Adam Dewhirst, Framestore
Adam's VFX industry experience covers an impressive spectrum of media, including: games, commercials, music videos, cinematics, TV, feature animation and film.
What course did you study?
I did the Maya comprehensive – it no longer exists, it was a 3 month course in a general knowledge of Maya that covered modelling, rigging, animation, lighting etc – the closest equivalent now would be the 3D for VFX 12 week course – it was intensive and gave me all the basic knowledge I required – after that I was up to me.
How did studying at Escape Studios help you into the world of VFX?
Well, when I left the course, I had some good friends and contacts at my level also entering the industry, that’s invaluable – to be able to come up at the same time as other people you know, you can learn from each other’s experiences – both good and bad. Also Escape was very good at setting me up with my first few jobs, most notable getting me a role on the CBBC revival of Jackanory which really put me in contact with some industry vets – who later helped me get a job at Framestore. Networking is a key skill I think, and Escape is very well positioned to put you in touch with the right people and companies in the industry.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have worked my way from Runner, up to 3D Modelling and Texture Artist on the The Golden Compass. The Golden Compass was a big one for me. It was my first film and we went on to win an Oscar and a BAFTA for our work on the armoured polar bears! For the last year, I’ve been at The Mill working as a senior modeller. Since Golden Compass I’ve spent the last 7 years in film, working on such films as the Dark Knight, John Carter of Mars, WWZ, Prince of Persia and most recently I was lead modeller on Guardians of the Galaxy. During that time, I’ve got to work at some great places including Cinesite, MPC and Passion Pictures. It's a great feeling to sit in a cinema to a truly spectacular film and know "I worked on that", no matter how large or small my role was.
But now I’m taking a break from film and experiencing commercials properly – it’s really engaging, much tighter deadlines, much quicker turnarounds, so you really have to be on your best game! But the Mill is a great company to work for and I’m super proud of the work we're producing!
What's your favourite movie and why?
Can I pick one of my own? Haha – I’d say Guardians of the Galaxy, but that’s just me bigging up myself, in all honesty, it’s probably the Back to the Future trilogy, I adored that movie as a kid and remember wanting to be part of that and going to see the second one was one of my earliest memories of going to the cinema, so it had a big impact on me. I've always loved sci-fi - perhaps this was the beginning of that, and this movie really has it all, great concept, funny, great characters – it’s a film that really immerses you in its story, which is why people love it so much, for me it was a pivotal moment in my childhood.
What lessons have you learnt during your time studying and your time working in VFX?
Don’t get too big for your boots! It’s a small industry and chances are you will work with the same people more than once, you don’t want to create a bad impression so just try and be a team player where possible, it’s not a race to the top – work well within a team and people will notice.
If you had to sum up your time at Escape Studios in one word what would it be and why?
Dedicated. I felt like I really wanted to get something out of the course, I wasn’t doing it on a whim, it really had a purpose for me – to get proper training in 3D. Also, I felt like everyone around me was very dedicated, it was really uplifting to work in that environment
What is your advice for those considering entering the industry?