Monday, 13 February 2017

Framestore Recruitment at the VFX festival

Frame Store
At last week's VFX Festival, the recruitment talk by Framestore - the London VFX house that brought you “Fantastic Beasts and where to find them" - was a full house.

Recruiter Toyah Dunningham talked about what Framestore do, and how to find work with the company.

So, what is the secret of getting a job with one of London's oldest and most successful VFX houses? And how can Escape Studios help our students to break into the world of VFX?

About Framestore
Framestore are “now a global company”, with 1200 employees worldwide. Soon they will open in Chicago, and they're also in London and Montreal.

What makes them different? 
They have an in-house art department, an in-house MoCap lab (especially good for animation), and the founding partners are still “very active in the business”. They also have a sister company “The 3rd floor” – which does PreVi work, also in Soho.  Recently they did a VR school bus, with a “school trip to Mars” - so the surface of the landscape "changed as the bus moved". It was a "tour of the Red Planet, as a moving virtual reality installation".

What do they look for in an artist?
Framestore offer a "big range of roles". Juniors tend to start in Tracking (3D) or Paint and Roto (2D).
They like “strong soft skills”, such as good communication. And don't worry too much about software. Framestore make lots of in-house software, so much proprietary software in fact that even experienced industry pros will find they have lots to learn when they join Framestore. So, don't assume that just because you know Maya you won't have lots of new software to learn.

This is important. At interview - make sure you have a "great attitude". This is "just as important as the level of your artistic work". 

This year they launched an apprenticeship scheme.  You can read about it here.

They run an internship every year, opening in February through May, aimed at 2nd year students. It's a paid internship and they also "put you up" in accomodation. 

This is a "fantastic way" to break into the industry. Our MD of film "began in reception". Framestore also offer secondments while you are running, so you might be able to "help out on a show" and get real experience of client work. So there are "lots and lots of opportunities" for runners.

Make sure your reel and CV is online, and up to date
Be online, Vimeo is fine, and check all your weblinks to make sure it's all working. And don't send a cover letter full of typos and mistakes.

Twitter & Social Media
Follow Framestore on Twitter - it's a great way to find out what's going on. Also find the Framestore recruiters at LinkedIn - often jobs will come up at LinkedIn before they make it to the official website.

What are they doing now?
Beauty and The Beast has been wrapped - Framestore did most of the magical creatures, such as Mrs Potts and Lumiere.  Right now they're doing Paddington 2 (mostly in London), Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (Rocket), Jungle Book (The Warner Bros/Andy Serkis version, including around 50 animated creatures), Alien:Covenant (mostly being done in Montreal), Kingsman 2, Thor:Ragnok. So, a ton of work, with plenty of new opportunities. Also Fantastic Beasts 2 is starting soon. 

Showreel tips
Show reels for Framestore should be:
  • 1-2 minutes long
  • Only your best work
  • Do the basics, but do them well. If you want to be an animator, include some tracking shots.
  • Try for photoreal work - that's what Framestore do. "We're not Disney or Pixar"
  • Include clear breakdowns. Show what you did, as clearly as you can.
Training - and other benefits
Framestore do "lots of training in-house". They recently "got a Government grant" to help with this. And there is lots going on at the company.  They "play softball against MPC in the summer". The company organises regular "WIPs", where you can come and "see all the projects being worked on at Framestore". And they have "great parties". William Sergeant (who runs the company) holds "open surgeries" where you can book an appointment and "go and see him".

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our new BA/MArt starting in September 2017, follow this link. And to sign up for our animation short course, starting at the end of february, click here.  We train all our animators with practical real-world skills, to give them the best possible chance of a career in industry. To see some success stories, follow this link.

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