Double Negative careers special talk with Alice Tuxford at Exeter animation festival.
I attended the popular Animation Festival at Exeter phoenix with a particular interest in one of the careers special talks held by Alice Tuxford 24 a Recruitment Administrator for href="http://uk.linkedin.com/company/double-negative?trk=ppro_cprof">Double Negative. Britain's award winning visual effects house Founded in 1998 with a team of just 30, Double Negative has grown to become one of the industry's success stories. Just 14 years later, Double Negative, is Europe's largest provider of visual effects for Film. In 2009, Double Negative opened the doors to its Singapore office. They've done the effects for some of the top blockbusters such as Sky fall, The Dark Knight Rises, Inception and Harry Potter. I thoroughly enjoyed the talk and it really gave me just an insight on how the effects are done for the films, but also how you can break into such an competitive industry. It was a highly informative and interesting talk learning so much about the way the effects were made using lots of CGI and what they do to save money. Such as how much a green screen was used throughout many films and how much SGI is used in the modern world. You don't realise how much work has to be put into what you're seeing when you're just sitting there watching a top blockbuster with no thought to what's flashing before your eyes .They have many effects artists that work around the clock with all the physics such a fire, water, smoke wind. Such as Testing how much fire there should be how long it would take to ignite for the dragon in harry potter they would test it out just to see how to make it most effective it's all very technical there's a lot of equations and science that goes in it , so anyone who wants to be an effects artist should have a background in maths or science.
Double negative work not just on big effects but also smaller effects as well such as crowd replacements and creating a certain look for a movie. There's lots of different areas to go into they need artists to sketch out the ideas of what they want the characters to look like to save money rather than spending money trying to make a CGI version for something then needing to be changed that can't just be rubbed out. Such as the dragon for harry potter so concept artists make it a lot easier. Animators are a big part also such as how the dragon should be animated for Harry potter, mocking it up for the director helps with camera angles. To get the Modelling and texturing of the dragon they went to the zoo and looked at elephant skin to see whether it should frayed or wrinkly to try and get the texture for the skin. They do this to get real world references to make it more believable.
Recommended by Double negative is the best thing for anyone coming out college or university who wants to going into the industry is to become a runner. This involves just doing little jobs such as recovering reception but you're getting constant professional advice. Double Negative has about 20 runners at the moment they all are very talented visual effects artists. you will get to train at the end of the day on the shots the company are working on you'll have about 12 shots to get through before you can move up in the company. When they recruit and a new position arises you as a runner would get offered it first. Usually after about 6 – 12 months you would of got a job they said as a rough figure. No matter what part you want to go into visual effects artists, a compositor, a lighter, a editor or a manager. You should start as a runner, for example someone who started off as the very first runner at double negative won them there Oscar for inception! The sky's the limit if you work hard and have ambition about what you want to do you can get there !
The most important thing is when you apply to any visual effects company you need to apply with a reel based on the area you want to go into about 2 minutes long showing of your best work. Its recommended not to bother with music and trying to get your shots in time with the music on the reel as most companies but it on mute when watching them. As a junior coming in you'll be mixed with lots of different professionals so you can move up quicker. They also have had many applications when the applications had mixed up Visual effects which CGI on the computer and not real which is what double negative do . With, special effects when its done it for real, there is a big difference between the two and that has to be addressed before applying. There is a date was the film has to be released in the cinema you have to stay late and it's a hard job. Don't come to an interview were you don't know what films the company have worked on. And know what you're applying for!
One of the best applications Alice claimed she got was from America in a pirate box and his reel in a bottle. But still he didn't get she emphasised how it's not about the fancy packaging and where you've studied and what degree you have it's all on your pure talent your reel!
Double negative not only like to work on big blockbusters but also smaller ones too, it's nice to work on a variety not just the big explosions. They work with different directors such as Chris Nowlan that knew exactly what he wanted for the dark knight to Rupert sanders director of snow white and the huntsman who had no idea about what he wanted and visual house put a lot of input in to it. But that the beauty of it Alice claimed you never get the same problem twice, and all of them have a variety of skills at double negative as they are very pro active in training there staff in many courses. You can attend any of them so you can get an overview of all areas of the industry. Workers from double negative explained how "you need to be a bit mad and very passionate" to work for them. The best thing they about the job the workers emphasised was " going on set and being able to claim you've worked on some of the best movies". One of the animation artists said that his four year old son but the job description into perfect words with the phrase "so are you going to go play with your friends at work again daddy ?".
Interview with Alice Tuxford 24 rep for Double Negative, visual house productions.
How did you get into the business?
"I actually did an English degree and have been in the company for about two and half years now. I went straight in from university. I am a recruiter for a company so go around trying to find the best talent doing talks on our company, but before I did that I stayed in the company learning and researching it so I knew my stuff before doing talks."
So do you do any work with the visual effects within the company?
"No its really specialised we have people from all the world who are the best at what they do and I am nowhere near talented to do that,. Most of the artists have a degree in visual effects or seniors would have been working in the industry for up to 10 years working on the best films in the world."
Would you say it helps if your very creative and academy?
"You don't have to be very academic, we are not going to be asking you to write essays but there are some roles when you'll need maths and science. You don't need to be creative at all to be a programmer. But then you can just be an artists and draw pictures. So there's a wide range"
If you don't have a degree relevant and you decide that you want to go into the visual effects business can you work your way up through talent?
"You don't have to have a degree it's not something we tick of when we recruit you, its about talent a lot of the tools you can download at home and work on yourself. The best thing you can do is go out filming and work on it yourself reflecting your talent."