Access:VFX Month Sunderland

By Faith Wormald | 25th October 2018

Access: VFX travelled to Sunderland over 8th & 9th of October in order to get school and college students of all ages to learn more about the industry and realise that having a career in VFX can be a reality!

Our first day, held at Sunderland College, involved an array of events; from NextGen lead workshops for the college students in Gaming Level Design, 3D Modelling, Green screen VFX and 3D Animation, to our Careers fair, with London and Regional based companies such as Double Eleven, The Mill, DNEG, Blue Zoo and Into Film!

With the workshops and the careers fair running simultaneously we had an influx of students who were also interested in the Games industry as well as VFX! One thing that became evident was that young people, despite studying VFX, were still unaware of the wider VFX industry; what specific roles are available, that there is a wider industry beyond London, and beyond the North East.

We also hosted our panel session which was huge success! Sunderland College’s auditorium had only a few seats to spare, with around 100 students turning up to learn more about careers and entry routes into VFX. Our panel consisted of Tom Box - Managing Director and Founder of Animation Studio Blue Zoo, Creature Lead TD - Erica Vigilante from DNEG, Bethan Williams and Rob Moore 3D artists from The Mill, Interactive Developer - Sonny Gray from Animmersion, Luis Barros - VFX and Lighting Lead at Ubisoft Reflections, with Garreth Gaydon, Head of Mill Talent chairing the panel. The panel covered topics surrounding each individuals’ personal entry into the industry – giving insight to some more unconventional routes such as having a background in Architecture and of course others being fully focused on the VFX route.

The panel really allowed the audience to hear about the extent of possibilities that are achievable in order to study and gain access to the industry. The panel’s consensus was determination and perseverance will pay off in the long term.

Our second day, hosted at Sunderland Software City, was focused towards secondary school children from ages 12-15. We had 2 schools attend, each with around 15 students taking part in our trio of workshops. Our snappy 20 minute workshops were comprised of a local careers talk lead by Sunderland Software City exploring what each company does within the creative multiplex, a practical workshop lead by New World Designs who specialise in bullet time camera rigging experiences and The Mill discussing what VFX is and introducing our artists and what they have recently worked on for big brands such as Nike & Nissan! The pupils (and teachers!) were mostly familiar with our Mill adverts shown and took great enthusiasm in each workshop! The teachers of each school were highly impressed, even learning themselves about the industry!

Across the 2-day tour we reached out to approximately 120 students across the Sunderland area about the opportunities within Visual Effects and how to get there.