Framestore are an award winning visual effects company based in London. They have worked on many successful films including 'Guardians of the Galaxy', 'Dracula Untold' and 'Paddington'. They also work in many other areas such as television and advertising.
Today, we were lucky enough to have two members of Framestore come to our university to give us a talk. The talk was about Framestore as a company and about getting into the animation industry in general.
Toyah Middleton - Recruitment Manager
Toyah talked to us about Framstore as a company and how they work. She discussed the best routs to get into the company and what Framstore are looking for when they have a job opening.
We were told that for them, it is important to specialize. They do not higher generalists often, they want you to be the best at waht you do. It is good to work on your skill and make it the best it can be.
Framestore tend to promote people from within their company, this is why it is often the case you will have to work your way up to where you want to be. To do this, Toyah mentioned two main options. The first would be to get hired as an intern. Interns get the chance to work on shot for film as well as work on a personal project with a mentor. I like the face that you have the chance to work on your own project within the company as its a chance to do what you want to do and get professional advice on it. They emphasized the fact that this personal project is also useful so you have something that you can add to your reel at the end as their can be copyright issues with taking and posting film clips.
The second option presented to us was to start as a runner. This is a great way to get your foot in the door and get a feel for the industry and get to know the people in it. Framestore do not higher runners that do not have a good show reel and show potential. This is because they do like to hire from within the company so you will be hired as a runner with the intention that you will be trained to move up within the company. Learning this has made me much more likely to apply for runner jobs in the future. I think its a great opportunity to get an inside look at the industry and most companies, like Framestore, will higher you will the intent of you moving up. Runners are also provided access to rigs and equipment, they are also able to stay late or come in on weekends to work in the studio which I think sounds amazing.
Some final notes form Toyah were to always network. Get to know as many people as you can and show your face at events and lectures as much as possible. This is an industry where the people you know can very much help your chances for success so its important to get yourself out there and make the effort.
Michael Elder - Animator
Michael talked to us about his own personal experiences in the industry and his own journey to where he is today. We were also told about some general tips for breaking into the industry and what some useful paths are to take.
Micheal originally started in Sydney working on films as a junior animator. Although it was a 'big job' he said as a young animator, it is often more useful to start off in TV or even games even if getting into films is your goal. Working on films, he said he was not given much responsibility because of the high standards of the studio and his inexperience at the time. Working at a smaller company often means you have more to do and more responsibility. You also will produce more work a lot quicker and more varied. This is useful when you are trying to build up your show reel to showcase your work. He also mentioned that commercials are a good way to get a lot of work out fast as the jobs will only last maybe a few weeks. Again, a good way to strengthen your show reel as a junior animator.
While working on films, he had a lot a spare time so utilized this to work on a personal project. Michael emphasized the importance of personal projects as its a chance for you to do what you want to and put your heart into something. It is also important to utilize each company you are in, ask for advice and use the resources given to you. Listen to the people who know more then you!
He told us that getting into the industry is probably the most difficult part so don't give up. He gave me a lot of motivation to keep trying and be confident. A lot is to do with luck and timing.
I found this talk incredibly useful and I very pleased we were able to have it. I learnt a lot about the industry and Framestore in particular. I have a lot of respect for the company and would love to work there one day.
I cant wait to see Framestore again at FMX in a few weeks time!