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jedijones

Entry Level Jobs?

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I am not really qualify to give you some good advice but I can share own experience. :ph34r:

I will say go to the small boutique shops in town and ask for the intern, junior position or something.. I am not pointing at you but in these day too many students are trying hard to get into hottest effect house in town with thie limited amount of production experience.I am not saying it is impossibel to get into the feature house but sometime it is a good idea to work and learn as a generalist at a small shop.you know a little bit at a time. :)

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Larger facilities and productions often put entry level people in previs and roto: these are positions that can lead you to better things, more previs, matchmoving, compositing.... also there's wrangling. Wrangling is a good way to go. Basicly it's just babysitting renders, but you'll get to see a lot of work from a lot of different departments which can lead you anywhere, possibly into something you didn't know you were interested in. Previs, is odd though. Some productions live and die by previs so they only want the best, most experienced people. Others, like our production and the Star Wars prequels, put lots of entry level people in previs. Previs is basicly all camera work and you get to work closely with the director so it might be something you want to look into.

Really, I would just go and beat on doors until someone gives you a job in production. If being a runner means being a gopher, I would avoid it unless all other avenues had been exhausted.

You're going to have an MA and hopefully a really nice concentrated reel; which is a lot more than 95 percent of the first time job seekers in this field have. Don't sell yourself short.

To actually get you foot in the door, it's all going to depend on your reel. I would suggest just getting a DV cam and shooting a bunch of footage and sticking simple elements into it. I once saw a really good student reel for an effects artist. She did nothing but shoot live footage of simple indoor and outdoor evironments and add various weather, fog and rain effects. It was all great stuff, easy to do but the results were fantastic.

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Matchmoving is not a bad entry level position at all. I got my first job matchmoving in London but within days I had moved onto modeling, texturing and lighting. It's a foot in the door and then its up to you to take advantage of it when you are there. It's actually a lot harder than people give it credit for - or at least it is hard to do it well!

Try to learn as much as you can so you will sound knowledgeable in interviews. For example, 3D Equalizer has some great on-line tutorials that you can follow along with even if you don't have the software (although nothing beats hand-on experience of course). Check out this link:

http://www.3dequalizer.com/sdv_html/tutori...rame_intro.html

As Mcronin says you want your reel to have as much examples of matchmoving as you can if that's were you are going to target looking for openings. Go out and film some footage, matchmove it and embed 3D objects seamlessly. It isn't a bad idea to film difficult footage to show you can handle it. Sand, snow, repeating patterns such as wallpaper are all notoriusly difficult to track. Put before and after shots on your reel plus it helps to see your actual tracking work by superimposing spheres to the points you tracked. Another idea is to track a fairly complex shape in your moving footage and then build a model from it. You willl need to track the object's corners or place several tracking points along curved edges. You can then use your model to help you change the appearence of whatever you tracked.

Preferably you want to be using Equalizer, Boujou or Matchmover as they are the most used in the industry. Have you tried approaching Sci-D-Visions, Realviz or 2D3 to ask about learning editions, evaluation copies, or student licenses?

One more piece of advice: use your contacts. You must have friends from the Bournemouth course working for the FX companies in London. Get them to look for oportunities for you. Even better, go visit them and hang out with them in the local pubs in the evenings. The major companies are squashed into a very small area so everyone goes to the same ones! They are easy to find just stand outside MPC, CineSite, FrameStore, DNeg or whatever and look around you for the nearest pub. That's where everyone will all be. Thirsty FX people are so lazy!!! Get talking to as many people as possible and try your best to find out what the oportunities are. Be persistant!

Good luck

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I agree with Mcronin. You need to just bang on doors until you get a foot in the door. If you stop your job hunt to try and master all the skills listed in a job listing then you'll probably never get a job.

As far as I'm concerned, the specs listed in most job ads are for a perfect applicant, which hardly ever crosses their paths. If you feel like you can do the job and are willing to do what it takes to learn the ins and outs, then apply.

And for the years of experience, I would just ignore it, unless it says 3 years or higher. The people looking for someone with one or two years experience are still looking for a junior person and may be willing to consider you if you're friendly and passionate about your work. Also you'll have the benefit of thousands of other people not applying since they don't have enough experience ;).

