On Wednesday 27th February 2019, ACCESS: VFX teamed up with Mark Martin, computer science lecturer and lead of inclusion initiative UK Black Tech to host the first in a series of 'Industry Connect' events designed promote careers and entry routes into the UK VFX, animation and games industry.
In post-production and animation alone, just 6% of employees come from a BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) backgrounds, whereas in VFX there has been an improvement with 15% BAME representation. ACCESS: VFX continues to build on this momentum with an ambition to increase this to 40% to better reflect the local population.
We recognise that we need a 'bottom-up' approach as well tackling this from the top-down, and a clear place to start is providing access to entry points across the industry, whether through apprenticeships, internships or respected studio running programmes.
For this first event, and taking advice from Mark we agreed that we needed to host the event in the community, rather than in one of our partner member’s VFX facilities. With this in mind we were able to host at Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton where we invited future talent, students, parents and teachers to hear from industry about the different routes, skills required and available training in VFX, animation and games.
The event was a great success with over 100 people in attendance and industry representation from Splash Damage Games, Jellyfish Pictures, UNIT, Escape Studios, The Mill, DNEG, Framestore and Blue Zoo Animation.
We ensured that the event had a clear ‘call to action’ where we connected attendees to our e-mentoring programme and offered access to a series of free visual effects masterclasses for interested parties that will focus on software training and e-mentorship.
Since the event, we ran our first exclusive masterclass ‘Becoming a VFX Pro’ with VFX Supervisor and Director Victor Perez on Thursday 4th April with more coming soon.
We hope that by spreading the word to fresh and inclusive communities of people, providing Inspiration, sparking Aspiration, will in time, lead to application.