Keyframe had it’s 3rd annual seminar this month and hosted a number of talks and workshops from some of the country’s most talented creatives.
Keyframe 3 was an excellent source of knowledge for students, those who are beginning in the field of VFX, but also for seasoned professionals! Similar events are few and far between and any opportunities to receive some pearls of wisdom from professionals in the animation, film, VFX and games industries are essential!
Unfortunately not everyone could attend each talk, so GLUE VFX spoke with some of the other speakers and asked if they had any extra advice to impart for those who couldn’t make it.
We asked them for their best advice and if there was anything else that they would like to share.
The VFX Industry and how to get into it.
“There’s a lot of talent and competition in the industry, but there’s also a lot of time and resources available. If you’re still in education, take the opportunity to go the extra mile, the time you have now is a luxury that probably won’t be available once you’re looking for work. Know the area you want to get into and always strive to be better, you can and will create great work but so will your competition. Learn the industry standard tools but don’t pigeon-hole yourself with a single program.”
“Many companies will put out blogs and video breakdowns of their latest projects on social media, usually this will be the most up to date process currently used by actual VFX and animation companies allowing students to learn the most recent practices used. Hands-on experience is invaluable and every day you put in is experience that’ll help you get closer to the next level.”
For more up to date information on the animation, film, VFX and games industries have a look at the GLUE twitter account and make sure to like us on Facebook! We also have regular blog posts such as an interns experience at GLUE and creating monsters in the Liffey.
Storyboarding for TV
“Never stop learning, strive to improve, seek knowledge from whomever and wherever! There’s always something to pick up from somebody (even if it’s how not to do something!). Talent is great, talent is flair, but talent you have already, just like everybody else in the industry; talent is also temperamental, some days it just won’t click, and as a professional you need to deliver everyday; knowledge will get you through rough days, and strengthen your skills on the good days.”
“How to push for improvements? -ask yourself “is there a better way”? Be objective, learn to look at your work the way you look at other people’s work (however awkward that may be at times!). But when all’s said and done, do not torture yourself by thinking that it’s never good enough, challenge yourself but appreciate what you have achieved so far, where you are in your development, and knowing that as long as you keep working, you will get better.”
Paper Panther Productions – Eimhin McNamara
Experimental Animation – current and up and coming productions
“The main piece of advice I could give is to keep experimenting and playing, whether it be on a technical level or through personal exploration. Engendering this sense of play at this early stage in your career will keep you growing as an animator and a creator, and allow you to grow and adapt with the challenges ahead.”
“We’re currently progressing on two Irish Film Board-funded stopmotion films: “An Gadhar Dubh” (directed by Pádraig Fagan) & “The Bird & the Whale” (directed by Carol Freeman). We also run a number of educational workshops and training programmes at our studio space in A4 Sounds. You can view our work and any upcoming events on our website’.
Boulder Media – Stephen O’Keefe
Adapting to new techniques and rolls in animation.
“My own talk focused on getting into the industry at a young age and how much I’ve learned in the 4 years since, constantly adapting as the software changed and most importantly the value of hard work. When you come out of college you let out a sigh of relief and it is natural to think the days of hard work and long evenings are behind you. I found it to be the complete opposite, the hard work begins when you finish college. The most successful people in this industry are obviously very talented, but that didn’t happen over night, on top of that they are some of the world’s most hard-working people.”
“The best advice I can give any student, is to work hard & be patient. Your hard work will be recognised and rewarded. There’s always more to learn, especially in an industry that’s growing and evolving as quickly as this one. If you want it bad enough and you put in the work, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.
I’d like to thank Kevin Lynch and everyone at CDCFE for having me at the Keyframe 3 Event. It’s the first talk of that nature I’ve delivered and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
“I’d just like to also touch on the importance of events like Keyframe 3 in colleges. I’d encourage every student to attend and take advantage of the industry people that attend. Ask as many questions as possible and learn as much as you can from the lovely industry folk who’ve taken time away from work to deliver the talks. When I was in Colaiste Dhulaigh myself we didn’t have too many events like it and I would have loved to have had an event like Keyframe 3.”