A lot of post houses take people with no experience in as wranglers, just make sure that they understand that you're using this as a jumping off point to do what you really want to do. The places I've known actually give you a path to go on too (allowing you to use the machines at night etc.)

There's also something to be said for the old adage of "It's not what you know, it's who you know". Especially now, when there are thousands of people trying to get into this industry. If you're just another faceless showreel then your chances are that much less. So I would goto conventions, hang out at presentations and get to meet people. Perhaps the company that makes the software can help you meet the right people. Anything to make you stand out from the crowd.

Hope this helps

M

P.S. As for me, I got a job with no experience, no showreel and not knowing anyone in the industry. It took a couple of years, but I re-applied at the same company and the second time was just perfect timing. They'd just lost a houdini artist and were looking for another one, and I had the required technical background. Plus I think I impressed my boss by the fact that I wasn't giving up :).

Then they proceeded to put me in front of a monitor with a copy of houdini 1.0 and said, "Here you go, produce!"... ah, fun times...

"Jason, what's a texture map?".. haha...

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Hey Marc and others,

I have a question regarding that whole balance of being persistent and not pissing people off deal.. ;)

You were talking about keep knocking on doors and reapplying and such.. Does this ever work against you? For example, companies tell you *not* to call as a follow-up after you send your reel/resume. And i've spoken with a few HR people that visited schools and did portfolio reviews and they've all talked about it only angering them because so many people do it.. And that the best thing to do is just wait and see.. If they need/want you, then they'll call you..

Obiviously I know that calling a company every day or week and constantly getting on a person about their job and any shoe-ins night and day is going to be going overboard and just annoy.. But what about the non-obvious? Does anyone wish to comment on how to go about being persistent and showing that you are passionate about getting an opportunity but not crossing the line and actually hurting your chances in the end.. What aspects and places are the good ones to help get yourself a foot in the door?

Thanks all,

Dave

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hmm. good question.

I think if the company gives you a definite "no thanks", then don't bother them again, at least until something has changed on your side. So when you have more to offer (or they're more desperate, I guess) then reapply and make a point of letting them know what's different and what you have done to address the comments (assuming you received any) from last time.

If you've given your reel in and are waiting for them to get back to you... well I'd use my judgement. If it's around siggraph and the company has a gazillion reels to process, then I'd wait a little longer to harrass them.

But I firmly believe in following up with a company for a few reasons. Firstly, a personal one. I've seen many friends of mine sit around for weeks (months even), waiting for a phone call from a company and getting more and more disheartened by the day. I say phone and find out whats going on, it can't hurt too much. Secondly, alot of HR people are very busy, so it's likely that they've been meaning to get back to you but haven't had a chance yet. This has happened to me on more than one occasion.

Thirdly, they could have misplaced your reel and not looked at it yet. This too, has happened to me more than once.

The last option, which is not a nice one, is that the company isn't planning on hiring you anyway... so who cares if you piss them off :D.

Obviously there's a fine line between passion and annoying. Some people just don't know where the line is, which is why there are dire warnings about doing things like that. But I believe that if you're polite and respectful, and are merely phoning to find out what's going on, then you'll be fine.

As for meeting people... well that's a bit of an art too. Forums are fast becoming a way to get your name out there, so that's a good option. If you can handle yourself maturely in an anonymous situation, then it speaks volumes about your character. I'd be a bit wary of approaching some random guy in the industry and trying to sell yourself though...but maybe that's just me .

Going through the software companies is also good plan. Sarah from SESI makes a point of introducing us to all their interns as often as possible. That way we have a face to put to the name, if they've been hanging around our forums, then we have something else to go on too.

I'll finish by saying this. At Sony, the HR crew have told us on numerous occasions "Referrals are always better". That way they at least have someone they know telling them that this person will do well in their company.

M

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I agree with Marc. Timing is everything.

A couple of years ago, I interviewed at a company for a position & they didn't have any projects though they were keen to have me on board. In the meantime, I took on other jobs to pay the bills. Or maybe I just laze around. ;) A couple of months later, the same company called me up for a freelance job & it was the start of a year-long stint with numerous projects.

Cheers!

steven

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Thanks for the responses Marc and Steven..

