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Some encouraging words for any aspiring VFX artists...

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trea cotton
Some encouraging words for any aspiring VFX artists...
on Jul 10, 2011 at 12:39:11 am

Its been a while since I have been on the forums but I am back now and wanted to post something for any aspiring VFX artists out there.

About a year and a half ago, I asked alot of people a question about whether or not I should become a professional VFX artist, go to school, etc... on the web and in person. The responses I got by alot of people(not all) were very discouraging. Some tried to talk me out of going to the school I was considering without even knowing anything about it. People said my success in the industry would be improbable but not impossible, etc etc.
Some things that were said are true, there ARE alot of people who want to be VFX artists and not everyone that goes to school for this will get a job. It is also true that you don't need to go to school to do this.

But the saying, know thyself comes to mind... and I had been teaching myself VFX for a few years and I saw potential in myself.. but I also knew that I lacked the fundamentals and confidence needed to truly be successful in this career. Considering I was giving up everything to pursue my passion, I wanted to make sure I took every precaution to ensure success. So also considering from what I could tell, most of the people who gave discouraging words had never been a professional VFX artist in their life... I chose not to listen to them and to go with my instincts.

Man, am I glad I did... I did a year of school, excelled through it... and before I graduated, I was hired to move to Hollywood to work as a PAID VFX artist on major films… I worked on several Marvel blockbuster movies as well as others that are current and I can't discuss.

My advice to anyone who has dabbled in VFX and knows they want to make a career out of it, is know yourself, know your skills, and if it is your passion and you are ready to commit, then GO FOR IT!! It WON’T be easy, it is true that you may not succeed, but if you have the right mindset and don't except defeat, then your chances of succeeding are alot better than the next guy's. On the same token, also KNOW if you suck. I met alot of people who didn't seem to realize that their work just wasn't "hollywood quality" and that they were not getting any better

It is possible to encourage people while still telling them "how it is." It is all about your demo reel in this industry and your skills. If you have skills and a good demo reel to showcase them, you can find a job somewhere in the industry. Yes it is very competative also, but what job isn't in this economy? There are a million reasons that people can tell you not to do something, but the reasons TO do something comes from inside of you. Nobody (except those born with a silver spoon in their mouths) ever became SOMEONE without taking sebstantial risks and sacrifices. So that’s all, I just wanted to TRY to post some encouraging words for anyone who might stop in trying to figure out if they want to take that leap. And if so, I am always available to give advice and help out in any way possible.


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Lawrence Mwendwa
Re: Some encouraging words for any aspiring VFX artists...
on Jan 13, 2012 at 10:48:08 pm

Hi i have been learning vfx through tuts although i went to school up to parents and friends want me to go back to school to get a degree because they say that i need papers to make it.whats your advice im in kenya home country and i want to excell in vfx.whats the best way to study go to school or watch tuts and which school did you go to.please help.

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Trea Cotton
Re: Some encouraging words for any aspiring VFX artists...
on Jan 14, 2012 at 5:49:45 am

Hi Lawrence,

No it is not necessary to get a degree (peice of paper) to be successful in VFX. As a matter of fact, nobody cares whether you have a degree or not. If they know you went to some type of school.. thats a plus. But even if you didn't... all it takes to get hired in this industry is an outstanding demo reel which showcases your talents. THATS IT! Well of course, you need to be talented to start with to backup what is on your reel. But you absolutely do not need to spend 4 years going to school to get a degree. I dont know how it is in Kenya or if you are planning to stay there or come to the USA but either way I am sure it is the same. The school I went to is in Orlando Florida and is called the Digital Animation and Visual Effects school or "DAVE School." My suggestion to you is to watch tuts, practice and put your stuff on youtube for others to criticize, and when you get completely comfortable with that, maybe find a 1 year school that focuses on demo reels and teaching the fundamentals of VFX. Thats it, good luck!

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