Carlos Conceição Digital Compositor, Industrial Light & Magic
What course did you study?
I did the Compositing Professional 18 week course with Davi Stein and Ryan Mullany
What are you working on at the moment?
Guess what... we just wrapped STAR WARS Ep.VII: The Force Awakens! Yeah, it's surreal, even after finishing this I still can't believe I just accomplished the dream of working at Industrial Light & Magic on my favourite movie, surrounded by the most amazing visual effects crew you could ever imagine, devoted, extremely humble and talented artists that pushed the limits to help produce the most expected movie of the decade! Incredible experience that I will never forget. At the same time, I keep my round of career talks, training classes and compositing workshops.
What's your favourite movie and why?
Hmmmmm, tough choice between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi... it's like choosing between Mom and Dad, so I stick with both :) The reason is actually very simple, a beautiful adventure movie, with the most exciting cheeky characters, spaceship battles, lightsaber duels and some stunning visual effects that you can watch 40 years later and still enjoy. The message present in this saga is something special and powerful that I've always related with and keeps inspiring me everyday, it's about friendship and perseverance, two values that I respect the most.
How did studying at Escape Studios help you into the world of VFX?
Escape was the spark that started the fire, with an amazing selection of tutors, extremely talented and with a huge experience, I was able to absorb a vast knowledge about the visual effects pipeline and that was extremely helpful when I started my first job at Electric Theatre Collective, also arranged through Escape. As the amount of information that you're exposed to during the course is somehow a bit overwhelming, it is very important that you keep practicing and start to work as soon as possible, but even if you feel that after a while you start forgetting some details, it is extremely easy to bring it all back to life since the feeling is that you've been there, done that.
When I started my second job at Double Negative, as a Roto Artist, the experience of being through an Escape Studios course gave me enough confidence to approach every task with a high level of self criticism and focus on the quality of the work being developed, it's a very competitive industry working at a high and demanding pace, and soon you will realise that there's not much time to do training and research during working hours, so every previous experience counts to get you up to speed.
If you had to sum up your time at Escape Studios in one word what would it be and why?
Opportunity is the word. If you don't take it as guaranteed, and you work very hard, the Escape Studios experience is your best opportunity to get inside the industry in a short period of time. For me, that included a huge financial investment and sacrifice of my personal life but I accepted that as a challenge and a unique opportunity to follow a dream, and I don't regret it by any means.
What lessons have you learnt during your time studying and your time working in VFX?
The most important lesson that I've learned is that to succeed you need to make a difference, studying or working, if you're in VFX to be just one more, history won't be made, nothing will change, and Star Wars would never exist. Push the boundaries, question the standard, be critical, patient and pro-active and you're in for a long run. You can make a difference in every step of your career.
What is your advice for those considering entering the industry?
Share the knowledge, be humble and unique! As a little green Jedi puppet once said: 'Fear is the path to the Dark Side' so don't fear to help others and to pass the information to the new generation that is just starting. If your strength is someone's weakness, nothing better that a bit of balance, you'll gain in wisdom and for sure in friendship.