In part 2 of this careers webinar, Ben and Anna talk in more detail about preparing and sharing your show reel, CV and portfolio to show your skills in the best light.
If you want to know how to get a job in the VFX industry, this webinar is not to be missed. Watch the video above or read the transcript below and, when you’re done, you can check out part 1 here. Or, if you’re ready to take the next step in developing your career, download our careers guide here.
Is age a problem when it comes to working in the VFX industry?
It doesn't really factor because what we look at is an individual's ability.
We're looking at your work and the skills you’ve developed. If we can see you fitting in based on the work produced, then that's what we'll go on.
>> And so will skill, that's what we look at and that's the first and last thing that we'll look at.
We also have lots of artists who have joined us after a career change. They may have started in a different career linked to visual effects, or sometimes not, and they decide they want to change.
We suddenly have lots of people who have joined later in life wanted to try something new and exciting.
If I’ve had intervals of work between jobs involving 3-D that might be different, say for example, such as like graphic design, should that be included in the CV?
It's always good to show exactly what you've been doing.
Although you might think it's not relevant.; it's always good to cover any gaps that you might have.
So if you've been working in retail or if you've been working at local hospital, I don't know, anywhere.
You should put those things on your CV because it does show us that you've been in continuous employment and also shows that you are good at team work, admin skills that kind of thing. Which is still relevant being an artist, believe it or not.
Some people have all their visual effects at the top and then a bit at the bottom that just says, you know from 2008, 2010 I was a graphic designer or whatever it's entirely up to you how you it but do get it on your CV.
>> Include everywhere that you've worked but shift the focus. Spend more time detailing the relevant experience that you have rather than anything that wasn't directly related to the career that you're after.
Once I'm done with my show reel should I apply for junior positions or for an internship since I've no experience?
Once someone has graduated we would want to bring them in as a junior artist within the field that they want to focus on.
I keep coming back to that specialist approach.
If somebody knows, for example, that they want to be a lighting TD or compositor then that's what we want to consider them for.
We do have undergraduate internships but those are primarily aimed at students who have at least a year or more of study left.
We don't give postgraduate internships as we'd rather bring an artist directly into MPC's training program for example.
We have the MPC Academy which is designed specifically to take in graduates and fast track them up to being production ready.
>> I would encourage people to apply for the areas that they're specializing in but depending on when someone's applying and where we are with shows means that we might not be hiring for another six months, for example.
So it's good to think about entry-level jobs that can get you to that same point as well.
So we offer training for all of the runners that we hire so our runners are fully trained in tracking and roto with the aim that they're promoted into those departments within a year.
From those departments, so for effects for example, you would then go into tracking for a bit and then up to effects.
However, if you’re running with us and your tracking training we'll still sort out an effects mentor for you.
So if a junior effects role came up and you were good enough, obviously we'd always look to people who are in-house already before we hired externally, but it does depend on where we're at with our recruitment needs as well.
If you have applied for a position or you've just sent through your show reel and there isn't anything going at the moment. If they haven't heard back from you, how long should they wait before they apply to you guys again? Is there a specific timeframe?
We both use the same database for tracking candidates, that allows people to update their show reel continuously and we get an alert that a show reel has been updated.
So that means that people don't have keep applying for the same role or they can just refresh their their reel.
So once somebody applies to either Framestore or MPC they create a profile on our recruitment database and they'll have a log in details which enables them to go back in and update either show reels or availability or contact details whenever they're updated. And, once updated, an email goes out to us in the recruitment team to let us know a candidate has gone in and changed something about their work.
So it's always good to keep us updated on anything that's changed because we want to have a candidate's most relevant work in front of us at all times. Ready for a position to come available.
But it needs to be work that is different. So we don't want to see the same thing being applied for again and again, we want to see something new.
We keep hold of candidate’s details, they may not hear from us for three, six, maybe even 12 months. That doesn't mean that we've forgotten about them; it just means that we don't have a suitable position matching their skills at that time.
And the first thing we do when positions do come up is go straight into the database, look at who's expressed an interest in that area and who has the right skills. And then we contact the candidates to see if they're free and interested in having a further chat.
I mean it's hard.
I understand it's frustrating when you don't hear back from recruiters buts we get thousands of applications a week. So unfortunately we don't have the time to travel personally respond to everyone.
And one thing to note as well, with the recruitment database that Framestore and MPC use, we can see which roles people have applied for, so obviously it does enable you to apply for more than one position.
But when we see the someone has applied for every role in the company from CG supervisor to runner. Then that raises some alarm bells for us as to how focused they are and what they want to do.
Just be careful of sort of spamming and applying to everything because we can see that at the back end.
Can you apply for various positions in a studio; match mover and runner, for example?
>> You certainly can but don't apply for every position advertised.
>> If they're kind of related you know we have people that can do lighting and comp, you might apply for both. But if you've got someone who's applying for every single artist role and a runner role and the receptionist role, then that's where you start asking questions.
>> Maybe choose the three or four that you are most interested in because it also helps us to understand how someone would fit in, if someone's applied for every role then we need to go back to them and find out what they really want to do.
Should I post my show reel online or as a DVD?
