Alexander Swann, Framestore
What course did you study?
How did studying at Escape Studios help you into the world of VFX?
It gave me the initial experience and ability to establish myself in the industry and helped me find my first job that has set me up for the past 5 years.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m just finishing up on a contract at Framestore on the film The Martian. For this Framestore is primarily working on the outer space shots in the film which involves a lot of green screen work, CG compositing of the space station Hermes, Earth, Mars and animated stars rendered from cameras published by the animation department. It’s a very intense project at the moment. This is because the delivery schedule is tight due to the fact it has been pushed forward to avoid a clash in the box office with the new Star Wars film being released in the winter. To add to that it’s in native stereo which has been an interesting new thing to learn for me.
What's your favourite movie and why?
This is an impossible question. With all the choice, foreign films, genres, styles, and decades that films have to offer us, I could give you a long list but I couldn’t think what I would ever peg as my favourite. I guess it would depend on my mood. Although embarrassingly ‘Homeward Bound’ used to be (and still is) my sick day film of choice. Sometimes talking cats and dogs with a simple goal just keeps the world simple and happy.
If you had to sum up your time at Escape Studios in one word what would it be and why?
Crucial. Because without having the opportunity to study there I wouldn’t be in this industry. Period.
What lessons have you learnt during your time studying and your time working in VFX?
Studying. The will to go out there and get the experience I need with what l had learnt. Within the Industry. The humility to realise that I only knew so much and still had, still have so much more to learn and appreciate. That being able to work closely with unfamiliar people and enjoy your working relationship together, as well as create something you can be proud of, is really special. In the end that is what makes me happy even if I didn’t know it at the time when I was studying.
What is your advice for those considering entering the industry?
Talk to a few professionals with various backgrounds in VFX just to try and get a picture of what the industry is about. If you think you want to be a modeller for example, you might suddenly surprise yourself and realise you want to be something else. There’s some people I’ve worked with who thought they wanted to be an FX artist, rigger or lighter and after a few years of work preferred digital matte painting, compositing or being a texture artist, and vice versa. Also don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try to work for as many companies as possible. It opens the door to not just film work but TV and commercials and other creative digital content. It also gives you more flexibility in your career and helps you find your niche.