professional.