The 'don't follow-up' responses always seem to come from the HR people from various companies that come by the school and give presentations.. So I never knew how to take that.. i.e. are they just trying to cut down the masses from the people that will take an effort or if they really mean don't ever call us.. But I always felt that atleast a single phone call after say 2 weeks of sending the reel would be somewhat appropriate.

Since I'll be going through this whole process after the new year comes around, I'm trying to gather up as much info and advice from people that I can. So this stuff is invaluable to me since it will be my first shot at doing all this in few months..

Thanks a bunch,

Dave

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I always thought sending reels when you made a new one to a company is like a good thing to do. Even if they reject it once hr people always notice the regular demo reel that they get. So if yours is better than the last chances of getting in is higher.

Also if the hr people of a company are coming to your school always look at the ones that are standing idle, talk to them, tell them you are eager to work, and hand them ur reel. Dont be afraid to talk to them even if its for the second time. Say "hey you remeber me? check out my new demo reel please!"

Also a good resume helps too. If you worked even at a small shop helps boost your chances...

yes the referral program... its a hate love thing in this 3d industry...

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yes the referral program... its a hate love thing in this 3d industry...

21349[/snapback]

Why's it a love hate thing?

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Going back to Deecue's question about calling ...

You have to call!! If nothing else you want to make sure they actually have your reel. What's the point of sitting back and waiting for them to contact you if they haven't even got your stuff? Reels go missing all the time. A polite call that doesn't waste their time is not going to harm your chances. When HR people say don't call they are really saying is don't be a pest! Well, that, and it is also a good way to sort the wheat from the chaff!!!

If you can do it a referral is the best way to go. Use your contacts wisely ;)

john.

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Hi Houdini gurus

I Have been lucky enough to land an interview with framestore cfc on Wednesday. The job is for a runner position. I sent off my cv and demo reel a few times and now and they have finally got an opening. I have spent a lot of time researching the company and I feel armed with a lot more confidence. I have also just finished the book Getting a job in Computer Graphics Real Advice from reel people by Sean Wagstaff with Dariush Derakhshani which is worth a read and full of sound advice. ;) What I really would like to get out of this post is what the book says real advice from reel people.

What advice can any artist that started out as runners and runners themselves give to help me prepare even deeper for this interview? And how did you kick start your careers off from being runners?

I got an opportunity to do temp work as a runner at Glassworks for a week which gave me a small insight to what it is required on a daily basis and I loved it. Sadly it was just for a week

I also had an interview for a runner position at Cinesite about a year ago but I did not get the position due to my location. I did not have the money to move into London and they felt commuting from Bournemouth every day would be a health and punctuality concern. :( I agree with their decision and it simply would have not been practical but now I have held down a full time job since I graduated and have enough savings to relocate and move in with a friend.

;)

I also have two interviews under my belt and these are the questions I am preparing for:

Possible questions your employer may ask

Why are you here?

Why did you apply to this studio instead of the one down the road?

Why did you decide to do films rather than games?

Why have you applied to do modelling when you resume says you also do character animation?

What can you do for us?

What kind of person are you?

What sets you apart?

What do you know about these position requirements?

Why do you want to be a runner?

What do you know about the company?

What area of cgi/vfx I you interested in and why?

What/who inspires you?

What are your plans for the future? After being a runner?

Tell me about you current job responsibilities?

Why do you work in retail when your interests and qualifications point to visual effects?

What do you like to do to relax in your spare time?

How do you organise yourself?

How do you prefer to work in a team or independently?

What are you strongest abilities and why? How could you go further or improve on them?

What are your weakest abilities s and why? How could you improve on them?

Questions I can ask during a interview

What skills and attributes would I need to master this job?

Are there any technical requirements?

Work habits

How many hours would I be expected to work?

Is there an opportunity for on the job or formal training in other areas that I may want to further my career in?

Anyway I though I would share my quest for employment since the response and support I received from my previous post was so honest and warming and I know I am not the only one out their and I want others to know this too.

Thanks Paul.

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may the force be with you jedijones :P

it looks like you have definitely done your homework and shouldnt get asked too much that you arent prepared for.

:)

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The best thing to do in interviews is try and get them to talk all about the company. Then they go on and on about how cool it is, and come away with the impression that you were really passionate about the place :P

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Hey Paul

all the best with the interview.

I've just finished the MA DFX course at Bournemouth myself, so would be interested in hearing how you go

Good luck!

J

:D

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