Can you describe your role and summarize a bit of your day-to-day responsibilities?
I work in the compositing department as a junior compositor. While I’m on a show, my day-to-day responsibilities range from shot-finishing to the occasional look development [known as look dev], which might look like keying a bluescreen or a greenscreen plate and then adding explosions behind the actor, or trying to figure out how to get a certain CG character to sit into the plate seamlessly. The range of responsibilities is kind of why I was so attracted to the role in the first place. I’ve been a little bit of a meanderer with my past career, so I like being able to have a different puzzle to solve every day.
How do you think your role ties in with the rest of your immediate team on a particular show?
So compositing sits at the tail end of a production. We’re responsible for taking all of the countless hours of hard work put in by the artists in the other departments and fitting it all together like a puzzle so that it ultimately looks like it’s been magically shot in camera on set. The compositing department works as a team, and we’re assigned shots in different sequences. Then, once we get those shots, the supervisors and leads are there to oversee the execution of the client’s final vision and to make sure everything’s above board.
Before coming to ILM, was there a particular moment or thing that inspired you to want to get involved in visual effects?
That’s a tough one. I kind of fell into visual effects. Like I said, I was a bit of a meander when it came to career paths. I started off in retail, and did a lot of sales work growing up, which actually helped me to work in a team setting. I worked some other jobs here and there and then found myself on a boat being a deckhand until I eventually became a skipper for a company here in Vancouver. At the time, I was also picking up photography and videography. I learned under some really amazing individuals who mentored me, and then branched off into drone work back when drones were just becoming mainstream.
We booked a client who was ready to sign off and buy a library of shots we had, except one of the big shots had some issues. I had this friend who worked in visual effects as a compositor, and I didn’t really understand what he did for a job until he offered to fix my problem in ten minutes. And I was like, what is this black magic? This is insane. I needed to know how to do it. And so afterwards, I just devoured every piece of content, every YouTube tutorial there was / is on After Effects and everything. I found myself loving every minute of it, and so I searched for further education and found that there was a school here in Vancouver called Lost Boys School of Visual Effects. I attended their year-long Compositing program. I went in not knowing anything really about Compositing and seriously came out of it like the scene in The Matrix where Neo has the kung fu chip loaded into his brain. I knew nothing, and then suddenly I knew kung fu and was like, all right, let’s go!! So I kung fu’d my way to Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).