Geronimo – Jamie Teehan
Nora and Nelly – From Script to Post Production – Production Pipelines for an animated TV Series
“My name is Jamie Teehan. I have been working in animation in Dublin for over 15 years now. During my 10 years in Boulder Media, I was an animation director on “El Tigre” and “Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja” , as a supervising animator on “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” and “The Amazing World of Gumball”. In 2014, I joined Geronimo Productions as the Director of “Nelly & Nora” for BBC.”
“I was asked to talk about the production pipeline of a television show.
Animation is a never-ending battle of talent vs time.
Every part of production costs “time”. Simple mistakes in one department can mean huge consequences in another. Always be thinking about the ripple effect. Tens minutes spent finishing a scene or fixing a scene prep can save someone else down the line two hours or even two days.”
“During the lecture I was asked “how can you be creative, working on overseas productions and/or material for other people?”. My answer is simple, think of TV production as a puzzle-solving job. You have x amount of time and often you work on shows or episodes where it’s not clear how to make the shot/ scene. This can be where the most creative solutions result in saving people time. And as I said, time is the biggest enemy of a production.”
“For the students (and anyone else reading this) learn about the Composite department. It doesn’t matter if you are going to be an animator, background artist or even a designer. Learn how that department can help you. It’s not just knowing what After Effects or similar software can do for you, but also what the actual people in that department can help you with. I’ve seen artists in that deptartment save animators hours on scenes, even days. And as I keep saying, every minute counts!”
Niamh Herrity – Pink Kong Studios
Setting up an Animation Studio in Dublin “Do’s and Don’t’s”
“If you are looking to set up an animation studio, firstly get some experience working in a studio. Understand how studio life works and research, research, research. Know the industry as best you can before you take the step of going out on your own.”
“If setting up a studio is something you really want to do, then go for it. Pink Kong Studios is now an award winning animation studio with a growing team. We have received funding to develop our own stories like “Rova-Novas” and are bringing them to broadcasters and international marketplaces. We create high end animated content, both for our own I. P. and a growing client base of international partners. Our videos have been shared across social media and generated over 340K online views.”
Working on Major productions such as Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, Tangled, Bolt, Lord of the Rings– The Return of the King, Sky Captain and Armageddon.
“Networking – By far, the best way to get into a company is to network with people at the company.
Flexibility – Especially for your first job, you might need to take a position that is not ideal, just get in there and show them what you can do and you will move up.
Mobility – This is a worldwide industry, be prepared to move to build your career.
Timing – A company will not hire you until there is a project that can pay for you, sometimes you need to wait a bit.”
Colaiste Dhulaigh College of Further Education
In relation to finding job opportunities for graduates there are a number of key points mentioned by most of the speakers at Keyframe
1. Your education does not finish with college – it is essential to continuously self-improve in whatever field of work you wish to find a career in. A key part of this is to be adaptable by up-skilling in relation to software, technical animation skills, draughtsmanship etc…
2. Networking was another common theme – attend animation/design events such as Pegbar, Women in Animation, Offset, VFX conference etc.. Employers are much more likely to employ people they have met than those who have just sent online job applications.
3. Get a good name for yourself – perform to the best of your ability in any internship opportunities. Be reliable, hard working and do your best to get on with co-workers. Word travels fast in the industry, so it’s important that colleagues have good things to say about you.
4. Don’t give up – Persistence is the key to success in relation to finding the job you want. If you fail to get a positive response from a studio for a job application or if the studio says you are unqualified for the job, request that they give you advice on how to improve your showreel/portfolio for the next time they have vacancies.
5. Remain faithful to your initial objectives – continue to be creative, do original work in your own time. Apply for frameworks grants, competitions etc.. Make the film you always wanted to make, work with interesting people and learn from them.
“Keyframe was originally set up to promote the BA (Hons) Animation programme at Colaiste Dhulaigh. It was also hoped that it would give students a unique insight into opportunities in the Animation and related creative sectors.”
“Another aim of the event was that it would create valuable links between CDCFE and industry for future educational purposes and for potential work placements/internships for students/graduates.
With the continued cooperation and support of management at CDCFE and Dublin City Library’s Coolock, I hope that Keyframe will continue to grow and we will attract more acclaimed professionals to speak in the future.”
We at GLUE VFX would like to say a big thank you to CDCFE and for everyone at the event who took the time to contribute their words of wisdom over the 3 day event. We look forward to seeing more great speakers at next year’s event.