As far as I can remember, I always had an interest in film and illustration. I used to draw a lot, and as soon as I got my hands on a camera I started doing little videos here and there. It was just a matter of time before I discovered visual effects. I knew it was something big, something like I have never imagined before, and I instantly wanted to know more about it. Learning about VFX was somewhat of a ride, because I had to play around with Zbrush, Maya, After Effects, Cinema4D, Mocha and other programs before deciding that Nuke and compositing was “my thing”. It was like a world of endless possibilities and a chance to work on fantastic movies by bringing ideas to life, no matter how crazy they might sound. This is why I finally came to Lost Boys, where I knew I would definitely step up my game. And it has been the best choice of my life so far.
I think many people don’t actually know what VFX implies, as well as all the different layers of work you can find in a single shot. That said, I understand it is a relatively recent line of work and it might be difficult to comprehend or estimate the amount of work put in there. It is hard to understand VFX for a delicate reason: by the end of the day, the shot has to look good, believable, amusing and entertaining in a way that the audience can watch and enjoy without even taking the time to stop and think of the work behind it. If our goal is to make it enjoyable and help the story, it is perfectly normal to “hide” the work process.
Now, I believe we’re having a democratization of visual effects. Breakdowns are more and more common, there is some increasing popularity on YouTube about Visual Effects and I believe that, very soon, I will not have to explain again to my parents the difference between compositing, rigging, modelling, animating, etc..
If my work helps to create and tell a story, then I’m happy. You get to see tons of ideas and stories, meet talented people, and work towards the realization of a project. As I mentioned before, it is such a rewarding feeling! Knowing that you’ve been part of something that might inspire others, or make them laugh or cry… It means everything to me. Besides, there’s no formula to compositing, there are always different ways to tackle a challenge, or to represent or draw something. By the end of the day, you completed a shot and you helped in your own way, with your vision and your talent. It is hard to describe how awesome this feeling is.
Everything was unique. Lost Boys takes the concept of teaching to a whole new level. Of course, when we came in the first day we are all supposed to like VFX, and compositing, and we’re here because we wanted to be in the first place, but the never-ending impulse of wanting to learn more, this is very unique. And Lost Boys has this magic approach to teaching that is just surreal.
You have this feeling of being part of a family, not only by the kindness and the generosity of the teachers and other members of the staff, but by learning alongside other students just like you. Teachers were accessible nearly all the time, honest and helpful, considerate and humble. The atmosphere is so optimistic, so healthy and positive that you are constantly surrounded by the eagerness and enthusiasm of learning. At this point, it doesn’t feel like a classic teaching/learning process. It feels like something else. Something more.
As a final note, I’d like to say there was no competition, no jealousy and no envy, but genuine love and care towards other students, because we all worked for each other success: it was always heartwarming to see someone succeed.
I believe that visual effects are a never-ending learning process, and that might sound exciting for some and scary for others. In both cases, I’d go with the classic “never give up” message, because it might take some time to reach your expectations. But getting there is as fulfilling as the whole voyage you made to do so. There are hundreds of thousands of visual effects artists in the world but I have the feeling that we’re part of a small community, focused not-only in telling stories but also in helping each other. Ask away, practice, expose yourself to critics, keep up the good work, and you won’t regret it.