>> I remember a time when everything was a physical copy and we used to have rooms full of DVDs.
>> I remember reels we received on VHS!
As the studios have grown, and the numbers of applicants have come through, we just can't keep physical copies.
Everything now is online. And it gives candidates flexibility to update their show reels instantaneously once they add new work.
We go in and we see the latest reel through that very same link.
>> And it's good when someone applies to us recruitment will normally do a first screen of all of the show reels and then we'll forward them to the heads of department for whatever discipline so rather than having to walk over with a massive stack of DVDs they can just clink on the link and it just makes it a bit easier for everyone,
It's online, always.
>> Not just show reels, CVs, breakdowns, portfolios, anything that a candidate wants us to see should be online.
Should my show reel have sound?
I haven't got sound on my computer. I think most of our heads of departments when they're reviewing show reels have the sound off, unless it’s for animation when they've got some lip sync.
>> That's it. Unless it is relevant to what we're looking at, feel free to put something there or not.
Somebody is asking how important is the look of the CV? Should it look artistic? Or should I just keep a focus on the look of the portfolio?
I'm a bit traditional on this one.
Whilst it's great to express someone's creativity don't forget that the purpose of the CV is to convey your background, experience, skills too. That's what we want to see.
If we lose that because of some crazy formatting or some creative images behind the information it risks being lost.
>> I always think one key thing for the CV is that a lot of people forget to put their contact details on them. And see, these can get lost or kind of take it away from the actual show reel.
So that's key, isn't it, really?
>> Yeah, your online show reel, the last slide should be your contact details. Your phone number, your e-mail address, and your name.
If we don't have the CV or if we don't have it to hand then we can always contact the candidates you know exactly whose work we're looking at.
>> Are there any tips you can give about how to make demo real unique?
When it comes to demo reels I recommend the candidate sometimes tailor it to the studio that they're applying to, rather than having a one size fits all approach to the show reel.
Be aware of who you're sending your details into.
So whilst you want your reel to stand out, you want it to stand out for the right reasons.
So giving different studios what they want. For example if you're applying to maybe a smaller studio or an advertising studio, they will want to see generalist work, whereas some of the larger film studios are more specialist.
Keep it simple, we don't want anything to detract from the work.
>> It's a risky one to go too unique.
Yeah it's like what Ben said and as I mentioned earlier: photo real, photo real, photo real.
You know that's what we want to see; that's the bread and butter of our work.
And as we've touched on before, doing one thing really, really well is going to stand out and make your work unique rather than trying to do so much and it be a bit sort of average.
Should I upload my CV onto my LinkedIn page on a job application and you've got the link. Or do you like to get the hard copy as well?
>> I personally prefer having the hard copy. LinkedIn can be a bit restrictive with laying out stuff like that.
>> I think it's good to have the information on LinkedIn. But having a properly formatted CV is still the easiest way for us to look at candidates and review them. So I would say both.
If I know the basics of a programming language, can I still include it in my resume?
We look for them for R &D roles, effects roles, pipeline roles.
We look for certain levels of programming for compositing and we need to see that people know how much python scripting they have done, Maya scripting. That kind of thing, for rigging, stuff like that. It's really important.
>> I would say having or being familiar with scripting in some form or other is going to help out every artist at the moment.
Even if they don't need to use it in their day to day work, it helps them deal with our software teams, and identifying pipeline issues and resolving them quicker, if the artist can understand the technical aspects.
>> I'd rather not see pages and pages of scripts.
>> It's good for us to see what kind of tools they may have developed, what kind of fixes they've created. The problems that they've dealt with.
They will be working with artists in a lot of the positions so seeing that background is good and then the more technical questions will come out at the interview stage.
How much detail should I include in my CV?
Obviously, I think the standard rule is one, two pages max.
>> Yeah, I think it's got to be clear and concise so that we can find the points quickly and easily when we're shortlisting.
And again when we're interviewing people.
You don't need to go on about if you had a job at JD Sports. You don't need to list everything you did like for stock room and stuff. You can just say it was a retail role.
>> And then the main section should be on anything visual effects related you’ve done, teamwork related.
You don't need to list I think I don't particularly look at the interest section when it's like a massive paragraph or “I do Jiu-Jitsu” and what not.
It's nice to know but don't get too carried away on those kind of things.
>> The purpose of the CV is to secure that interview.
It's again about things being lost. You want to make it as easy as possible for us as recruiters and the heads of department within the studios.
>> To see how that candidate can fit in.
>> Yeah and then if some was a bug bear of mine which some people sort of do is not to have any work experience or education, or they put them in the wrong order so it jumps around.
So we like to see from most recent, going backwards, where people have worked, or studied, or done whatever. Just because, otherwise, you're then trying to solve this puzzle of where they've been and stuff like that.
>> So I would say work history is definitely a key one.
And software skills and proficiency, it's something that people often don't put together.
If somebody has used Maya we'd like to know just how confident they are in that software and not just that they've used it but whether they consider themselves beginner or more senior.
>> Yep, and even stuff like for people that are applying for ricking roles or modelling role, if you studied life drawing or anatomy studies.
That's really important to put that on your CV as well so we can see that you understand the human body and stuff like that.
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